Category Archives: 22nd Massachusetts Infantry

1862 Diary of Alexis Caswell Dean, Co. C, 22nd Massachusetts Infantry

I could not find an image of Alexis but here is one of James Beatty of Co. I, 22nd Massachusetts Infantry (Photo Sleuth)

The following diary was kept by Alexis Caswell Dean (1842-1923) of Co. C, 22nd Massachusetts. He was the son of Philip King Dean (1798-1882) and Nancy K. Thomas (1802-1857). In the 1855 Mass. Census, Alexis was enumerated as a 13 year-old in his father’s household in Raynham, Bristol county, Massachusetts. After the war, in 1866, Alexis would marry Martha (“Mattie”) Bowers Perry and settle down in Foxboro in Norfolk county where he worked as a shoe merchant.

Alexis enlisted on 2 September 1861 initially as a musician in the regiment but soon moved into the ranks where he was promoted to a corporal. He had great handwriting which afforded him the opportunity to fill in as a clerk to his Colonel and even to Gen. Fitz-John Porter during the Peninsula Campaign. He became ill following that campaign and was not with his regiment for many months. He was wounded on 23 May 1864 at North Anna River and mustered out of the regiment on 17 October 1864.

To read letters by other members of the 22nd Massachusetts Infantry that I have transcribed and published in Spared & Shared, see:

George Thomas Perkins, 22nd Massachusetts (1 Letter)
William Wallace Smith, Co. B, 22nd Massachusetts (1 Letter)
William Wallace Smith, Co. B, 22nd Massachusetts (1 Letter)
George Franklin Stone, Co. D, 22nd Massachusetts (1 Letter)
Joseph Simonds, Co. F, 22nd Massachusetts (1 Letter)

[Note: This diary is from the personal collection of Greg Herr and was transcribed and published in Spared & Shared by express consent.]


Diary for 1862

January 1st—Very pleasant. I am in Camp Wilson, Hall’s Hill, Virginia.
January 2nd—Quite cold. Brigade drill in the afternoon.
January 3rd—Received a letter from Sarah and heard from Charles.
January 4th—Snowed a little in the night. Exchanged guns.
January 5th—Pleasant Sunday. We had a meeting in the open air and two joined the Soldier’s Church by public profession and communion services at the close of the meeting.
January 6th—Snowed a little at night.
January 7th—Supernumerary for guard. George is under arrest.
January 8th—A rainy night. I am on guard. George had a box from home.
January 9th—Came off guard. George was sent to quarters.
January 10th—On fatigue duty.
January 11th—Very muddy.
January 12th—Pleasant. Sign the pay roll.
January 13th—George was court martial and acquitted.
January 14th—Quite snowy. We’re paid off.
January 15th—Quite stormy.
January 16th—Pleasant.
January 17th—Pleasant.
January 18th—Stormy and muddy.
January 19th—Very stormy and muddy.
January 20th—Stormy and muddy.
January 21st—Stormy & muddy.
January 22nd—Stormy. On picket.
January 23rd—Came off picket. Received orders to box up all the things we could not carry.
January 24th—Battalion drill in the afternoon & morning. Rai at night.
January 25th—Went on guard.
January 26th—Came off guard.
January 27th—Tent caught fire and burnt up. On fatigue duty today.
January 28th—Stormy. Had my miniature taken.
January 29th—Washed my clothes.
January 30th—Very stormy.
January 31st—Company drill in the morning.

February 1st—Quite stormy.
February 2nd—Pleasant Sunday.
February 3rd—Snowy. Company drill in the morning.
February 4th—Pleasant. Company drill in the morning.
February 5th—Pleasant. Brigade drill in the morning.
February 6th—Very stormy in the morning. On guard.
February 7th—Came off guard. Target shooting in the morning.
February 8th—On fatigue duty.
February 9th—Pleasant. Sunday meeting in the morning. Sabbath School in the afternoon.
February 10th—Pleasant. Had my hair cut.
February 11th—Worked on the road about sick at night.
February 12th—On fatigue duty again. Almost sick.
February 13th—Very pleasant day. Seems like spring. Saw robins & bluebirds. Went target shooting. Nearly sick.
February 14th. On fatigue duty building roads. Almost sick.
February 15th—Very snowy. Went to the Dr. in the morning.
February 16th—Pleasant. Sick.
February 17th—Very stormy.
February 18th—Very muddy. On guard. I am sick.
February 19th—Very stormy.
February 20th—Pleasant. On fatigue duty.
February 21st—Drilled in the morning. Rather cold.
February 22nd—Washington’s Birthday. Salutes were fired by the batteries.
February 23rd—Cloudy.
February 24th—Tremendous windy in the afternoon. It blew nearly all our tents down.
February 25th—Pleasant. Battalion drill in the afternoon.
February 26th—Pleasant in the morning but rained at night. Battalion drill in the morning. Brigade in the afternoon. Orders to have two days rations cooked.
February 27th—Pleasant. Orders to box up everything we could not carry on our backs.
February 28th—Very cold and windy. We were mustered on guard.

March 1st—Pleasant.
March 2nd—Snowy in the afternoon.
March 3rd—Stormy.
March 4th—Pleasant. Company drill in the morning.
March 5th—Company drill in the morning & afternoon orders to come out to roll call with gun & equipments.
March 6th—Washed my clothes. Brigade drill in the afternoon.
March 7th—Pleasant. Company drill in the morning. Battalion drill in the afternoon.
March 8th—Pleasant. Brigade drill in the morning.
March 9th—Pleasant.
March 10th—Left Hall’s Hill at 7 o’clock for Fairfax Court House. Arrived there at 4 o’clock p.m. Rained in the morning and at night. Slept on the ground in the open air at night. George remained in camp.
March 11th—Pleasant. Company drill in the afternoon.
March 12th—Pleasant. Battalion drill in the morning & brigade drill in the afternoon. Reviewed by Gen. McClellan at sunset.
March 13th—Rained in the afternoon. Saw 4 rebel prisoners. Company drill in the afternoon.
March 14th—Rained at night. Company drill in the morning & afternoon. Saw a lot of contrabands. Nothing but 3 hard bread for breakfast, 2 for dinner, & nothing for supper.
March 15th—Left Fairfax at 6 in the morning for Alexandria. Rained very hard all day.
March 16th—Pleasant. Inspection in the morning. Had rubber tents.
March 17th—Company drill in the morning & afternoon. Inspection at night. Pleasant. Wm. Macomber & I went in to Fort Worth.
March 18th—Pleasant. Company drill in the morning & afternoon.
March 19th—Pleasant. Company drill in the morn & afternoon. Left Camp California for Alexandria City at 4 o’clock p.m. Quartered in a Methodist Church.
March 20th—Rather stormy. Signed the allotment roll to have $11 of my pay sent to Sarah each month. On guard at night.
March 21st—Cloudy all day. Left the city for the boat at 4 o’clock p.m.
March 22nd—Pleasant. Left Alexandria at 10 o’clock a.m. on board the steamship Daniel Webster. Saw Mount Vernon as we sailed down the Potomac.
March 23rd—Pleasant. Raised anchor at 5 in the morning. arrived in the harbor of Fortress Monroe at 5 p.m. Saw the Monitor & saw the rebel flag flying at Sewell’s Point.
March 24th—Landed at 7 a.m. Left at 10 o’clock for Hampton. Arrived there at 2 p.m. and pitched our tents. Very pleasant.
March 25th. Left at 10 o’clock and went about halfway between Hampton and New Market Bridge & camped. Pleasant.
March 26th—Pleasant. Washed my clothes. At 10 o’clock the regiment went out reconnoitering and were ordered to load [our guns] for the first time. Went out about 8 miles, found the rebels picket, and then returned to camp.
March 27th—15,000 men passed camp this morning. 11 o’clock, I am on the bank of a little river and it is the most pleasant morn I ever saw. Brigade drill in the afternoon. saw yesterday where two regiments of our army met in battle before the fight at Big Bethel.
March 28th—Pleasant. Company drill in the morning. Battalion drill in the afternoon.
March 29th—Company drill in the morning. Rainy in the afternoon. 9 o’clock at night it rains very hard and the water is quite deep in the tent. We are trying to drain the water off so we can sleep and not be in the water.
March 30th—Cloudy and some rain. went out on picket at 8 o’clock. posted in a swamp. At 10 o’clock at night one of our pickets was shot and [William] Fletcher & I went down and took his place until morning.
March 31st—Very pleasant. Came off picket. Missed the dress parade at night. Company drill in the afternoon.

April 1st—Pleasant. Battalion drill morning and afternoon.
April 2nd—Cloudy all day. Battalion drill in the afternoon. Quite heavy thunder with rain at night. On guard at the cook house at night.
April 3rd—Very pleasant. Brigade drill in the afternoon. Orders to have three days rations in our haversacks and two days uncooked in boxes.
April 4th—Pleasant. Reveille at 4 o’clock. Left New Market at 6 a.m. and arrived at Big Bethel at 10:30 a.m. Rested one hour, then marched to within 6 miles of Yorktown and camped for the night (orderly for the Colonel).
April 5th—Left for Yorktown at 6:30 a.m. Rained very hard until 10 a.m. At 11:30 a.m. halted in an open field, unslung knapsacks, had a few moment’s rest when our regiment and the 2nd Main [Infantry] were called for by Gen. [John H.] Martindale to go and support a battery. 2 p.m., the regiment supporting battery in woods. Sunset skirmishing. Company B has just advanced into the open field and had 9 men wounded. On picket at night. Slept but three hours during the night. The rebels burned a house nearby at night.

The regiment was engaged in its first combat on 5 April 1862. Warrick Road.

April 6th—Pleasant Sunday. On picket until 11 a.m. The rebels kept throwing shell over occasionally. The last one killed two horses and wounded one man. reported that a flag of truce had been sent in giving the rebels 24 hours to surrender.
April 7th—Rained in the afternoon. saw a wounded rebel that had been brought in during the night. One of the men died that was shot Saturday [Ap. 5th] in Co. H.
April 8th—Rained in the morning. Cloudy in the afternoon. saw a shell that the rebels threw over that did not burst. Also rebel gun with sword bayonet which a deserter had. On guard at the cook house at night.
April 9th—Cloudy in the morning. Rainy in the afternoon. The rebels threw a few shell over in the morning. The regiment was called out at 11 o’clock at night but it was a false alarm.
April 10th—Pleasant. Very cold at night. Left Camp Misery at 11:30 a.m. and went back one mile and camped.
April 11th—Very pleasant. Went out on picket. The rebels shelled us and came out and tried to drive us in. Several of the rebels were killed & some of our men wounded.
April 12th—Pleasant. Came off picket.
April 13th—Pleasant Sunday.
April 14th—Pleasant. Had my hair cut. Company drill in the morning.
April 15th—Pleasant. On fatigue duty building bridges. Another party went out at night.
April 16th—Pleasant and warm. Company drill in the morning. Washed my clothes. On guard at night. The rebels threw some shells over and the regiment was called out and kept in line until 11 o’clock p.m. Heavy cannonading all day and was kept up all night. Reported that we had taken two forts during the day. Many prisoners.
April 17th—Pleasant. Firing heard occasionally during the day. Heavy firing of cannon and musketry at 1 o’clock at night. The regiment was called out but the firing soon ceased.
April 18th—Pleasant. Company drill morning and afternoon.
April 19th—Pleasant during the day but rained very hard at night. Almost sick with the dysentery. Company drill in the morning. On fatigue duty building roads in the afternoon.
April 20th—Quite rainy. Sunday. On fatigue duty building fortifications in front of Fort Magruder.
April 21st—Showery all day. Rained into our tent very hard at night.
April 22nd—Pleasant in the morning. Showery in the afternoon. Company drill in the morning & afternoon. Sharp firing of artillery at 10 p.m.
April 23rd—On fatigue duty building roads. Went on guard at night. Pleasant.
April 24th—Pleasant. Came off guard. The regiment went out scouting.
April 25th—Cloudy & some rain. Went out on picket at 5 o’clock in the morning. 6:30 o’clock p.m. am on post alone under a tree the side of a river and am thinking of home.
April 26th—Very rainy all day. Came off picket.
April 27th—Sunday. Cloudy all day. Sharp firing of cannon in the afternoon and in the night by the gunboats.
April 28th—Pleasant. Went on fatigue duty at 5 a.m. The rebels shell us all day. One burst over my head. We were paid off at 10 o’clock p.m.
April 29th—Pleasant. Company drill in the morning. washed my clothes in the afternoon. The rebels shelled our men who were on fatigue duty and pieces came into our camp.
April 30th—Cloudy all day. Orderly for Major General [Fitz John] Porter. Firing of shell in the afternoon.

May 1st—Showery in the morning. Company drill in the afternoon. Sharp firing of cannon at night.
May 2nd—Cloudy in the morning. Pleasant & warm in the afternoon. Went on fatigue duty at 5 a.m. We threw up breastworks in a large peach orchard and the rebels threw shell every few minutes in the morning and occasionally in the afternoon. They fell all around us but no one was hurt.
May 3rd—Very pleasant. Company drill in the morning. At night the rebels commenced shelling us and kept it up until 2 o’clock in the morning. A piece went through the Adjutant’s tent.
May 4th—We were called up at 3:30 o’clock in the morning to go on picket. When we got out there we soon found out the rebels had evacuated. We went to the fort and Col. Gove raised the Stars & Stripes. We had 4 wounded as we advanced to the fort and 4 killed and two wounded when we got into the fort by torpedo shell which were placed in the ground. We returned to camp at 3 o’clock p.m. Pleasant.

Colonel Gove was the first Union officer over the earthworks at Yorktown and the 22nd Massachusetts the first regiment to plant its colors.

May 5th—Very stormy all day. The Brigade was ordered out at dark. Went to Fort Magruder and stayed all night in the rain without blankets. Numerous reports during the day and night in regard to the army.
May 6th—Pleasant. Came back to camp at 10 a.m. Packed knapsacks and left at noon for the Fort Magruder. Col.’s orderly at night.
May 7th—Pleasant. The regiment was called out at 10 a.m. and stacked arms and waited until 10 p.m. and then went down to the wharf and laid in the road all night.
May 8th—Pleasant. Went aboard the boat at 11 a.m. and arrived opposite West Point at 7 p.m. & landed at 8 p.m. I am sick.
May 9th—Pleasant. Marched a little further and made a camp. Saw the wounded that were in the battle on this ground.
May 10th—Pleasant and warm. Laid in the tent all day sick. Brigade drill in the afternoon.
May 11th—Pleasant Sunday. Went in bathing.
May 12th—Pleasant.
May 13th—Very warm and pleasant. Reveille at 3 o’clock. Left West Point at 6 a.m. for Cumberland. arrived there at 7 p.m. One man died on the march.
May 14th—Cloudy all day with some rain. Reviewed by the Secretary of State [Seward] and General McClellan.
May 15th—Rained very hard all day. Packed up in the morning and moved two miles in the afternoon.
May 16th—Cloudy in the morning. Col’s orderly. Marched at 10 a.m. for the White House. Arrived there at 2 p.m.
May 17th—Very pleasant. Washed my clothes and went in bathing. Inspection in the morning & afternoon.
May 18th—Pleasant. Inspection in the morning and afternoon.
May 19th—Rained in the morning. Left White House Landing for Tunstall’s Station at 6:30 a.m. Arrived there at 4 p.m. and pitched our new tents.
May 20th—Pleasant all day. A shower at night.
May 21st—Pleasant. Marched at 6:30 a.m. and went 5 miles.
May 22nd—Very hot. A shower in the afternoon. Marched at 6 a.m. and went to Kidd’s Mills, a distance of 9 miles.
May 23rd—Pleasant & hot. Almost sick.
May 24th—Rained all day, On provost guard at night.
May 25th—Sunday. Very pleasant.
May 26th—Pleasant. Marched at 6:30 in the morning and went to Gaines Hill—a distance of 4 miles from Kidd’s Mill.
May 27th—Rained very hard until 11 o’clock a.m. Marched at 5 o’clock and went 18 miles to Hanover Court House. Had a battle. Whipped the rebels and drove them back to Richmond and took a great number prisoners. Saw our dead on the field for the first time.
May 28th—Pleasant. Went into the woods in the morning and counted 15 dead rebels. Went out 5 miles reconnoitering at 10 a.m. and then returned.
May 29th—Pleasant. Left Hanover Court House at 1 p.m. and went back to camp.
May 30th—Pleasant in the morning. A thunder shower in the afternoon and very sharp lightning until midnight. Two men were struck. One was killed in the 44th New York.
May 31st—Cloudy all day. Heavy firing heard during the day.

June 1st—Called up at 4 o’clock, 3 days rations given us. Struck tents, packed knapsacks, and went out about 1 mile and stopped until 2 p.m. and then returned to camp and put up tents again. Firing heard nearly all day. Very warm and pleasant.
June 2nd—Very hot. Showers in the night. Henry Galigan died.
June 3rd—Very hot and commenced raining at 5:30 p.m. Went out on picket on the banks of the Chickahominy [river].
June 5th—Cloudy all day. Dress parade. At night an order was read from General McClellan that if we were successful in the coming battle, the rebels would give up or words to that effect.
June 6th—Cloudy with showers. We were up cooking until one o’clock at night.
June 7th—Showers in the afternoon. The regiment went out on fatigue duty, Saw a man in Company D shoot his finger off.
June 8th—Pleasant all day. Sunday.
June 9th—Pleasant. Rained during the night.
June 10th—Rained in the morning. Cloudy in the afternoon.
June 11th—Pleasant.
June 12th—Pleasant. Worked in the cook house until 2 o’clock at night. Left Gaines’ Mills at 8 o’clock and went down the Chickahominy 4 miles and went on fatigue duty.
June 13th—Pleasant & hot. Left at 3 p.m. and went back to Gaines’ Mills. Worked in the cook house until 2:30 o’clock at night.
June 14th—Pleasant and very warm. The regiment was ordered to be ready to march at 2 o’clock but the order was countermanded. Had a pair of pants. Wm. R. Macomber died.
June 15th—Pleasant. Sunday. Up cooking at night.
June 16th—Pleasant. The regiment out on picket.
June 17th—Pleasant.
June 18th—Pleasant. The regiment was called up at 11 p.m. and went out to Mechanicsville.
June 19th—Went out with the teams at 9 a.m. & came back to camp at 2 p.m. Pleasant.
June 20th—Pleasant. Left Gaines’ Mills at 7 o’clock and went two miles further towards Richmond. The rebs commenced shelling our teams at 9 o’clock and hit some of them and killed one man.
June 21st—Pleasant. The company came off guard. I left the cook house. Had a blouse.
June 22nd—Pleasant and warm. Sunday. Went to meeting in the morning to the 4th U. S. Infantry Protestant Episcopal Church.
June 23rd—Heavy showers in the afternoon and at night. Company drill in the morning.
June 24th—Cloudy nearly all day. Company drill in the morning. We were called up at 2:30 a.m.
June 25th—Pleasant. Company drill in the morning. Charles Jones came back from Taunton.
June 26th—Pleasant. Company drill in the morning. We were called up at 2:30 a.m. and went out to Mechanicsville at 12:30 p.m. The battle commenced at 4:30 p.m. We had two men killed and one wounded. Were posted near the battlefield at night on picket. Quite cold at night.
June 27th—Pleasant. Started back towards camp at 4 a.m. and got our knapsacks and went to the Chickahominy and took our position in line of battle. The rebels came up at 2:30 p.m. and the battle commenced, we repulsed them 4 times and held our position until 5 p.m. when they were reinforced by Gen. “Stonewall” Jackson and broke our lines. We formed a new line and crossed the river during the night. Nearly half of the regiment were killed, wounded or taken prisoners. Col. [Gove] killed.

Battle of Gaines’ Mill—The regiment spent most of the battle in reserve. At the end of the day the Union line broke and the 22nd Massachusetts was outflanked and forced to fall back. It lost 71 men killed, 86 wounded and 177 captured out of the 750 engaged, its heaviest loss of the war. Colonel Gove and Captain John Dunning were killed and Major William S. Tilton was wounded in the shoulder and captured. Lieutenant Colonel Griswold was absent sick, so Captain Walter S. Sampson took command.

June 28th—Pleasant. arched at 1 p.m. and crossed Bottom Bridge and camped for the night. False alarm at night. rained at night.
June 29th—Pleasant. Sunday. Marched about 3 miles and stayed in the woods during the day. Troops were passing all day. Moved one mile. At night there were two alarms. There was a skirmish here in the morning.
June 30th—Pleasant & very warm. Started on our march at 4:30 a.m. and went nearly to James River. There was a battle in the afternoon. We were in line but were not engaged.

July 1st—Pleasant. Stayed in the battlefield in the morning at 11:30 p.m. We took our position in line of battle and at 2 p.m. the battle commenced with artillery. At 5 p.m. the infantry were engaged. At 5 p.m. the 22nd went in and gave the rebels 60 rounds. Lost during the fight about 50 killed and wounded. At 9 p.m. all firing ceased. At 10 p.m. started down the James River. Marched all night.

Battle of Malvern Hill—The regiment supported a battery of the 5th United States Artillery, losing 9 men killed, 41 wounded and 8 captured.

July 2nd—Rained very hard all day. Arrived at Harrison’s Landing at 11 a.m. A very stormy night. Scarcely any sleep. Laid in the mud with [no] blankets or tent.
July 3rd—Cloudy. The rebels commenced shelling us at 9 a.m. The whole army were in lines of battle and we captured two of the rebel pieces of artillery and several prisoners. We moved into the woods and camped. Simmonds came back from Alexandria.
July 4th—Pleasant. Expected to be reviewed by Gen. McClellan but were not but by Gen. Martindale. Very quiet in camp, A few salutes were fired.
July 5th—Pleasant. All quiet.
July 6th—Pleasant. Sunday. Company went on guard.
July 7th—Pleasant. Very warm. Went in bathing at night. Had new blankets &c.
July 8th—Pleasant. Went in bathing.
July 9th—Pleasant. went in bathing. Company drill in the morning.
July 10th—Showery in the afternoon. Company drill in the morning. Inspection at night.
July 11th—Cloudy all day with some rain. Inspection at night.
July 12th—Pleasant. Inspection in the morning & afternoon.
July 13th—Pleasant. Sunday. All quiet.
July 14th—Pleasant. Company drill in the morning.
July 15th—Pleasant & hot. A very hard shower at night. Went down to the Landing in the morning. On guard.
July 16th—Pleasant with a storm at night. We were mustered for pay.
July 17th—Pleasant with a very hard shower at night. Company drill morning and afternoon.
July 18th—Cloudy all day. Company drill in the morning. Almost sick.
July 19th—Cloudy all day. Brought water at the cook house.
July 20th—Pleasant. Sunday.
July 21st—Pleasant. Had our tents. Company drill.
July 22nd—Pleasant. Company drill in the morning.
July 23rd—Cloudy in the afternoon. Moved and went down to the Landing. went on guard at night.
July 24th—Pleasant. Came off guard.
July 25th—Pleasant. reviewed by Generals McClellan & Porter at 9 o’clock a.m. Orderly for the Colonel at night.
July 26th—Pleasant and warm. Orderly for the Colonel. Shower at night.
July 27th—Pleasant. Sunday. Went in bathing in morning.
July 28th—Pleasant. Company drill in morning. Inspection at night with knapsacks. Roll call with equipments & gun. Paid off.
July 29th—Pleasant. Brought water at the cook house. Company drill in the morning. Went over to see James Wady. He is very sick.
July 30th—Pleasant. Company drill in the morning. Went on guard at night. Wrote a letter for James Wady.
July 31st—Cloudy with some rain. Sick at night. The rebels commenced shelling us from across the river at 12 o’clock at night.

August 1st—Pleasant. Went to the Dr. in the morning. Sick. Stayed in tent all day.
August 2nd—Sick in tent all day.
August 3rd—Rained in the morning. Sunday. Sick.
August 4th—Pleasant, Went doen to Westover Landing on guard at night and came back as 12 o’clock. Paid off.
August 5th—Pleasant & very hot. Orderly for the Colonel at night.
August 6th—Pleasant. The prisoners came back from Richmond. Under marching orders.
August 7th—Pleasant & very hot.
August 8th—Pleasant. Orderly for the Colonel at night. My box came from home.
August 9th—Very warm.
August 10th—Showers at night. Sunday, Had orders to be ready to march at 12 o’clock. Sent our knapsacks off.
August 11th—Pleasant. Went on guard at night.
August 12th—Very hot. Showers towards night. Guard. Were relieved at Westover.
August 13th—Pleasant. Went down bathing at night.
August 14th—Pleasant. went on guard at night. Left Harrison’s Landing at 10 p.m. and marched all night.
August 15th—Marched all days and crossed the Chickahominy at sunset and camped for the night.
August 16th—Pleasant. Marched at 7 a.m. and went to Williamsburg and camped for the night.
August 17th—Pleasant. Marched at 6 a.m. and went to Yorktown. Sunday.
August 18th—Pleasant. Marched at 5 a.m. and went within one mile of Hampton Village.
August 19th—Pleasant. Left Hampton at 7 a.m. and went to Newport News.
August 20th—Pleasant. Went on board the boat at 6 a.m. Sailed down the river. Made a short stop at Fortress Monroe and then started up the Potomac.
August 21st—Landed at Aquia Creek at 10 a.m. and took the cars and went to Fredericksburg. Pleasant & very warm. At night it rained.
August 22nd—Moved at 10 a.m. and went about 1 mile to a new camp again at 5 p.m. and marched nearly all night. Pleasant.
August 23rd—A shower in the afternoon. Marched all day and stopped about 5 miles from the Rappahannock River,
August 24th—Pleasant and cold night. Sunday. Went out on picket at 7 a.m. Marched again at 2 p.m. and went about 7 miles and camped for the night.
August 25th—Pleasant. Left camp at 7 a.m. and went about two miles, halted in the road 2 hours, and then went back in our old camp ground.
August 26th—Pleasant. Left camp at 6 a.m. and crossed the ford.
August 27th—Left the ford where the fight was a few days before and marched at 6 a.m. and went to Warrenton Junction.
August 28th—Extremely hot. A little shower in the afternoon. Left the junction at 4 a.m. and went down the railroad to where the fight was the day before and camped for the night.
August 29th—Pleasant. Left in the morning and went down to Manassas Junction. Met the rebels and had an artillery fight. We supported a battery. The regiment was on picket at night.
August 30th—Pleasant. Left in the morning and marched in the rear of Griffin’s Brigade to Centreville. Started for the battlefield of Bull Run at 5 p.m. where the rest of the Brigade was. Were stopped on the road and went back to Centreville at 9 p.m.
August 31st—Rained very hard in the morning. Cloudy in the afternoon. Rained a little at night. Sunday, Saw many wounded soldiers during the day. Moved about 1 mile at noon. Expected battle in the afternoon.

September 1st—Pleasant, Under arms all day expecting at attack. Commenced moving at 10 o’clock at night. A shower at night.
September 2nd—Pleasant. Left Centreville at 4 a.m., marched through Fairfax, stopped about 2 miles beyond Leesburg Turnpike at night.
September 3rd—Pleasant. Marched at 7 a.m. and arrived on Hall’s Hill at 3 p.m.
September 4th—Pleasant. Our pickets were driven in and we were called out but were not needed.
September 5th—Pleasant. All quiet in camp. Firing heard in the afternoon.
September 6th—Pleasant. We were mustered in the afternoon. Orders to march at 9 p.m. but did not until 2 o’clock in the morning.
September 7th—Pleasant. Sunday. S. E. Raymond and I did not leave camp until daylight. Saw J. Young at Ball’s Cross Roads and he went along with us. Went through Washington. Stopped 3 hours and then marched to Tinleytown and stopped for the night.
September 8th—Pleasant. Started for Rockville at 6 a.m. and marched within two miles of the village.
September 9th—Pleasant. Marched at 5 a.m. and went to Rockville and learned that the Division was on Arlington Heights. Marched back and got to the regiment at 4 p.m. Were mustered at 5 p.m.
September 10th—Pleasant. A little shower at night. Remained in camp all day.
September 11th. Cloudy all day and rained very hard at night. Had our knapsacks. Received James Wady’s box. Had an overcoat & pair of socks and did not [get] receipt for them.
September 12th—Pleasant. The regiment left at 8 p.m. and crossed the river. I was left behind.
September 13th—Pleasant. Washed my pants.
September 14th—Pleasant. Left at 9 a.m. and went to Fairfax Seminary Hospital.
September 15th—Pleasant. Examined by the surgeon at noon and sent to the Convalescent Camp near Fort Ellsworth. Left the hospital at 3 p.m.
September 16th—Cloudy in the afternoon. Rained at night. Remained in camp all day.
September 17th—Cloudy.
September 18th—Pleasant and hot. Went up into the city in the morning.
September 19th—Pleasant. Went to the Dr. in the morning. Fletcher came back from the hospital.
September 20th—Cloudy all day.
September 21st—Pleasant. Sunday.
September 22nd—Pleasant. Went up into the city and remained all day.
September 23rd—Pleasant. Did some washing. Had my hair cut.
September 24th—Cloudy with some rain.
September 25th—Pleasant all day.
September 26th—Pleasant.
September 27th—Pleasant.
September 28th—Pleasant. Sunday. Went up into the city and went to church in the morning.
September 29th—Pleasant.
September 30th—Pleasant. Commenced bedding with Fletcher.

October 1st—Pleasant.
October 2nd—-Pleasant. Sick at night.
October 3rd—Pleasant. Not very well.
October 4th—Pleasant. Very windy. Some rain at night. Washed all my clothes in the afternoon.
October 5th—Pleasant but windy. Sunday. Went up into the city with Fletcher.
October 6h—Pleasant.
October 7th—Pleasant. Fletcher went to the regiment with Sergeant Rock. Sent for my Descriptive List.
October 8th—Pleasant. Pealed a little.
October 9th—Pleasant.
October 10th—Pleasant. Rained in the night.
October 11th—Cloudy and cold.

[No substantive entries until November 7, 1862]

November 7th—Snowed all day and very cold.
November 8th—Pleasant in the morning. Cloudy and cold in the afternoon.
November 9th—Pleasant but very cold. Went to the surgeons in the morning with rheumatism. Sunday. Went to meeting in the afternoon in the open air.
November 10th—Very pleasant. Sick with headache and sore mouth.
November 18th—Cloudy with some rain. Sent to Fairfax Seminary Hospital.
November 26th—Pleasant. Sent for my Descriptive List.
December 15th—Left Fairfax Hospital at 9 a.m. Went to Alexandria. Took the cars and arrived at Philadelphia City 6:30 next morning.
December 16th—Stormy in the morning. Went to the U.S.A. General Hospital in west Philadelphia in the afternoon.

[The balance of his diary, running through July 1863, indicates that he spent time in various eastern hospitals.]

1862: George Thomas Perkins to Betsy (Sampson) Perkins

This letter was written by George Thomas Perkins (1836-1880), the son of Dr. Thomas Spencer Perkins (1818-1870) and Betsy Bartlett Sampson (1820-1906) of Boston.

George Thomas Perkins after his promotion to Asst. Surgeon, ca. 1863 (Ron Coddington Collection)

George was born in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1838. He received an M.D. from Harvard Medical School in 1858. He also attended Johns Hopkins University. Perkins enlisted in the Union army in 1861. He joined the Massachusetts 22nd Infantry Regiment as a hospital steward, and was promoted to assistant surgeon in 1863. He held this position until 1864. He then joined the Massachusetts 32nd Infantry Regiment as an assistant surgeon, and was promoted to full surgeon later that year. He joined the Massachusetts 26th Infantry Regiment, where he served as surgeon until 1865. After the war, Perkins practiced as a physician in Newton Lower Falls, Massachusetts, from 1865 to 1870. He became coroner of Middlesex County in 1869. 

In this letter datelined from Camp Winfield Scott near Yorktown in May 1862 while servicing in the 22nd Massachusetts, George wrote his mother early on the day in which the Confederate troops surreptitiously retreated from Yorktown. Less than two months later, George was wounded in the right lung and captured in the fighting at Gaine’s Mill but was exchanged after five weeks captivity. Lt. Col. Griswold reassured the Perkins family that George was “by no means severely wounded” and that he would “soon be transferred to Turkey Bend where many of our wounded are collected.”

See my friend Ron Coddington’s article entitled, “Left for Dead in Virginia” published on 28 June 2012 which tells the tale of the 22nd Massachusetts at Gaine’s Mill and of Perkin’s wound.

[Note: This letter is from the private collection of Richard Weiner and is published by express consent on Spared & Shared.]


Camp Winfield Scott
Near Yorktown, Va.
May 3, 1862

Dear Mother,

I received your letter a few days ago and take this my first chance to answer it. I received a letter from Annie yesterday and shall answer it tomorrow. In it she speaks of not being well. Do please look after her a little and make her take good care of herself for she is more precious to me than all else in this world and I should never be fit for anything again should I loose her. Do be careful of her for my sake.

Our position here is a very trying one. The shot and shell are flying about us in all directions and making the most horrid noise as they hiss through the air. Our works is going bravely on, however, in spite of all the Rebels can do to prevent it. Every morning discovers a new breastwork, road, or bridge. Our men are at work night and day perfecting the works and daily long siege trains pass our camp with large guns and mortars on their way to the breastworks in front. Our brigade is in front and upon the extreme right of the line. The camp of our regiment is upon the banks of the York River making one of the finest camps we have had since we left Massachusetts.

We heard yesterday that New Orleans had been taken. I hope it is so for the sooner this war is ended, the better. For my part, I should like it to end tomorrow that I could return home once more. I never knew what hardship was before I became a soldier, but I do now. I have been hungry and could get nothing to eat. I have been tired and wet through after a hard day’s march through Virginia mud and could get no dry clothes nor place to sleep except in the open fields and have stretched out upon wet ground and slept night after night. But after going through all this, I find my health still good.

Tell Annie she can no longer say that I have weak lungs. Give my love to Annie and the children, keeping a share for yourself. I must now close this disjoined letter hoping to hear from you soon and often. Yours &c.

— George

Tell Annie to write oftener. I wrote to Mother yesterday.