Civil War

It’s been awhile since I put out anything on the Civil War so thought it was time. These excerpts are taken from our book “Dear Transcript.”
From the Windham County Transcript of 22 May 1862 –
From a member of Co. A, from Putnam.
The Sixth Regiment
Camp Veilie, Dawfuskie Island, May 1, ’62
Editor Transcript:– Undoubtedly you have heard all about our trip to “Warsaw.” The composer of these verses is not a poet by profession, and perhaps your readers may not fully appreciate their meaning; but those that went to Warsaw can if they happen to see them. There is more truth than poetry in them. But without further ceremony, I will write them. They are entitled—
CRACKERS AND PORK.
At morn, when reveille is beat,
And we are dressed, and on our feet;
What is it that our eyes do meet?
Crackers and Pork.

With what do we our stomachs fill
At noon—directly after drill—
And some take hold with right good will?
Crackers and Pork.

And when on guard, with heavy head,
We walk our beat, with noiseless tread,
What is it, with, we all are fed:
Crackers and Pork.

When on fatigue, with weary tread,
We march to camp with dizzy head,
What is it that we mostly dread?
Crackers and Pork.

Why are the hospitals running o’er
With lame and lazy, sick and sore;
And why are they making room for more?
All for–Crackers and Pork.

Why those slabs, and little mounds?
Why that drum’s dull and muffled sound?
Why do friends lie here beneath the ground?
All for—Crackers and Pork.

When the long roll routs us from our bed,
And bullets whistle round our heads,
What is it, more than these we dread?
Crackers and Pork.

When victory shall our efforts crown,
The Union Safe, and free from harm,
We’ll remember how we swallowed down
Crackers and Pork.
Perhaps some may say—“Well, that wasn’t very bad, I’m sure; plenty of nice crackers and good sweet pork.” Those that talk like that don’t know anything about it. The pork I can’t describe. The crackers—I call them crackers, but it is altogether too good a name for them—resemble maple bark or black birch, dried nearly as hard as the wood itself, more than anything else, though there was not near so much flavor in them. And yet, bad as they were, we could not get more than half what we wanted to keep soul and body together.

I wish we knew the name of the man who wrote the above poem. It is a great one and he should have gotten the credit. Love the humor that was evident even though it was certainly not a humorous time. And we had some hard tack at the program we did when the book came out. It is awful!!!!

The following three letters may interest you and hope that you get some insight into what it was like during the battles. I paraphrased them so they were not so long. The second one gives names of some of the deserters from Windham County. Why include them? Because that is also an important part of war, like it or not. Whether they came back in or if they were picked up, I don’t know. Don’t have the CT official Civil War book here.

3 July 1862
After the disastrous battle near Charleston
Henry Glines writes to his parents, in this village, an interesting account of the battle, from which we make the following extract:

“We were obliged to go over fields planted with cotton and corn at ‘double quick’, to get into the field where the battery was. I was so much exhausted I could hardly walk. When we came in sight of the rebel pickets they run towards the battery yelling like crazy men. The 79th New York were in advance, and we were the second regiment. When within forty rods of the battery they opened on us with grape, canister and shot, and many of our men fell. Some of the boys went on to the parapet but never returned.” I had a shot at the rebels and they said I dropped one of them. Both of our color sergeants were shot down, and our flag was riddled with shot. Capt. Hitchcock was killed, a Lieutenant in Co. D was shot in the leg and bled to death. A soldier at my side had his rifle struck with a grape shot and smashed to pieces. The shot fell about me like rain, and I thought I had seen my last day. Our troops could not stand such a fire and retreated in good order. I never left the field until all the troops were off, save a few, that were in the swamp. I met one of our company and he said Andrew Hibbard was left on the field wounded. Thomas Elliot and myself returned and found him. There was not a person in sight on the field. He was struck below the knee by a shot which completely shattered it. We started for the hospital with our wounded companion and made a good mark for the rebels. They let rifle shot and grape fly at us, and the bullets whistled by our heads, but we heeded them not. We carried Hibbard two miles to the Brigade hospital, but he died a few hours after we got there. He was a brave soldier.

10 July 1862
From The Fifth Regiment
Front Royal, Va., June 17th, 1862
M. F. B. = Marcus F. Bennett
Friend Stone:–I am sorry to say we have lost from our company, 9 men by desertion (I blush to admit) from Windham County. The names of the deserters from Windham County are John Miller, Frank F. Falkner, Minor Spicer, Killingly; H. A. Stafford, Albert Stafford, Central Village; Benj. R. Case, Woodstock; William Holt, Moosup; Martin Ethridge, Woodstock; B. S. Rouse, Central Village.

24 July 1862
Battle of Richmond
The following extract is from a letter received in this village from G. P. Nettleton, who is also in the 1st Conn. Artillery:
“We have fought several hard battles as severe as ever fought with artillery. The first one lasted all one day. We silenced their batteries twice. The rebels were in the woods so we could not have a very good chance at them. Henry Copeland was wounded in the back by a piece of shell, and he is the only one injured in our company (D). Most of their balls passed over or fell short of us. At night we moved our guns back about a mile for safety. About 8 o’clock they opened upon us with artillery and musketry, and the balls whistled a little nearer than was desirable. Our batteries replied till infantry could reach them. Regiment after regiment passed us on “double quick.” Our Major had command of our company and Co. B, and we soon followed into an open field where we laid flat while the balls were passing harmlessly over us. We were in this position till 12 o’clock, being on the ground several hours, after which we returned to our guns. I had a narrow escape. While lying down I fell asleep, and a musket ball struck within an inch of my head, so near that it covered my head with dirt—but a miss is as good as a mile. The place where we just had the battle is called Cold Harbor.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply