October 28

I did not get up till 10 o'clock a. m.; am feeling some better this morning; rained hard all day. Roger Bixby brought me up to Barre this afternoon. The Smith band came up to give a concert but as it rained so hard it postponed it till next week.

October 28, 1863

Wednesday. The rain has stopped, and the mud is now having its turn. It makes us just as helpless as the rain did. We have put in the time making plans for the time when the mud hardens. It does not dry up, as it does in the north, but the water seems to settle and leave the ground hard even if there be no sun or wind.

October Twenty-Eighth

Whether in the thickest of the battle, where hundreds or thousands were rushing at each other in deadly combat, or on the lonely highway where he came face to face with a single adversary, or in the reconnoissance by day or night, when alone or attended by a single member of his staff he would ride into the enemy's lines and even into their camps, he was with pistol or sabre ever ready to assert his physical prowess. It is known that he placed hors de combat  thirty Federal officers or soldiers fighting hand-to-hand.

John A. Wyeth



October 28

October 28, 1870.--It is strange to see how completely justice is forgotten in the presence of great international struggles. Even the great majority of the spectators are no longer capable of judging except as their own personal tastes, dislikes, fears, desires, interests, or passions may dictate--that is to say, their judgment is not a judgment at all. How many people are capable of delivering a fair verdict on the struggle now going on? Very few! This horror of equity, this antipathy to justice, this rage against a merciful neutrality, represents a kind of eruption of animal passion in man, a blind fierce passion, which is absurd enough to call itself a reason, whereas it is nothing but a force.

Wednesday, October 28th.—Got to Boulogne yesterday morning; then followed a most difficult day. It was not till 10 p.m. that they began to unload the sick. The unloading staff at Boulogne have been so overworked night and day that trains get piled up waiting to be unloaded. Fifty motor ambulances have been sent for to the Front, and here they have to depend largely on volunteer people with private motors. Then trains get blocked by other trains each side of them, and nothing short of the fear of death will move a French engine-driver to do what you want him to do. Meanwhile two men on our train died, and several others were getting on with it, and all the serious cases were in great distress and misery. As a crowning help the train was divided into three parts, each five minutes' walk from any other—dispensary on one bit, kitchen on another. Everybody got very desperate, and at last, after superhuman efforts, the train was cleared by midnight, and we went thankfully but wearily to our beds, which we had not got into for the two previous nights.

To-day was fine and sunny, and while the train was getting in stores we went into the town to find a blanchisserie, and bought a cake and a petticoat and had a breath of different air. We expect to move up again any time now. Most welcome mails in.

News of De Wet's rebellion to-day. I wonder if Botha will be able to hold it?

'The Times' of yesterday (which you can get here) and to-day's 'Daily Mail' say the fighting beyond Ypres is "severe," but that gives the British public no glimmering of what it really is. The —— Regiment had three men left out of one company. The men say General —— cried on seeing the remains of the regiments who answered the rolls. And yet we still drive the Germans back.

There is a train full of slightly wounded Indians in: they are cooking chupatties on nothing along the quay. The boats were packed with refugee families yesterday. We had some badly wounded Germans on our train and some French officers. The British Army doesn't intend the Germans to get to Calais, and they won't get.

223. John Adams

Yorktown, 28 October, 1777.

We have been three days soaking and poaching in the heaviest rain that has been known for several years, and what adds to the gloom is the uncertainty in which we remain to this moment concerning the fate of Gates and Burgoyne. We are out of patience. It is impossible to bear this suspense with any temper.

I am in comfortable lodgings, which is a felicity that has fallen to the lot of a very few of our members. Yet the house where I am is so thronged that I cannot enjoy such accommodations as I wish. I cannot have a room as I used, and therefore cannot find opportunities to write as I once did.

The people of this country are chiefly Germans, who have schools in their own language, as well as prayers, psalms, and sermons, so that multitudes are born, grow up, and die here, without ever learning the English. In politics they are a breed of mongrels or neutrals, and benumbed with a general torpor. If the people in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, and Jersey had the feelings and the spirit of some people that I know, Howe would be soon ensnared in a trap more fatal than that in which, as it is said, Burgoyne was taken. Howe is completely in our power, and if he is not totally ruined it will be entirely owing to the awkwardness and indolence of this country. Fighting, however, begins to become fashionable. Colonel Greene has exhibited a glorious example in the defense of Red Bank. But this must be done by a New England man at the head of two New England regiments, Rhode Islanders. Colonel Smith, however, is a Marylander from Baltimore. He has shown another example of magnanimity which gives me the most agreeable hopes. Commodore Hazelwood, too, has behaved in a manner that exceeds all praise. This spirit will be caught by other officers, for bravery is epidemical and contagious as the plague. This army suffers much for want of blankets and shoes.

I celebrated the 25th of this month in my own mind and heart much more than I shall the 30th,[184] because I think the first a more fortunate day than the last. My duty to your father and my mother, to uncles and aunts. Love to brothers and sisters; but above all, present all the affection that words can express to our dear babes.


[184]The one his wedding day, the other his birthday.

October 28, 1862

Camp Millington, Baltimore. Tuesday. From the time of our home-coming and the royal welcome given us by the 150th, I have only made notes which I will try now to write out. Nothing out of the ordinary routine of a soldier's life in camp has transpired. I am getting more and more used to this, and the trifling occurrences that at first made such deep impressions are soon forgotten now. Still, as some one may read this who will never know of the details of a soldier's life in any other way, I shall try and keep to my promise to tell the whole story.

The box of good things that was mentioned in the letter I received while we lay in the street at Baltimore, waiting for a train to take us to Gettysburg, came a few days after our return to camp. In it was a great big package for me. I opened it and there lay the roasted body of our old Shanghai rooster. He was minus head, feet and feathers, but I knew him the minute I laid eyes on him.

I at once began to figure how many stomachs like ours he would fill, and then gave out that many invitations. All came, and brought their plates. With mouths watering, they stood about as I prepared to carve.

At the first cut I thought I smelled something, and at the next was sure I did. The old fellow, tough as he was, was not able to stand close confinement in such hot weather, and had taken on an odor that took away all appetite for roast chicken. Terribly disappointed, we wrapped him up again, and taking him out of camp, gave him as near a military funeral as we knew how. He was a brave old bird. I have seen him whip Cuff, mother's little guardian of the garden patch. "He sleeps his last sleep. He has fought his last battle. No sound shall awake him to glory again."

Requests for passes to visit the camp of the 150th are the pests of the commanding officers of our regiment, and the same can be said of the 150th. As soon as guard-mount is over, and the other details for camp duty made, the old guard (those who were on duty the day before, and who are excused from all duty except dress parade for the next twenty-four hours) try for a pass to visit the city or the 150th, the two attractions now. John Van Alstyne often visits me, as well as others with him with whom I am well acquainted. These visits I return as often as I can get away. Our camp ground has been laid out in regular order and the company streets graded and made to look very respectable. There is a broad street, along one side of which are the officers' tents, the colonel's in the center. Back of these are the quartermaster's and the commissary's stores, the sutler's tent and the mules and horses. In front of the colonel's tent is the flagstaff, and running out from the street are ten shorter streets, one for each company, with cook-houses or tents at the bottom. Men are detailed every day to clean up and keep in order all these and are called supernumeraries. When it rains we that are not on duty lie in our tents and amuse ourselves in any way we can, or visit from tent to tent as the fancy takes us. In fair weather we have either company-drill or battalion-drill, and every now and then the regiments are put together for brigade-drill. Any of it is hard work, but it is what we are here for, and we find little fault. The weather is chilly. I notice but little difference in the weather here and as we usually have it at home. There we expect it, while here we do not and that I suppose makes it seem harder to put up with.

One of our company, Elmer Anderson, deserted and enlisted in an artillery regiment a few days ago. He came into camp showing his papers and was arrested and put in the guard-house. What the outcome will be I don't know, but it seems as if there should be some way of preventing such things. Sunday mornings we have what we call knapsack-drill. Why they save this for Sunday I don't know, but I suppose there is some reason for it. We pack our knapsacks, brush up our guns, clothes, shoes, etc., and march to the drill ground and form in columns by companies. Company A on the right and B on the left. This brings Company A in front and the first company to be inspected, after which they march back to camp and are through for the day. Company B being the last, it is something like an hour we stand there with our knapsacks open before us on the ground, everything in them exposed to view of the passer-by, who is the inspection officer and the captain whose company he is inspecting. With his sword tip he pokes over our belongings, and if any dirty socks or handkerchief or any other article a soldier ought not to have is found, a lesson is read to him on the spot and repeated in plainer terms by the captain afterwards. As we must take everything we own or have it stolen while we are away, we take a great many chances. I shall never forget the first inspection. We knew nothing of what was coming, and such an outfit as that inspection officer saw I don't think any other one ever did. Little by little we learn the lesson, learn to put the best on top, for not all knapsacks have their contents stirred up. A great deal of allowance was made for us at first, but as we go along the screws of discipline are slowly but surely turned on, and finally I suppose it will be easy to obey. That one word, "obey," seems to be all that is required of us. No matter how unreasonable an order seems to us, we have only to obey it or get in trouble for not doing it.