A Soldier’s Diary — David Lane.

Pleasant Valley, October 17th, 1862.

Being in a wakeful mood, I will try and compose my mind by writing a few lines in my diary, for we have become great friends—yes, confidantes—and tonight I need a confidante. Did I ever tell you, my silent friend, of my Northern home; of wife and children, loving and beloved? Then listen, while I whisper in your ear the sacred secret. I have a wife and four small children far off in Michigan. I love them with all the intensity and devotion of my nature. The thought of them is ever uppermost in my mind. In the daily, monotonous rounds of duty; in the long, dreary evenings, when folly reigns; in the stillness of the night; on the rugged, toilsome march, or in the tumult of battle, thoughts of the dear ones at home arc ever present, inspiring me with hope, encouraging me to duty, a shield against temptation, a beacon light, shining out upon the stormy sea of strife on which my frail bark is launched, enabling me, thus far, to shun the rocks and quicksands that surround me.

Our regiment returned today from Frederic, where it has been guarding the railroad. We hear that General Wilcox, Colonel Fenton and Colonel Withington are to be promoted. We are heartily glad their eminent services are about to be rewarded by the Government. They are men of marked ability, and have well earned their honors. Although it will take from us our gallant Colonel, there is some compensation even in that. It will leave the regiment in command of Lieutenant Colonel Luce, who is beloved by all our men. We have heard heavy cannonading all day, but have not learned the result. It is rumored that we will move in a day or two—perhaps tomorrow. Where we go, even rumor sayeth not. Our men say it does not matter where, so they take us where work is to be done. Two men deserted from Co. G yesterday and two today. This splendid regiment that left Detroit two months ago nearly one thousand strong, mustered today, at inspection, two hundred and fifty-six men fit for duty. There are more sick than well, the result of insufficient supplies, and brutal, needless exposure of the men by officers high in rank.

The weather is delightful—cold and frosty nights, with warm sunshiny days and pure, fresh, mountain breezes that should strengthen and invigorate, and yet, of all who came from Blackman and Sandstone, I alone am well.


A Soldier’s Diary, The Story of a Volunteer, David Lane, (17th Mich. Vol. Infantry)

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