29th.—A quiet day. Men seem cheerful and happy, but sickness increases. No medicines nor hospital stores, except those furnished by Sanitary Commission. I must take the liberty of thinking our Medical Director deficient in—something. What should we do now without the Sanitary Commission?
Journal of Surgeon Alfred L Castleman.
28th.—Marched out this morning, to support our pioneers, who are cutting out a brushy ravine, which has afforded cover to the enemy's pickets, from which to inflict much damage to ours. We met with resistance, and have had quite a brush of a fight over it, but succeeded in driving the enemy out. Here, again, [...]
27th.—We hear very heavy firing to-day, in the direction of Yorktown, but at night, have not learned the purport of it; though there is a rumor that several of our gun boats arrived there this morning, and that the enemy's batteries opened on them. Our whole Division is ordered out at 6 A. M. tomorrow. [...]
26th.—News reaches us to-night of a pretty severe skirmish two or three miles off, in which it is said about fifty of the enemy were killed. I have very little confidence in these “it is saids." We lost four men killed. I went to Ship Point to-day, and made the acquaintance of Doctor McClellan, (brother [...]
25th.—Still men are occasionally shooting each other along the picket lines, but nothing of general importance.
24th.—Comparatively quiet to-day, with only occasional skirmishing along the lines. Sickness rapidly increasing; yet government furnishes no medicines, no appliances for comfort of sick and wounded!
23rd.—A week ago to-day was the battle at Lee's Mill, and though there has been daily fighting ever since, and calls to arms almost every night, sometimes two or three times a night, there has been no battle worthy of the name. The artillery have been firing at long range, with occasional infantry firing. Two [...]
22nd.—Nothing of general importance to day. There was an alarm, and in anticipation of an attack we were held in line of battle for about half an hour in a driving rain, then dismissed to quarters.
21st—Occasional firing between the batteries on Warwick Creek to-day, without results worth noting. Sickness among the troops rapidly increasing. Remittent fever, diarrhœa, and dysentery prevail. We are encamped in low, wet ground, and the heavy rains keep much of it overflowed. I fear that if we remain here long we shall lose many men by [...]
19th.—A flag of truce on the enemy's parapet. A proposition to suspend hostilities and bury the dead. We crossed the creek and brought over the bodies of 35 (instead of 20, as previously stated) Vermonters, killed in the fight on the other side of the creek. Nothing of importance to-day. All quiet, remaining in camp.
18th.—Severe picket firing occasionally through the night, by which the army was twice called out. No fighting to-day, but our troops are still throwing up earthworks on the battle field of the 16th. Wrote General H. to-day, asking to be relieved from serving longer on his staff.
17th.—When I dropped down last night on my bloody litter, new thoughts overwhelmed me, and I could not sleep. It was our first battle, and we had been repulsed. I never saw the stars shine so brightly through the leafless trees, and the scene was calculated to excite the active workings of the mind on [...]
I6th.—Left camp at 8 this A. M., Gen. Brooks' Brigade having the advance, with Gen. Hancock's at a respectful distance in the rear. Then came the third, under General Davidson, and so on. Marched one and a half miles, and halted in line of battle. At the same time, 10 A. M., our artillery (Mott's [...]
15th.—Another fine day spent in camp waiting for better roads. I am getting out of patience with red tape. Since our arrival at Fort Monroe, we have been without many hospital stores absolutely necessary to the comfort of sick and wounded. Three weeks ago, drew for articles to make up our loss. Notwithstanding that we [...]
14th.—Have just received an order from Division Commander S― , to see that every regiment in my Brigade has a wagon set aside for the exclusive use of the hospital, to take steps at once to see that all of my regiments are amply supplied with every thing necessary for the comfort of the sick [...]
13th.—I have been made very glad by the receipt of a letter this morning from my dear M――. It is older than her letters used to be when they reached me; but whether old or new, her letters never lose their freshness. They are like the beautiful evergreens, standing in mid-winter amid the bare and [...]
12th.—Am not well to-day. Have diarrhœa, and at midday had high fever. How much I miss the tender care of my family in sickness. Am much better to-night, but feel sad. Have been reading Ernest Linwood, and, by contrast, it has recalled pleasant family scenes, which I miss in my sickness. I wish I had [...]
11th.—A mail to-day. One, only one little letter from my home, and that thirteen days old! The bearing of General ― towards me for a few days has been greatly changed? What is it to mean. * * * Last night Prof. Lowe, the aeronaut, staid with us. He went up in his balloon, and [...]
10th.—Fell back to-day about a mile and a half out of reach of enemy's shells. Patience and endurance of everything, without expression of thought, can scarcely be considered a virtue, even in a military subordinate. The Western Army is all activity and execution. No. 10 taken, Beauregard whipped on his own ground, all our armies [...]
9th.—Rained hard all day. But little done to-day. 6th Maine regiment went out in afternoon, got one man mortally wounded in a little skirmish. Roads so bad that I fear we shall have to fall back to-morrow.
8th. —There is almost a mutiny this morning. No rations, and unless there should be better things before night, I shall not be surprised at any violence. Before leaving Newport News I laid in a supply for myself and servant for two weeks, but for two days I have been dividing with my hospital attendants, [...]
7th.—Some fighting to-day, by small bodies, with slight loss on either side. In the afternoon, finding our camps commanded by the enemy's guns, we started suddenly on a move of what we were told was to be a mile or two. The rain poured in torrents, and, instead of marching a mile or two, we [...]
6th.—Accompanied the Brigade to-day on a reconnoisance. Frequent skirmishes with small bodies of the enemy. One man in Company F received a slight flesh wound in the thigh —the first blood spilt by our Regiment in the cause. We encamped to-day near "Lee's Mill," on the narrow neck of land spoken of yesterday, and about [...]
5th.—A day of cooling rain, and warming excitement. Marched three miles, and found the enemy strongly entrenched behind a line of fortifications, on a narrow neck of land between the York and the James Rivers. Artillery duel at long range began about 12 o'clock, in which we had quite a number killed and wounded.
4th.—Moved at 6 A. M.—After a march of twelve miles in direction of Yorktown, (at about 3 P. M.) came upon the enemy's entrenchments at Young's Mills. They fired a few shots, wounding one man of 5th Vermont in the shoulder. They then retired, giving us possession. Their barracks here were built of logs with [...]