March 11

March 11, 1863

The boys say they are ready to march, but don't get any further orders. Letters from home. Have written to father—wish I could see him.

It has rained hard all day. Lieut. J. S. Thompson and I have charge of the post on the pike. It is not a desirable one to be on, as the cavalry reserve is directly in front and they are continually passing and repassing, and the orders are very strict about passing anyone in or out of the lines. Colonel Ball is officer of the day and a good fellow.

March 11, 1864

Friday. I kept right on scribbling, but was so bothered with questions, I finally gave it up and talked till hoarse. After dinner I was detailed for guard duty, but as there was only one guard to post, I had next to nothing to do. We had the whole great boat to ourselves, and were in the finest kind of quarters. As soon as I had a chance I began to ask questions and found out that the muster rolls were sent for before I returned, and I had been reported as absent without leave. I then figured up and found I had over-stayed my time, owing to the long time it had taken to make the trip. Had the rolls been called for a few days sooner or a few days later I would have been all right. Colonel B. says it will all be made right next time. But in the meantime I must live on borrowed capital, for I had come back skin-poor.

Thursday, March 11th.—Yesterday we took a long time getting to the ship from R., and unloaded at 10 p.m. Why we had no warning about the departure of the train (and so nearly got left behind) was because it was an emergency call suddenly to clear the hospitals at R. to make room for 600 more expected from the Front.

We are being rushed up again without being stopped at Rouen for the first time on record, so I suppose there is a good deal doing. (There was—at Neuve Chapelle.)

It is a comfort to remember that the men themselves don't grudge or question what happens to them, and the worse they're wounded the more they say, "I think I'm lucky; my mate next me got killed."

The birds are singing like anything now, and all the buds are coming out, and the banks and woods are a mass of primroses.

March Eleventh


(The latter is taken from a witty parody on the original poem. Presented to a Virginia girl, it was indignantly tossed into the wastebasket. Later, however, she copied it and sent it around for the amusement of many—in the family !)

I. The days are never quite so long
As in Virginia;
Nor quite so filled with happy song
As in Virginia;
And when my time has come to die
Just take me back and let me lie
Close where the James goes rolling by,
Down in Virginia.

II. Nowhere such storms obscure the sun
As in Virginia;
Nowhere so slow the railroads run,
As in Virginia;
And when my time has come to go
Just take me there, because, you know,
I'll longer live, I'll die so slow,
Down in Virginia.