August 20

Arose early this morning and am feeling better; over-tired yesterday from hard marching and fatigue, I reckon, was all; took an early breakfast and soon learned my baggage was close at hand; put up my tent and got ready for work to-morrow provided we stay here; put in a requisition for clothing. Lieut. C. H. Reynolds, R. Q. M. has come from City Point; have written to Dr. J. H. Jones this evening; all's quiet.

August Twentieth

“Well,” says Uncle Remus, “de 'oman make 'umble 'pology ter de boy, but howsomever he can't keep from rubbin' hisse'f in de naberhood er de coat tails, whar she spank 'im. I bin livin' 'round here a mighty long time, but I ain't never see no polergy what wuz poultice er plaster nuff to swage er swellin' or kore a bruise. Now you jes keep dat in min' en git sorry fo' you hurt anybody.”

Joel Chandler Harris



August 20, 1863

Thursday. Ration day again. Heretofore we have drawn what was needed, whether it was full rations or half, and the quartermaster has credited back what was not taken. Now things have changed. We must draw a full ration for every man reported on the monthly roll. Some are in the hospital and some are dead, but we draw for them just the same. The extra rations we are expected to sell, and turn the money into the company savings account. I suppose if we should all stop eating we would soon be rich, that is, if the company savings ever do come back to the men, as they are supposed to do. It is a queer arrangement, and I may not understand the plan, but that is the way I now understand it.

August 20

August 20, 1873. (Scheveningen ).--I have now watched the sea which beats upon this shore under many different aspects. On the whole, I should class it with the Baltic. As far as color, effect, and landscape go, it is widely different from the Breton or Basque ocean, and, above all, from the Mediterranean. It never attains to the blue-green of the Atlantic, nor the indigo of the Ionian Sea. Its scale of color runs from flint to emerald, and when it turns to blue, the blue is a turquoise shade splashed with gray. The sea here is not amusing itself; it has a busy and serious air, like an Englishman or a Dutchman. Neither polyps nor jelly-fish, neither sea-weed nor crabs enliven the sands at low water; the sea life is poor and meagre. What is wonderful is the struggle of man against a miserly and formidable power. Nature has done little for him, but she allows herself to be managed. Stepmother though she be, she is accommodating, subject to the occasional destruction of a hundred thousand lives in a single inundation.

The air inside the dune is altogether different from that outside it. The air of the sea is life-giving, bracing, oxydized; the air inland is soft, relaxing, and warm. In the same way there are two Hollands in every Dutchman: there is the man of the polder, heavy, pale, phlegmatic, slow, patient himself, and trying to the patience of others, and there is the man of the dune, of the harbor, the shore, the sea, who is tenacious, seasoned, persevering, sunburned, daring. Where the two agree is in calculating prudence, and in methodical persistency of effort.

Thursday, August 20th, 5 p.m.Havre.—We got in about 9 o'clock this morning. Havre is a very picturesque town, with very high houses, and a great many docks and quays, and an enormous amount of shipping. The wharves were as usual lined with waving yelling crowds, and a great exchange of Vive l'Angleterre from them, and Vive la France from us went on, and a lusty roar of the Marseillaise from us. During the morning the horses and pontoons and waggons were disembarked, and the R.E. and Field Ambulances went off to enormous sheds on the wharf. We went off in a taxi in batches of five to the Convent de St Jeanne d'Arc, an enormous empty school, totally devoid of any furniture except crucifixes! Luckily the school washhouse has quite good basins and taps, and we are all camping out, three in a room, to sleep on the floor, as our camp kit isn't available. No one knows if we shall be here one night, or a week, or for ever! It is a glorious place, with huge high rooms, and huge open casements, and broad staircases and halls, windows looking over the town to the sea. We are high up on a hill. There's no food here, so we sit on the floor and make our own breakfast and tea, and go to a very swanky hotel for lunch and dinner. We are billeted here for quarters, and at the hotel for meals.

A room full of mattresses has just been discovered to our joy, and we have all hauled one up to our rooms, so we shall be in luxury.

Just got a French paper and seen the Pope is dead, and a very enthusiastic account of the British troops at Dunkerque, their marvellous organisation, their cheerfulness, and their behaviour.

Just seen on the Official War News placarded in the town that the Germans have crossed the Meuse between Liège and Namur, and the Belgians are retiring on to Antwerp. The Allies must buck up.

The whole town is flying flags since the troops began to come in; all the biggest shops and buildings fly all four of the Allies.

198. John Adams

Philadelphia, Wednesday, 20 August, 1777.

This day completes three years since I stepped into the coach at Mr. Cushing's door, in Boston, to go to Philadelphia in quest of adventures. And adventures I have found. I feel an inclination sometimes to write the history of the last three years, in imitation of Thucydides. There is a striking resemblance in several particulars between the Peloponnesian and the American war. The real motive to the former was a jealousy of the growing power of Athens by sea and land. The genuine motive to the latter was a similar jealousy of the growing power of America. The true causes which incite to war are seldom professed or acknowledged.

We are now upon a full sea; when we shall arrive at a safe harbor, no mariner has skill and experience enough to foretell. But by the favor of Heaven we shall make a prosperous voyage, after all the storms and shoals are passed.

5 o'clock, Afternoon.

It is now fair sunshine again, and very warm. Not a word yet from Howe's fleet. The most general suspicion now is that it is gone to Charleston, South Carolina. But it is a wild supposition. It may be right, however, for he is a wild General.

We have been hammering to-day upon a mode of trial for the general officers at Ti. Whether an inquiry will precede the court martial, and whether the inquiry shall be made by a committee of Congress or by a council of general officers, is not determined, but inquiry and trial both, I conjecture, there will be.

If Howe is gone to Charleston, you will have a little quiet, and enjoy your corn, and rye, and flax, and hay, and other good things, until another summer. But what shall we do for sugar and wine and rum? Why, truly, I believe we must leave them off. Loaf sugar is only four dollars a pound here, and brown only a dollar for the meanest sort, and ten shillings for that a little better. Everybody here is leaving off loaf sugar, and most are laying aside brown. As to rum and wine, give me cider and I would compound. New England rum is but forty shillings a gallon. But if wine was ten dollars a bottle I would have one glass a day in water while the hot weather continues, unless I could get cider.

August 20, 1862

Capt. Bostwick came from Albany last night. He has his commission, and is to be captain of Company B, his being the second company filled. I can now style myself of Co. B, 128th N. Y. State Volunteers. He got us together and gave us quite a speech. Told us what he would do, and what he expected us to do. I imagine none of us know very well yet what we will do. He said if he had not got his commission he would have gone in the ranks with us. We gulped this down, but I doubt if many believed it. But at all events we are one family now, and Ed. Bostwick is the head of it. We have known him so long as just Ed. Bostwick, that it will take some time to get used to addressing him as Capt. Bostwick. One of our company, Jim Wasburn, who hails from Sharon, was put in the guard-house three times yesterday for fighting. He ought to make a good soldier, for he had rather fight than eat. He is a "mean dog," always picking at some one smaller than himself. To-day he pushed Eph. Hammond over, as he was getting some water from a pail. Eph. is one of our smallest men, but he gave the bully a crack on the jaw that sent him sprawling, and took the fight all out of him. One of the Poughkeepsie boys has gone on the war path too. He began Sunday night by running past the guard, and then waiting until arrested. Just as he got inside he gave his captor the slip and hid in the barracks until the search was given up. Then he came out and dodged past another guard and gave his pursuers a lively chase over the fields before they caught him. He might be going yet if he had not stopped and let them take him. He was brought in, put in the guard-house, and before ten o'clock was out and down town, where he got into some mischief and was locked up by the police. Yesterday he was brought back under guard and again put in the guard-house, which by the way is only a tent, with a soldier stationed by it. Last night, as I was coming from the city I met him going down, and probably by this time he is in jail again.

6 p. m. Have just drawn our coats, drawers, stockings and shoes. Ben Rogers is here. He belongs to a Kinderhook company. Jim Rowe and John Pitcher have just come. Twenty-five of the company are old acquaintances, all from the same neighborhood. Besides, I have made lots of new acquaintances here. Men are coming every day and almost by every train, and the prospect of our regiment being soon filled seems good. The President's call for 300,000 volunteers is being nobly responded to here, and probably it is the same all over the North.