Bivouac in the woods. Moved into the woods early this morning. Good fires part of the day. Roast meat relishes well today. Civilized people would have been surprised to have seen us eat. Rebels distinctly seen today. Cold and winter-like but fair. Two incidents today. A little flour left at the foot of a tree by the rebels was eagerly scraped up by me. A cabbage leaf was relished. Not because I was hungry but a change is exceedingly desirable.
Bivouac in the open field. Changed position this morning and dress up behind a hill in support of batteries posted on top. About eight cannonading commenced, but a few guns only were fired. One shell past very near the fire around which we were seated. It made some scattering. Gens. Meade and French were along the lines and surveyed the enemy’s position. They occupied, i.e., the rebels, a range of hills extending in an arc of a circle for a long distance, some mile and a half in front of us. We might have charged across the plain and ravine and taken the rifle pits and redoubts but it would have been done at a great sacrifice of life. Breast-works thrown up on the hill. Rails brought. Very cold and windy, as we sat in the open field and waited for orders to move, to fight, to make ourselves as comfortable as possible.
Last night our brave and respected Brigade Commander, Col. DeTrobriand reported, “relieved of his command.” This is much to our sorrow, for he was a fine military man. Busy around camp. Sutler camp up. Six apples eaten. Fine day though somewhat chilly. Our friend the Steward, Colman, mustered as Asst. Surgeon today. His commission came last week. A worthy young man meriting the promotion so long due him.
Fixed up tent. Commenced to rain early in the forenoon, and continued nearly all day. Wrote all I could. Noble returned. Glad to have him back.
Engaged in writing today. Had a call from Dr. H. And Lieut. Stevens. A pleasant chat. Also a call from Chaplain Adams of the Maine 5th. Wish we could have a Chaplain like him.. Understand we are to have a Unitarian Chaplain. Mr. A. informed me that I have been appointed Sergeant today. Somehow I don’t want a Sergeant’s position at present, and then again I do. However, I take what is given me. If I am appointed, it is unknown to me only as I learn it from Mr. A. “Time will tell” as our old friend Rines used to say.
Received my Sergeant’s warrant tonight from the hand of Lieut. Richards after hearing it announced on dress parade that I was appointed. My warrant dates from Nov. 1, 1863. The old men do not like it, nor can I blame them, but they ought not find fault with me, for I am not to blame for receiving any appointment bettering my condition, provided I can perform the duty that must necessarily come with it. Had chance to express myself to Sergeant Hobbs, since which I have felt better. Shall endeavor to do my duty in every respect, and ask not whether it is popular with the boys or not.
The sun rose bright and clear this morning, and shortly after passed into a could—at home a cure sign of rain. It rained a very little about sunrise, since which it has been changeable weather, now fair, now overcast and cloudy. Hope to keep above the envy manifested by ignoramuses.
In Camp. Rainy this morning. Mother’s birthday. It came into my mind when bringing water early in the morning during the rain. It cleared off beautifully in the afternoon, but a little windy. Washed my own clothes in muddy water. Detailed for guard. Have a bad cold.
New camp. Moved back into the woods early this morning, and pitched our tents. Go in with Trick & Farr, Pratt & Frink having been detailed to work on the rail-road. Noble has been off a week. Shall be glad when he gets back. Am more and more disgusted with members of our company than ever. They are a set of ignoramuses, a few excepted.
We have a fine camping ground. The men have pitched tents on a ridge in the woods, fronting the east, our rear towards the rail-road. Line officers in our rear, field in the rear of them, and on a knoll in the extreme rear is the hospital. This is a beautiful growth, water and wood are convenient, and upon the whole it is the best ground we have had for an encampment. Reports come today that we are to remain here on the left flank some time, but of course can not tell. Officers and men hope so at any rate. A fine day, notwithstanding the appearance of rain last night. Afternoons cool. Am writing at the Dr’s. Have had a good chat with him. I miss society very much. Think as much of that now as I did victuals last week when I longed for something besides hard bread & pork. Now for my quarters to retire after toasting my feet.
In Camp. Detailed for guard last evening and have been on duty today. During the night enjoyed the camp fires instead of walking my beat. Very cold last night. Water froze in my tent. Rations today. Never saw the boys so eager for them as they were tonight. Beeves[!] killed today, of which everything was eaten except the hide and offal—even the lights and tripe were used. Great scarcity of tobacco in camp. Men even gave up their rations for it. Order read on dress parade prohibiting gambling and obscenity in camp. This is a step in the right direction, one which every honorable man ought to uphold. It is reported that Gen. French ordered us back to our old camp last night, and again this morning, but Gen. Birney objected. There was no need of our coming here, I believe, but now we are here I want to stay, so much better is the ground than the cold, damp ground of our old camp. Fine day though cold. A little overcast tonight.
New camp near Catlett’s Station. Last night after enjoying a walk and social chat with the Dr. and calling upon our Lieut. Richards, I returned to my quarters with the intention of having a good night’s rest. My intention was of no account, for about ten the bugle said “pack up,” and we were routed. We marched over to this camp by the pleasant moonlight, through woods & mud, and drawing up in line, lay down for the night. Gen. French probably feared a rebel raid, or was drunk, perhaps sober is his uncommon condition. We are near the “Jersey settlement,” a small village, so called, on account of being settled by “Jerseymen” (New.) It is a commanding position on a ridge, at the foot of which is an extensive plain over which the enemy must come to drive us, unless it flank us. Wrote to Sawyer & Ed. Smith today. Cannonading heard during the forenoon while we were on the hill just above our present situation. This afternoon pitched one tent down on the side of the hill in front of the woods near the brook. A very fine day. Got a little cold last night, otherwise, am in good health and spirits. Relish my food. Have enough hard bread, pork, and coffee, but other eatables would not be objectionable.