October 27, 1863

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.

Diary of Edwin Emery [Edwin Emery Diaries and Memoir] 

October 20, 1863

Camp near Greenwich.  Reveille about three.  Commenced moving at six.  Fell out on a short time when the company commenced double quick.  Heel very sore.

Forded a stream that took the boys to the middle.  I rode over on the  Dr’s horse.  Crossed the rail-road where the rails & sleepers had been torn up by the rebels.  Rebel graves a short distance from where we halted.  Forded another stream.  Attempted to ride over with the  Dr.  With one foot in the stirrup rode over.  Having missed the road, had to ford the stream again.  Got a ride over on an ambulance.  Kept but little with the company.  Passed over the same road we did last Tuesday & Wednesday.  At Greenwich noticed the finest establishment I have seen in Virginia.  Cannot see why we were hurried so.  The manner in which we are marched is unwise, inhuman, and barbarous.  They load and drive us like Jack-mules.  Have the finest camp we have had.  An open smooth field, rails & water convenient for use.  Foggy this morning.  Fair and hot the rest of the day.  Travelled 15 miles today.  Seem to be moving towards the Rappahan[n]ock.  Spelled with 2 n’s also.

Diary of Edwin Emery [Edwin Emery Diaries and Memoir] 

October 10, 1863

Temporary Camp, near Culpepper.  Extra rations came in during the night, so we have quite a load to carry.  Five days’ rations extra, blouse & overcoat.  Commenced a letter to Miss Godding, but had written only a page & a half, when the bugle sounded “pack up,” and we were off.  Left at half past eleven, and marched about three miles to get one from camp,  About two drew up in line of battle.  Heard several guns at a distance, but could not tell whether federal or rebel.  Had no more fears than when in camp.  Pioneers sent out to destroy bridges & obstruct the road.  Extemporized camp tonight.  Spring-bed.  Warm marching, but rained after we halted. Overcast now.  Tent with Noble.

Had talk this morning with little secesh girl.  Could not tell her age.  The family is very poor.  Like most we have seen.

Diary of Edwin Emery [Edwin Emery Diaries and Memoir]

October 5, 1863

There was quite a drunk last night.  One in our Company, and one below here disturbed my slumbers.  Whiskey is a great bane in the army, and a fearful demoralizer in Camp.  Nearly every day some case of drunkenness occurs.  This morning part of the sixth corps left.  A part left not long ago.  Last week the 11th & 12th left, it is reported, for Chat[t]anooga.  We are drawn up here in line of battle with a second line to support the first.  The 6th Corps occupies the right, the 3rd, ours, comes next, the 5th next, and then the 1st protecting [illegible].  Pleasanton’s cavalry corps are in front, supported by the 2d corps.  All these are fighting corps.  This corps hopes Gen. Sickles will take command soon.  Gen. French is an arrogant, and repulsive officer.  He is a regular “brandy blossom” or a “two gallon whiskey keg.”  He is bald-headed, and red-faced, smooth-shaven, with the exception of a heavy moustache.  As he uncovered his head yesterday when he rode by;, I thought he looked very much like Gen. Butler’s pictures.  As I write this, it is quite cool, though the sun is struggling through the small, numerous clouds, that spot the heavenly dome.

While drilling this afternoon the Bugle sounded “pack up, pack up.”  Immediately all was alive.  We packed up, struck tents and were moving in less than an hour.  We moved north about half a mile, and pitched our tents in the woods near the turnpike.  Tonight cooked my own coffee.  Felt well tonight, whether because I had given part of my soft bread to a fellow soldier, or because we had got new quarters, or because I had the proud satisfaction of knowing that I can rely upon myself, I cannot say.

Diary of Edwin Emery [Edwin Emery Diaries and Memoir]

October 3, 1863

It cleared off most beautifully last night.  At three the moon and stars were shining brightly.  Doing guard duty today.  Being a supernumerary had nothing to do but remain at the guard house.  Wrote two letters.  One to Ellen with a lead pencil.  Called to see the Dr. tonight.  Got some doughnuts.

Diary of Edwin Emery [Edwin Emery Diaries and Memoir]

September 28, 1863

Passed the night well last night, doing duty.  Nothing to do, except for myself.  Have been writing today.  At two o’clock ordered out for inspection.  Thought we had got to march.  Many reports are afloat but we know not what to believe.  Letter tonight from Ellen & Prescott.  Papers from Butler.  Fine day.  Our days are delightful for Sept. but our nights are cold, and heavy dews fall.  A walk with the Dr. after supper.  He has promised to look out for me if sick or wounded.  It is a consolation to know there is someone to look out for me.  Felt a little blue this afternoon when I saw men shooting cattle, and thought that we had got to be led out to face muskets.  Letters, papers and the Dr. cheered me.

Diary of Edwin Emery [Edwin Emery Diaries and Memoir]

September 24, 1863

Conscripts allotted to the several companies.  I had my choice and took  Co. F, Capt. Perry.  Morrell of the 20th came over to see me.  Had a nice time for half an hour or so.  Pitched tent with Auguste and Leavitt, both conscripts from Aroostook.  Received eight days’ rations.  It made me feel blue to receive them, especially the pork.

Two letters from Louise and a talk with Dick made me feel better.  Dr. Manson, and Lieut. Stevens of the 5th were over here today.  All have been surprised to see me here, but glad.  Commenced to perform duty today.  And now I am fairly in the Army, I pray God to watch over and protect me.  I hope to be kept from temptation.  Many say I must learn to smoke, steal, swear and drink, but I would never have entered this army if I had thought I had got to do any such thing.  May God aid me in my endeavor to do right.  We have warm days here, but cold nights.  There is considerable dew.  No rain yet.  We have slept pretty comfortably, but some time have been a little cold.

Diary of Edwin Emery [Edwin Emery Diaries and Memoir]


September 19, 1863

On board the Forest City.  Set sail about five this morning.  About nine was sea-sick, and for the first time ‘threw up’ on board the boat.  Took my bunk—not a berth—and there lay till three.  My first day out [of] sight of land.  Saw Cape Cod as we passed.  All sand.  At night anchored off Martha’s Vineyard.  Quite a safe harbor.  Several ships were there.  The fog was so dense that the  Capt. thought it best not to go on.  Another row today.  One Sullivan of the N.H. detachment tied up for striking officers.  After remaining at anchor a short time, started again.

Diary of Edwin Emery [Edwin Emery Diaries and Memoir]