Saturday, April 30, 2011

Broke Camp

Today along the Orange & Alexandria Railroad: April 30, 1864

The Fifth Corps is on the move. Most received orders to begin to move down the railroad towards Brandy Station and link up with the rest of the Army of the Potomac.

As they slide to the south, Major General Ambrose Burnside's Ninth Corps takes up positions along the O&A for a brief few days. Arriving by boat from Annapolis, they landed at Alexandria and marched south.

Henry Seage of the 4th Michigan: Order to be mustered at 10 am began washing clothes and just as we got through the Bugle Sounded the General Call - Packed up, started about 4 pm marched to and camped for the night between Griffen NS, and Rappahannock Station. Was retired from duty at Bealeton by a Pa. Reg of Burnside's 9th Corps. Today began our campaign for the ensuing summer. Began on hard tack for the first time since went into Winter quarters.

91st Pennsylvania Infantry: Broke camp. (Received orders during battalion drill.) Marched to Rappahannock, crossed at Rappahannock Station. Marched to Brandy Station. Lt. Col. Joseph H Sinex was in command of the regiment.

2nd Pennsylvania Reserves: We marched at five o’clock, crossed the Rappahannock and encamped about one mile east of Culpeper Court House, where we remained until the 4th of May.

Monday, April 25, 2011

'I received the BOX'

Today at Brandy Station: April 25, 1864

Mail was important to a soldier, a letter from a loved on or a pen pal would brighten a man's day. But, a box -- a package from home -- now that was cause for celebration.

A portion of a letter from Peter Boyer to his father (Peter)

"I sat down [illeg.] drop a few lines to inform you that I Received my BOX on the 16th all safe and I was very glad for it every thing is good and that is a very nice hankerchief that you sent to me the Box was a little Broken But there was nothing taken out I have plenty to eat now a for a while."

Peter went on to tell his father about a cavalry review that was held in Stevensburg and his unit, the 117th Pennsylvania, had their picture taken. All and all a pretty good week for Peter the younger.

The letter, in its entirety, can be found on the Valley of the Shadow website,

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

"Gaining every day"

Today at Brandy Station: April 20, 1864

The journal of Major Charles Maddocks, especially in the spring of 1864, is at times, blunt. On March 27, 1864, Maddocks was transferred from the 17th Maine to to the 1st United States Sharpshooters (Berdan's Sharpshooters), to take command of that unit. He found them the men unsoldierly, and undisciplined. The word he used was scallywags. The "Field officers have quarreled among themselves and with the Line continually." He also commented that "Courts martial, arrests, protests and insubordination have been always on the program."
It has been just short of a month, and Maddocks is beginning to warm to his new unit and they to them.

"This afternoon we had a very good skirmish drill. General Birney was riding by and paid us the compliment to stop and look on. He seemed very much pleased. These fellows are very proficient in the skirmish drill, but that is all they are good for. They are poor at marching in step, and it is not wondered at. They have had no music to march by, and, as soldiers, have been very much in the condition of “Topsy” in “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” They are not “brought up,” but “growed.” They are however gaining every day, and I shall except to see soldiers in a month where I saw rowdies a month ago. The 17th [Maine] is improving every day and the Band is really splendid. We have a Brigade Dress Parade every afternoon. The Sharpshooters have the right of the Brigade."

Maddocks will not know how is rowdies were in a month, for on May 5th, Major Charles Maddocks would be taken prisoner in the Wilderness and on May 20, 1864 (a month later), he would be somewhere in route to a prison camp in Macon, Georgia.