Page images


It was




down river. During the day some straggling man, did we of the rear Western regiments from Sbield's guard move into that haven of rest division came into the field. This and safety for the beaten. battered, little circumstance lightened exhausted Army of the Potomac.” spirits wonderfully. The main inci

A MINOR INCIDENT OF SERVICE. dent of the day was the taking of a rebel battery, a short distance from On the thirteenth of July, 1864, our us, at the point of the bayonet. It regiment was on picket under comhad been firing nearly all day upon mand of Major Baldwin. teams. Major Campbell re- posted in the

posted in the woods before our joined the regiment from his home, works. During the day the major where he had been on sick leave. advanced a force of twelve men of He left us at Bottom's Bridge." Company C, under command of CapMcClellan's

position tain Nickels, and made a descent on selected by Commodore Rodgers, the enemy's picket posts, capturing who declared to him that it would two men. There were features of be necessary for the navy to fall this little diversion that make it back from Malvern Hill to a point worth recording here. Colonel Baldbelow City Point, as the river chan- win writes of it as follows: " I had nel was so near the Southern shore charge of the regiment on picket. that it would not be possible to As the general had expressed a debring up the transports, should the sire to know what was going on in enemy occupy City Point. Harri- bis front, I desired to go through the son's Landing was, in his opinion, woods in front of our line and find the nearest suitable point.

out what there might be beyond. As indicated by Newcomb, troops, The day was especially propitious batteries, and trains moved towards for such a movement, as the rain the Landing all the night of July 1 had thoroughly soaked the dry leaves and the morning of July 2. The and twigs so that we could go through heavens opened and torrents of rain the woods as silently as cats, while descended. Our division lay in a by bending down low we were comcovering position, to oppose any pletely hidden by the green underadvance the enemy might make, growth. I invited Captain Nickels but Lee had given up the chase. to accompany me, and he, of course, With troops already on the accepted the invitation with his cusJames, under cover of our gunboats, tomary alacrity. We then selected a he knew it was madness to pursue number of cool, steady men. After further.

enjoining strict silence upon them, So, quite unmolested, the sodden, and giving them a short drill in movtired men, the trains of wounded, ing forward, backward, and by the our batteries and wagon trains, flank at a signal, we started forward." floundered through mud into Harri- We will let First Sergeant Miller, son's Landing, and not till all were of Company C, tell the rest of the past us, the last wagon and the last story: “When we

story: "When we were deployed,



Captain Nickels took position on was entirely unfamiliar. So I immethe right, and ordered me to take the diately ordered him to return to his left. We moved forward, and soon old position, with two men, while I entered an almost impassable thicket entered the road with the other two, of small trees, the foliage of which and performed a front and flank was thoroughly saturated with water movement the rebel position, from the recent rain. By reason of which was accompanied with yells the dense growth, we obliqued to the and oaths sufficient to bring any orright and left to find accessible pas- dinary “ Johnnie" into submission. sages, and I soon became conscious At my request, he came from behind that the line was broken, and that a pile of wood, with which he was five men were with me, and the bal- surrounded, but I ordered him to reance were with Nickels. I took a turn and bring the musket, which hasty run to the right, but as I saw he, in his haste to obey, had forgotnothing of Nickels or his men I re- ten. After making my capture, I turned to the left, and ordered the immediately started to find Nickels. men to oblique to the right, and try I had not gone far before I heard to make a connection before we shouts and yells, in which, I was should encounter the enemy. On sure, the familiar, stentorian voice of the extreme left was the recruit the commander of Company C was Morse, who, by the way, was an old freely mingled." hunter, and a dead shot.

He car- I did not witness the proceedings ried a rifle with which he had been of this capture, but Nickels told me presented by Colonel Plaisted. I at the time how it happened. He ran down the line, which was halted, said: • When I came

out of the until I came to this man, who was at thicket, I entered a growth of large the edge of the woods bordering a oak trees, free from underbrush, and road which was parallel with our I at once saw the location of mv line. I hastily glanced up and down man, who held a position in a road this road, but as I saw nothing, I or- running back to the rebel line, the dered Morse to follow me, and try position of the post being between to connect the line.

When I came two bills. I saw my method of capto the other men, they informed me ture, which must be bloodless, if that Morse had been talking with a possible. I left a part of my men in Reb. I replied that he had been front, with instructions to keep runtalking with me; but they insisted ning from tree to tree, to attract his that such was the fact. So I or- attention, while I made a detour dered a halt, and questioned Morse, with the balance to come down on who admitted that he had bidden a his flank. It worked like a charm, Reb 'good-morning,' with the re- and if you ever saw a surprised lad mark that it

very wet.

I of eighteen summers it was my boy asked him why he did not order his of the rebel post when he discovered surrender, and he .allowed' that that the muskets with which he was covwas a part of the play with which he ered upon turning his head at the


[ocr errors]

command, Surrender! But he of the risks he and other brave men was plucky, and ordered us to sur- ran, and of the nonchalance with render, against the great odds with which they faced unexpected dangers. which he was confronted. And that General Foster had requested him was the cause of our lusty yells, to to go out through the big corn-field prevent him from being rash enough already told of, and learn what he to shoot, and to prevent my men

could of the force of the rebels in from shooting him.

our front, and to do it in his own • We returned to our line with the way. Taking a couple of orderlies prisoners, whom we invited to break with him, Colonel Hill rode into the fast with us on the baked beans and interior until he judged that he was hot coffee with wbich the cook had a mile from the river. Not having just arrived. The young fellow, who seen any rebels yet, he then bore to was fiery, and took his capture at the left, to strike the river way heart, at first declined, declaring that above us, intending to ride down he had just partaken of a breakfast along the river bank to Deep Bottom. much better than we could offer, but After riding for about a half-mile when we opened his haversack, he toward the river, he suddenly rode had to acknowledge the corn. The into the rear of an undeployed rebel old man was past sixty, and declared picket force of about twenty-five the Confederacy a failure, which raised

men. As they clustered around him, the indignation of the youngster, who their officer laughingly asked the called him.grandpa. After breakfast colonel where he was going. Perthey were sent to General Foster."

sonally, the colonel felt very sure GENERAL

that he was going to Richmond,

however much against his will, but There was

a constant desire at putting on a bold face, he answered headquarters to know what was go- that he had ridden out to get the ing on in our front, and scouting par- news by exchanging papers with ties were out almost daily, often them. * This is pretty cool," said taking desperate risks to get the the rebel officer ; " let me see your coveted information. Boldness and papers.” Luckily, the colonel bad a quickness of wit were imperative ne- copy of the New York Tribune and cessities in the make-up of the one of the Philadelphia Inquirer in scouts, and these qualities often ex his pocket, and luckily, too, a rebel tracted these venturesome men from sergeant here said, “ This is the most embarrassing situations. Our same officer that sent us a paper the own General Hill, then our lieuten- other day.” This was so, the coloant-colonel, was one of the boldest of nel, a week before, when officer of the our scouts, often volunteering, de day, having effected an exchange of spite his rank, for the dangerous papers with this sergeant through the service, just to escape the dulness of medium of one of our men, when the camp life. An adventure of his in sergeant must have taken a sharp look this month of July will give an idea at the officer, who moved so coolly






along a dangerous picket-line. "Well," his adieus. As he rode away with said the good-natured rebel lieuten- his eager orderlies at his heels, the ant, I guess I will let you go ; you

Confederate officer, on whom the look as though you were telling the real purpose of the colonel's mission truth. But I must say you took a had dawned, but who was too bon. good deal of pains to come so far, orable to take back his given word, and to come in our rear, too."

called out: · Remember this, you The colonel answered that he got can't play at exchanging papers with lost in riding out, and was trying to me again.” With this friendly warnfind his way into camp, when he rode ing from the “good fellow," as Genup to them. Drifting into a general eral Hill rightly calls him, ringing in conversation, each party covertly their ears, the little Union party tried to learn a little something con- spurred its horses into a magnificent cerning the other's force on that side burst of speed that quickly took it of the river, until the colonel em- out of all possible danger of having braced a good opportunity to make to obey a recall.


The Union Veterans' union of the memory of our participation in Maine held in Auburn, October 30, the events and perils of war, and to their third annual encampment, and preserve and perpetuate the princiit was a notable gathering from the ples for which we fought; to recogfact that all the comrades are vet- nize the rights of the Union soldier erans in the strictest sense, all of to positions of public trust, and their them being battle-field soldiers. preferment over all others for employ

The national organization was born ment under the government, he being at Washington in 1886. It is com- fitted and qualified for the position he posed of honorably discharged Union applies for. It is banded together soldiers, sailors, and marines of good for mutual protection, for mutual character, who served at least six benefits and the advancement of the months continuously, unless sooner real veteran before the people and discharged on account of wounds or before congress, using all honorable injuries received in the line of duty means. It is strictly a soldier's orduring the Rebellion between the ganization. It appeals to the soldier's years of 1861 and 1865, part of dignity and pride. Into its ranks no which service must have been at the man can come who has not heard the front, and he must have participated zip of the Minie ball and the scream

or more engagements. Its ing of shot and shell; he must have objects are to unite in bearing each been baptized with fire, else he canother's burdens; to

for the not pass its sacred portals. widow and orphans; to keep alive This, in brief, is the Union Vet

in one



erans' union. In Maine the organi- happy incidents, and must not be zation has had an encouraging growth, permitted to beguile us from the perits present strength being eighteen formance of the important duties commands (the commands being with which a noble constituency has similar to posts in the Grand Army charged us.

The Union Veterans' of the Republic), with a membership union now comprises so many of the of 460,-a net gain of 134 for the surviving soldiers and seamen of the year.

late war, and its precincts are so distributed over

our country, that the

states and the nation listen with was held in Grand Army hall on Main street, Auburn. Colonel

interest, and attach weighty imporEmerson, commander of the state

tance to the deliberations and acts of encampment, is an Auburn man and

all matters

its encampments upon a member of Sedgwick command, calling for legislative or congres

sional action. It has become the which does the honors of entertaining the veterans of the union in this representative and exponent of the state. The colonel was in his happi- Union soldiers and seamen, and as est mood, and he had a hearty hand- such holds their especial interests in shake and earnest words of welcome

its keeping for every new comer. The forenoon

“ The social character of our organisession was devoted wholly to busi- zation is most delightful, but that

First in order came the comrade greatly underestimates its address of Department Commander mission who regards this as its chief Emerson.

virtue and office. The Union VetThis was followed by reports of the several officers.

erans' union has serious duties and a

high calling. To the consideration THE COMMANDER'S ADDRESS

of these I extend 10 you a most was as follows:

cordial welcome, and invoke upon

your deliberations that interest which Comrades of the Third Annual Encampment of Maine, Union l'et- is both kind and tolerant, and that

secures attention, that charity which erans' Union :

wisdom which seeks the good of all. “We have assembled for the pur- This union of comrades is organized pose of reviewing the work of the for the welfare of all honorably dispast, for the transaction of such busi- charged soldiers and seamen, our

as shall seem wise for the mission is for the good of all who future, and for the election of the need assistance in their decline of proper officers to attend to the affairs years while they live. of this department for the ensuing " To the Department of Maine, for year. Our annual encampment the honor conferred upon me one affords a pleasant opportunity for year ago, I wish to extend my fraterfraternal greeting and reunion ; but nal regards. I only wish I could delightful and attractive as these are, have been more efficient in the work ; we are to remember that they are but but Maine has made a good healthy



« PreviousContinue »