The Soldier Boy's Diary.

1861

Sept. 14, 1861.  Exchanged home and friends and all that was near and dear to me, for camp life, and left home, with a final farewell, for the seat of war. Went to the town of Buena Vista, Allegheny Co., Pa., to bid farewell to my oldest daughter and youngest son, and stayed all night at John Wood’s. A march of 17 miles.

Sept. 15.  Left for Monongahela City with ten members for Company D, of the 79th Pa. Vols. Infantry; arrived in the camp or fair ground in the above named place, Washington county, Pa., in time for supper, and was happily received by our captain, and after supper escorted up into town for lodging and entertainment for the night — making a march of 12 miles.

Sept. 16.  Sworn into Company D by a justice of the peace of the town of Monongahela City, and afterward formed into line, and a farewell speech made to us by the Rev. J. C. Brown (of the M. E. Church) of the game city, in behalf of us as soldiers going out in defense of’ our country, and sacrificing home, friends and all that was near and dear to us, and bidding us a final farewell. Who was followed by Mr. M’Bride, the father of our captain, giving us a hearty welcome for choice of our captain, and then presenting him with a very nice sword, saying, "Take this, and never surrender it to those traitors against whom you have been called out to battle with, and way it not be returned till stained to the hilt; or peace once more restored to our now distracted country." With a final farewell we were marched down to the river’s brink, to enter on board a fine steamboat there ready to receive us and to convey us from our friends, who escorted us to the boat, with ten thousand cheers, for our welfare and safe return again. But, alas! how many of us never did return. We got to Pittsburgh the same night, took supper at the Girard House, and left for the cars on Liberty street, at 12 o’clock at night, en route for Lancaster; but owing to a train running off on the Chicago R. R. We were detained till morning. Making a march of 28 miles.

Sept. 17.  Left Pittsburgh and got to Lancaster on the night of the 18th, about 4 o’clock in the morning; slept in the Rankin House till morning, took breakfast and then were marched up near the Pennsylvania rail road and quartered in a hook and ladder house for sixteen days, and drilled and put through the manual of arms about four hours per day during those sixteen days, being our first alphabetical lessons of military tactics. Making a march of 339 miles.

Oct. 4.  Left Lancaster and got to Harrisburg the same day; drew our first tents and pitched them for the first time; drew our first blankets, stood our first sentinel beats around camp, and our first duty required. Making a march of 90 miles.

Oct. 5.  Left Harrisburg and got to Pittsburgh the 7th, being one day and night en route, and encamped in Camp Wilkins, well known by the citizens and surrounding neighborhood as the fair ground. Making a march of 249 miles.

Oct. 17.  Left Pittsburgh for Louisville, being ten days in Camp Wilkins, getting equipped and fitted out. Went on board the "Silver Wave" steamboat, and a short time after the front part of the hurricane deck gave way, letting many of our soldiers and musicians fall to the lower deck, hurting two men badly. We moved down the Ohio river three days and three nights, cheered from either shore by hundreds, and safely reached Louisville, Ky., on the 20th of October. Making a march of 625 miles.

Oct. 23.  Left Louisville, having remained three days in that city and fair ground, making a march of three miles out of town and three back again, which will make six miles. Got to Camp Nevin on the 23d of October, the place where our first division commander, General Rousseau, defeated the rebels and made there skedaddle back to Horse Cave City in Kentucky. Making a march of 72 miles.

Nov. 26.  Left Camp Nevin, making one month and three days in camp. Got to Camp Negley on the same day. A march of 3 miles.

Dec. 5th.  Left Camp Negley, after remaining there nine days; got to Camp Hambright the same day. Making a march of 1 1/2 miles.

Dec. 11.  Left Camp Hambright, after remaining there six days. Got to Camp Wood, Baking creek, on the 11th. Making a march of 12 miles.

Dec. 16. Left Camp Wood, Baking creek, Ky., after remaining there five days, and got to Camp Woodsonville, Green river, Ky., making a march of 14 miles. Had to fall in battle-line about ten minutes after receiving order to pitch tents, and go over Green river to reinforce Col. Willich, whom the rebels had attacked; but before we reached the river Col. Willich and his small command had whipped them and driven four thousand of them back. We then got orders to return again to camp. Twelve of Col. Willich’s men killed and seventeen wounded, on the 16th day of December, 1861, the day we arrived in Camp Woodsonville. Making a march of two miles to the battle-ground and two from it—4 miles.

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