50th Regiment Engineers
New York Volunteers
Civil War Newspaper Clippings
CAPT. BRAINERD'S ROME COMPANY.—The Romans are represented in Col. STUART'S Engineer Regiment by the majority of a company in every way one of the best sent from this county. The following is a list of the officers and men:
First Lieutenant—George N. Falley; 2d do., Henry O. Royt. (sic - should be Hoyt)
Sergeants—Orderly Sergeant, John J . Carroll; 2d do., Simeon H. Brown; 3d do., Geo. N. Burt; 4th do., James Griswold; 5th do., Nicholas Drewey.
Corporals—Freeman Warren, Reuben Griswold, Escourt C. Wells, Daniel Swartfinger, Charles N. Eddy, Peter McKenna, Arthur B. Avery, Joseph Cook. Wagoner, Edward Delos Thornton; Drummer, John B. Squires; Fifer,
Isaac T. Seamans.
Alexander Allen, Charles Brainerd, Thomas Colopy, Chester Covell, John Cross, William Edy, Wallace S. Tuller, Jacob Haff, John George L. Henry, John Lynts, Jr., Thomas Meek, Byron R. Seamans, David Reese, James Hillman, John Baldwin, John O, Golden, Edward A. Lyman, Franklin Shepard, James H. Brookins, Thomas McDonnal, Hiram E. Butler, John T. Tyler, Wm. Blakesley, Henry W. Lyman, Mather Platter, Abram Harrison, Peter Belcher, Richard H. Gardner, Philip Worth, James Prendergast, John B. Strong, Sylvanus S. Bixby, George N. Cown, Orsen B Welch, Chester P. Ralph, Charles S. Price, Charles Mackinson, Charles L. Whitman, John N. Harvey, Samuel Welch, Walter McKinney, N. B. Hughes, James Odell, Ira Jefferson Campbell, Bartholemon Bark, Geo. De Lorain Smith, Benj. A. Snow, Robert L. Thayer, Charles H. Waterman, George Young, George Younge, Floyd Marshall, Freeman Ellis, Charles Benedict, Wallace R. Simpson, Owen Crandell, Joseph Henry Younge, David Fitzgerald, Irwin C. Tickenor, Richard Hard, Charles W. Hicks, Albert Ellis, Emanuel Marshall,
James Harris, Charles Pardy, Jr., Judson Odell, George W. Goodspeed, Noah S. Rumsey, Addison Stone Ashley, Floyd Ashley, Wm. A. Hulsander, James A. Boyce, Avery Dawley, Francis A. Wood, Kimball S. Wood, Chester Myers, Willis H. Cole, Franklyn Graham, Samuel Doney, George V. Canfield, George Kye, Finlander B. Dunlap, Wm A. Heath, Wm. Harer.
THE ENGINEER REGIMENT.—The resignation of Col. Stewart, of the 50th N. Y. Engineers, has been accepted. Cause, continued
Lieut.-Col. Pettes, succeeds him in command. Maj. Spaulding has been appointed Lieut.-Col.
OUR ARMY CORRESPONDENCE.
From Co. G, 50th N. Y. (Engineer) Regiment.
HARPER'S FERRY, Va., April 28, '63.
On Sunday morning last, a force of rebel cavalry, about two hundred strong, made a raid on the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad in the vicinity of Altamont. They cut the telegraph wires and stopped an empty freight train, which arrived soon afterwards. They seized all hands on board, paroled them, and after making the engineer get up a head of steam, started the train in the direction of Oakland, without any one on board. The train is said to have done no damage. It is rumored that the rebels have appeared at other places west of here, but up to the present they have committed no serious depredations. The trains run as usual, both passenger and freight. The reason that the rebels have not molested the road since its re-opening is probably owing to the vigilance of the officers and men in this Department, which is a credit both to the government and to the troops who so faithfully perform their duty. Yesterday the 7th and 4th Regiments of Maryland Volunteers, of Gen, Kelly's Brigade, left here for the vicinity of the recent raid. The rebels will receive a warm reception B"h6ald they feel disposed to repeat their visit. During the latter part pf last week there was considerable rain in this vicinity. The river raised some eight feet, which gave us plenty to do to take care of our pontoon bridges. The flood-wood came down in large quantities.—There was a land slide on the railroad near Point of Rocks. The track was soon cleared, and the road is again in running order.
This morning, Major Oakley's clerk arrived and paid the company four months' pay, up to the first of March, which was received with much pleasure.
A squad of men under Lieut. Carroll went to Berlin yesterday to put ropes across the Potomac at that place for the use of the ferry boats, by which means they can crosss [sic] more rapidly. These men will have to go without their pay until the Paymaster gives us another call. Several months may elapse before this welcome occurrence takes place. The clerk had two or three hours to spare before the train from the west arrived. Berlin being but six miles, he could have gone there in a pontoon boat, to which two horses were attached ready to start, in an hour, or a trifle over that time, and paid the twelve that were there, and been ready to get on the train when it stopped. He said he had to report to Maj. Oakley, in Washington, at 7 P. M. This may be right enough, but certainly one would think that the men had a right to expect their pay at the same time. Their being on duty elsewhere was no reason they should wait perhaps an additional six months before they receive what is now due them. The regiment was paid on the 13th ult. Eight companies are at Falmouth ready to start with the pontoon trains, or do any other duty which may be required of them. The "50th" will give a good account of itself during the coming campaign.
The report of the Committee on the Conduct of the War, has been read extensively by the troops here, and by the comments which are made, I feel at liberty to say that many who have heretofore been great admirers of Mc-
Clellan now denounce him, and boldly say they do not believe he ever desired the rebellion should be put down, and if he had been placed in command of the Army of the Potomac, for the purpose of defeating the North, he could not have done it more successfully. General MCCLELLEN by his addresses, &c., to the army, won the respect and esteem of almost every man under his command, and few thought for a moment that he would betray the confidence which the army and the country placed in his ability to crush the rebellion. But the country has learned to its sorrow, that he was not the "Napoleon" his friends represented him to be; many of his subordinate Generals being his superiors in a military point of view. The men in the army who have been writing during the past winter, "that all was lost unless McClellan was reinstated in command of the army of the Potomac," would do well to read the report thoroughly, and after doing so they must see the utter incompetency of their favorite. At any rate they will have to do what is required of them while in the army, no matter who commands that army, whether it be Hooker, or any other man. Let us hope we may soon find a General equal to the emergency, and the army and the country be blessed with that they so much desire—Military success. F. B. W.
THE DUNDEE RECORD.
JAMES M. WESTCOTT, EDITOR. DUNDEE, THURSDAY, MAY 7, 1863.
Letter from Corporal Putnam.
HEAD QUARTERS, 50TH REG'T N. Y. V.,
Camp near White Oaks, April 30, 1863.
Editor Record--Sir: On the 28th at three P. M., we left camp and wended our way towards the river (Rappahannock) for the purpose of laying a bridge which we carried into effect the next morning. The result was as follows: We were all night in getting our train to the river, at which place we arrived at 5 o'clock A. M., on the 29th inst. We found plenty of troops there ready to cross, as soon as convenient. Volunteers were called for to cross the river and dislodge the enemy, who lay hidden in their rifle pits. They reached the river hanks, when a brisk fire ensued, which held the infantry from crossing.
At about 9 A. M., volunteers were called for from our Regiment (50th) to row the Infantry across. The ranks were soon filled for that purpose, and we started for the river at a double quick, where the troops were in waiting for us. A heavy fire of musketry greeted us, as we approached the river. The bullets flew above and around our heads like straws in a whirlwind. But despite all their efforts to hold us in check, we launched our boats, and they had no sooner struck the water before they were filled with troops eager for the onset; and in much less time than it takes me to tell it, we had crossed the river, driving the "Rebs from their hiding places, and took possession of the ground that only a few moments before the rebels occupied and disputed our crossing. General Wadsworth was present and could not wait for us to lay the bridge, and swam his horse across the river and took charge of the troops on the other side. Bully for the General!
As soon as we got through with rowing troops across the river, we commenced laying two bridges. Lieut. Col. PETTIS was in charge of the lower bridge, and Major BEERS, (and a more worthy officer cannot be found in the army of the Potomac) the upper one. In about one hour's time, we had spanned a river of about two hundred and fifty feet, with two substantial bridges, capable of holding up either infantry or artillery. When I left for camp, the General had drawn up in line of battle, and I expected he would give them battle, but has not up to the present time.
A hard rain set in this morning which I think is the cause of the delay of the fight; but if things remain favorable, you may expect to hear of a hard fought battle with the army of the Potomac. There was but very few killed or wounded on either side. We took about one hundred prisoners. We have just received orders to fall in, so I will close for this time.—You may expect to hear from me again.
Yours as a true soldier,
Fairmount, Va., May 10, 1863.
EDS. DEMOCRAT:—We, the undersigned, residents of Romulus, at present members of Co. G, 50th N. Y. V. E., do hereby testify that in January last, a gentleman of Romulus visiting our Company, stated in the presence of several of us, in substance as follows: that Dr. Dorchester refused to attend Mrs. Stearns unless he was paid before hand, and also paid a little account then due him; that Mrs. Stearns gave him the bond as security and he attended her, and also that they were going to take Mrs. Stearns to the Poorhouse, and that he was going to prevent her from going there if possible. His statement was corroborated by our friends at home. We receiving letters from them to the same effect, and feeling somewhat grieved at such meanness, were determined to make public, and at once requested your correspondent to ..., however, refused, saying he would state nothing about it unless he had sufficient evidence that it was true. We continued to receive letters from home confirmatory of the statement, also that Mrs. Stearns had gone to the Poor House, and after several weeks your correspondent consented, at our request, to make it public. What was published concerning it on the 30th of March, has not been contradicted by our friends only as corrected in the letter published April 10th. From the letters we have received, it appears to us more likely to be true than otherwise. We were not at all surprised when we heard of it.
W. H. GRIFFITH,
D. C. DENISTON,
J . E. CRANE,
A. H. PATTERSON,
S. A. SEABRING.
Corporals Bainbridge and Williams, who also informed me, are on detached service with the regiment.
F. B. W.
"F. B. W." and Dr. Dorchester, of Romulus.
Harper's Ferry, Va., May 13, 1863.
By a copy of the DEMOCRAT of the 24th of April, I see Dr. Dorchester has something to say about what I have written respecting him. Had the Doctor acted manly, he would, upon first reading it, have written and informed me it was false. If he had done that, I would have been made satisfactory in the next letter, and there would be no need of occupying the columns of a paper which can be more usefully employed. I know nothing about the affair only that I heard from those who I think are as reliable as Dr. D. I have been shown letters from Romulus, which confirm the truth more than otherwise, of the charges in question. I enclose herewith the testimony and names of my informants which you will please publish. I have some recollection of that brother-in-law saying that he did not believe it himself; but was that any reason why I should declare it all false, when two-thirds of the Romulus men believed it? I think not. I would like to know how many Romulus men it requires to make a statement authentic, and how many weeks must elapse before you can publish it without fear of being called a fool or a saphead? If my informants are not capable of speaking the truth, what must the Doctor's statements be? Or is he the only man in Romulus who always speaks the truth?
The Doctor accuses me of charging the people of Romulus with neglect t o care for the families of volunteers left in their midst. This I deny; and every man who is not blinded by passion and hatred, would see it was intended for any individual, in any locality, that needed it to jog his memory; to remind him of what he once promised. The Doctor had better get some friend to read it to him again. Perhaps he will then understand it better. I think I know how to respect my fellow men, although I do not profess to be perfect; but if the Doctor means respecting a man in the same way he respected a drummer boy, named Patterson, why then I think I would not respect any one. The Doctor is very patriotic, generous and kind to the families of soldiers, taking nothing only his due, but he has a peculiar way of showing it. One way is to buy the hundred dollar town bonds from the friends of soldiers--which draw seven percent for two years from issue--at a discount; but probably this is no more than others have done.
The person who mentioned the affair upon visiting the company, is the gentleman who enlisted the Romulus men for Co. G. I did not hear it myself, but had it from several who did, and are willing to say so. If the Doctor is not satisfied with this statement, as I have not, nor do not intend to comply with all his demands, and if he wishes any further satisfaction, either in a personal or a legal way, I am at his service, whenever he thinks fit to make his request known, and for that purpose will give my name for fear he has forgotten it. Frank B. Williams.
The Engineer Brigade.
The following complimentary order has been issued by Gen. Benham, commanding the Engineer Brigade of the Army of the Potomac. As many of the men were recruited in this part of the State, their friends will probably be glad to read it. The 50th Engineers belong to Gen. Benham's command:
HEADQUARTERS ENGINEER BRIGADE,
CAMP NEAR FALMOUTH, VA.,
May 13th, 1863.
General Orders No. 14.
The General commanding the Engineer Brigade feels it a duty, as well as a pleasure, to testify to their services, and express his warmest approbation of their unremitting labors and gallant conduct during the late movements of the army across the Rappahannock.
This brigade (at times temporarily kindly assisted by other regiments of this army) has, during the eight days' struggle, laid down and removed nine different bridges over the river, each from 100 to 140 yards in length; and five of these have been relaid at other points, making fourteen bridges in all, at different distances along the line of the river, for 25 or 30 miles. In one case two bridges were, as ordered, taken up after darkness had set in--were transported some 16 miles over bad roads, and were ready for being laid at the points ordered within some 10 to 11 hours, a feat believed to be unprecedented with such bridges, either in our own or any other country.
And through all these labors and exposures-- whether in the laying of the first bridges, when the oarsmen of the brigade so gallantly exposed themselves (as was necessary) more than all others, or in the laying of the bridges, as in the lower position at Banks' Ford, under a severe fire of shot and shell, or in the heroic night struggle for the preservation and repairing of their bridges during the flood of the river at the Upper Ford, on which so much depended, in all cases from every field officer in command of a bridge, through every junior officer, to the youngest private in the brigade (as far as known to your General) the highest and most unflinching devotion to duty has been shown, and the brigade deserves, as it has received, universal commendation.
Along this line of river it has been wanted everywhere--and it has been everywhere when wanted; and in this movement, at least, it has earned the proud motto of the British Corps of Engineers:
"Ubique, quo fas et gloria ducunt"—for it has been everywhere where glory leads.
By order of
Brigadier General H. W. Benham.
S. M. Weld, Jr., Lieut., A. D. C. and A. A. A. G.
Democrat & American.
MONDAY MORNING, JUNE 29.
OUR ARMY CORRESPONDENCE.
From the 50th (Engineer) Regiment.
HARPER'S FERRY, VA.,
June 16th, 1863.
At present appearances there is every prospect of Harper's Ferry being again under rebel dominion. The cavalry are reported advancing upon this place. The trains run east as far as Frederick, and consequently I do not know when this will be mailed. However, should you deem i t worth publishing when received, you are at liberty to do so, and knowing that under present circumstances many of your readers would like to know how it fares with Company G, I will inform you of our doings.
Sixty members of the company under the command of Sergeant S. E. Taylor are at Fairmont. The remainder under Capt. Personius were ordered to Williamsport on the 28th of May with pontoon material sufficient to span the Potomac at that point. Our orders were not to lay it down, but to remain there and be ready to do so if required. It gave us much pleasure to obey the order. On the night of the 29th we tied up about three miles west of Shepardstown, on which occasion we came near being captured. Seventeen rebels crossed a mile above to the Maryland side and returned during the night. Their ignorance of our close proximity saved us.
We arrived at Williamsport next day. The only troops stationed there were Lieut. Norton and fourteen men of the 7th Maryland. The inhabitants of the place are loyal with few exceptions, and have furnished as many men for its size as any other town. In favor of this assertion, I did not see a male inhabitant between the ages of sixteen and twenty-five during our stay. The numbers of the opposite sex were quite the reverse, and our detachment being mostly composed of young men without encumberances, were soon on familiar terms, the girls being very sociable.
I am not in the habit of telling stories out of camp, but then we are excusable—as some of us have seen nearly two years service,—if we do take a pleasant walk or spend an evening with the girls, if only to prevent us from forgetting what we did know about it; and you know it would not do to be ignorant of each pleasant duties when our term expires, and we return.—Some of us expect to live through the war and do well.
We were very comfortably situated, and enjoyed ourselves very much until the 13th June. Capt. Personius had important business at Martinsburg—13 miles distant—and returned with the news of the fighting at Winchester.—
At 11 P. M. of the same evening, we were called out to assist in getting three or four hundred horses to this side of the river. These animals had seen their best days, but were driven into Maryland to prevent the rebels getting them.—Soon after daybreak, men, women and children began to arrive from the direction of Martinsburg, and continued to cross in large numbers until after dark. The ford at Williamsport is one of the best on the Potomac. Wishing to know what was going on at Martinsburg, and having time and a horse at my disposal, I started for the latter place about noon on Sunday. The road was thronged with refugees fleeing from the rebels. The contrabands formed a large number. Most of them were carrying heavy bundles, and many of them rode good horses. Others had nice buggies to ride in, the property of their former masters, whom they had just left. They all appeared happy, probably anticipating their future existence in a land of freedom, where they would be free from their oppressors.
I came in sight of Martinsburg about 2 P. M. and learned that the rebels arrived within a mile. There had been skirmishing since their arrival, and at twelve M. made a charge with cavalry upon the town, but our artillery was too much for them. They wheeled and scampered back to the woods from whence they came. They sent in a flag of truce demanding the surrender, which was refused. Our force consisted of the 106th New York, Col. James, the 125th Ohio, one company of the 1st New York cavalry, and Captain Mosby's—Virginia— battery. General Tyler commanded. Skirmishing was carried on until about four o'clock, when the rebels sent in a flag of truce giving us half an hour to surrender and for the women and children to leave, as they were going to shell the place.—About five the rebels opened with artillery, and at the same time made a charge. Gen. Tyler remarked that this would not do, and ordered a retreat. Part of the 106th retired from the field in good order, but the rest of the force broke and ran, every man for himself. Capt. Moseby was wounded and two-thirds of his battery captured. Not wishing to become better acquainted with the rebels, and to prevent familiarity, I commenced making tracks for Williamsport.—I shall never forget the touching scene which I witnessed leaving Martinsburg. The women and children were congregated outside of the town. Your readers can form some idea when they consider the case; their homes being battered down, and hundreds of these Southern gentlemen rushing in to plunder and destroy.—A large train from Berryville came near being captured by the rebels on Friday last, in the vicinity of Winchester. The train, together with the Martinsburg train, passed through Williamsport during Sunday. General Mulligan was expected with reinforcements from New Creek. It appears he was on his way, but at North Mountain he was ordered to return.—There seems to be some blundering in not reinforcing the place. The rebels outnumbered ours considerable. This was seen when they charged upon and took the town.
Our loss in killed and wounded was very slight. The 126th Ohio lost one company who were skirmishing. The 106th New York lost a squad who were on picket. All the rolling stock of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad was sent away; the rebels did not get much. Our men retreated to Harper's Ferry, where they now are.
I understand that Colonel Stuart has resigned. If it is true it will give general satisfaction.— Lieutenant-Colonel Pettes has the respect and best wishes of the 50th. No officer could be held in higher esteem. F. B. W.
HARPER'S FERRY, VA., June 17th, 1863.
In view of the occupancy of Martinsburg by the rebels, we were at work all Sunday night preparing our train and ourselves, for an early start on Monday morning. After 10 P. M. all was quiet; nothing was crossing. We had three of our men mounted and kept them on the look out across the river to report the rebel advance. There being no telegraph nearer then Hagerstown—six miles distant—Capt. Personius had to use his own Judgment. At three A. M. Monday morning, he was advised—by a dispatch from Gen. Kelly—to try and make his way to the Ferry, to destroy the train if he could not take it up with him. So we went to work and loaded up open train-wagons, baggage, etc., in all seven rafts and twenty-eight boats. Williamsport was very quiet during the night. Many of the men left for safer localities. At five o'clock A. M. we had all loaded and commenced locking through; we had just got the last raft locked through when the rebel advance came in sight of the place. Had we been half an hour later we should undoubtedly have been captured.
They did not see us, or at least they did not interfere with our progress. At Falling Waters, four miles from Williamsport, the road touches the river, at this point we could see the rebels passing by; but they did not molest us in the least.
We arrived at Harpers Ferry at ten o'clock, P. M., bringing everything safely through. There was considerable excitement among the troops, and many rumors were going the rounds, regarding the rebels. General Milroy with his command had arrived from Winchester; the general impression is that General Milroy could have held the latter place had he attended to that most important of all, an abundant supply of ammunition, the lack of which has cost us so many lives. His troops lost most of their baggage, together with all the cannon. The 67th and 87th Pa. suffered terribly, as did many other regiments. Some of the men engaged say that the rebels fired railroad iron and chain shot. When leaving Winchester, our men were fired upon from the windows. Capt. Brown, of the 122d Ohio, was shot by a woman, and the Colonel of the 87th Pa. had a narrow escape. A woman fired at him, from a window, but one of his men soon put an end to her existence by the same means.
To-day and yesterday the troops have been entrenching and cutting down the woods in our front. The trains do not come farther north than Frederick, and consequently we do not know what is going on. There is considerable excitement here. It is reported that the rebels are in our front and rear. The troops are concentrated on Maryland Heights. At 4 P. M. Capt. Personius was ordered by Gen. Morris to send 29 men on picket, we having only thirty-five men at the place fit for duty, and having to take care of our bridge, some of which had to be taken up to prevent the rebels from crossing, should they attempt to do so. Capt. Personius explained the position of affairs, but received an answer that the order must be obeyed immediately. The 63d Article of War is very explicit in regard to the duties of Engineers, which Gen. Morris would do well to read. The Captain sent the men as ordered, leaving in camp six daily duty men, who, if required, would have to take up sufficient of the bridge, which is much larger, it being intended for a permanent one. At half-past eleven P. M., Gen. Morris' Adjutant General came with an order from Gen. Tyler—who is at present in command—to take up sufficient of the bridge to prevent crossing, as soon as the last piece of Capt. Miner's battery had crossed to Maryland Heights. The order was well enough; provided we had the men to execute it. However, as soon as the battery crossed, we went to work. Two spans were taken up, when Col. Ketchen, of the 6th New York artillery arrived and ordered us to relay it. The troops, pickets and all had been withdrawn to the Maryland side. The twenty-nine men of our company took care of, and guarded the approaches to the bridge on both sides of the river. During the night the planking on the railroad bridge over the Shenandoah—a draw-bridge over the canal built by our company—was likewise completely destroyed—for what purpose we cannot tell, as not a rebel has shown himself up to the present. At noon today the Captain received a dispatch from Colonel Kitchen, stating that he had received information that the rebel pickets were approaching Bolivar Heights, and ordering us to be ready to cast the bridge loose. Our men were at the required place as soon as their legs would permit, the Captain in advance. At the time the dispatch was handed to the Captain, a train of wagons on the other side of the river were coming over to Maryland Heights with ammunition. The teamsters were told the rebels were coming, and started at a double-quick over the bridge; but they were soon brought to their senses by our boys. Col. Kitchen arrived immediately afterwards, and arranged it with the cavalry pickets on Bolivar Heights, to inform us of the rebel advance.
We were informed to-day by a boatman belonging to Williamsport, and who was there when the rebels arrived, that a secesh resident there informed them of our recent departure. Three hundred of them started across from Williamsport, six miles distant by canal and about three by the road, but fortune favored us. A force of the first Maryland cavalry were sent up from the Ferry to look after us. They met the rebels, attacked them, and drove them back. Should we ever visit Williamsport again, we shall try and find this rebel and reward him for his trouble. Our men still remain on guard tonight. The Virginia end of the bridge is cast loose, so that if the rebels should come to-night, they could not use it.
20th.—Our boys have just gone to Frederick.
F. B. W.
From the 50th Engineers.
Frederick, Md., July 5th, 1863.
The 6th Michigan cavalry left here on Friday at sun down for the Upper Potomac. They encountered a few rebels on the route, and pushed on to Falling Water, where they destroyed a bridge which the rebels had built over the river and took fifteen prisoners. They arrived here under a small guard last night. The remainder of the 6th went on for Williamsport.
It has rained most of the time during the past week, which will prevent the rebels re-crossing very fast. Our cavalry should be at work destroying the bridges, &c., that the rebels may have built over the Potomac. They would then have considerable trouble to get back into Virginia. The river has raised several feet, and if our Generals will only attend to their business during the next ten days, the rebel army will not have to be confronted again south of the Potomac.
On Friday morning Generals Morris' and Kenly's brigades marched from their camps west of Frederick to the Monocacy Junction, where they again pitched their tents. The 151st New York is attached to the 3d brigade—Gen. Morris'. Gen. French has his headquarters in town. Company G and the Pennsylvania Company of Engineers are now encamped in the yard surrounding the Court House. It is a splendid building not yet finished. The work was suspended when the rebels crossed into Maryland.
The Fourth was poorly celebrated at this place. The church bells were chiming from 1 A. M. until daylight. A dozen fire crackers and as many rockets were all the display that was made. About 3 o'clock this afternoon our pickets were driven in on the Harper's Ferry road. The pickets consisted of three cavalrymen, who came dashing into town with sabres drawn and their hats lost, apparently in a great fight. Capt. Personius was ordered to take his squad and the Pennsylvania Engineers and form a line on the street, where the Baltimore and Washington pikes form a junction. The men were at the place designated in five minutes after the long roll was beat. Our guns were loaded and we were ready to give the rebels "jessie" should they feel inclined to try and spend the Fourth in Frederick. All the troops, with the exception of one or two hundred, were encamped on the other side of the place, and we would be the first to meet the enemy, being quartered in the center of the city. Cole's cavalry were soon out and dashing up the street where the rebels were seen. When the first alarm was given, the Stars and Stripes—what few there were displayed—were hauled in, and with one or two exceptions not a flag was to be seen; but after our cavalry went by, a few took courage and put, them out again. There are many Copperheads in Frederick, and had the rebels attacked us we should have marked the houses where the rebel rag was exhibited. When the squad of rebel cavalry was here a week or two since, the proprietor of the Central Hotel hoisted a secession flag. The military authorities are now watching him pretty closely. During the time we were out, two colored boys about eight years old had a fight on their own account, which made some fun for the bystanders. Two of the citizens proved their loyalty by going to the Provost Marshal, who, at their request, furnished them with a rifle and equipments. They took their place in line beside our men. After being out two hours without any prospect of a fight, we returned to quarters. Previously, however a citizen passed around the cigars, for which we gave three and a tiger. Cole's cavalry returned about 8 P. M. They went beyond Jefferson, and captured three rebels. They learned that the rebels did not number twenty. Generals Morris and Kenly's brigades left here last night, ...
This morning a large force of cavalry and a battery passed through, en route for the vicinity where their presence are required. Both the men and the horses looked very much as though they needed rest, having done considerable marching of late. A soldier was found dead on the Ferry road, his name and regiment were unknown, and was buried by the Pennsylvania engineers. We had some heavy showers yesterday; there was only about six inches of water in our tents, which made them very comfortable for sleeping purposes. At midnight it commenced again, and continued till daylight. The Potomac must be rather high just now, which will make it all the better for our side. Ten men left to-day for Harper's Ferry; they went in an ambulance, with their arms and one day's rations. They are sent there to destroy the railroad bridge, for which purpose each man took an axe. Major Coles, the efficient Provost Marshall of Frederick, and able commander of a battalion [sic] of Maryland cavalry preceded the men at the head of his command. Eight prisoners were brought in this evening. They were captured near Hagerstown. I learn from our cavalry that just came in, that every gap and pass in South Mountain and elsewhere, is well guarded by our forces. The rebels will undoubtedly have a hard time getting back.
P. S., 6th—The ten men who left yesterday for Harper's Ferry, in charge of Sergt. Moore, returned this morning. They report having succeeded, with the aid of an abundance of coal oil, in destroying all the trestle and wood work of the railroad bridge. They were fired at several times, but they returned with nobody hurt. Our cavalry, which was in the advance, saw about one hundred rebel cavalry, who skedaddled to the Virginia side. The river is high and fording at that point will soon be impossible.
From the 50th (Engineer) Regiment.
FREDERICK, Md., July 8, 1863.
Frederick has been alive since Sunday with troops arriving and passing through to intercept the retreating rebels, who are said to be making their way to the Potomac, greatly disgusted with their reception at Gettysburg. Nine hundred prisoners passed through on Monday, also thirty-four wagons filled with wounded rebels. A spy was hung about a mile from town last Monday, by Gen. Bu7ford's orders—three more were captured yesterday; they are not yet disposed of. Two rebel surgeons were brought in yesterday, also twenty-six prisoners. Many of the prisoners say they think it is all up with the Southern confederacy. With Lee's army broken up, and Vicksburg taken, in their opinion, the Union will soon be restored, and peace and good will prevail.
The 7th N. Y. N. G. are here from Baltimore. Some of the poor fellows complained of being sent down here, they expecting to go to Pennsylvania. They ought to exchange places with one of our volunteer regiments for a short time, they would see the difference. Maj. Gen. Meade and staff arrived yesterday, and are staying at the United States Hotel. Gen. French was serenaded last night by the band of the 7th N. Y., which, after discoursing several pieces and partaking of refreshments, proceeded to General Meade's headquarters. The same compliment was paid to General Pleasanton by t he band of the Sixth Regular Cavalry. The Twelfth Army Corps are passing through the town. They are to a man, all anxious to push on and prevent rebels crossing. It is reported that the rebels are crossing at several places on the river, but it is hardly credited. The 107th New York have just marched by—they report their losses in the late battles very slight. It commenced raining about sunset yesterday, and has continued without cessation all night, and is still pouring down. Lee will have a dismal time bidding farewell to "My Maryland" this summer. The latest news received here is very encouraging. By the disposition made of our forces, but few of the rebels will get back without going by the way of Baltimore. We expect to leave to-day, but where we are going we cannot say. From some cause or other we have received no mail of late. All letters should be directed to the Company and regiment via Washington. F. B. W.
From the 50th (Engineer) Regiment.
HEADQUARTERS 3D ARMY CORPS,
NEAR FUNKSTOWN, Md.
July 14, 1863.
Our detachment left Frederick on the 8th inst.; likewise Maj. Gen. French, who is assigned to the command of the 3d Corps, which consists of the old corps and the bridges commanded by Generals Morris and Elliot. Our detachment is under the immediate command of Gen. French. We have marched very slowly so far, which causes some discussion on the subject by the troops, who are all anxious to give the decisive blow to the rebellion. This corps is held in reserve, and in supporting distance to the gallant 5th Corps, which is a mile in advance. Yesterday the troops were formed, arms were stacked, and all ready to move at a moment's notice, as an attack was expected. During the afternoon it was rumored that the rebels were driven out of Hagerstown and that the latter place was now held by our troops. All the wagons were sent to the rear and every preparation made for the expected battle. On the hills and in the valleys could be seen the gallant hosts of the Union army, their arms stacked, resting somewhat from the fatigues of the past month. Batteries of artillery had their horses hitched to their pieces; the ambulances were in the rear ready for the reception of the wounded. The scene was indeed suggestive, and I could not think otherwise—that miles away, surrounded by peace and plenty, the absent ones were not forgotten, and that while prayers were ascending to the great disposer of events for their safety, their husbands, sons and brothers were at the same time, while resting beside their trusty weapons, thinking of the time when the cause in which they are engaged will be accomplished, peace and good will abound throughout our reunited land, when all who survive this struggle can return home with the conscientious conviction of having done their duty.
There was some heavy showers towards night and this morning gives promise of more rain. I was informed this morning, by a man who lives between here and Williamsport, that the rebels are very despondent and think their cause is hopeless. They expect to be captured, as they have no means of escape, being almost entirely surrounded. They are, however, disposed to try and fight their way out, and for that purpose are probably massing their troops at Williamsport or in that vicinity. You will undoubtedly know the result before this reaches you.
I learn from Col. James, of the 106th N. Y., that companies H, I and C are at Harper's Ferry with a pontoon train, under the command of Maj. Brainard. The Army of the Potomac seem to have had great confidence in Gen. Hooker, and, so far, I have not found a single man who did not like him. However, they make no fuss; they are as heretofore, and do not care who leads them if they are only led to victory and are not sacrificed uselessly as they were during the summer of '62. F. B. W.
From the 50th (Engineer) Regiment.
Correspondence of the Democrat and American.
PLEASANT VALLEY, MD.,
July 17th, 1863.
The Maryland campaign is ended and the rebels are again on the sacred soil, to be again chased by the Army of the Potomac. Whatever may be the opinion of the people at large at the escape of Lee and his army, one thing is certain, the army is as much disappointed as though it had met with a serious disaster; and who can blame them, after enduring so much to effect the capture of the entire rebel force on the Maryland side, which was in their grasp, and only awaited the command to make the attack. It appears that the corps commanders were equally divided on the time of making the attack. But why should some, or any of our generals be in a hurry when they are making such a nice thing of it, and have their waiters and attendants, the best the country affords, and plenty of "good whisky"—and consequently have a good time generally. Our army was five or six days between Frederick and Williamsport—twenty-four miles distant—three of which were spent in sight of the rebel lines. During the past month the Army of the Potomac has done all that an army could do for the success of our cause and the annihilation of the rebel army, and would have gained their hearts' desire had it not been for bad generalship, and thereby a glorious victory was lost; which, with Vicksburg and Port Hudson being ours, the rebellion would be ended in a short time. The rebel works were hastily thrown up, and principally consisted of rails, rocks and trees, with a slight covering of earth, and a few embrasures for guns, none of which had been placed in position. It was a mere nothing and could easily have been carried. Had Gen. Meade attacked, on Sunday or Monday, the whole rebel army would have been captured without doubt. They commenced crossing on Monday, and by Tuesday morning all had crossed, with the exception of two thousand, principally deserters.
On the return march, twelve men died on the 15th, belonging to the 3d corps, from the effects of sun stroke and exhaustion. The roadsides were literally covered with exhausted men, who could go no farther. Some of our Generals have an idea that the troops want to see the country. They generally march three miles, the necessary distance. A fine horse to ride, plenty of good things to eat, saddle bags filled with black bottles, probably containing refreshments—in contrast with the crackers and coffee which is usually the diet of the rank and file, who march with their loads and do the fighting.
Companies A, C, F, I, H and K are at Harper's Ferry and Berlin. A bridge was laid at the former place on the 13th, and one at the latter place on the 16th. Lieut. Col. Spaulding and Major Brainard are in command. The remainder of the regiment is at Washington.
18th.—We left our camp in Pleasant Valley yesterday afternoon, and reported to Colonel Spaulding, in compliance with orders, and went to work with the other companies laying another bridge, which had just arrived from Washington. There is one bridge at the Ferry, and two at this place, Berlin.
The 140th regiment crossed over with the 5th corps during the afternoon. I regret not having the pleasure of seeing this gallant regiment of old Monroe, but was informed that the boys were in good spirits considering the circumstances. It has rained most of the day, and the roads are in a wretched condition. The other corps will probably cross to-day. They have been resting and drawing clothing and other necessary articles for another campaign.
Our friends at home must see that Copperheads are taken care of, and that the conscription act is enforced and the laws obeyed. The army must be filled at once, or nothing can be done for some time. F. B. W.
From the 50th Regiment.
CAMP NEAR NAVY YARD, WASHINGTON, D. C.,
July 19th, 1863.
Dear Journal:--Since writing to you last, four Co's have left leaving but two at headquarters. On Thursday last, the remainder of the 15 regiments whose terms of service have not expired, with the Regulars, left here with eighty-four boats for some point up the river, probably Harper's Ferry. Yesterday morning a bridge a little over 1,500 feet long was completed across the Potomac at Berlin, and before this has probably borne across a portion of the "Army of the Potomac." How strange that that army should have allowed Lee to cross without losing even a portion of its rear guard. However, good news continues to crowd the papers and every patriot may well be proud of the achievements of July. The fall of Vicksburg and Port Hudson, the terrible defeat of Lee at Gettysburg, the capture of Morris island, and the successes of Sherman and Rosecrans, have given us advantages, which if properly employed must result in speedy and perfect success. The riot in N. Y. City has occasioned great indignation among the soldiers here, and the news that they had been handled without gloves, fired upon and dispersed, was received with almost as much joy at that which greeted the fall of Vicksburg or Port Hudson. The great event of the week here has however been the gale of Sunday the 12th inst. The forenoon had been oppressively hot, and all nature sweltering beneath the burning rays of the sun. But during the afternoon a heavy, black cloud slowly arose in the western horizon and gradually overspread the sky. Rain soon began to fall in torrents and the wind which had been idly fanning us from the east veered round to the south, increasing to a gale which filled every one with apprehension for his frail habitation. The flapping of canvass resembled the close discharge of fire arms. Officers and men freely exposed themselves to the pouring rain, more securely fastening their guys and stays to avert the catastrophe, but all in vain. At four o'clock a single blast from the South carried everything before it. Bunks, blankets, beds, sheets, and pillars, knapsacks, haversacks, canteens, shoes, sacks, coats, pants, and sick men were piled together in—to all but the animal portion—inextricable confusion. The rain camp down, not in drops or streams, but in sheets and pailfuls [sic], upon the luckless ones thus rudely deprived of shelters. A single bonnet careering through the air told the story of one fair sufferer, the wife of an officer who had joined him a few days previously. Every tent in connection with the hospital was blown down, and those of nearly all of the officers. There were fifteen sick in the hospital, none however unable to walk. Fortunately a house stood but a few rods distant which offered ample heat and shelter. The inhabitants, soldiers families, kindly furnished supper, and it is to their kindness that our patients owe much for their preservation from the evils which would naturally result from the drenching. Mr. Newton, Mrs. Riley, & the two Mrs. Howard will ever be kindly remembered in connection with the gale of July 12th.
Yours as ever,
J. C. H.
From the 50th (Engineer) Regiment.
Correspondence of the Democrat & American.
CAMP NEAR NAVY YARD,
Washington, D. C., Aug. 3, 1863.
We have returned once more to our old camping ground near the Navy Yard, made familiar by our long stay during the winter of inaction, and again last fall after the fruitless summer campaign. The regiment is once more together with the exception of a portion of Co. G, who are expected here daily from West Virginia. Company A arrived this morning from Harper's Ferry. They were relieved by a Pennsylvania company of engineers. There is one bridge there; the remainder have been brought here. The health of the regiment is remarkably good, very few being sick. Our daily duties are rather severe, owing to the oppressive heat, and when such duties could be dispensed with without injury to the service; however, soldiers are mere instruments under the control of shoulder straps, and as such, have to be ready to give performances when required. We shall probably remain here some time, as the Army of the Potomac is not likely to assume offensive operations until its ranks are somewhat replenished. We anticipate having the pleasure of welcoming some conscripts to our regiment. I understand that efforts will be made to fill up the regiment to the number authorized by the act passed a year ago.—Those wishing to join the 50th will probably have an opportunity by applying to the representatives of the regiment at Elmira. Lieuts. Newcombe and Johnson, with six sergeants, are at the latter place, to take charge of those for us. Company G is represented by Sergeant S. E. Taylor.
The 50th is one of the best regiments in the service, and has a record of which all may be proud. Its field officers cannot be surpassed in their attentions to the wants and comforts of the men; the pay is also higher than any other branch of the service.
The draft commences in the city of Washington to-day. We are in readiness to enforce it if required, although no resistance is anticipated. We would like to take a trip to New York city, and be there when the draft commences again. They would get one good cleaning out, which they need very much. F. B. W.
CASUALTIES TO OUR SOLDIERS.—In the list of casualties in crossing the Rappahannock on Friday, as reported in our war news, we find the following among Capt. Brainard's company of the 50th engineers, who laid the pontoon bridge on which the troops crossed:
Wallace Fuller, arm; George L. Henry, chest; James Boyce, leg; A. B. Hyde, both legs—all of company C.
The last named, Hyde, was a son-in-law of Mr. E. H. Nelson, boot and shoe maker, of this village.
We also find in the incidents of the Port Hudson battle of May 27th, the following which we believe to relate to Sergeant Van Slyke, of Oneida, a subscriber and occasional correspondent of the SENTINEL:
Sergt. Van Shick, of the 28th New York, had both legs shot away at the knee. He continued to fire at the enemy until he received a fatal wound in the breast. His last words were, "Tell my mother I died with my face to the enemy. Boys, have I not done my duty as a man and a soldier?"
LIEUT. NEWCOME.—The name of Lieut. Newcomb, of the 50th regiment of Engineers, appears [sic] in the list of casualties incurred at the crossing of the Rappahannock, last week. Lieut. Newcomb is the well-known Civil Engineer, formally of the staff employed upon the canal in this department. He has resided for some years at Phelps, Ontario county, and after engaging in the Army removed his family to this city, where his wife died, a few months since.
To Recruit.—Capt. John Weed, of the Old 13th, left for Lockport this morning, where he proposes to recruit a company for the 14th Heavy Artillery.
Col. Stuart of the 50th Regiment, resigned his office on account of poor health, and came home a few days since.—His throat was in such condition as to render it almost impossible for him to speak loud, but on receipt of the news that the Rebels were marching Northward, the Col. immediately arranged his matters, and yesterday morning left for Washington, to offer his services to the Government. We thrust the Colonel will be placed in position, where he can render good service to the Government.
THE FIFTIETH ENGINEERS.—The following changes have taken place in the command of this regiment, in which there is a full company from Rome, under Capt. W. Brainard. We hope the Captain will be promoted to the vacant Majority:
The resignation of Col. Stuart of the 50th New York Engineers has been accepted; cause, continued ill-health. Lieut. Col. Pettes of the same regiment, will succeed to the command. Major Spaulding of the same
DEATH OF A SOLDIER.—Private Riley E. Fletcher, Co. A, 50th Regiment, N. Y. S. V., died on the 21st inst., of typhoid fever, at the U. S. Army General Hospital, Camden street, Baltimore. (May 1862)
FIFTIETH ENGINEER REGIMENT.—This regiment is now lying near the Navy Yard at Washington in idleness. It appears by letters we have seen from the members of this regiment that its services do not appear to be required as an engineer corps—though it has performed most gallant service heretofore. The privates fear that they are to be turned over to the Infantry service, as there are rumors of that sort at Washington. It is not at all likely that government, with all the high handed outrages it commits upon individual right, will transfer a regiment from the branch of the service in which the men enlisted to another without their consent. Such a course it dare not take. The men of the 50th need have no fear on that score. When the regiment is not required as an engineer corps, it will probably be dismissed and the men may enlist in other regiments or go where they please. Many would doubtless enter other regiments.
The 50th N. Y. (Engineer Reg't.)—Company L, of the 50th Regiment was recruited here and in Canandaigua. Its officers are Capt. H. B. Dexter, l s t Lieut. R. H. Schooey, 2d Lieut. R. H. Warfield.
Mr. Warfield, of this city, has received a letter from his son, Lieut. Warfield, dated the 10th stating that the Company were all in good spirits, having only two wounded in the six days' fight, and all were bound to "go to Richmond."
THE 50TH ENGINEERS.—A letter has been shown us from a member of this regiment who went from this city. He says the regiment is on active duty in its department of the service and has been ever since the campaign opened. The writer was at Coal Harbor on the 10th inst. The men get plenty to eat and whisky rations. They are willing to work hard and regard it as safer than fighting. The writer thinks the rebels are well fed, judging by those he has seen killed, wounded or prisoners. He says they do not like a square, stand-up fight, but prefer to skulk in the woods, where they have an advantage by better acquaintance.
J. S. Spaulding, of Co. D, 50th N. Y. Engineers, recently died in the New York military Hospital.
We are pleased to learn that our young friend, Lieut. J. Lorin Robbins, of the 50th Regt. N. T. Engineers, has been promoted to Captain of Co. A. Sergt. Joseph Borden, 1st Lieut., and Sergt. O. M. Byram 2d Lieut. This splendid company of one hundred and fifty men was recruited principally by Lieut. Robbins, in this County and North Hector, Schuyler Co., and said to be the best company in the Regiment. The 50th has completed its organization; it has twelve companies of one hundred and fifty men each, and is one of the most efficient Engineer regiments in the service. [Democrat.
From Harper's Ferry—Company G, 50th New York Regiment.
HARPER'S FERRY, Va., Dec. 13, 1863.
The past few days have witnessed a scene of activity in this vicinity, owing to the leaving of the 12th army corps under General Slocum—They are going, it is said, to reinforce Burnside, and their place is to be again in the Department of General Wool. There is a small number of troops left here sufficient for picket duty, and more are expected from Baltimore and elsewhere to garrison and hold the place. The recent reconnaissance under General Geary to Winchester and Bunker Hill, has proved that Jackson has left the Valley, and is now probably between Burnside and Richmond.
The inhabitants of Winchester and vicinity treated our troops with all the kindness and hospitality possible, feeding our soldiers with the best they had. They implored Gen. Geary not to leave them again in the power of the rebels. He told them his orders and left the place, score.. them crying as the troops took their departure. How famed in history will be the Shenandoah
Valley; forward and backward both armies have moved, until i t has become a familiar word in every household throughout the land. That valley, desolated by war and knowing naught but barreness [sic] and misfortune, will be remembered in song and story, long after Waterloo and Yorktown will have been forgotten.
The telegraph has informed you before this the crossing of the Rappahannock at Fredericksburg. The bridges were undoubtedly laid by regiment—the other regiment of the Brigade, the 15th New York, having nothing to do with pontoon bridges, and by the news to-day we learn that our boys had pretty lively times, the rebels opening upon them with musketry and driving them from the bridges several times, killing and wounding a number of them; but the bridges were finally laid, and our army crosses over and occupies the city. Eight companies of our Regiment were there, company K being at Washington and company G at this place. I do not know the names of those killed or wounded or to which companies they belong.
The weather of late has been pretty cold, the rivers freezing sufficient for good skating. We still wear our blouses and pants which we have worn all summer, and I am sorry to say they are about used up. The paymaster is just as bad as the quartermaster, we having only been paid up to the 30th of June. The boys do not mind it so much, but there are plenty of men who have families depending upon them for the pittance which is due them, to keep them from want. It is some thing which should engage the attention of Congress at once, for many in the army left good positions to serve their country, deeming it their first duty. But when a man receives letter after letter informing him that his family are lacking the necessaries of life, it unfits him for the performance of the duties required of him; but the North has food enough and to spare, and it is the duty of all those who stay at home enjoying the comforts of life, to see that the families of those who have gone, have food to eat and raiment to wear. Let not the pangs of hunger and want enter any soldier's household while he is absent imperilling [sic] his life for the perpetuity of our National Republic.
There is a large number of sick here in the hospitals. Senator WILSON has introduced a bill to facilitate the medical examination of invalid soldiers in the hospitals and convalescent camps of the army. This is something that has been long needed, for there are thousands in the hospitals who have been there several months and who will never be able to do a day's duty in the army, yet they are kept there languishing on beds of sickness when, if they were discharged and returned to their homes, they might recover in a short time. In the meantime, however, let not the sick soldier be forgotten by his friends. Send him papers and write to him often. It will assure him he is missed from the circle from which he is absent for a time; it will help to pass some of the weary hours as he lays on a bed of pain, attended by strangers. Some of the gentlemen at home, who have leisure, would do well to pay a visit to the army hospitals. F. B. W.
LATER—PARTIAL LIST OF CASUALTIES IN THE 50TH.
KILLED.—Captain Perkins, Co. F ; Lewis Wilcox, Co. C; Wm. Blakesly, Co. C; Philip Comfort. Co. F; ____ Beswick, Co. F.
Wounded.—Capt. Wesley Brainard, Co. C; Capt. McDonald, Co. K; Corp. Wicks, do; Franklin Shepard, Co. C; John S. Tuttle, Co. P ; Warren K. Weston, Co. C; Peter Dunlap, do; James Smith, Co. F; Wm. Bessby, do; Isaac J. Bradshaw, do; J. K. Adams, do; Corp. Pette, do; Luther Reed, Co. H; Wm. Jordan, do; G. Fowler, Co. C.
BESWICK is the only one I know of from Rochester, but as the given name is not on the list, it may be another one. There may possibly be two of the same name in the same company. F. B. W.
COMPLIMENT TO THE 50TH ENGINEERS—The following order issued by Gen. Benham complimentary to the 50th Engineers, has not, we believe,
been published here:
HEADQUARTERS ENGINEER BRIGADE
October 28th, 1863.
General Orders, No. 21,
The commanding General has the pleasure of acknowledging the report of Lieut. Col. Spaulding, Commanding the detachment of the 50th N. Y. Vol. Engineers, which were ordered to remain at the front near the Upper Rappahannock while the remainder of the Engineer Brigade were ordered to its depot to prepare bridges for an advance at the lower part of the river on the 10th inst.
This report of the unwearied efforts of the detachment under Lieut. Col. Spaulding in their rapid construction and removal of the several bridges on the Rappahannock and upon the smaller streams on this side, with their persevering and successful efforts for preservation of their trains through the six days march of the Army to its new position, merits and receives, from the General, the highest commendation, not only for Lieut. Colonel Spaulding whose promptness, efficiency, and gallantry have been conspicuous on so many previous occasions, but also for the officers and men of his fine regiment who were with him and whom he reports to have behaved most admirably through this whole movement. These officers and men may rest assured that though their comrades now at this station were not called upon as was hoped for, to aid in the other expected point of attack, they still share largely in the pride and pleasure of feeling that these services have been performed by their own special comrades in arms.
By Order of Gen. BENHAM,
[Signed] CHANNING CLAPP,
Ass't. Adj't. Gen'l.
Lieut. Col. SPAULDING, Commd'g detachment
50th N. Y. Vol. Engineers.
THE 50TH ENGINEERS.—
Co. A. 50TH REGT. N. Y. S. E.,
Camp Near Navy Yard, Washington D. C.,
January 3d, 1864.
FRIEND CLEVELAND:—As so many of the old men have re-enlisted out of our Company, I tho't I would write and let you know how many of the old boys that came out in the 50th N. Y. V. Engineers, have re-enlisted for three years more, and all the names that I send you have gone into the same Company that they have served two years in. I hope that you will find room in your well filled columns for these few names, as it may encourage the men of Yates County. A. F.
Sergt. John Brown Corp’l John Harrison
do Joseph Burdin do J. V. Lamereux
do C. Bysand do D. J. Fetger
John W. Buck
John A. Butler
Theodore T. Evans.
James N. Geran
K. M. Bennett
Democrat & American
TUESDAY MORNING, DEC. 1.
From the 50th N. Y. Engineers.
Correspondence of the Democrat and American.
Washington, D. C., Nov. 26.
To-day being Thanksgiving, the usual drills are dispensed with. The weather is magnificent, clear and bright over head, and dry under foot, just the day to visit soldiers friends in the vicinity, if we could only get out, but there are obstacles in the way. The camp guard are pacing too and fro, keeping all in except those with passes, which are limited, one being allowed to every thirty men. So the boys have to stay in camp and think of Thanksgiving a year hence, when our term of service will be expired, and the favored few who are then alive can have the pleasure of spending Thanksgiving with the loved ones at home.
The glorious news from Tennessee gladdens the hearts of the soldiers here, and is one consolation, that as they will not let the Army of the Potomac do anything, we can rejoice that something is being done by our comrades on a more distant field, and bid them God speed in the glorious work of crushing this hell born rebellion.
Since the commencement of this war considerable has been written and published concerning Army Chaplains. I believe it is the opinion of many that these gentlemen do a vast amount of good in the army. While others, and I fear the majority, are under the impression that they could be dispensed with, and so far as religion is concerned, the men would loss nothing thereby. A city pastor is expected to know, personally, the majority of his congregation, and some naturally suppose that a Chaplain would soon know the men of the regiment, whose spiritual adviser he is, but such is not always the case. There are some Chaplains who seldom speak to any but the officers of the regiment, and their preaching is all one-sided. It is well-known in the army that chaplains succeed in doing but little good, but it is not their fault. The men become so addicted to the wild and somewhat romantic life of a soldier, that they will not listen for a moment to the wise counsels of the chaplain, and it is useless for him to try to direct them on the road that leads to eternal joy and happiness. It is true there is a large number who, while being in the army, have contracted habits unfavorable to their social position when they again don the dress of a citizen. It is true there are many who have learned to swear, to gamble and other vices incident to a life in camp and field, since they left the precincts of their loved homes. But before we condemn these, let us have a little charity, and take into consideration the temptations that constantly hover around the soldier's life. The latter when he enters the service, cannot choose his own companions, he must take them as he finds them, let them be what they may, and in a company of a hundred men gathered from different localities, there is always to be found a few who have no respect for what they utter, and are always eager to entice others to join them in their evil doings. There are many soldiers who, when they were pursuing their peaceful avocations, walked the Christian path, and their associates were among the good, who now delight in playing cards, and seem not to care what language they use, being free from the restraints of home, out of sight of parents and friends, surrounded by the vices and monotony of camp life. They resort to gambling, at first they play for pastime, but soon play for money, and as one vice follows another, they soon acquire the habit of using an oath, as if necessary to substantiate every word they say. But while it is very true that there are many in the army who are confirmed gamblers yet they are very few compared with the opposite class, who delight in doing their whole duty, both to their country and their God. The soldier must have something with which to occupy his unemployed time, and a game of cards is often indulged in, for with many it is the only means of passing away a weary hour. But the greatest crime in the army is profanity. It is a crime of which officers and men are alike guilty; a crime which Articles of War and General Orders are useless for its suppression. In for too many instances officers take the lead instead of trying to banish this evil from the camp. There is only one way of removing this evil from the army, and that is by letters from the loved ones at home; and if the individual friends of every soldier will take the work in hand their labors will surely be crowned with success. A kind, earnest, pleading letter from a mother or sister will do a soldier more lasting good than a chaplain can by preaching a score of sermons. It is the only way a soldier can be approached successfully and will accomplish greater results than many imagine. Letters from home are always received with the greatest pleasure, and the contents are sure to receive their thoughtful consideration. F. B. W.
From the 50th Engineers.
Correspondence of the Democrat and American.
HEADQUARTERS 50TH ENGINEERS.
January 17th, 1864.
Thinking that some of the friends of the 50th would like to know how we are thriving, I will inform them that we are with the rest of the army, doing the best we can to take care of ourselves during this cold and dreary winter, and are as comfortable as circumstances and the army regulations will admit. Five companies are at the front, and have several bridges on the Rappahannock to attend to. The health of the regiment was never better.
It will, perhaps, give our friends much pleasure to hear that at least three-fourths of the veterans of the regiment have re-enlisted for an additional three years or the war, and there is a fair prospect of most of the remainder following their noble example. Among those reenlisting are those of the old Rochester squad, including Sergent [sic] S. E. Taylor. We have received
a number of recruits during the winter, and two new companies are organizing at Elmira. No regiment in the field offers greater inducements to those now coming out than the 50th. Most of the veterans are home on furlough, another squad will go this week. Barracks are being built for the brigade, which are useless as far as this winter is concerned.—The men have bought lumber and stoves, and all are very comfortable—more so than they would be in barracks; however we must submit without a murmur, still having the idea that we are healthier and more comfortable living in our present quarters, than we could be where so many men are together.
The entire army is expecting t o see the end of the rebellion doling the present year, and their expectations will be realised [sic] as for as the rank and file are concerned; but to accomplish it we need commanders who are equal to the men in their determination, to do or die for the country's cause. To-day the army has entire confidence in the ability of the Government to bring the rebellion to a successful close, and there is scarcely a soldier who does not believe that the Emancipation Proclamation is just the thing. They want slavery to be a thing of the past, and are willing the black man should be allowed to fight for his freedom. They are in favor of "Uncle Abe" being re-nominated, and of course re-elected next November. He is their choice, and nearly every man if allowed to vote, will vote for him. They consider him the right man in the right place. He has been tried, and proved himself equal to every expectation, and they are anxious to retain him in the Presidential chair another term. They know if he is re-elected, we shall have a country that we can boast of, and that our comrades will not have died in vain, and that all throughout the length and breadth of our land, of whatever color, will be as free as the air we breathe. Our National songs can then be sung, and the freedom of which they boast will be a reality. F. B. W.
The following is from an officer in the 50th Engineer Regiment:
ENGINEER DEPOT, WASHINGTON,
March 13th, '64.
DEAR FATHER:—AS it is Sunday we have no drilling except morning "inspection" and afternoon "dress parade," so we feel quite relieved, and employ ourselves as best we may. Some of the officers sleep, others smoke, and others gather in the tents of the leading spirits and chat, laugh, joke and discuss the events of the war—whether we shall advance or stay where we are; or who will win the next fight, Meade or Lee. Grant, too, being in the city, receives his share of "good and evil repute;" then Abe catches it; and some one will damn Seward and finally say, "But he does as well as he can."
A strange conglomeration is camp life—pleasure and hardship—joy, and sometimes trouble; yet the 50th generally are on the right side.—New recruits are daily coming in from central New York, and, as a whole, they are men, men that look, act, and mean work. The maximum of 1,800 strong is nearly reached; in fact, were all the enlisted men here I think we would be more than full. The old men, those who have seen service from the Peninsula on through Pope's campaign, then Fredericksburg, (both battles) at Chancellorsville, in fact who have accompanied the Army of the Potomac in all its advances and retreats, they, with an esprit du corps unequaled, have to a man, almost, re-enlisted for the war. Their discipline, under Col. Wm. H. Pettes, is so perfect that even New York's famed 7th would hardly wish to drill against them in either the manual of arms or bayonet exercise. We have a man who publicly, at a friendly trial of the bayonet, three times disarmed the lamented Col. Ellsworth. Do you wish a pontoon bridge built over the Potomac at a point 1,300 feet across? The 50th will do it in nineteen minutes. Try them if you don't believe it. I have seen the old 54th in light marching drill, and thought they did it up brown; but 'twas nothing. It was a good choice that I made in enlisting, and not saying anything against other brave regiments that are in the field, I will say no man can speak too highly of the 50th New York Engineers.
But this will do for the regiment at large. Of myself I can say that I never was in better health or spirits. Camp life just suits me. Yesterday I obtained a pass for afternoon and evening, and went roaming over to the Government Arsenal,—and such a place; you can't imagine the amount of warlike stores that daily are brought to and sent from it. Purchased a light sabre for use at the price Government pays for them by the million, namely $10 50, and before I reached the camp with it two different men offered me $20 for it. Only officers can buy them, and they have to certify that they are for their own use. Any store in this town will charge you $25 for them. Really, I like to trade with Government.
But it is coming time for "dress parade," so I must write fast if I would finish. How was election? I should like to hear. Love to all, baby too, and believe me, affectionately your son, HENRY.
HEADQUARTERS 50th Engineers,
RAPPAHANNOCK STATION, VA.,
April 18, 1864.
FRIEND FAIRMAN:—Now that the cares of the day are laid aside, and quiet has settled over camp, I will try and give you the news of the Regiment that will interest those who have friends here. We (Co, M.) had expected to lay in Washington for at least three months, and made our arrangements accordingly, fitting up our rooms nicely, that we might be as comfortable as possible, knowing that when we did take the field, comfort would be out of the question. But, alas, for human expectations! When the order came for all detachments but A to be ready at 6 o’clock the next day to start for this point, and in spite of the cold rain that had been pouring down for forty-eight hours we formed in line at that time, and with the large rain drops rolling down our cheeks, as well as our backs, bade farewell to our comfortable quarters with the aid of a steamer to Alexandria and the cars from there, "changing our base" to this point. It was a masterly movement and a perfect success, as we only lost two men, who got demoralized in Alexandria, but reported here the next day.—We now number about 1,750, only lacking about 50 to fill every company to 150 men. Since arriving here the Regiment has been divided. Companies B, F, & G g o to the 21 Corps; E, H. & L to the 6th Corps; K, M, & D to the 5th Corps; Companies C & I have charge of the flying train of canvass boats, and Company A remains in the workshops at Washington. Col. Pettes returns to Washington; Lt. Col. Spalding remains with the flying train; Major Brainard goes with the detachment to the 2d Corps, and Major Beers to the 6th Corps, and Major Ford to the 5th Corps. One company of each detachment is to act as pioneers and assist in laying bridges if necessary. Our camp is on a small hill near the railroad, and about one mile from the river. To the right of us lie the reserve Artillery of the 5th Corps, while in the distance the snowy crest of the Blue Ridge rise to such a hight [sic] they almost seem to touch the "realms of blue above." The health of the Regiment is very good. We have only two or three excused from duty in our Company. We have had the misfortune to lose one man, Jacob D. Smith, of Hector, who died of inflammation of the lungs, on the 12th of the month. It rained nearly every day for a week after our arrival here, and the men had to sleep on the ground. He took a severe cold which settled on his lungs. He was one of our best men, a good soldier and a consistent Christian. His remains are on their way home.
I see that the Union forces met with a reverse at the city election. I trust our forces are not demoralized, but are ready to meet the foe again, and I trust when the great battle takes place in November, our forces will be successful not only in Elmira, but throughout the North, and retain "Old Abe" where he now is for four years more. This is the desire of the soldiers, for they say he held the reins of power when this infernal rebellion commenced, and he should have the power of wiping it out. Shame on the Members of the House, who have not the manhood to expel a man that utters the sentiments that Long did last week. God help us if such men are to make laws for us. They had better close the doors of the House and go home, than pollute it longer with their presence. Lieutenant.
HEADQUARTERS, 3D BATTALION, 50th Eng's.
Fredericksburg, May 11th, 1864.
FRIEND FAIRMAN:—After two weeks hard work, we have at last brought up a t this noted city, now converted into a vast Hospital for our sick and wounded heroes. We broke camp at Rappahannock Station two weeks ago yesterday, crossed the river—took up the bridge and remained there until Tuesday noon, when we received orders to proceed to Germania Ford, and have a bridge down by morning. We arrived there about 10 P. M., and remained in the woods one-half mile from the Ford until 3 A. M., when we proceeded to lay the bridge. It was expected there was considerable force to oppose us, therefore before daylight the 13th Pennsylvania, 1st Vermont and 8th Illinois Cavalry crossed to clear the way. Fortunately there were only a few pickets to oppose them.—They fired a few shots and skedaddled. We had our bridge done and troops crossing by 7 o'clock, and from that time until night it was one continued mass of troops. All the forenoon Co. C. had a canvas bridge, by the side of our, for the crossing of infantry troops only. The 5th Corps crossed first, and then the 6th. The next day the 9th crossed, and the wagon trains numbering thousands of wagons. That night at 8 o'clock we received orders to proceed to the front in light marching order with three days' rations. We left a guard with the train and at the bridge and started for the front, about ten or twelve miles off. About 3 o'clock we lay down for a couple of hours, and at 6 we arrived within one-half mile of the advance, and there found the rest of the Regiment. We were ordered into the advance rifle-pits, and there remained all day. A few shells reached us, but wounded only one man in Co. E. I think his name is Allen.
It was a terrible day; the fighting as fierce as in any battle of the war. Lee as usual, massed his troops and charged on our left, with demoniac yells. But it was of no use. Volley after volley met them, and they broke and ran. At noon all was quiet along the line. Soon we knew the meaning; Lee was massing on our right. But it was of no use. The charge was repulsed. Lee had met his match. About 10 P. M. we received orders to return with our detachment to Germania Ford. We arrived there about 3 in the morning, rested until 7, took up our bridge and at noon had marched to Ely's Ford, distant about 12 miles.—Some of our men fell out, as the day was intensely hot and we marched very rapidly, within an hour after leaving Germania, Russars rebel Cavalry came down there and captured the pickets of the 3d N. J . Cavalry doing duty there. They were our rear guard to Ely's Ford.
We put down a bridge that night for a train of ambulances to cross upon, as the wounded were ordered to Rappahannock that way. They had hardly crossed, and streams of men wounded in the arm or hand, coming in, when they were ordered back to this place, as it was not safe to go that way. In the morning we took up the bridge, marched through Chancellorsville to the 5th Corps' trains, and remained with them until Saturday noon, when we were again ordered to the front with three days' rations. We arrived there in the afternoon in time to witness some splendid Artillery firing. The rebels drove our skirmishers from a line and we had to retake it. They threw a few shells and solid shot in return, some of which struck within a few yards of us. No one hurt. This was all the fighting Saturday, the 14th. We marched here last night, and are to fix the roads, as they are almost impassable from the recent rains. It is pleasant to-day, and I hope will remain so. Reinforcements are going by. No mail has been received or sent since the 2d. We have the best of Lee so far, and will whip him. The fighting has all been in the woods where the undergrowth was so thick our skirmishers could see but a few yards ahead. The first fighting was well named "the Battle of the Wilderness." I was at the headquarter of Gen. Warren when an officer announced the death of Gen. Sedgwick. Hardly a word was said in reply—not even the question how it happened. The laughter ceased among the Staff, and each one looked at the others in sorrowful silence. He was one all relied on, and they mourned over his loss. Brave General Wadsworth bears him company, together with many noble braves who have fallen with their faces to the foe. We have taken over ten thousand prisoners that I know of and about twenty pieces of artillery. Near Todd's Tavern last week there was encamped near us about five thousand prisoners, including over one hundred and fifty officers from Colonels down. Our man from New Orleans gave me one of their Confederate buttons, with the letters C. S. A., on it. As he gave it to me, he referred to the letters as standing for "Can't Stand Abe." He was an inttelligent [sic] man—acknowledged that we had the power to whip them, but it would be extermination nearly, to them before they would give up. Gen.
Grant allows no papers to come to the front at present, but occasionally some one from Washington brings one with him. I do not know whether this letter will reach you or not. The 50th has never flinched yet, and is ready to go where ordered. The health of the Regiment is good. Hoping to be farther South soon, I will say good bye till then. LIEUT.
From the 50th (Engineer) Regiment.
HEADQUARTERS, 2D ARMY CORPS,
June 6th, 1864.
We are not yet in sight of Richmond, and perhaps may not be for a month or two yet, but feel confident some of us will see it ere the summer is past. The campaign has been progressing satisfactorily for a month, but we have met with a "snag" which it is thought will require seiging [sic] before we can proceed to Richmond. Our regiment and the regular Engineers were to work yesterday and to-day, making gabions and sap rollers, so you will see there is something in the road.
The 50th are doing good service during the present campaign. The regiment has constructed and removed all the pontoon bridges used by the army since leaving the Rappahannock, and they were always in readiness for the passage of the army and trains as soon as needed. Besides this we have built corduroy bridges, laid miles of corduroy roads and cut numerous roads through the woods. On the 5th of May the battalions of the regiment reported to the 5th Corps head quarters and went to work fixing roads and throwing up entrenchments. They had just got through work and were preparing their supper, when Griffin's Division of the 6th Corps broke. Our regiment was quickly formed and in the rifle-pits ready to receive the rebs. The regiments that broke rallied in rear of the 50th. The latter were in front all night but the greybacks did not trouble us. The next morning the battalions marched to their respective corps headquarters and hare remained with them since. The regiment, like the rest of the army, have seen hard times, working or marching night and day. Hard-tack and coffee have failed to connect at times, but we are not in the habit of finding fault. Our loss has been slight—only two or three wounded. Shot and shell fly around us thick and fast, which makes it rather unsafe.
Our battalion have frequently been out working at night, in front, erecting field-works, &c. On one occasion the rebels made a charge on our lines, and the companies were between the two lines all the time, hut did not get hit; they laid low. The rebels made a desperate charge last night, but were repulsed. The deadly missiles made unpleasant sounds, above and around us, but all escaped unharmed. We are nearing the old ground made familiar to us two years ago; but instead of fields of waving grain greeting us, we find earthworks of every description confronting us, resisting, if possible, our onward march. However, we can dig them out; which is much better than taking their positions at the point of the bayonet.—What a pity it is we did not have a Grant at the head of our army two years ago. Had such been the ease, thousands of precious lives would have been saved, the country less burdened with taxation, and we could now be rejoicing in a restored Union. But who is to blame? The verdict of the army is, "McClellan." The young Napoleon, who should have been long since with every other Northern traitor banished forever from this country. But we can and will put down this rebellion, Copperheads to the contrary notwithstanding. Perhaps there are some who have an idea that the Sanitary Commission is but little benefit to the army, or that the funds entrusted to their care are used for purposes other than those for which the Commission was originated. To know what 'Sanitary' has done for our wounded heroes, you must be where you can see something of War as it is. Our wounded in the battle of the Wilderness can tell you what 'Sanitary' has done for them. Thousands of them had been without food for several days when they arrived at Fredericksburg. This was partly caused by their being ordered to the Rappahannock Station and then ordered to Fredericksburg. Two companies of our battalion were sent from the front to the latter place with a pontoon train, which was laid for the wounded to cross to Belle Plain. When we arrived at Fredericksburg, nearly every house was filled with wounded, besides the sidewalks, which were crowded. Their wounds had not been dressed—only wrapped up—and they had not tasted food for several days. As soon as the bridge was laid, they crossed. Arriving at Belle Plain, they were fed and cared for by the Sanitary Commission. The Government had no supplies for them, and had it not been for 'Sanitary' they would have been nearly starved. Agents of the Commission soon arrived at Fredericksburg with supplies; also female nurses, who went to work dressing the wounds and giving the men something to eat. Ask the recipients of their kindness, and you will learn that 'Sanitary' is appreciated, and the loyal North need have no fears that their contribution ....
I see there are some objections made because 'Sanitary,' having by the generous aid of fairs, received into its treasury immense sums, portion of which they cannot find use for at present, propose to collect of the Government the just dues of discharged and deceased soldiers, without expense to the latter. Now what are the claims of the soldier upon the people of the North, who live amid peace, plenty and safety, hundreds of miles from the field of strife?—Could some of these civilian grumblers be placed for an hour in our front line of battle, hotly engaged with the rebels, they would undoubtedly be willing to return home and never say a word about what is done for the benefit of the soldiers; and when thousands are pouring out their life's blood nearly every day, it is no time to write anything detrimental to those who think enough of their country to fight for it. There will probably be thousands who will be minus a limb or be otherwise disabled, who cannot work after receiving their discharge, who have families depending upon them for support, and the Sanitary Commission, by collecting their dues from the Government, would be doing them great service in time of need. I have never received a cent's worth of Sanitary stores, or any other contributions of the North, since being in the army, but am aware that there are thousands who owe their lives to the timely assistance rendered them by the Sanitary Commission.
The health of the army is remarkably good. Providence seems to favor our brave army, and the cause for which we are fighting. The weather is splendid—it could not be better.—The army has entire confidence in their Generals, and feel confident that victory will crown their efforts. But all are willing to await the result, and the North must not expect Richmond to fall without a severe blow. We shall undoubtedly find it worse to take than Vicksburg was. If any of you get out of patience at our slow progress, and think it could be done much sooner, just step down and lend us a hand. You will then have a chance to offer your valuable suggestions to Gen. Grant.
F. B. W.
Crossing of the Chickahominy.
CAMP OF THE 3D BATTALION 50TH N. Y.
ENGINEERS, NEAR CITY POINT, VA.,
June 21st, 1864.
Isaac Butts, Esq., Editor Union, &c.:
DEAR SIR: We have been highly amused, not to say edified or instructed, at the various correspondence of the northern press generally relative to the present campaign of Lieut. Gen. Grant in Virginia. The N. Y. Tribune of the 21st contains a graphic description of the passage of the Chickahominy at Long Bridge, June 13th, which "piles on the glory immensely," compared with which the passage of the Splugen or the bridge of Lodi sink into insignificance. The Tribune's correspondent (C. A. P.) informs us after quoting from a rebel account, that Col. Chapman's brigade did it all, and the 3d Indiana Cavalry, dismounted, did nearly all. He quotes from the rebel paper as follows, dated the 14th of June: "The enemy advanced to the stream at night in masses of cavalry, artillery and infantry, and by virtue of overwhelming numbers, after a severe and well contested action, compelled us to withdraw." His version of the affair gathered from a Hoosier who was a participant, is that "our men" crossed under a fire described by one of their number as "like swimming and a number on a fallen tree. They then discovered not 50 yards in advance the (terrible) rifle pit. Bayonet charge ordered (without bayonets.) Rifle pits carried. Loss of twenty men out of fifty who charged. Among the wounded are fifty pontooniers. Reinforcements arrive. Enemy completely routed. After three hours of hard fighting the pontoon bridge was laid. Now, with all due deference to Mr. C. A. P. of the Tribune, we would most respectfully beg leave to correct him slightually in regard to our bridge on the Chickahominy at Long Bridge, which is substantially as follows: The third battalion of the 50th N. T. V. Engineers received orders about 9 o'clock Sunday morning, June 12th, to pack up. In an hour we were on the march down the river from our previous camp on the Cold Harbor road, in the rear of the 5th army corps! At five o'clock we went into park with our train. (We were accompanied by Co. C in the absence of Co. M of our battalion.) Knapsacks unslung, arms stacked and coffee prepared for men.
A rest of three hours. The men had scattered themselves in various groups and positions, gathering a few moment's rest after a long, weary march. The moon had crept in the meantime, noiselessly, nearly to the zenith, throwing an uncommon brilliancy on the fast approaching columns of men. Our boys had commenced to wonder if this move meant business or a long night march. The full sonorous voice of our Orderly soon dispelled such delusive fancies. Fall in K (pontooners.) None could mistake that voice; no, not even skulkers. The men were formed into two ranks and told off in squads of 10 and 25 men. Each squad in charge of a Sergeant and Corporal. Each squad having its regular duty assigned it so as to prevent confusion in constructing a bridge. The boats were quickly got in line and the men in marching order beside them, the whole under the command and supervision of Capt. James H. McDonald, an old and experienced hand at bridge building under difficulties, (McDonald is Capt. of Co. K, pontooniers, now acting as Major in the absence of Major Ford on sick leave.) The word was given, forward, at half past eight. The long train of boats and bridge materials started toward the river, some said, others "aut le diable." Subsequent developements [sic] proved it to be Long Bridge.
Dismounted cavalry were passed occasionally —by us! no artillery of any account—nor any infantry. Co. D. of our battallion [sic] acted as skirmishers, (we were not armed.) After an hour and a half march, the head of our train reached the river at a place known as Long Bridge, where there has been at some previous time a permanent bridge. The dismounted cavalry joined us here and the first boat was shoved silently into the water. Every one wondered if we were to construct this bridge as easy and with as little resistance as usual. The men commenced filling the boat; the silence was intense not a loud word from those four or five hundred men. The dark overhanging branches of the cypress looked treacherous. The moon tried in vain to pierce the thick foliage with her silvery beams. The men were in the act of shoving off—crack! bang! whiz! came two balls over our heads instantly followed by fifteen or twenty in rapid succession. "Over, lively, men," was the order; those unarmed dodged behind trees, under boats and wagons. It was clearly evident that some one was stepin roun over dar who meant mischief. A few moments delay and the boat reached the opposite shore, or island near the middle of the river. The Rebs retreated keeping up a right smart fire—the balls glancing about quite lively—generally pretty high cutting the leaves overhead. One of our men fell close to me severely wounded, whom I assisted in carrying to the rear—and soon after another wounded badly belonging to the 22nd Cavalry, from Rochester. I think his name was Skinner—badly wounded in the head. Both parties continued the firing for perhaps 50 minutes, no longer, when the Rebs fled. Our bridge was then commenced and at two o'clock the cavalry wee crossing—followed by artillery and infantry—all night and nearly all the next day the living stream crossed. In constructing this bridge we had one man killed (Co K.), the cavalry, three men wounded. I assisted in laying the first and last chess on this famous bridge and saw nary rifle pit. The casualties are as I have stated. These are the facts in the case as any one can certify in the company—Mr. C. A. P., of the Tribune, to the contrary, notwithstanding.
H. E. H.
The 50th Engineers.
HEADQUARTERS 2D DETACHMENT
50th N. Y. S. V. ENGINEERS,
NEAR PETERSBURG, June 25th, 1864.
MR. EDITOR: I should have informed the readers of the Union regarding the movements of our regiment during the present campaign, but as I am fully aware that there are few who would be interested owing to the branch of the service we occupy, I shall not attempt to enter into any details whatever. I informed your readers in my last letter that our regiment was to be divided into detachments to be attached to the several army corps' of the Army of the Potomac. Each of the detachments is composed of three companies under the command of a Major, excepting the detachment which is commanded by Lieut. Col. Ira Spaulding, which has but two companies. The first detachment is attached to the 2d army corps under the command of Major Wesley Brainard. The second with the 6th army corps, commanded by Major E. O. Beers. The third with the 5th army corps, commanded by Major George Ford. The companies which are commanded by Lieut. Colonel Spaulding are detached at headquarters of the Army of the Potomac. Col. W. H. Pettes is at the headquarters of the regiment at Washington. Co. A are also at headquarters employed in the repair shops. The headquarter detachment are provided with thirty canvas pontoon boats and are known as the "Flying Pontoon Detachment." Each of the other detachments are provided with trains consisting of twenty pontoon boats, entrenching tools, &c.
The regiment has been chiefly occupied in erecting field fortifications. During the battle of Cold Harbor our detachment erected several batteries, one being within 100 yards of the rebel works, also several hundred yards of the advance line of rifle pits, taking the advantage of the night to execute our work.
Our regiment have laid all the pontoon bridges during the campaign except the one recently laid across the James River near Point Powhattan. Here we were assisted by a detachment of the 15th N. Y. V., our regiment at the same time having a bridge laid across the Chickahominy at Cole's Ferry, being 1,800 feet in length.
The James River Bridge was the longest military bridge ever laid. It consisted of one hundred and one pontoon boats and was 2,010 feet in length.
Our regiment has been very fortunate. We have had none killed, but a few wounded; none, however, reside in the vicinity of Rochester.
Lieut. R. H. S.
Letter from a Soldier.
ENG'R DEPOT, WASHINGTON, D. C.,
September 8th, 1864.
MR. EDITOR:—The following transcript I copy from the CHRONICLE of the 1st of September:—
"We mean the identical old flag we used to march under when you trained with us as a Wide Awake.
And the following reply we transcribe from the "Penn Yan Democrat" of the 2nd inst.:—
"The worst libel of all. Of all the sins we have ever been guilty, our skirts are clear of ever training with or voting a Republican or any other than a Democratic ticket in our life.
Sir, I denounce this as "the worst" falsehood "of all," a libel a foul slander on all who wear the name of Democrat.
I venture to presume Mr. McConnell is the writer of this article; but I dare his junior to hurl such false assertions in the face of humanity; for before he became identified with that loathsome slimey sheet, (the "Democrat,") he was a man and I believe a true friend to his country in the hour of her peril. Here, let me ask him a few questions: Bid not Mr. Stanton (Junior editor of the Democrat) do all in his power to place Mr. Lincoln in the "Chair of State." He now says,—or the party he now hangs out with,—says, the principles of that party he ignores. He further says, Mr. Lincoln was elected upon an unconstitutional basis. Did he always know those facts, or has he just discovered the truth?
Who first put on the "nigger-skins," and who first induced me to join the fraternity? I answer, the junior editor of the so-called Democrat! Is he a second Catiline? Will he now usurp principles, first formed for self-aggrandizement! First, we find him in the Office of the "Chronicle" advocating Abolition principles, then behold the youthful demogogue [sic] purchasing a Democrat Press to wield with basest influence, the sword of dis-union and discontent among the masses of "Little Yates."
Are not such apostls [sic] and apologists of dis-union (which is another name for treason) akin to King Jeff., the Prince of traitors? That they are is beyond cavil or dispate. I would call the attention of both the "Penn Yan Democrat" and "Chronicle" to a certain soldiers' letters bespeaking the Army's opinion of the Chicago Platform which appears in the Angelica Reporter.
Again in Honolulu, I met Hon. D. A. Ogden (as U. S. Counsul [sic] to Sandwich Islands) in 1854 or ' 55; and both wore blue of "Uncle Sam." We met on the steam-frigate "Mississippi" off that port; I next met the gentleman in "Burn's Bookstore" in Penn Yan. Since then in the Campaign of 1861, I have heard him eulozise [sic] our heroes and speak for Lincoln and Hamlin,"—a strong Union Man. You will hear from me again before the
Campaign is concluded.
J. H. KELLY.
Corp. Co. A. 50th N. Y. V.
The following letter addressed to Mr. Thomas Owen of this village, from his son is well worth reading:
CAMP OF DETACHMENT 50th N. Y. V. E.
NEAR CITY POINT, VA.,
September 15, 1864.
DEAR FATHER AND FRIENDS AT HOME:
Yours of the 5th and 6th, came to hand the 12th. I am indeed happy to hear that our beautiful town is free from the "draft," I am much pleased to see the new troops coming in, this looks as though the people of the North were still alive and anxious to close this terrible war; it is now understood here that the army of the Potomac is as strong as when it crossed the Rapidan, this is encouraging to us. The only thing to hinder a speedy peace, is the difference of opinion at the North; I believe the army is all right in reference to the coming election, and feel confident that Mr. Lincoln will receive the support of the soldiers now in the field, all of whom well know the only true road to peace.
Yesterday I went up to the Headquarters of the 5th A. C. on the Weldon
R. R. Capt. Falwell is still engaged in that vicinity fortifying, and I think if General Lee could see these works, he would bid good-bye to any hopes, if he has any, of ever taking this line, not only is the fortifying going on briskly, but extended preparations are being made for the bad weather that will ere long set in. Miles of road are being crossed with corduroy. A Railroad has been constructed branching from City Point and Pittsburg road, to the Weldon Road at the 5th Corps Headquarters, so that now the cars run from City Point clear through to the left of the army, passing right through the army, it will be very convenient by and by when the roads become muddy, so supplies will only have to be hauled a few miles at the fartherest.
But I am in hopes we will not lay here this winter, every day now tells on the rebellion, and brings us reinforcements. General Lee will, without doubt, try to do something before long, but the monster, (rebellion), is doomed, a few more struggles and he will lay prostrate before the loyal of the land. So let us
cheer up and stand firm a short time longer, and we will gain the rich rewards for the many noble men of our land that have given their lives that the Nation might be preserved. When I think of all this, I cannot see how some men at the North think of having peace without first silencing this rebel gang. Talk about compromising, indeed, and at this time of day to. If a compromise was needed, why not have made it at first, and saved the many noble hearts that have oozed out their life's blood on Southern soil? Saved us from national debts, and everything accompanying such a terrible war? But the people of the United States said no, these rebels had risen up against the Government, and must be vanquished; accordingly we set about it, and now when we have them nearly subdued, there are blackhearted traitors in the Northern States encouraging the enemy by talking about "peace-at-any-price" compromise and the defeat of the Administration, all of which go in the balance on the side of the enemy, and I believe that this war would have been ended ere this, had it not been for this class of men, no that's to good a name, what shall I call them, traitors? No they are not as honorable as an outright traitor. Ah, I have it, Copperheads, that's it, and if you want to see any of their poisonous venom, look at the Chicago pill they fixed up for General McClellan, but it turned his stomach and he couldn't swallow it. Think they had better sugar coat it a little.
Now I am not particularly against General McClellan, but I am against the party that has nominated him. I am against any one who is not for the administration and the prosecution of the war, until we can have peace and a
Union with it, one that will stand; wherein there will be no slavery to again overthrow a peaceful and happy people; and I believe that is not far distant, I will now close. I think you know my mind on the war question now. Expecting to hear from you, I remain, very respectfully, your obedient son,
Lieut. THOMAS J. OWEN,
50th N. Y. V. E.
This letter differs very materially from one from the same company, which appeared in last week's Gazette, anonymously [sic].
From the 50th N. Y. Engineers.
CAMP OF PONTOON TRAINS, NEAR
CITY POINT, VA., April 16th, 1865.
FRIEND FULLER:—Having a sheet of paper from the Richmond Rebel Capital, Richmond, and feeling feverish and excited, I will write a few words—private, of course.
Ever since the 1st of April we all (the army) have been so much excited by the stern realities of war and progressive military operations, as almost to lose sight of danger to ourselves and of other matters, of themselves minor, but as a whole of great importance. On the morning of the 2d inst., a movement, of itself the most brilliant ever recorded in the history of war, as well as the most decisive in its results, was made by the whole of the armies operating against Richmond, with a front extending not less than forty miles, attacking, simultaneously, its whole length, breaking the enemy's lines and entirely routing him, compelling the evacuation of Richmond and Petersburg, and the abandonment of everything which could not be destroyed in a few hours time, and a loss to him of thousands of men in prisoners besides killed and wounded. In this great effort we also lost heavily, but we gained the day, and on the morning of the 3d our forces occupied Petersburg and Richmond about the same time, while our Union Saving Grant and his invincible columns swept on along the S. S. R. R., and other avenues by which Lee and his minions made their escape, and were so closely followed by us that even our baggage trains were within their sight, arid yet they could not touch what they so much coveted—our supplies. We followed him to Wilson's Station, drove him to Ford's Station, terribly whipped him at Berksville Station, destroy and demoralize him at Five Forks, cause him to beg stippulations [sic] at Farmville, to destroy his transportation and ammunition at New Store, and to finally surrender at Appomatox Court House, and now the army of Northern Virginia, or Lee's Flower of the South, are turned loose upon the country, and as might justly be expected, are pillaging the country, committing all kinds of depredations. Without food and without money, what will they not do? Naturally, and by profession, mostly cut throats, they are murdering Union soldiers, stealing in upon military railroads, destroying; track, stealing supplies, attempting to blow up our ware-houses at City Point, and now, to-day, the news of the greatest calamity of all, and yet the least to be wondered at, at this present crisis, is the assassination of President LINCOLN and Secretary SEWARD. God forbid that this should be so, but we fear it is too true. Flags are at half mast, and a painful gloom rests on the countenance of every one, the more painful after our so recent great joy.
I am not aware of any one from Seneca Falls being seriously injured in this great campaign. All in our Regiment from that place are well. D. M. G
(Seneca Falls Courier, May 4, 1865).
The Owego Times.
WM. SMYTH, EDITOR & PEOPRIETOR.
Thursday, April 7, 1864.
HEADQUARTERS CO M, 50TH N. Y. E.
Rappahannock Station, Va.,
April 2, 1804.
DEAR SIR—After organizing our company to the maximum number as engineers on the 30th day of March at 12 o'clock, p. m., we received orders to march at 3 a. m., the 31st, for the front which you know must be a harried movement, only three short hours to pack up, but as you know the character of the men of which the company is composed it is needless to say that at 3 o'clock they were ready at the tap of the drum, with their knap sacks packed waiting for the word march, and when the word came, although in a severe storm of rain and snow, we marched to the Potomac River, and took the steamer to Alexandria; arrived there in due time and took the cars for our camp where we arrived about 4 o'clock, p. m., mid a drenching rain storm. We at once commenced pitching our small shelter tents, upon the naked ground, and in one-half hour, all the men, except about 50 who were accommodated by our gallant comrades of Co. I, were sheltered from the storm.
We shall never forget the generosity and soldier-like feeling of old Co. I, towards our men and officers.
You can tell all of our friends at home that Capt. Middleton is one of God's best men, and knows his duty as a soldier and officer.
As I agreed to furnish you with a list of our officers and men I will do so now.
CAPT. R. MIDDDETON,
AUSTIN, DUDLEY AND WALDO.
J D Green,
B J Bond,
A M Williams,
D S Boardman,
J F Chadderdon,
J H Freemire,
J D Turner,
D W C Van Luven,
W H Doughan,
Benj W Wilson,
Chas F Perry.
F E Kendall,
Clark S Green,
Philip N Davison.
J W Wightman,
Wm B Kelly.
George R Wilcox.
Pomeroy, 2d, Thompson,
Randall, Van Acker,
Ryan, 1st, Welding,
Ryan, 2d, Westcott,
In conclusion, Dear Editor, I would say that as you are personally acquainted with almost all the members of Co. M, you will deem it a pleasure to insert this communication. In point of discipline, appearance and behavior, the Co. stands second to none in the Regt., and is so complimented by Col. Pettis, our brave and gallant commander, who has given to each and every recruit for his Regt., the choice of companies, so far as it was in his power to do, and all are well satisfied, and cheer long and loud for our gallant Colonel.
Cos. M and G are assigned to the 2d Army Corps, under Gen. Warren.—We know not when we will be ordered to march, but Co. M will be ready at the word and will endeavor to do their duty. Hoping all our friends will remember us in our absence,
I remain yours, &c.,
LIEUT. E. B. AUSTIN.
LETTER FROM CAP'T. McDONALD.
HEADQUARTERS 3d BATTALION,
50th N. Y. ENGINEERS, NEAR PETERSBURG,
Va., August 25th, 1864.
HON. BENSON OWEN—Dear Sir:—I observed in the Courier that you were connected with the recruiting business. As my regiment is one of the most desirable organizations in the service to enlist into, on account of pay, comfort, and chances for promotion to intelligent mechanics, I have taken the liberty of writing you on the subject. There is at present a vacancy for one hundred and fifty men. My Company numbers one hundred and forty-five men, and I can give a place to five good mechanics.
I lost one man killed at the Chickahominy, June 12th, and have had very few men hurt at all; so you see the chances for returning after the war are better than in an infantry regiment. The officers have far more cause to fear being mustered out by the Johnnies' bullets than the men, because the former have charge of large details of infantry during a siege, while the enlisted men are preparing siege material at a safe distance in the rear.
If there is any branch of the service that has the preference over all others, it is the Engineers, especially to an enlisted man, if he is intelligent, active and persevering. I presume more recruits can be had for this regiment than any other, as I have frequent applications to transfer sergeants of infantry to my Company as privates. Anything you can do for my Company in this way I assure you will be appreciated very highly.
As a friend to the policy of prosecuting the war in the most vigorous manner, you can appreciate our feelings, and justify the sentiment when we say, "Give us more men, and that speedily, and the Rebellion is used up." If we had one hundred thousand fresh troops given us to-day, the war would end in three months. There is no possible doubt about this; for by simply holding the Rebel forces where they are, and cutting off their communications, they are annihilated by their own stomachs. Give us more men here; roll up a vote this Fall that will strengthen the arm and warm the heart of the soldier, and we will soon come out of this contest victorious.
Yours very respectfully,
JAS. H. MCDONALD,
Captain, 50th N. Y. Engineers.
Friday Evening, December 2, 1864.
From the 50th Engineers.
The following interesting letter was written by a member of the 50th N. Y. Engineers, some of the men belonging to which are from this section:
CAMP OF 50TH N. Y. ENGINEERS,
NEAR THE WELDON RAILROAD, VA.,
November 28th, 1864.
MR. EDITOR:—Letters from the soldiers have now become so frequent, and so many people have friends in the army who write good letters, that I fear one from a "poor private" will not possess much interest for your readers. Still many of my personal friends will be pleased to hear from me through the medium of your excellent paper.
The 50th N. Y. Engineers is commanded by Colonel William H. Pettes, a graduate of West Point, and a thoroughly educated man. The regiment now numbers about 1500 men. Although we are not strictly speaking a fighting regiment, still during the past campaign we have frequently rendered efficient service to our brethren of the infantry in the rifle pits and breastworks. Our first duty during this campaign was to lay the pontoon bridge across the Rapidan, at Germania Ford. At that point the 5th, 6th and part of the 9th Army Corps crossed; here the brave Sedgwick and the gallant Wadsworth crossed with their commands also, never to return; but the memory of these brave officers will never die in the hearts of the gallant men who fought under them. After the army had crossed we took up the bridge and marched to Eley's Ford and relaied [sic] it. After this we followed the army through all its various marches and flank movements, until we finally brought up in front of Petersburg. This has so far proved an almost impregnable barrier to our further progress, but we have no doubt but that the military skill and strategy of Lieut. Gen. Grant will yet compel that rebel strong hold to succumb to the bravery of the Union soldiers.
Our camp is now situated about one mile west of the Weldon Railroad and near Poplar Grove Church, about three miles from Petersburg, the nearest way. We can distinctly hear the cars on the south side railroad. For the past three months we have been busily engaged building forts and fortifications and strengthening our position here, preparatory to another movement. All the work of that kind having been completed, we are now drilling and becoming better accustomed to the use of the rifle, by target practice.
Co. M, of which your correspondent is a member, is temporarily in command of Lieut. Geo T. Dudley, the Captain (Richard Middleton) being on detached duty in Columbus, Ohio. Two of our Lieutenants have been dismissed from the service by order of a Court Martial, one for drunkenness and the other for disloyalty. Although we have been thus unfortunate in having bad officers, you must not infer that Co. M is composed of men of like character with our two Lieutenants, who were declared unworthy to hold their position. There are no better men than those composing Co. M, most of whom are mechanics and farmers, and accustomed to hard labor and exposure, and all love the old Union.
The election of President Lincoln, by such an emphatic majority, is a subject of rejoicing to all soldiers who truly love their country, and we are pleased to learn that the election passed off so quietly. It is one great beauty of our system of government that however excited the people may become upon the eve of one of our great national elections, after the question has been submitted to the people, and the matter fairly decided, all peaceably acquiesce in the will of the people and submit to the majority. Our Southern brethren repudiated this doctrine, and hence arose secession. Our Northern opponents, politically, are not so foolish, but I trust are now content to let "Uncle Abe" jog on with the government.
I cannot close without giving you an account of our Thanksgiving dinner. It was a good thought in the people of the North to send the soldiers a Thanksgiving dinner; but if they thought that the soldiers would receive a good, substantial dinner, they have been sadly mistaken. Co. M received chickens enough to divide one among twelve men, and two apples to each man. These were received the day after Thanksgiving. There were not twelve baskets gathered up of the fragments of dinner after all had eaten. But we are sure the fault was not with the citizen's committee, and we heartily thank our kind friends at the North for remembering us at all on Thanksgiving Day. Lieut. Dudley, with a liberality which is commendable, out of his own private funds purchased two barrels of oysters, and distributed them among the company on Thanksgiving Day. Had is not been for this we should have been obliged to have had recourse to our never failing though not always abundant supply of "hard tack and salt junk" for a Thanksgiving diner.
In conclusion, Messrs. Editors, let us hope that this war, which has caused so much sudering and rendered so many homes desolate, may be brought to a speedy and successful close; when peace shall again return to our country and we shall go on more prosperously and happily then ever before, with our Union restored, our people united, and our Flag respected everywhere.
Truly yours, &c., J. W. A.
From the 50th Engineer Reg't.
HEADQUARTERS 3D BAT. , 50TH ENGN'S
ANDERSON'S FARM, Va.
Friend Fairman.—In my last letter I gave you an account of our marches up to that date May 15, at Fredericksburg. Major Ford, who had been sick in Washington, joined us here, and assumed command of the battalion [sic]. On the 18th we laid a bridge in front of the Lacey House, and finished repairing roads. The next morning Co's. M and D broke camp, leaving K with the bridge—and marched to the front, arriving at Gen. Warren's Headquarters at about 6 1/2 P. M.. Just then a train was attacked about three fourths of a mile back on the road we had just passed over.—Some heavy artillery lying in reserve, double quicked back, and went at the rebs with a vengeance. This was their first fight, and at first they were driven back, but re-forming their lines, they fought like veterans, and the 3d Corps coming to their support, drove them back. The regiments were the 1st Massachusetts, the 1st Vermont, and 7th and 8th Wisconsin Heavy Artillery. Saturday we followed the corps train on the flank movement.—We arrived at North Anna River—Jericho Hills Ford—at 3 P. M. on Monday the 23d, and assisted Co. C to put down their canvas bridge. By 5 o'clock the 5th corps was all over the river, and preparing coffee, when Ewell's corps made a desperate attack, for the moment driving us. The "iron brigade" for the first time broke and ran, but was immediately rallied and into the fight again. For an hour the firing— artillery as well as musketry—was the severest I have ever heard. Then it slackened—and away went the 1st Division on a charge, driving the rebs like sheep, and taking many prisoners. For half an hour the firing continued, and then loud cheers announced our success. Just as the firing commenced, I was moving with my company and Co. D nearer to the bank of the river, to camp for the night. The first shells were thrown at a white house to our left, where Gen. Warren had made his headquarters, but having too great an elevation they passed over the house, and bursting rather closer to us than was agreeable, we were ordered to the rear on "double quick."—some of our boys were pretty well scared, but fortunately no one was hurt. A battery of the 4th and 5th U. S. Artillery opened on the Johnnies, and very soon silenced them. About 8 P. M. I took a squad of men over the river, by the battle-field, and worked on the road until 3 o'clock the next morning, that the supply trains might got to the front with rations. We remained at this place until Friday, and then followed the army to Hanover Old Town. We camped here for the night, having been in the saddle 19 hours—all of us nearly played out. We found Co. K here with the pontoon train, and the next day laid a bridge at Dabners Ferry. From here we marched to White House, repairing roads and building bridges. The roads were lined with contrabands going to White House. Some of them had their goods loaded on ox-carts, with a good yoke of oxen to draw them, while others had all they could carry in bundles on their heads.—All on their way to freedom. A happier set of creatures I never saw, than those I saw at White House, their faces shining with joy at being free. I picked up a boy 64 years old on the road, and he is "a right smart boy too, I reckon." While here a part of Gen. Smith's command went to the front. Among them was the 89th N. Y., and I had the pleasure of shaking hands with Dr. Squires and Adjt. John E. Shepard. They were both looking well. Five companies of Col. Gregg's regiment, (the 179th.) were there on duty.—Also one regiment of one hundred day men from Ohio. We are now about a mile from head quarters, waiting for something to turn up. We are about eight or ten miles from Richmond, and the siege has commenced. Mortars are being put in position, and soon Gen. Grant will present his compliments to Lee in the shape of 500 pound shells. I would not be surprised if we flanked again across the Chickahominy. We are bound to have Richmond, and no McClellan retreats will be made. We all honor and have confidence in Grant, for he is the right man in the right place.
Lieut. GEO. T. DUDLEY.
Letter from the 50th Engineer.
HD'RS 3D BAT'N, 50TH N. Y. ENG'RS.
AMONG THE PINES, JULY 13, 1864.
Tonight finds ten companies of our regiment comfortably situated—if you call it comfort to slowly melt away 'till there is hardly enough of you left to make a good sized shadow—in a small pine grove, but a short distance from Gen. Meade's headquarters, engaged in making gabions for the seige [sic] of Petersburg, and before many days I hope to be able to say that the seige [sic] has been successful, and the city in our hands. Yesterday the 3d corps abandoned the extreme left after destroying the works they had thrown up, and now lie about seventy-five rods ahead of us in rear of the 5th corps. Lieuts. Packard and Leavitt, of the 86th, took tea with us this afternoon.— They are looking well and hearty. I visited the 64th N.Y. and had the pleasure of shaking hands with Major Glenny, Capt. Fasset and Lieut. Lincoln—all as black and plucky as the revised army regulations require.
The glorious Fourth was duly celebrated by the 50th. Major Brainard, of the 1st battallion [sic], invited the officers of the regiment to a Reunion dinner at his quarters. About forty of us met there, and with a few other invited officers, at half past three o'clock, we sat down to a sumptuous dinner that in the field would be hard to beat. Below I give you the "bill of fare."
FOURTH OE JULY, 1864.
Reunion of the officers of the 50th N. Y. Eng'rs.
"BILL OF FARE."
Roast Beef—Boiled Ham—Baked Pork and Beans—Beef Steak and Onions—Fried Pork and Liver—Raw Onions sliced in Vinegar—Boiled Onions—Pickled Tongue—Mashed Potatoes—Tomatoes—Succotash—Coffee.
Warm Biscuits and Butter—Boiled Rice and Cream Sauce.
Claret and Ice—Lemonade (new) 1864—Lemonade with a stick in it—Whiskey, (a la commissary)—Whiskey and Aqua Pure, 1864—Spiritus Fermenti (1246)—Whiskey (Long Range) 134 B. C.—Ale.
The band of the 2nd N. Y. Heavy Artillery enlivened the affair with some excellent music, and a quartette composed of members of the band, sang several popular pieces among which were "Johnny Schmoker" and "Kingdon Coming"—both being loudly applauded. Speeches were made by Lieut. Col. Spaulding, Major Hogg, 2d H. A., Lieut.. Col. Walker A. A. Gen. on Gen. Hancocks staff, Major Brainard and others. Late in the evening the party broke up, all feeling happy, and voting the Major to be a "jolly good fellow" as well as a brave and efficient officer. While I write not a gun is to be heard—but then there is no knowing what the night may bring forth.—Hoping the Rebs may go so far into Pennsylvania that they cannot get out again. I will say good night and seek my bed of—down on the ground.
YOURS TRULY, Lieut. Co. M.
HDQ'RS CO. "M" 50TH ENGINEERS.
CAMP NEAR POPLAR GROVE CHURCH.
December 16, 1864.
Again the 5th corps has moved and struck a telling blow, a blow that will be felt more in Richmond and Petersburg than was Early's defeat in the Valley. The Weldon Railroad, from Stony Creek Station to Bellefield, is one mass of ruins, tier and bridges burned, culverts blown up and the rails bent into all manner of shapes. As usual, a part of our regiment, consisting of companies B, C, and G, with a flying train of canvass boats, accompanied the expedition, laying a bridge at the Nottoway River, crossed the troops, and taking up their bridge, followed on. Striking the railroad at Stony Creek, the work of destruction commenced, and for over twenty miles the work was well done. Night and day, regardless of the heavy storm of snow and sleet that was falling, they worked on until they reached Bellefield on the Meherrin River. Here, and at Hicksford, on the opposite side of the river, they found fortifications., and having accomplished the object of the raid, and not having rations to go farther, the troops returned.—Some of our men that straggled, were caught by guerrillas and had their throats cut. To pay for this the order was given to burn everything on the march back, and it was carried into effect. One man who had his house burned by the rebels in Chambersburg, took his revenge by firing thirty-five houses.
Saturday the rest of our regiment was ordered to march with four day's rations and one bridge train of canvass boats. About four o'clock the next morning we arrived at the Nottoway river about twenty-two miles from here. About noon we put down our bridge—the same one, I believe, that Count D—made such good time over at Fredericksburgh—near the one laid by Co. C—the 5th corps having arrived at the river, and at seven P. M. the troops had all crossed, and we had taken up the bridge ready to return. In order to have the roads clear, we did not commence the march till half past three the next morning, (Monday), getting home about one, P. M. Sunday night the wind changed to the north and it was so bitter cold the men sat up most of the night by the fires to keep warm. On the march riding horseback was out of the question, and making a virtue of necessity, I dismounted and footed it to camp. We were all nearly used up, but now are all right. The 5th Corps have had orders to put up quarters, and we expect a long rest. Our regiment has been highly complimented by the President by breveting [sic] Lieut. Col. Spaulding as Colonel, Major Ford Lieut. Colonel, Capts. Folwell, Hine, Van Brocklin and McDonalds as Majors, and First Lieuts. Van Renssalear and Folwell as Captains. Major Brainard has been commissioned Colonel of the 15th Engineers. We are waiting anxiously to hear officially from Gen. Sherman, and hope he may reach the coast safely, and not far from Savannah.—The campaign of 1864 promises to close very satisfactorily for us. Don't be anxious about Richmond, it will be ours in due time. It is better for us to hold Lee's army here at present than occupy the city. Grant means "to fight it out on this line," and he will, for when Richmond falls the hell-born Confederacy falls with it.
Truly yours. GEORGE T. DUDLEY,
1st Lieut. Com'g Co.
FROM THE 50TH N. Y. ENGINEERS.
HEADQUARTERS 50TH N. Y. ENGINEERS,
RAPPAHANNOCK STATION, Va., April 6.
Companies B, C, D, G, L and M, of the 50th N. Y. Engineers, left Washington on the morning of the 30th, and marched to the Sixth street wharf, embarking on board the steamer John Brooks, and soon after landed at Alexandria. We then marched to the depot, and after waiting some time were permitted to take seats on the outside of some forage trains going to the front. It had been raining all the morning, and riding fifty miles, exposed to the weather, was not very pleasant, but the men were cheerful and happy. We arrived at Rappahannock Station about 5 P. M., and marched to the encampment of Lieut. Col. Spaulding's detachment, consisting of Companies F, H, I and K. They were encamped upon an elevation, about a mile distant from the Station, where a magnificent panorama of the encampments of the Union army and the distant mountain scenery, presents itself to the view of all. The last named Companies have been at the front all winter; also Co, E, which has charge of a pontoon bridge across Hazel River, six miles distant. This Company nearly all re-enlisted, and went home in a body, and recently returned from a thirty days' furlough. …. tents, and the next day logs were cut and drawn into camp for building foundations whereon to place our shelter tents. They were nearly all completed by night, but it has rained or snowed nearly all the time since, and the weather is very cold for this season of the year.
The Engineer Brigade is no more, and Gen. Benham, I understand, has been relieved of the command. The officers composing his staff have been ordered to their companies, The battalion of the 15th N. Y. Engineers are going with Burnside's expedition, and the 50th are distributed as follows:
Co's G and M are assigned to the 2d Corps; Co's B and D to the 6th Corps, and Co's. E and L to the 6th Corps. Co's. C, F, H, I, K, will each have a pontoon train. Co. A will remain in charge of the Engineer Depot at Washington. The companies assigned to the Corps will act as pioneers, and perform the engineer duties required. If necessary, they will also assist in laying and removing the bridges. This arrangement gives great satisfaction, and all will endeavor to render all the assistance they can for the suppression of the rebellion during the coming campaign. The Army of the Potomac will undoubtedly be the largest army ever assembled on this continent, and present appearances indicate that Gen. Grant intends this army shall see Richmond ere many months elapse, even if every foot of the way has to be sieged and taken by regular approaches. Gen. Benham will probably be assigned to some brigade or division, where he will have an opportunity to display his superior military abilities.
There have been a large number of promotions in the regiment during the winter, owing to the companies being filled to 150 men, which allows two first and one second lieutenants, ten corporals and ten sergeants. Silas E. Taylor, who has just been promoted 2d lieutenant of Co. G, has been first sergeant of the company since it was organized, and should have been promoted some time since; still he has received more than the majority of the original members of the regiment who have not re-enlisted. The latter having to stand aside for the elevation of the three hundred dollar men to the position of corporals and sergeants.
The rain continues to pour down, and the condition of the road is fit for anything but a movement. F. B. W.
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During the Civil War
New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs: Military
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