Diary of a Young Officer–Josiah Marshall Favill (57th New York Infantry)

August 21st. Marched bright and early, arriving at Yorktown about noon and put up our tents on the identical spot occupied by us while awaiting shipment to West Point, in the spring; felt quite at home. As soon as the camp was established, all hands were dismissed for a swim, and the waves were quickly [...]

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August 20th. At 7 A. M. were en route again, and at noon entered the ancient city of Williamsburg, halting just on the outskirts of the town. Colonel Parisen, Doctor McKim, and I rode over the place, which is interesting on account of its antiquity and the college buildings; the bricks used in the buildings [...]

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August 19th. By 7 A. M. we were in, line, tents struck, wagons loaded, and commenced the march in first-class condition. The country improves the further we go, and to-day's eight miles march was through a paradise, compared to the region of Manassas and the Chickahominy. Went into bivouac early in the afternoon and remained [...]

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August 18th. Reveille at daylight. Immediately after breakfast the troops received several days' rations, and at 7 A. M. marched out of bivouac, going only four miles, and then for some reason not stated, pitched tents upon a splendid plantation and remained until the next morning. Poultry, fruits, and vegetables were in abundance, and we [...]

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August 17th. Reveille at daybreak, and immediately after breakfast about five o'clock the column fell in and continued the march, at first very slowly, on account of the troops ahead. At 9 A. M., we halted for half an hour, then continued the march to Charles City court house, where we halted for dinner; the [...]

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August 16th. We remained on duty all night, but at 7 A. M. withdrew the picket line and joined the brigade, which was in rear of the division. At 9 A. M. the whole division fell in and marched northerly, following the troops, which, together with the trains, had preceded us; our line of march [...]

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August 18th. [probably really the 15th] I have omitted any notations since the eighth, for the reason that our wagons have been packed, and everything held in readiness to march at a moment's notice, for the past week. Of course, we expected to move, and in the interim there was nothing going on. No drills, [...]

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August 9th. Heat fearful; troops neglecting everything not absolutely necessary. At dress parade the following circular was read at the head of each regiment: Headquarters First Division, Second Corps, Camp Near Harrison's Landing, August 7, 1862. Circular.The general commanding the division desires to express to the command his appreciation of their successful efforts in bringing [...]

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August 8th. A lovely quiet morning. No news from the Irish brigade, and not a shot fired in any direction. At 9 A. M. the wagons came up with soft bread, fresh beef, potatoes, etc. We were mighty glad to see the soft bread, which is the greatest of all luxuries when you have been [...]

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August 6th. This is my birthday. I am twenty years old, and have served nearly eighteen months in the army, fully a year in active campaigning. Events are so crowded in these warlike times that it makes one feel real old. I seem to have lived always in the army, and can hardly convince myself [...]

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August 5th. At midnight last night the troops were ordered to fall in and be ready to march. We concluded this was a sure thing and packed up everything, waited on the color line almost two hours, and were then dismissed, and turned in again. Early in the morning heard artillery firing in the direction [...]

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August 1st. The regiment was mustered for pay during the morning, after which the men signed the rolls. Pay day is always an event in the army, almost every man being dead broke long before the paymaster comes around. The men, generally speaking, are improvident, and some of them great gamblers, soon getting rid of [...]

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July 30th. To-day was the hottest of the season thus far. The heat was intolerable, and all work not absolutely necessary was stopped. We made desperate efforts to keep cool, but were wholly unsuccessful. Our tents are covered with pine boughs; the fly is up in front as an awning, and the sides of the [...]

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July 29th. Weather delightful, barring the great heat. In the evening from six to eight o'clock the whole division was paraded for review by General French, commanding. The men returned to camp covered with dust, and saturated with perspiration. It is altogether too hot for unnecessary parades, at least so we think, who do most [...]

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July 28th. Hot as Jupiter! Men and animals suffering much from the prolonged spell of hot weather, and especially from the horrible swarms of flies, a nuisance we cannot abate apparently. The large deep well the regiment has been making was finished to-day and yields abundance of fairly good water. It is just a trifle [...]

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July 25th. Weather still fine. Had a capital brigade drill in the afternoon, Colonel J. R. Brooke commanding, French still being in command of the division. General Richardson absent on sick leave. For the first time this summer the rations included new potatoes, cabbage, and tomatoes; the country hereabout produces nothing but corn, and all [...]

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July 24th. Warm pleasant day; towards evening foggy. Porter's corps was reviewed to-day, and a whole host of Second corps officers rode over to see how it looked. It is the only corps that has any so-called regular infantry. There is one brigade only; the regiments are small battalions, generally commanded by company officers, and [...]

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July 23d. This morning I was surrounded by all hands, anxious to hear the news from civilization, and to look at a man that had actually had a leave of absence. They tell me the corps' review yesterday was a great success; the Fifty-seventh had the extreme right of the line and looked superb. It [...]

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July 23d. [22d] Returned to camp after a delightful and refreshing little jaunt. The sail down the river was magnificent. There were few passengers, mostly invalided officers, but a very agreeable lot of fellows, of course. The ship carried at her cross trees, boiler iron nests, in which riflemen were stationed, watching the shore all [...]

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July 19th. Since July 6th, nothing worthy of especial mention has occurred. The quiet of a garrison life has succeeded the stirring campaign days so suddenly that the former seem altogether uneventful and unworthy of notice, consequently I do not write anything, being busy all the time with routine duties, drills, parades, and reviews. I [...]

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