Horace Purdy Journal, June 1861 Entry

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JUNE 01 – SATURDAY – A disturbance in the 3rd Regiment. Captain Bixbee and company were sent over by General Tyler to arrest their Colonel. His men rallied around him to prevent his arrest. Our regiment were ordered to go over under arms to put a stop to the difficulty but our services were not required. The disturbance was on account of a misunderstanding between the colonel and the general. Some unnecessary severity on the part of General Tyler together with the misunderstanding nearly caused a quarrel between them. Their colonel finally gave himself up and this evening, Major Chatfield of our regiment was promoted to colonel by General Tyler, subject to the sanction of Governor Buckingham. Tomorrow he takes command of the 3rd Regiment. JUNE 02 – SUNDAY – At 12 o’clock last night, we were marched from our camp across Long Bridge into Virginia about 5 miles over the heights to Arlington Mills where the 12th New York Regiment were on duty and relieved them, they returning to Washington. We arrived about 5 o’clock AM after a hard march. We had a hard shower last night before we started which made the roads very muddy and consequently, it was hard march. I was detailed for guard duty as soon as we had breakfasted on the rations which we carried with us. The regiment pitched their tents on a lot nearby for temporary quarters. I was very tired and slept when I was relieved from duty. Captain Wildman being sick, he did not march with us but arrived during the day. JUNE 03 – MONDAY – It was nearly noon when the new guard was put on so that I could get relieved. The regiment cut off a piece of woods nearby large enough for our camp and struck the tents and pitched them near the wood. No drill today. Received a letter from Sister Harriet and wrote one to Gussie. All tired, retired early. JUNE 04 – TUESDAY – An attack was expected last night. An extra number of pickets was sent out. Thirty more rounds of cartridges were given to each man, making in all, forty rounds. We slept on our arms but there was no attack. I took a bath this morning before breakfast. Bought some strawberries for my supper. A brother of Charles Dean, a member of Captain Comstock’s Company, came to my tent to see me, Charles having sent his respects to me through him by letter. JUNE 05 – WEDNESDAY – More rain. Nothing of importance today. JUNE 06 – THURSDAY – I was detailed for guard this morning. Cloudy, misty and some rain. It rained very hard during Guard Mounting. I felt well when I went on duty, but very soon, my head began to ache intensely. I was nearly down sick all day, but I did my duty, nonetheless. My post has been at the Guard Post over the prisoners, unruly fellows who have been put there for punishment. JUNE 07 – FRIDAY – Had a diarrhea headache and a lame back this morning and being very tired, I took to my bed as soon as I came off guard duty at 9 o’clock. I was so sick that I could eat no dinner or supper. I received a paper from the Times editor (Osborne) with excerpts from my letters in it. JUNE 08 – SATURDAY – On the sick list today. I spent the day on my bed, walking about the camp, reading, writing, etc. I commenced a letter to Gussie. JUNE 09 – SUNDAY – I feel well today. An inspection of army equipment, etc. today. I got a pass for George Allen and myself and we went to a house near the old mill which we use for a hospital to see Gibbs, Murphy, Blissard and others who are sick. We took a walk and found some strawberries. As we have no chaplain for the regiment, we have had no services today. JUNE 10 – MONDAY – The Colonel (Brinkman) drunk. He abused Sergeant Dickens shamefully at the morning drill without any cause at all. The difficulty was with him and not with the sergeant. I went on picket guard this morning for the first time. My watch was brought from Washington, it having been there to be repaired. The Stars and Stripes were hoisted in camp today. Governor Buckingham was here and reviewed us. JUNE 11 – TUESDAY – Heard thunder and lightning here last night but the shower passed over here without any rain. I came off picket guard feeling a little tired, but otherwise, I felt good. I commenced a letter to Gussie. Received one from her and one from Harriet in New York. JUNE 12 – WEDNESDAY – Our drills are changed to earlier in the morning and later in the afternoon. We drill from 8 ½ until 10 ½ o’clock in the AM and from 4 to 6 o’clock in the PM. The day has been very warm. An engine with two cars on it passed our camp at 7 PM, going toward Alexandria with an escort of soldiers on board. This is the first train that has run over the road since we have been encamped here. JUNE 13 – THURSDAY – Captain Wildman acted as Lieutenant Colonel and drilled the right wing of the regiment this forenoon. Lieutenant Stevens went with a party of us to bathe at 11 o’clock. We were obliged to have a commission officer with us in order to pass the guard. Skinner got made about a bed kin the evening and left the tent. It has been a beautiful day.
Friday and Saturday left blank in the diary.

JUNE 16 – SUNDAY – About 400 of our regiment headed by General Tyler went up the railroad to reconnoiter while I with a detailed party was at work putting up the telegraph poles and wire. One of the platform cars filled with soldiers was fired into near Vienna and seriously wounded one of Captain Comstock’s Company – Busbee, by name. One of our scouts while we were at work on the telegraph saw some men setting fire to the track between us and the train which had gone up. Frank Platt and myself rolled a handcar down to camp as soon as possible to get men to go up and drive them off. But when we got up there, they had left without doing any damage so we had our trouble for nothing. We saw some men up ahead on the track just on the edge of a piece of woods which we thought to be the enemy, but they proved to be our own. In a short time the train came down with the wounded man with the rest and others of us took the hand cars and went into camp. JUNE17 – MONDAY – At 2 o’clock PM, the regiment marched to Long Ridge for a review by General McDonald. There were 10,000 troops there. News came to the review ground that the Ohio boys were being cut in pieces up the railroad where we went yesterday near Vienna. We took a hurried march to our encampment where we had supper. We laid down to rest for a short time when two long trains of cars came up from Alexandria to take us to the scene of blood. We embarked as soon as we could. We took the first train and the 2nd Regiment (which came here from Washington last Friday night and arrived here early Saturday morning) took the second. For some reason or other, I know not what, the trains waited after we were all on board for 2 or 3 hours when they started very slowly on up the track. Not knowing where we might find the enemy, we felt our way along very slowly and cautiously. JUNE 18 – TUESDAY - Falls Church. We arrived near this place on the railroad about daylight or a little before this morning. We found the Ohio boys near the track by way of camp fires and a lantern. They were burying their dead and amputating the limbs of the wounded and caring for others who were badly wounded or otherwise. They had just taken off an arm of one poor fellow who submitted to it without a groan. It looked hard to see the long row of wounded, dying and the dead near the track. They numbered thirty, nine of them killed. We got off from the train and marched a short distance, went into a field nearby, and then lay or sat down to rest for nearly an hour, I should think, when we were ordered to march. We went partway back to where we got off the train and took a road partway up the hill to our right where we found another body of the Ohio boys on a sharp lookout for the enemy. We marched up the road for about a mile and halted near the four corners leading to Falls Church, Fairfax Courthouse, Alexandria and the one we came up on. Two platoons of South Carolinians and two pieces of artillery came by here en route to Fairfax about an hour before us. If we had come up here immediately after getting off the train, we would have capture them, but alas, we were too late. We took our position in a grove nearby, put out our pickets and kept a sharp eye out all day, but found no enemy. We bought some straw of a man living nearby and rolled ourselves up in our blankets as best we could for the night. Our orderly, Sgt. Knox, slept in a pig pen and our captain slept on top. JUNE 19 – WEDNESDAY – We slept very well last night, everything considered. I went down to the village and procured a cup of coffee and some corn cake at a house. Our camp train began to arrive before noon, so we moved our quarters about 1/8 of a mile back to the corners in a grove where we pitched our tents as soon as they came after first laying out the ground and cleaning it up for our encampment. (The distance from Washington or our old Camp Rockingham to Roaches’ Mill is about 10 miles – three miles to Long Ridge, 1 ¼ across the bridge and 5 ¾ from there to Camp Tyler at Roaches’ Mill The distance from Camp Tyler to Camp McDowell at Falls Church is about eight miles, the camp about 1 mile from the Alexandria, Hampshire & London Railroad). JUNE 20 – THURSDAY – I was detailed for Camp Guard duty this morning. I was posted at the colonel’s quarters. The corporal selected me for that post on account of me being one of the best soldiers, I being acquainted with the different salutes for the separate grades of officers. JUNE 21 – FRIDAY – I came off from guard duty this morning. The day has been very warm. No drill. I washed my clothes. We packed our uniform coats to send to Alexandria for storage. JUNE 22 – SATURDAY – No drill. A thunder shower last night. We were paid $10.00, one month’s bounty from the state and $.73 for two days at New Haven prior to being sworn in to the United States service. Captain Kellogg of the 2nd Regiment, officer of the day, has been taken prisoner by the rebels. JUNE 23 – SUNDAY – Very warm. A balloon was brought here this morning from Arlington Heights to reconnoiter the enemy and find out their positions, etc. I was detailed after supper to go on a scouting party during the night under Lieutenant Colonel Speidell. JUNE 24 - MONDAY – We came in from scouting early this morning. We took a position last night near two roads where the enemy would approach from Fairfax Courthouse if they were to attack us. With the exception of a few who were posted at other places nearby, we all remained in this position until morning. We were in a small piece of woods. We intended to fire upon the enemy from this position if they approached and retreat into the woods towards camp, keeping up a continuous fire all the way to camp to annoy them as much as possible. But all was quiet and consequently, we had nothing to do. The 3rd Regiment marched from Washington last night arriving early this morning before we returned form scouting. I believe they came by way of Chain Bridge. I wrote a letter to Gussie and sent her a gold dollar enclosed. JUNE 25 – TUESDAY - I received a letter from Gussie and one from Harriet. I wrote a letter to Gussie and one to George. JUNE 26 – WEDNESDAY- Cloudy in the morning with the appearance of rain. It came off clear and warm before night. JUNE 27 –THURSDAY – I was detailed for picket guard this morning. I was posted on a hill by the side of the Alexandria road from which I could see in the distance the dome of the Capitol Building. George Keeler was on post with me. It was just in the rear of a Union man’s house by the name of Munson. We heard Secession drums beat the tattoo at night in the direction of Fairfax Courthouse or that vicinity. JUNE 28 – FRIDAY – Heard the enemy’s drums again this morning as they were beating Reveille. After we came into camp this morning, I tried to sleep a little but could not on account of the flies which nearly tormented me to death. Received a letter from George. I wrote one to Gussie and one to Harriet. Very warm and dust. As nearly all our company was on guard, we did not go on dress parade at night. Our pickets took a South Carolina soldier prisoner. Captain Wildman brought him into camp. The Hartford boys were the ones that captured him thought. JUNE 29 – SATURDAY – The Regiment was reviewed this afternoon. JUNE 30 – SUNDAY- Stormy. I went on camp guard this morning. I received a letter from Gussie and one from Peter Starr. I had a severe headache in the PM. Our chaplain, Mr. Weber from Hartford, had service this afternoon at 4 o’clock for the first time. He has just been appointed and sent to us by Governor Buckingham.






Purdy, Horace, 1835-1909. “Horace Purdy Journal, June 1861 Entry.” Horace Purdy Journals, MS 044. WCSU Archives, 9 July 2019. Accessed on the Web: 18 Feb. 2020.

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