No. 1—THE LITERATURE OF THE TIME
The literature of the summer of 1862 has a peculiar interest to all those living now who were old enough at that time to take any note of what was going on around them of public concern. There was much of this kind of reading in all the years of the war, but I think the summer and fall of 1862 exceeded any of the other seasons. Perhaps this belief may come from my being more particularly concerned in that period.
But a great many troops were raised in 1862, and the year being a dull one for work I in common with thousands of others had plenty of opportunity to study the literature and all the other outcomes of the time; and especially to devote ourselves to the discussion of war matters. It was pre-eminently the war year of the war.
On the 1st of July President Lincoln issued a call for 300,000 volunteers, for three years or during the war. In response to this Gov. Buckingham, then the chief magistrate of the state, made the following appeal, and in answer to it the Seventeenth Connecticut volunteers was raised:
“Citizens of Connecticut:—You are hereby called upon to rally to the support of the government. In the name of our common country I call upon you to enroll your names for the immediate formation of six or more regiments of infantry to be used in suppressing the rebellion. Our troops may be held in check, and our sons die on the battle field, but the cause of civil liberty must be advanced, the supremacy of the government must be maintained. Prompt and decisive action will be economy in men and money. By our delay the safety of our armies, even of the nation, may be imperiled.
The rebellion, contending with the desperation of a hopeless and wicked cause, must be met with equal energy.
Close your manufactories and workshops, turn aside from your farms, leave for awhile your families and your homes, meet face to face the enemies of your liberties! Haste, and you will rescue many noble men now struggling against superior numbers, and speedily secure the blessings of peace and good government!
Given under my hand and the seal of the state, at New Haven, this third day of July, in the year of Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two.
WM. A. BUCKINGHAM
By his Excellency’s command,
J.H. Trumbull, Sec’y of State.
I dare say that this proclamation from Gov. Buckingham and the succeeding accounts of some of the public meetings that followed, taken from the local press, will bring to my readers who figured at that time a more vivid picture of the scenes of twenty-three years ago, than any descriptive details I may go into.
In the early part of that eventful month of July I left town for a week. I returned late of a Saturday evening. The Sunday morning was a pleasant one. The sun shone brightly, and way out from the village where the trees waved and the birds sang there as nothing to indicate the human disturbance that had become so common at that time. I walked upMain Streetto church at an early hour. On the way I met a friend. He greeted me with considerable fervor and said:
“Our old companions, so-and-so, have been looking for you all week. We are going to enlist in Captain James E. Moore’s company, and we want you to join us.”
This was a surprise to me. I had a short time before taken a notion to enlist, but on talking with my people about it they had taken such decided grounds against it, that I had given up the idea and thought no more of donning the blue and fine linen of the government.
My friend and I went into church and sat together. I don’t know what the sermon was about, and I didn’t know then. I might have got some sort of inkling of what was going on in the pulpit, if it had not been for the military zeal and patriotic fervor of my friend. It was the gospel of peace in the one ear and the thunders of war in the other, and the thunders had the majority.
The next day I went up Main street, which differed-in no way particular at least—from the main street of other Fairfieldcounty villages on that day. It was all war-war in the stores, war on the corners, war in the offices, war in the hotels. It seemed as if every one of my fellow citizens had either enlisted or was going to enlist. Drums were sounding. Shops were deserted. Colors were flying. All other employment gave way to the fascination of volunteering one’s self, or seeing others volunteer. There were several companies being recruited, but only one for three years-that [being the one Captain] Moore was endeavoring to raise(?)] [MISSING TEXT ON PAGE] …friend spoke as…[MISSING TEXT ON PAGE]… son by trade. He had served in the Mexican war and in the three months’ campaign which culminated in the first battle ofBull Run. So he had some war experience, and being a citizen of good repute beside, he appeared to lead in the matter of getting recruits.
There were two very good incentives to volunteering at this period. One was that a draft was imminent, and the other that business generally was depressed, and employment was scarce. It is not necessary to explain that these two facts were much dwelt upon by those who got commissions on bounties and those who were anxious to fill the quota that they themselves might escape the possible draft.
To those who have never passed through such a period as that of a civil war it is not comprehended what an influence the character of the man who is getting up a company of volunteers would have in effecting enlistments. The man who started the company was no more a commander of it in the eyes of military law, than the last man enrolled in it. But it was generally understood that he who was most largely responsible for the recruiting of a company could be appointed the captain of it if he so desired. So Mr. Moore was already spoken of and addressed as captain, although he had no official claim to the title. And parents and friends, solicitous for the welfare of their members who were to go into the army, were anxious that they should go in charge of someone in whom they had confidence as a man of honor. They felt their offerings to their country would be safer in such a man’s hands. Thus Mr. Moore was or any other company organizer who stood well in the community had the support of the parents and other relatives of the prospective volunteer, whatever might have been the inclinations of the volunteer himself.
My people were well acquainted with Mr. Moore, and greatly admired him. I had several companions in his company and so desired to join it. Consequently my opportunities to “join” were numerous and pressing, and eventually successful. In which particular my experience is doubtless similar to that of many another member of the army for the suppression of the rebellion.
On the 28th of July I went to Military Hill which occupied the third floor of the building corner of Main and White streets, now known as Nichols block, and occupied as a tenement, and signed the roll which was kept there, and right after was sworn into the service of the state.
Of the raising of this company, M.H. Daniels, who became its first lieutenant, and is now a resident ofIndianapolis,Ind., writes me the following interesting particulars:
INDIANAPOLIS, IND., Jan. 6, 1886
COMRADE W.H. WARREN:—Your circular is received asking for something from my store of knowledge. It is a fair request and every man connected with the Seventeenth should respond.
Perhaps a short sketch of the organization of Company C may be appropriate.
You will remember that Captain James E. Moore and myself had been in the service together in Company C, Third Connecticut Volunteers, and when the president made his call in July, ’62, Captain Moore did me the honor to ask me to assist him to raise a company. I agreed and we immediately telegraphed the governor for permission to do so. We got an immediate reply to go ahead. We enlisted a few men the first day, but the next the good people of Danbury took hold of the matter and got up a meeting in the old Presbyterian church, were speeches were made and many members enlisted and we were all looked upon as heroes. After the meeting we all went home, and in the early hours of morning I was awakened by what proved to be men that wanted to enlist at once. I took their names and we went before a justice of the peace and were sworn in. Dear old Quien came up with a part of his company of militia from Bethel. Then our company was full. We named ourselves the Wildman Guard after the Hon. Fred. S. Wildman. He presented us with a fine flag, and we started to join the Fourteenth regiment, C.V.I., but at Norwalk Colonel Noble and Capt. Dunham boarded the train and and asked us to go into camp at Bridgeport and become Company A of a Fairfield regiment. We went into camp at Bridgeport, but the next day the Norwalk boys came in, Captain Fowler in command, with A on their caps. We all of us got mad, threatened to leave camp and go to Hartford, but finally tamed down when we were given the colors. Our old company in the Third had been C, which was the thing that decided Captain Moore and myself to use our influence with all to stay where we were; but a bitter feeling had sprung up that was always a source of trouble to Col. Noble and our Co. C, that was not thoroughly healed until our fight at Chancellorsville, where, I believe, all our troubles were healed, as the colonel did his duty and did it well. We did ours. Do you remember how we were treated by the citizens of Bridgeport? Boarded at the Stanley House, and every honor and courtesy was bestowed on us from all sources, except one newspaper, and it was with difficulty the boys were persuaded not to tear the printing office down.
Where is Johnny Grannis? I want to hear from him as to the capture of Gettysburg. In the early gray of the morning of the 4th, I had command of the skirmish line, and he is the only man that I can remember that was from our regiment. I have often thought that I would give much to hear from those ten men. I ask any one of them to write me, at Indianapolis, Ind.; or those that were detailed to guard the guns and accoutrements on Morris Island, when the shell came that knocked Doc. Gregory, myself and others endways. The company was in the trenches just back. The company was in the trenches just back.
Yours in F. C. and L.
M. H. Daniels
No. 2—THE LITERATURE OF THE TIME
The following is a copy of a statement and address printed in the DanburyJeffersonian at this time:
With the pressing demand for labor on the farm and in the factory, which has rarely been equaled in this vicinity, we believe there will yet be found those who will make every other consideration bend to their love of the Union and the desire to preserve it. The invited movement for raising a company has been made by Capt. Moore and a better man in a better cause could scarcely be found.
His name will have a good influence upon those who know, and about all do know, how important it is to have a competent leader in every division of the army, whether smaller or greater. We learn that about thirty names are already enrolled on the captain’s books. A meeting was held this evening at the law office of Hon. Roger Averill, and the following address and call for a meeting were drafted, to which the annexed signatures were obtained:
CITIZENS OF DANBURY!
TO THE RESCUE!
The people of our country have been called upon to add 300,000 soldiers to the army of the Union. The enemies of our government are vigilant and active, and duty requires that they should be met by vigilance and activity on our part.
Already the people of the state have arisen in response to the call, and men and money are being bestowed with no illiberable hand. You are asked to contribute your fathers, brothers, sons, yourselves, to this work.
With the proud record which Danbury presents let it not be said that our patriotic old town is behind in furnishing her share to push forward the column. To do this our country needs fighting men, and for the purpose of assisting to obtain them our citizens will meet in Concert Hall, on Friday evening, July 18, at7:20. We know we need not urge a full attendance. Men of distinction, among whom may be mentioned Gov. Buckingham, are expected to be present and address the meeting.
Roger Averill, Wm. Montgomery, David P. Nichols, George Hill, Frederick S. Wildman, Oliver Stone, Wm. H. White, Lucius P. Hoyt, Lyman Keeler, A.E. Tweedy, Harrison Flint, W.A. Newton, Chas. E. Andrews, J. Amsbury, F.S. Wildman, Jr., Edward Fairchild, Wm. H. Clark, E.R. Whittlesey, Fred S. Blackman, Wm. P. Comstock, Orrin Benedict, G.M. Hoyt, Wm. P. Seeley, Ezra S. White, Ira Morse, Edgar S. Tweedy, G.W. Morris, A.B. Hull, Sam’l Zarkowski, James Harvey, James L. Maynard,C.S. Hunting, A.N. Wildman, O.T. Polly, E.P. Bennett, F.B. Butler, B.F. Ashley, Chas. T. Stevens, John H. Cosler, D.B. Booth, Geo. W. Hamilton, Sam’l. C. Wildman, E.A. Brown, Isaac Smith, John W. Bacon, Ezra M. Starr, Amos N. Stebbins, Stephen Holmes, Levi Osborne, E.S. Sanford, Eli H. Mallory, Geo. Bates, Chas. H. Reed, Almon Judd, Wm. G. Randall.
July 10, 1862.”
Nearly one-half of these signers are dead. Only twenty-three of the fifty-five are now residents here.
The meeting was held on the evening advertised. The entire day was devoted to the objects of the call, and the local report says the day would long be remembered by the people of Danbury. A special train with a delegation of citizens left the station here at 9 a.m. for Norwalk, to meet Gov. Buckingham. With their distinguished guest they returned to Danbury, reaching here just before noon. At the Pahquioque shop (Crofut and White’s) the men turned out in force, with a cannon, and gave the governor a hearty welcome, to which he made graceful acknowledgement. The village was fully alive to the importance of the meeting, and through the afternoon numbers of people gathered on the streets to talk of it.
Sometime before the meeting was called to order Concert Hall was packed with men and women. Roger Averill was chosen president. Music was furnished by a choir selected from the best musical talent of Danbury and Bethel. An address was delivered by Gov. Buckingham. He stated that he was attending such meetings every night, that in Bridgeport the night before $18,600 was subscribed for hiring volunteers, and that thirty names were enrolled. Remarks were made by Mr. Averill, Elder N.P. Gilbert, (then pastor of the Disciples church), Dr. Hill, of Norwalk, Rev. Mr. Hoyt, of Rochester (then a supply for the Baptist church), Rev. Mr. Crawford, of the Methodist church, Rev. Mr. Clark, of New Fairfield, and others.
An appeal was then made for volunteers, and twenty names were secured. Each man was enthusiastically cheered as he stepped to the platform to give in his name. These were all for Capt. Moore’s new company, as the meeting was held to recruit that organization.
The following is a copy of a hand-bill that was generally circulated hereabouts right after this meeting:
Your country calls! Your state asks you to respond!
State bounty paid for enlisting within 30 days……………………………………………………..$30.00
State bounty paid for first year……………………………………………………………………… 30.00
($10.00 paid in advance)
State bounty for wife each year……………………………………………………………………. 72.00
State bounty each year for two children……………………………………………………………. 48.00
U.S.bounty upon enlisting…………………………………………………………………………… 27.00
U.S.bounty at end of war……………………………………………………………………………. 75.00
Pay, $13 a month, making this handsome sum of………………………………………………… 458.00
With pay and rations from day of enlistment.
The town will vote a handsome bounty.
Hdqrs. at Military Hall,Danbury,Conn.
Capt. Moore and M.H. Daniels, recruiting officers.
There were also advertisements in the local papers setting forth in tempting figures the amounts in bounties and pay which every man who entered the army would be entitled to.
In Bridgeport, Norwalk, Stamford, Westport, and other towns in the county where companies were being formed similar meetings and advertisements to those just described were taking place.
Captain Fowler, of Norwalk, who commanded Company A, and subsequently became Lieut. Colonel of the regiment, was one of the most popular men in Norwalk. He raised a company for the third regiment, three months men, and also a company for the eighth, three years men, but did not stay long with that company. He was at home when the call came under which the seventeenth regiment came into being was being issued.
One evening, seeing an old comrade of the Third regiment, he asked:
“Don’t you want to go in the service again?”
The man replied:
“Captain, if you will raise a company again I will go with you.”
Colonel Fowler began the next day to form the company. He first signed the roll. James Russell signed next, and John Crowe followed, and in three days the number desired was secured. The quick work showed the popularity of the unfortunate “Doug” Fowler.
On July 23, the Governor issued special order No. 255, directing the companies formed for the Seventeenth regiment to rendezvous in Bridgeport without delay, and appointed Col. W.H. Noble, of Bridgeport, to the command of the camp.
Shortly after I enlisted the company started for Hartford to join a regiment there, but was prevailed upon to join the camp in Bridgeport, as Captain Daniels described in his letter published last week.
About this time, July 23rd, a hand-bill calling for volunteers for the Fairfield county regiment was freely posted about Bridgeport. The bill set forth the bounties to be paid and the pay to be given. It is noticeable in this as in other cases that the pay enumerated was for one year only. This was not done simply to lead the people to believe the regiment would have to serve not more than a year. The belief was general and deep grounded. Many were confident four or five months would see the rebellion wound up. Hope sprung eternal in the human beast. It is a good scheme.
No. 3—IN BRIDGEPORT
Captain Moore’s company, like most of the other companies, was organized without reference to its regimental destination. Regiments were formed after the companies were started, and numbered as they formed. The fourteenth was the first regiment to go into camp under this call for troops. It was designed to have Captain Moore’s company join this command at Hartford. The captain with sixty men left Danbury on the morning of July 29th for Hartford. At South Norwalk they were met by William H. Noble, of Bridgeport, who was organizing a regiment to be called the Seventeenth. He made an address to the Danburians, urging them to join his regiment at Bridgeport, and promising to make them Company A. They took a vote on the question, and by it decided unanimously to go to Bridgeport.
The headquarters were established in the court house, and the members of the company were boarded at the Sterling and Atlantic hotels and at the boarding houses. The camp was not then established. There was some drilling through the day, but most of the time was given to the men to use as they saw fit.
This state of things continued for two weeks, when, other companies arriving, a camp was laid out. It was located by the water in a large meadow, where Seaside Park is now established. The name of the camp was Aiken, in honor of the state’s quartermaster-general. Here we drilled some, built the camp, and loafed around. We had the privilege of going into the city often, and of going home every Saturday, to stay over Sunday.
Once we went to Newtown to attend a public meeting to stimulate recruiting for the regiment. That was August 7, the day we went into camp. All this time Bridgeport was making active efforts to secure two companies for the regiment. Handbills were posted on the walls setting forth the value of the bounties offered, and impassioned appeals were made on all sides for volunteers.
W.H. Lacey and J.F. Clancy each engaged in raising a company in Bridgeport. The first company to go into camp was the Danbury. The next was Captain Lacey’s. Neither company was more than three-quarters full at the time. The Bridgeport Standard of August 8th had this to say of the Norwalk company:
“Captain Fowler’s company, in Norwalk, is said to be full, and that they are a fine looking body of men. They expect to go into the Seventeenth camp in this city on Tuesday next. By the way, Captain Fowler would make a most capital major for the Seventeenth.”
Captain Lacey’s company was called the Howe Rifles after the inventor of the sewing machine, who was a member of the company. Company K, recruited by John McCarty and William Coleman, were called the Rough and Ready guards. The company was chiefly from Fairfield, but had many Bridgeport men in it. McCarty became its captain. Coleman never served with the company.
The Norwalk Gazette of August 9th published the following:
“Make way for the Lockwood Guards!
LeGrand Lockwood has donated the magnificent sum of $1000 for the enlistment of another company of volunteers from Norwalk. Yesterday, Captain Fowler’s company was filled to its maximum number, and to-day large numbers of volunteers presented themselves for enlistment into his company, only to be disappointed. Lieutenant Enoch Wood has been commissioned by the adjutant general to recruit a second company. He is a military man of energy and character and proposes to take command, and he with is co-laborers in his recruiting service, Allen, Knapp, Kellogg, Lewis and others, are vigorously pushing ahead enlistments, and over fifty men are already enrolled. Ten dollars per man of the Lockwood fund is paid down as fast as sworn in.”
Monday, August 11th, a company of sixty men with a band of music came into camp from Westport. This was afterwards called Company E.
The week before Ridgefield voted $200 to each volunteer who was sworn in prior to August 20th. F.A. Rockwell and Nirum Dikeman opened recruiting offices there, and soon succeeded in getting up a company. This became Company G. There were many Bridgeport and other shore town men in the company. Captain Dunham, of Bridgeport, active in the recruiting service, became its captain, and Wilson French, of Stratford, its first lieutenant. Dikeman was made second lieutenant.
August 11th, Captain Lacey and sixty-three of his men, afterward Company D, went into camp.
Company K, of Fairfield, went into camp August12th, with forty men and a band of music. At this time there were over eight hundred men in the regiment.
Here is a family incident connected with this company, as recorded in the Bridgeport Standard, August 13th:
“Five brothers named Kelly enlisted in the “Rough and Ready” company, this morning. They are all residents of this town*, sons of Ephraim Kelly, of New York. It would seem as if the family had done pretty well in the matter of enlistments, but the five express some regret that two other brothers choose to remain at home when the country needs their help.”
(* The Standard was mistaken. Three of the boys belonged in Bridgeport, one other inFairfield and the fifth in Sherman. —ED. NEWS)
On the 13th of August a half-filled company marched into camp from New Canaan. This was subsequently known as Company H. Company B, of Stamford, and Company I, of Greenwich, occupied the camp the same day.
The Lockwood guards from Norwalk marched into camp August 15th, with the Westport band. The company was recruited in three days.
August 16 Rev. Alexander R. Thompson, of Bridgeport, was appointed chaplain of the regiment until a regular appointment could be made. Services were held in the camp Sunday morning and in Franklin Hall in the evening. A collection was taken up one day for a chapel tent, and $75 was collected. At this service, which was the first in the camp, the hymns sung were, “Jesus shall reign wheree’r the sun,” “Am I a soldier of the cross?” “My country ’tis of thee.”
Recruiting was getting hot at this stage. New Canaan voted $50 and Wilton offered $100 for each volunteer.
Company G went into camp August 18th.
On Saturday, August 23rd, a number of ladies of Norwalk came into camp in a special car. They brought with them a number of baskets of provisions, and after the two Norwalk companies were supplied there were many baskets of fragments, which were dealt to the other companies. Late in the day Mrs. LeGrand Lockwood and Messrs. Rev. Diosey and Anderson presented each member of Company F (Lockwood Guards) with a gilt-edge testament, a gift from LeGrand Lockwood.
Adjutant Wilcoxson was today presented with a fine sword and belt by his Masonic friends.
William A. Kellogg, of Company F, was given a handsome revolver by his former companions of Phoenix engine and hose companies. And Captain Fowler’s Company A, was given an elegant silk flag by the ladies of South Norwalk. On it was inscribed the words: “Fowler Guards.”
August 25th the following order was issued from the adjutant general’s office:
The companies comprising the Seventeenth regiment are hereby designated as follows:
Company A…..Captain Douglas Fowler
Company B…… ” Allen G. Brady
Company C….. ” James E. Moore
Company D….. ” W.H. Lacey
Company E…… ” H.P. Burr
Company F….. ” Enoch Wood
Company G….. ” James E. Dunham
Company H…… ” Enos Kellogg
Company I……. ” D.O. Benson
Company K….. ” J.J. McCarty
On Tuesday, the 26th, the chapel tent was consecrated with appropriate service.
On the same day the hospital steward, Jesse Nash, was presented with sword, sash and belt.
Just before this Lieutenant Claney, of Company D, was presented with a sword. Governor Buckingham made the presentation speech. Among other things he said:
“This sword, whether it comes back or not, may it never be unsheathed without cause, and may it never be sheathed in dishonor.”
On Thursday, August 28th, the regiment was sworn into the United States service. On that occasion each member of Company C was presented with a bible. The week before, Captain Fowler, and Lieutenants Crowe and McQuahae were presented with elegant swords by the members of their company.
Quite a number of presentations followed. Col. Noble was given a horse and equipments, and other valuable tokens of regard. Lieut.-Col. Walters was presented with a horse and equipments. Captain Dunham got a sword and a revolver from his company, and Captain Benson got the same. John I. Ward, the quartermaster-sergeant, was presented with a revolver by employees of the Adams Express Company, in whose service he was.
On Saturday, August 30th, a full delegation of Company C went to Danbury. In the evening there was a gathering in Concert Hall. The room was crowded with people. The occasion was the presentation to Captain Moore, and to Lieutenants Daniels and Quien, of the company, of swords and belts.
These were gifts from the members of the company. The presentation speech was made by Governor Averill, and was most gracefully rendered. The officers responded as completely as their feelings would allow. Other speech makers were called upon, when Captain Moore objected, saying that the men of his command were home for what was probably the last time, and needed every moment to be with their families and friends. Then meeting then broke up.
On the first of September, the following special order, No. 694, was issued from the state headquarters:
- Col. William H. Noble, Seventeenth Regiment, Connecticut Volunteers, will proceed to Washington with his command, on Wednesday next, the 3rd inst., and report to the adjutant general, for orders.
- Col. Noble will make requisition on Brigadier-General William A. Aiken, quarter-master-general, for transportation.
THE REGIMENT DEPARTS
Bridgeport,Wed., Sept. 3, ’62.
Roll call this a.m. at 5:30; breakfast at 6. Tents struck at 7 and everything in readiness to march at 10 a.m. At the appointed time the line was formed and we marched to the cars in Broad street. We were escorted by the police and the city authorities, and were greeted by an artillery salute and the cheers of the assembled multitudes. Governor Buckingham reviewed the regiment and gave it his parting counsel. At 12 o’clock our train left Bridgeport. It consisted of twenty-eight cars and was drawn by two locomotives. It stopped at Stamford only. At all the stations there were people to bid us goodbye. At South Norwalk there was a military salute in which Joseph Hawkins had an arm shattered. He died from the effects of the wound. We were let off in New York, at 42nd street, at 4:20 p.m., and were marched to the foot of 23rd street, where the Camden & Amboy steamer, “Kill Von Kull”, was waiting for us.
No. 4-GOING TO THE FRONT
The steamer arrived at Elizabethport, N.J., at 10 o’clock in the evening of September 3rd, and found a train composed of the meanest looking cars we had ever seen, into which we stowed ourselves for a trip to Baltimore. We arrived in that city at 11 p.m., and as no arrangements had been made for quartering us we lay down in the street at the Calvert street station and slept there until 4 o’clock, when we were aroused, and marched to the Union Relief association building, where we were warmly welcomed with a breakfast of bread, cold ham, cheese and hot coffee. We were then marched to the station of the Washington road, where we expected to take a train for the capitol. The boys occupied the time of waiting in strolling about the neighborhood, but in the afternoon we were forbidden to leave the station, and remained there in a crowded condition. At 3 o’clock Enfield rifles and ammunition were dealt out to the men of the regiment.
That night we remained at the railway station. No rations were weighed out to us after three o’clock of Friday afternoon until Saturday midnight. But there was an abundance of peddlers around with cake, pie, bologna and fruit, and as all the boys had money there was no real suffering in the commissary department. All sorts of stories were afloat Friday and Saturday, Stonewall Jackson was reported to be on his way to take Baltimore. Again we were to Join Siegel’s corps then in reserve before Washington.
Still again Lee had crossed the Potomac into Maryland, and we were to stay here for defense. At 3 o’clock Saturday afternoon we received orders to be ready to move, and everything was packed up, and knapsacks and other accoutrements were strapped. In this condition we waited until 6 o’clock, when we were formed into line and marched through the city and down the bay to what was called Fort Marshall, a new earth fortification three miles out of the city. The march was a tedious one as it was the longest we had yet made. Everyone was tired with suspense and excitement, and everybody was loaded down with the abundance of baggage peculiar to the new recruit. It was 8 o’clock when we reached the fort. We bivouacked in front of it, and [as] there was no indication of supper we spread our blankets and speedily fell asleep. During the evening the cooks got their stoves up, and at midnight we were aroused for rations. We got some crackers and some hot coffee, and after consuming these we went to sleep again. September 7th was our first Sunday in camp. It was not exactly a day of religious instruction. Many of the regiment did their first manual work on a Sabbath. We were busy nearly all day laying out company streets and putting up tents. There was a wild rumor that General Lee’s force was approaching the city, and in the evening we were given twenty rounds of cartridges each, and obliged to sleep that night with our guns in our arms ready for any emergency. The prospect caused the hair on our head to stand right up.
The next day drills were established, dress parade was inaugurated, and pickets were put out. The regiment was suddenly put on a war footing. That night a scouting party was sent out to pick up stragglers and suspicious parties. Six characters were brought in in the night. Two of these were found to have a barrel of water in their possession, which was considered to be sufficiently damaging evidence to warrant their arrest. At 10 o’clock a general alarm was given by the firing of the pickets, and the regiment was up in line at once. But the alarm was proved to be false, and quiet reigned the rest of the night.
Friday, September 12th, FortMcHenry celebrated the anniversary of its bombardment by the British in 1812. There were fireworks in the evening. This was an agreeable change from the daily and irksome routine into which the camp has fallen. The routine in question was as follows:
Roll call at 5 a.m.; drill from 5:30 to 6:30; breakfast at 7; drill from 8:30 to 10:30; dinner at 12 m [n?]; drill from 2 to 5 p.m.; dress parade at 5:30; supper at 6; roll call at 9; taps (lights out) at 9:30.
About this time there was a complaint about the quality of pork served out. This was followed by a complaint of the quantity of the beef. Both these evils were promptly remedied through the agency of Captain Moore of Company C.
On the 19th the chaplain presented a report of the money received and expended for a chapel tent and a library. The following is the
The undersigned has the pleasure of announcing to the friends of the Seventeenth regiment that he has collected in behalf of the regiment the following:
At the service, Camp Aiken, Aug. 17…. $75.38
At the service, Baptist church, Aug. 17.. 33.37
At the service, Camp Aiken, Aug. 24…. 68.68
At the service, M.E. church, Aug. 24…. 40.22
Collected personally…………………… 22.55
Total collected in Bridgeport…. $240.20
Received from Ridgefield, per Mrs.
J.S. Smith………………………………… 25.50
Received from Stamford, per Rev.
Mr. Evans………………………………… 110.00
There has been expended in behalf of the regiment as follows:
For lamps for chapel tent, hymn books,
Printing labels, etc……………. $ 82.94
For books, chess, checkers, etc., for
Regimental library…………… 9.91
Balance to be appropriated towards
Regimental library…………… 119.30
With the tent was sent a box of the regimental library of 165 volumes. A few of these books were purchased, the rest given. Thanks to Captain Charles Weeks of the steamer Bridgeport, for his kindness in bringing the tent from New York free of charge.
Also to its clerk, W.H. Wilson, and to Mr. Maroin for carting the tents (without charge). Also to Hall & Read for favor, and to trustees of the Baptist, Methodist, and Presbyterian societies for the use of their churches, and editor of Stamford.
Alexander R. Thompson
Acting Chaplain, 17th Conn. Vols.
Sept. 19th, 1862, Bridgeport
All of Company C was put on picket the night of the seventeenth, on account of the near presence of the enemy.
On Friday, the 19th, the Norwalk Gazette regimental correspondent reported, “There are eleven members of Friendship division, S.O.T. of New Canaan, and ten of Concord division, of Norwalk, in the regiment. They hold a meeting this evening, and organized the ‘Union Temperance Association of the 17th Regt. C.V.’ Mr. Offin, ofNew Canaan, president. C.H. Whitney, secretary.”
The diet of stinking meat was resumed after a short respite. The sick list on the 22nd numbered 150. On that day the following order was read on parade:
“No person shall be excused from duty unless excused by the surgeon at the surgeon’s call at6:30 a.m.Any person going to the surgeon at any other hour will be severely punished.”
Sunday afternoon, the 21st, a temperance meeting was held in a grove, near the camp. It was largely attended, and speeches were made by Colonel Noble, Corporal Whitney of Company A, and Private A. Offin, of Company H, an organization was formed, and Colonel Noble was elected president of it.
The colonel in his speech said he had no idea the regiment wanted to organize a temperance society, but he said he started one on his own hook when he entered the service. “I solemnly promised myself and my God that while I was gone there should be no intoxicating liquor in my tent nor drank in my presence.” Sixty-three members of the audience signed the pledge.
On the afternoon of the 23rd a unique but rather entertaining incident occurred. A woman came into camp to bring a washing. When she was taking the clothes from her basket a bottle of liquor was disclosed. She made a hasty attempt to hide it, and many excuses as to its origin. But it was believed she was bringing it in to sell, which was against the rule of the camp. A lieutenant of Company C ordered her to be drummed out of camp. The drum corps appeared, a guard secured the woman, and in spite of her appeals and protestations she was escorted outside the limits to the rather depressing air of the “Rogue’s March”.
Thursday, the 25th, news reached camp that the 23rd regiment of Connecticut was at the railway station in the city on its way to the front. As all of us desired to see somebody from home those who were not on duty were formed in line and marched into the city to the station. At the station we were met by our commissary sergeant, J.L. Day, who told us that we were on a bootless errand. The regiment was the 33rdNew York. As some compensation for the disappointment the officers gave the men a treat in some of the restaurants.
September 26th. In the drill this morning Captain Moore had command. He sang or whistled for us to march by. There was plenty of fun during the drill, but I am confident it would, in its efficiency, compare most favorably with any other mornings work.