June 12

June 12, 1864

Sunday. A friend in the 128th got in trouble and was brought up to see me. I helped him all I could, but I can't say I pitied him.

Relieved the skirmish line yesterday without great difficulty; all quiet through the night; not a gun fired to-day thus far in front of us; can hear the rebs talk and sing quite plain in our immediate front; was informed this afternoon the army would move to-night at 7 o'clock; dread leaving the skirmish line, but I suppose we can do it; very quiet this evening; bands playing and big guns booming; wonder if it isn't a bluff? The moon is shining brightly.

June Twelfth

The band preceding the coffin smote on their ears with poignant loud lamenting, then carried its sorrow to die moaning on the night. As the shadowy cortege filed by—men bearing lanterns on either side the hearse—a horse, riderless, with boots empty in the stirrups, following—a few soldiers carrying arms reversed—a single carriage with mourners—the effect was infinitely sad. So common the spectacle during the Battle Summer, it did not occur to them to even wonder which of our martyrs was thus journeying to his last home.

Mrs. Burton Harrison

 

 

June 12, 1863

Friday. A detail from our regiment was called out during the night, and this morning the mystery about the cotton is solved. They met other details near the cotton bales, and they rolled them out to within about twenty rods of the breastworks, and piled them up in fort shape. Then with picks and shovels they piled the dirt against them, others filling bags with dirt and piling them up where directed, and as directed. A "bomb proof" they call it. It is large enough to hold two or three regiments. These were marched in and it is up to them to hold the fort until night comes again, when guns are to be planted there. The Rebels did not know a thing of it until this morning, and then they banged away at it for a while, until our guns from above and below took their attention. The men kept there are safe enough from the Rebs, but the sun will roast them. There isn't a particle of shade, and the sun is a hot one in the middle of the day. It is reported that another cotton fort was built up on the right, in the same way.

One of our men got hit on the arm by another fellow's pick, otherwise no one was hurt. Deserters who came out this morning say there is great activity in Port Hudson these days, though food for man and beast is very scarce. It has been an unlucky day for Company B. One man shot his finger off and another cut off his big toe cutting wood for the cooks. The toeless man went to the hospital, but his toe has been going around from one to another and turning up in the most unexpected places. Just before night we were called together, and an order from General Banks' headquarters read to us. In effect it said that the 128th New York Volunteers had so far performed their duties in such a manner as to give great satisfaction to the commanding general. That in the immediate future their duties would be still more hard and dangerous. That any member of it whose conduct in the past and in the future entitled him to promotion should receive it. It then went on to say that any violation of orders would call down speedy vengeance on our heads. That looks as if something was going to be done, and the 128th would have a hand in it.