Hot Day of Marching

Chapter 27 (August 2, 1863)

Monday, August 2nd. Struck tents and marched down the Rappahannock River to near Ellis’ Ford, where we encamped. This was one of the hottest days we experienced on our Gettysburg campaign. Traveled four miles. If my memory serves me right eight soldiers of our division were sun struck that afternoon. Today our Gettysburg campaign closed. We left Aquia Creek on June 13th, marched north along the Potomac River, crossed over into Maryland at Edward’s Ferry, thru the State into Pennsylvania, fought the battle of Gettysburg, and returned, passing thru Maryland, West Virginia and Old Virginia, and now in camp only 20 miles from where we started.

This campaign was made during the heat of the summer, and the distance traveled was 391 miles. The actual marching days were 27, making an average march of 14 ½, miles a day. I would have you remember that we did not wear nice cool shirts, neither white linen trousers, nor linen dusters, neither were we furnished with white gloves, fans or umbrellas, but on the contrary we wore woolen socks at 32 cents per pair; woolen shirts, $1.50 each; shoes, $2.05 per pair; a forage cap, 60 cents; a pair of trousers, 95 cents, and a woolen blouse at $3.12. Entire cost of outfit, $11.04. On the march we were not permitted (no matter how hot the weather was) to take off our coats, but had to have them buttoned up to the neck. Such clothing was all right for winter, but for summer they were regular sweat boxes.

The Government officials did not seem to concern themselves about the boys who were doing the work. While in this camp, four regiments of our brigade, the fifth, seventh, 29th, and 66th Ohio were sent to New York City for the purpose of quelling the great draft riots of 1863. The above named regiments were taken to Long Island, but their services were not required, and in a short time they were again sent back to us. After the New York riots, many of these rioters (roughs and toughs) enlisted to escape arrest and punishment. We received drafted men on the tenth of the month, who were attached to Company G. About 100 in all were brought to the regiment from Philadelphia by Captain Moore, of Company B, and Lieutenant Byers, of our company. The names of those assigned to our company were Henry Brown, Charles Grant, Francis Smith, and Edward Reed Smith. These four were first-class soldiers and all remained with us until the close of the war, with the exception of Charles Grant, whom we nicknamed Jack. He was killed on the skirmish line at Kennesaw Mountain, Ga., June 24, 1864.

Charles Brown, Thomas Medbeater, Thomas McDonald, William Powell, and William Rayburn, these six were drafted August 3rd, 4th, and 5th, 1863 and all deserted on October 1st, same year. When these were brought to camp the ambulance which accompanied the squad carried a dead soldier who had taken sick on the way. Someone looked into the ambulance and saw him then remarked, there is no use to send us dead soldiers as we make them out here. The above remark shows that no regard whatever was paid to life.

Our camp at this place was a dandy. Located at a beautiful place well laid out and I think the best for health of any thus far occupied. Not a member of our company was sick during our encampment at this place. Perhaps the extreme service we had on our Gettysburg campaign gave us new life and the rest which we now had we enjoyed to the fullest extent.

While in this camp Freddie Ulrich returned to the company from the hospital. The boys saw him coming at a distance and having recognized him they saw that he was dressed up like a Philadelphia sport with a white collar, shoes shined, a silk necktie, and I don’t remember whether he had his pantaloons pressed but as he came within hailing distance the boys began yelling at him, take off that necktie! Tear up that white collar! Philadelphia sport! Fifth and Buttonwood, Callowhill street! (These two latter places were hospitals in which Freddie has been since he was away from the company). While all were exceedingly glad to have him join us again and grasp him by the hand in the warmest kind of friendship yet we all felt like teasing him and I think we carried it out to perfection. In less than a week his pale face had disappeared and he looked as black and dirty as any of us.

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