Journal of Surgeon Alfred L. Castleman.

7h.—Having marched all night, I slept until awakened by the city bells, the first I had heard for nearly eight months. How forcibly I felt the application to the wilderness in which we had been, of Selkirk’s soliloquy:

“The sound of the church-going bells
These valleys and rocks never heard,—
Never sighed at the sound of a knell,
Nor smiled when a Sabbath appeared.”


It has been a beautiful Sunday, and we have been all day “lying around loose,” (no tents pitched) :awaiting orders.

Had it not been for this move, I should now have been packing up for home. We supposed that we were to remain idle in garrison this winter, and my Colonel promised that he would approve and aid me in getting the acceptance of my resignation. On appearing at his tent four days ago, with my resignation, I received orders for this march. I did not present it, and do not know now when I shall; but not on the eve of battle.

Yesterday, (I learn,) General McClellan was made Commander-in-Chief of the combined armies of Virginia and the Potomac. This looks very much as if there was some truth in the statements of his friends, that he had been held back and controlled in his movements by the President and General Halleck; very much, in fact, as if it were an acknowledgment that General McClellan had had but little voice in the management of the war, and that his superior officers were in the wrong. Should this prove true, I shall have much to atone for in the wrong I have done him in this journal. How gladly will I make all the amends in my power, should he only now prove to be the man for the occasion, and close up this war, as he has promised to do. This prompt and sudden move, too; this all night march in pursuit of the enemy, on the very first day of his accession to the command, gives additional ground for a belief in the hypothesis. God grant that it may be true, and that our General may by saving the country, retrieve his own waning popularity.

Journal of Surgeon Alfred L Castleman.

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