Jan. 11th. A beautiful day—the mud drying up fast & things about camp improving in appearance. There is a great deal of sickness in the regiment. In our Co. we report 26 unfit for duty today—9 in the Hospital & 15 in quarters. Among the latter is Orderly Sergt. True, who has been unwell several days. Had religious service this morning in the open air just in the rear of our tents—subject of the discourse, “Heaven.”
Jan. 7th. My health is improving, though I have not had strength to drill the company till yesterday. At nine o’clock this morning our Co. went out on picket about three fourths of a mile from camp, being “picket no. 4”. We occupied six posts beside the reserve, which was quartered in a vacant house. Everything was quiet on the lines day & night. In the afternoon I went with some of the men of the reserve to visit a plantation about a mile off, owned by Dr. H. Perkins. The house was a splendid one, richly furnished but the furniture is in ruins scattered all over the house. Chairs, tables, picture frames, &c. were broken in pieces, & the floors, covered with remnants of mirrors & table ware that had been wantonly smashed to pieces. The house had been lighted with gas made on the premises. The sugar house is an immense building containing a fine steam engine & sugar mill. Large lots of molasses was standing in the vats, which I allowed the boys to help themselves to & carry back to camp. Soldiers from other Regts. were constantly coming & helping themselves to anything that struck their fancy. Three of the negro women that we carried in when we were on picket before were from this estate. Not one of the slaves is now left in the place.
Jan. 4th. The sun rose clear & bright this morning, & the weather has been pleasant all [day], so that the effects of the rain are less evident than I supposed they would be. The roads become muddy with a little rain, but dry up quickly after the sun comes out. About breakfast time Mr. Langley came in to inform me that George, his brother, died at half past two o’clock this morning. I went at once to the Quartermaster & made arrangements for a coffin, & Lieut. Richardson went out to town with two men to dig a grave. I walked out about 10 o’clock & was so exhausted by the walk that I was obliged to lie down & rest for an hour so two. After making some arrangements for the burial, I started to return to camp, intended to return to the funeral with the Company. When near camp I met the Chaplain going out, who offered me his horse to ride, which I accepted with gratitude, for I was nearly beaten out. Came into camp & got a little tea & some crackers. The Company, with a portion of Co. G, started for town in advance of me. I than rode out to the Hospital where we formed a procession & marched to the graveyard, where we lowered our late comrade to his last resting place. Here the Chaplain read appropriate selections of scripture, & offered prayer, when the escort, eight men, fired three volleys over the open grave. When we marched away, leaving two men to fill the grave. We marched back to camp where we arrived before sunset, too late for dress parade. In the evening attended a prayer meeting in the [illegible word] tent. Today all the patients have been removed from the building that has been used for a Hospital to a large brick house near the State House.
Jan. 3d. Last night we were waked by firing, apparently heavy cannon down river. … Snowing during the night, & all day. Heavy thunder & sharp lightning a part of the time. This evening it is raining almost constantly, & the thunder is almost continuous. Our camp ground is getting very soft & will soon by muddy enough. This forenoon I rode to town … to see our men in the Hospital. All of them (ten in number) appeared to be improving, except poor George Langley, who lies very low with typhoid fever. He has lain almost wholly unconscious for several days. He opened his eyes while I stood by him, but did not recognize me. His brother has been with him almost constantly for a week, & will stay as long as he lives. [Read more…] about January 3, 1863
Jan, 2d. We woke this morning about 4 o’clock by the Sergt. Major who said we were to hold ourselves ready to call our companies at a moment’s notice, that the outer pickets had been driven in by the rebels & that they were sending up rockets as signals. We said nothing to the men, not wishing to disturb them till they should be needed. I felt hardly able to stand, but intended to go with my Company should we be called out. There was no further alarm, however, so we kept quiet till daylight.
Jan. 1st. This morning before I was out of bed the Col. came in & said we were ordered to move at 9 o’clock, were to go to the campground near the Maine 12th. We are brigaded with that Reg[iment], the 4th Wisconsin, 2d Louisiana, & [blank] New York, & “Billy Wilson’s Zouaves”—Billy himself being in command of the Brigade as senior Colonel. We struck tents, packed up baggage, & got into line about 10 o’clock, marched down through town & out east about a mile to our ground, called “Camp Banks.” Pitched our tents between the 2d Louisiana & [blank]. I had hardly thought to reach the front, & could advance nothing in the way of fitting up our quarters, but left all to the Lieutenant. I went over to Dr. Thompson’s quarters & spent most of the afternoon. Returned to camp towards dark, drank a little tea & went to bed. Have eaten nothing since morning, & then only a little bread & gruel. My diarrhea is very troublesome, & I am very weak.