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Saturday, December 31, 2016

I love the music of Brandi Carlile. Unfortunately whenever I tell someone about her, they think I am talking about Belinda Carlisle. This is somewhat acceptable since my music taste tends to lean towards 80’s but in this case they couldn’t be further apart. You have probably heard her song "The Story" as it was featured on Grey's Anatomy and got a good bit of airplay. Take a moment or two, watch and listen to "Fall Apart Again", "The Eye" or "Hallelujah"

I’m a member of a private fan page on Facebook and one of the members has taken it upon himself to make the world know about the story of Ruth Blay, a nineteenth-century woman from New Hampshire who was executed due to hiding the body of her stillborn son. He has personally bought 9 books and ships them to other fans, which in turn then ships them to others. I was so impressed, I bought one (you can find it here) to read and then do the same. He asked that I write about why we are doing this in the book and below is what I wrote on the 248th Anniversary of her execution.

It can be hard grasping how much humanity has changed in such a short time over history. Ten years ago, equality in marriage seemed an impossible dream, 60 years ago segregation ruled the land, 120 years ago Irish need not apply, 160 years ago owning a slave was a Constitutional protected right and 248 years ago a young woman hid the body of her stillborn child because she was afraid of the consequences of having an illegitimate child that had died during childbirth, a fear that was justified – as the body would be found and she would be executed.

Simple put, Ruth Blay was failed by her community and the laws that governed the citizens of her time. And while what happened to Ruth would not be repeated in America today, around the world similar “crimes and punishments” are dealt with daily. Unfortunately, we do live in a world that is still heavily misogynist, that can and does still punish women for being women.

Mark Cancelada started sharing Ruth’s story with a twofold purpose. To remind us of the continuing struggles of women, now and though out history and to inspire Brandi Carlile to write and/or sing about Ruth’s story.

After reading the book, please continue to share Ruth’s story by forwarding it to the next person in line. Don’t forget to write your name and date on the cover, post a picture of it and the book on Facebook and Bramily – and #RememberRuthBlay

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Karma can get you and sometimes, as outsiders we have to laugh one someone truly deserves it. In this case, South Carolina House Rep. Chris Corley, R-Graniteville is feeling its wrath. The “man” who sent Christmas cards out with the Confederate Battle flag after the Mother Emanuel shooting, chastising lawmakers for bringing the flag down, is now in jail on charges of domestic abuse.

You can read about the charges here

But what would cause karma to strike so hard? Well, this:

In the season of peace, love and light, South Carolina House Rep. Chris Corley, R-Graniteville, has sunk to a new low with a divisive Christmas card to his GOP colleagues in the General Assembly.

Instead of reconciliation and good cheer, Corley chose to craft a holiday message dripping with venom directed at those who supported removing the Confederate flag from the Statehouse grounds in July.

Corley, a member of the Aiken County Legislative Delegation, said those who may be offended by the card don’t understand his sense of humor.

“Those who know me and know my sense of humor, probably walked away after reading the card, having a good laugh and saying, ‘That’s just Corley being Corley,’” he said.

Corley’s card reads “Merry Christmas” on the front, showing a photo of the South Carolina Statehouse with the Confederate battle flag flying on the grounds.

The inside of the card is inscribed, “May your Christmas be filled with memories of a happier time when South Carolina’s leaders possessed morals, convictions and the principles to stand for what is right. May you have a blessed Christmas, and may you take this joyous time as an opportunity to ask for forgiveness of all your sins such as betrayal.”

In a report from The Post & Courier, the card also references Dante’s “Inferno,” consigning those guilty of treachery to hell.

“This is Cocytus, the ninth circle, the fourth and last great water of Hell, and here fixed in the ice, each according to his guilt, are punished sinners guilty of treachery against those who they are bound to by special ties,” the card reads.

Corley didn’t send the same card to his Democratic colleagues, instead giving them a card with a photo of his kids on the front.

“The message I was sending, I was sending to my Republican colleagues only,” he said. “I had a problem with the politicalization of the flag removal movement. I believe my colleagues caved to political correctness, and I have an issue with that.”

Demands to take the flag down permanently gained momentum after nine churchgoers, including pastor and late State Sen. Clementa Pinckney, were gunned down on June 17 at Charleston’s historic black Emanuel AME Church by Dylann Roof, a white gunman who authorities said posted online photos of himself holding a handgun and a Confederate flag. Corley took exception to the portrayal of the shooter.

“The Confederate flag did not kill those nine people,” Corley said. “Dylann Roof did not choke anybody with a Confederate flag, he used a gun. To use a tragedy like this for political gain was wrong. The Democrats used the tragedy to cram the flag issue down our throats. I think the entire process was wrong.”

Corley said if the movement to take down the Confederate flag had followed the normal process, he would have voted against it, but he would have accepted the process.

“There’s a right way to do it and a wrong way to do it, and at every turn we chose the wrong way,” he said. “We would have discussed it, and we would have debated it, but it would have followed the process. If they had done it the right way and it came down, I’d have said, ‘If you have a problem with it, see how your representative or senator voted and take it up with them.’”

Corley said the Confederate flag means different things to different people, and not every interpretation of the flag is rooted in evil, racism or bigotry.

“To me the flag represents a time when the states decided their individual rights mattered more than a centralized federal government exerting their control,” he said. “It represents a time when people felt the federal government was too big.”

How far back in history would you have us go, Mr. Corley?

Should we return all the way to the days when states exercised the authority to make people property and allowed them to be enslaved to others? Perhaps we should fast-forward from the period 50 years when women had not yet secured the right to vote and the leaders of the Palmetto State were fighting their right to do so every step of the way. Where is this sweet spot of yours exactly?

Would returning to the 1960s and the days of Jim Crow segregation and the valiant battles to keep the races separated, fought by the “leaders” you cite, be more to your liking, Mr. Corley?

Despite your protests to the contrary, sir, the majority of South Carolina residents will gather for the holidays and give thanks that the flag issue is settled at long last.

You may continue to pout as you wish, but the rest of us are moving on – with or without you.

Friday, December 23, 2016

During the last three months I had a book to read each week for class and ended up not being able to read for fun. One book may not seem like much but I then had to write a 5-page paper on it and be ready to discuss it in class – a bit stressful to say the least. I ended up with a list of books that I wanted to read but didn’t have time to – and now getting around to them.

While I’ve read a few books already, this one has been the most interesting. “The Myth of the Lost Cause: Why the South Fought the Civil War and Why the North Won” by Edward H. Bonekemper III looks at the Lost Cause at a granularly level, separating it into chunks and sub chunks and dissects it to show just how false it is. Using a combination of source material, Lost Cause history and contemporary studies he does a remarkable job presenting the truth for those brave enough to accept it.

Reading the reviews can be sad and funny at the same time – and the author has responded to a few of them – such as this one

Even though we haven’t posted in very long time, we still get contacted – which means folks are still reading. We, though, have not been writing.

Which is a shame since we have still been active.

During our break, research has continued. We have found more letters; more items related to the 18th, expanded out database and did a few other things. Heck, Donald and I even met for a visit to Gettysburg. I’ve gotten pretty deep into Citadel History and have spent a lot of time on that. We have kept up with the current events of Civil War history – and as a resident of the Charleston area – the impact it had on the Mother Emanuel shooting. So, we didn’t entirely disappear.

Recently, a friend of mine decided to start a web design business and I took him up on a offer to redesign and update our site. I didn’t realize how dated it had become until I looked at it in comparison with some other sites. At the same time, I started a Masters of History program. While the course I took last semester had nothing to do with the Civil War, the next one will have a peripheral view as I look at the History of the American military.

With both of these events, I thought I would start up again and perhaps broaden the blog by also posting about the courses I take, Citadel notes, along with the normal Civil War history. A bit more free flowing on the thoughts – but still centered around the Civil War.

At one point we had a pretty good following, doubt we will get it again – but we shall be posting more frequently.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Note: the 18th continues its trip down the Pamunkey River

As a rising sun illuminated the anchored Cornelius Vanderbilt flames and smoke could still be detected from the direction of White House Landing. From the stern of the ship the voices of contrabands, who filled two small boats tied to the rail, could be heard lifting heavenward in "a prayer-meeting."

Underway a short time later the Vanderbilt slowly steamed past West Point and later Yorktown, both of which places were entirely familiar to the Regiment. In late afternoon, in what must have seemed like a full circle homecoming of sorts, the walls of Fortress Monroe, rising out of the placid harbor waters at Hampton, came into view.

Far in the distance the Fifth Corps positioned itself close by the Fourth Corps at the junction of the Long Bridge, Charles City, and the Quaker roads where it waited a possible Confederate approach. That threat never materialized and at night Fitz-John Porter received orders to move toward Malvern Hill. It turned out to be a long night as the Corps, after being led down a wrong road, discovering its error, and countermarching, finally arrived at their destination between 10 and 11 a.m. the following morning.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Note: the Regiment marches toward White House Landing

Encamped close by a rail line, on which one or two trains had passed during the night, daybreak brought a freight train to a stop and with it more complete details of the Fifth Corps' defeat at Gaines Mills the previous day, including tales of the 18th's now leveled camp and the fate of those who had been left behind. There was little anyone could do except thank their lucky stars they had been spared the experience and take advantage of a nearby creek for a quick bath.

Returning scouting parties soon after pulled reign to report Confederate troops nearby and, after scrambling for muskets, a line of battle was formed and maintained until 10 a.m. when, after deciding discretion being the better part of valor, Stoneman's expeditionary force began a five hour march toward White House Landing.

Arriving between 3 and 4 in the afternoon, the Landing presented as a veritable superwarehouse for commissary stores. "The river was full of small craft, barges, transports, loaded with the most valuable property of our Uncle Samuel." Those in Stoneman's party, given a thumbs up, roamed like kids in a candy store, loading up on "kegs of butter, cheese, bbls [sic], of pies and cakes, preserves, clothing and everything that they could desire." Then in what many would call "their 4th of July celebration," the remainder of the goods were put to the torch by the Regiment.

The last to board a vessel, members of the 18th watched flames lick the sky from the rails of the Cornelius Vanderbilt as it pulled away from the dock and began its descent down the Pamunky River. Hours later all sight was lost of the billowing clouds of black smoke when nightfall intervened, shrouding all in darkness. Drown out by the level of chatter filling the decks, the Vanderbilt's anchor plunged into the Pamunky's brown water, signaling the end to the day's chapter.

On the knife's edge, Porter's Fifth Corps saw the sun rise that morning over the Trent Farm, the former site of McClellan's now abandoned headquarters. Those who got a peek were astonished at the luxuries the General Commanding had surrounded himself with. It was here, too, that McClellan announced to his Corps commanders in the wee hours of the morning his plan to secure a change of base along the James River. In the coming days, that retrograde movement would amount to a footrace between Lee and McClellan, with the former attempting to cut off the latter before he could reach the safety of the James and would fuel the remaining battles of what collectively became known as the Seven Days.

Two hours after the midpoint of the day, the First Division of the Fifth Corps began it's march toward Savage Station, followed by the Second Division at six, and finally the Third at nine. That movement was almost painfully slow as "the labor of rebuilding causeways and bridges over swamp and stream, the darkness of night, intensified by rain, and the condition of the narrow roads, cut up and blocked by trains and herds of cattle, all combined to retard the march."

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Note: the 18th Mass continued its search for Stonewall

In the dead of pre-dawn hours those who had dosed off during the night were prodded awake and once more assumed vigilance against the possible approach of Rebels. Fires were strictly prohibited and most wrapped woolen blankets around themselves to ward off the damp chill. Soon after first light, small parties set out in search of berries and stumbled across their fill of “cherries, currants, raspberries, &c.” While Stoneman’s force hadn’t yet been discovered by Confederates, slaves from nearby plantations were fully aware of their presence and arrived loaded down with milk, hoe cakes, and butter for quick sale.

The column was in full motion by 10, headed toward Cold Harbor. A mile into their march there were confirmed sightings of a rapidly approaching enemy, an indicator to Stoneman that he was now being followed in force. He ordered Major Joseph Hayes and 200 men from the 18th, along with two squads of cavalry, to act as a rear guard in support of two artillery pieces which were planted in the middle of the road they were traversing. As the column moved off at the double quick and continued onward they were joined by ever increasing numbers of stragglers from McCall’s Third Division. All the while voluminous musketry and cannonading, as well as heavy smoke, could be heard and seen coming from the Gaines Mills area.

Hayes and his small band backpedaled keeping a distance from Stoneman’s main column which ultimately slowed to a more leisurely pace. “The march was performed in good order.” Few straggled as there were “occasional rests” and “time to get plenty of water.” One mile shy of completing a marathon, the column was halted at Tunstall’s Station just before sundown.

Once there initial reports told of near disaster for Fitz-John Porter’s Fifth Corps at Gaines Mills. 27,000, later reinforced to 34,000, had attempted a stand against nearly 60,000 Rebels. The first of the Confederate assaults had been launched at two in the afternoon and were, for the most part, conducted piece meal by Division and Brigade over a five hour period. But all that changed at 7. With James Longstreet's and Stonewall Jackson's Corps fully in place, Lee went at Porter full throttle. The latter's left wing, composed of troops from the First Division, crumbled under the weight of sheer numbers and the rout was on. Pushed back like a receding tide, only grim and resolute determination, and the mercy of a setting sun, saved the Fifth Corps from being completely rolled up and annihilated.

The bloodiest and most costly of the Seven Days battles, with it's 15,000 in dead, wounded, missing, or taken prisoner, would end with the night time evacuation of Porter's Corps to the south bank of the Chickahominy. So, too, would end George Brinton McClellan's dream of sipping tea in Jefferson Davis' parlor.

At Gaines Mills, unbeknownst to their comrades at Tunstall's Station, the camp of the 18th Mass. was now a smoldering ruins after having been completely overrun. Of those who had been left behind in the Regiment's hospital, eight were now prisoners and would soon be on their way to Belle Isle in Richmond with 2,500 others. Some distance away from the camp, 16-year-old Joseph Jordan, a Dedham, MA Cabinet Maker lay dead, the first from the Regiment to fall in battle. The full details of his death wouldn't be disclosed to his family until 1893 when a story by 18th Mass. veteran Erastus Everson was published in the Boston Journal.

According to Everson, who was detailed as part of Brig. General Charles H. Martindale's personal body guard at the time of the battle, Jordan left his sick bed when firing first erupted on the left of the Fifth Corps' line, found a musket, and fell in with the 22nd Massachusetts. But then conflicting stories emerge. Everson heard that Jordan was shot down before the 22nd fully positioned itself, while a nephew wrote in response to Everson's story that he fell during a bayonet charge. The nephew's version was backed by a July 14, 1862 letter published in the Dedham Gazette, except that letter stated Jordan was mixed in with the 9th Massachusetts. Everson himself may have fallen victim to supposition, as in a letter to his mother, written nine days after the battle, he disclosed he was "within a quarter mile" of Jordan. In the end the truth was there and the truth in all its uncertainty couldn't be denied. How or why, Jordan was dead and a father and mother were left to grieve his loss and the loss of another son two years later when he was flat lined by a sniper's bullet at Petersburg.

Joseph Madison Jordan (from an engraving of a Carte de Visite)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Note: the 18th Mass goes looking for Stonewall

Drop your co*ks and grab your socks! Move it! Move it! Move it! Though it’s unknown as to the exact words used by officers and sergeants, there would have been a definite sense of urgency to shake everyone out of their tents at 3 in the morning and get them ready to march in two hours time. The orders were that once on the march the Regiment was to move quickly in light marching order, therefore no one was to carry more than their woolen and rubber blankets, haversacks, canteens, muskets, and forty rounds in their cartridge boxes. Exempt from all the scurrying around were those in the hospital and a very small number, mostly those unable to withstand the rigors of a march, who were detailed to guard the camp.

At 5 a.m. the 18th Mass. and 17th New York left Gaines Mills in their dust without so much as a backward glance at their host William Fleming Gaines. Nine hours later, when they rendezvoused with Gen. George Stoneham’s cavalry squadron and light artillery battery near Old Church, some fifteen miles from camp, it became crystal clear this was not a picket assignment. Stoneman’s combined force of 2,000 men was charged with monitoring the movements of Stonewall Jackson’s estimated “10,000” troops and where possible to “engage and hinder, by every possible device the union of the dreaded Jackson’s’ command with that of Lee at Richmond.”

Stoneman immediately deployed his infantry by companies in line of battle and as a support to the artillery, posting both on “open high ground,” in order to disguise the small number of troops under his command. The cavalry in the meanwhile was sent out to patrol and “give notice of the enemy’s advance.”

Quiet prevailed in the immediate vicinity, but toward late afternoon musket and cannon fire could be heard in the direction of Mechanicsville, which at best guess was an estimated five to seven miles distance. When the scouting parties returned close to dark they reported “the enemy [had] advanced so far as to cut off” the small force “from the main army.” Stoneman decided to pull back another half mile and still later, under cover of darkness, “stole away” another two and a half miles. Few slept. Most peered into the darkness, muskets at the ready, waiting for stars to provide some semblance of light whenever a break appeared in the clouds. No one’s voice dared rise above a whisper.

If men from the Regiment had been able to peer through the darkness for the eight to ten miles distance to Mechanicsville they would have understood the firing they first heard well up in late afternoon. They would have seen the dead and wounded, would have heard the pitiful cries of the latter calling for water, or wives, or mothers. Those were the fallen from the 10,000 Confederates of A.P. and D.H. Hill’s divisions and the 5,000 Union defenders, including the 18th’s own First Brigade.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Note: the 18th Mass remained in camp near Gaines Mills

On what was described as a pleasant day the bodies of Zephaniah Britton and Patrick Kiley were officiated over by "the Chaplain from some other regiment" whose remarks and discourse "were very ably delivered" at 4 o'clock in the afternoon. The burials, usually conducted near sunset, had been pushed up to an earlier time so as not to interfere with an inspection and dress parade scheduled for six and six thirty respectively.

Funerals, inspections, and parades were to be put on hold for a while as after dark Special Order No 203, drawn up at Fitz-John Porter's headquarters, was delivered to Brigade commanders Charles Martindale and Daniel Butterfield directing them to detail one regiment each for duty with Cavalry Commander George Stoneman. The 18th Massachusetts and 17th New York were selected and thereby ordered to provide infantry support to Stoneman while he reconnoitered Stonewall Jackson's "strength and positions" on the right flank of Union lines which then stretched to the banks of the Pamunkey River. As Major Joseph Hayes would summarize later, the reconnoisance, which was scheduled to start out the morning of June 26th, "was to be an interesting and exciting service."

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Note: the Regiment remained encamped near Gaines Mills

A severe thunderstorm struck in the early morning hours leaving the lower part of the 18th's camp and, in particular. the area where companies A and F had pitched their tents "entirely flooded, the water being near 4 and 5 inches in depth."

Other depths were to be measured as well. As feared the previous day, Lt. George M. Barnard's prediction that Zephaniah Britton would not survive his bout with measles and typhoid fever came to fruition. Britton, the married father of two children, passed just minutes before 19-year-old Patrick Kiley of Co. A. Sorrowful news was also waiting for Capt. Frederick Forrest of Co. I upon his return from White House Landing. His brother-in-law David Stewart of Co. I had died three days earlier, yet another victim of typhoid fever. Forrest, acting on a promise made to his in-laws, bore the associated costs of embalming and returning the body to Farmington, ME by himself.

Forrest also had a tale of his own to tell based on what four Rebel officers who had deserted told him. Four days of half rations had left Confederate troops convinced that unless they could break Union lines within the next ten days "the game was about up." Even though "there are deserters from the rebel side nearly every day," not everyone was convinced the Confederacy was crumbling. "So much for the story [Forest] has, as time will tell."

Much later that evening Charles Rean, who had wandered into Union lines claiming to have been captured at Winchester and making good on his escape attempt near Lynchburg, Virginia, finally fessed up under severe interrogation. A member of Stonewall Jackson's command he had been sent on a spy mission to ascertain the "strength and location of the troops upon the Union right." It was the first anyone knew that Jackson had given the slip to three Union Corps commanders. The alarm raised, Union forces began entrenching along Beaver Dam Creek near Mechanicsville. The thunder that was Lee was fast approaching.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Note: the Regiment remained in camp near Gaines Mills

1st Lt. George M. Barnard, himself not well enough to stand guard duty, visited his men from Company C who were diagnosed with measles or typhoid fever and confined to the Regiment's hospital. Bringing a gift of lemons he assisted in nursing them, limiting each to three sips of water. "It is too bad to see all the sick stretched out on the ground with nothing but Rebel blankets beneath them, tormented by flies and having miserable medical attention." Barnard was especially concerned about Zephaniah L.P. Britton, who had been his servant during the six months the Regiment spent at Hall's Hill, confiding to his mother he didn't expect Britton to pull through. "Everybody gets so blunted by the constant repetition of death and suffering that a sick man don't get much consideration out here."

Opposing artillerists were on the other hand paying considerable attention to one another, rocketing shells back and forth throughout the day. That cannon fire continued even in the midst of a late afternoon sun shower accompanied by thunder. During the 15 minute storm "our own and the rebel guns were booming away, as if trying to drown the noise made by heaven’s artillery."

Friday, June 22, 2012

Note: the Regiment remained in camp near Gaines Mills

With Chaplain Benjamin De Costa having long been absent from camp due to illness, the Episcopal Chaplain of another regiment extended an invitation to the 18th to attend services at 10 a.m.. Colonel James Barnes didn't order mandatory attendance, but was hopeful at least half the Regiment would avail themselves of the opportunity. "Not many attended, however, as the reading of the Episcopal lessons is what we have listened to all winter...I often hear [the men] say they should like to attend an old styled prayer meeting at home, or a good sermon."

What President Lincoln and Secretary of War Stanton needed, according to one officer, was a sermon on the necessity of reinforcing the Army of the Potomac. "Our ranks are daily decreasing from sickness and exposure, all from want of reinforcements." Unless those troops, particularly those assigned to Irwin McDowell, were funneled to the Peninsula it was likely the Army would remain stationary, particularly since the Confederates "greatly outnumber us, and are daily throwing up trenches and batteries right opposite our army."

That apparent lack of support for the General Commanding, the officer charged, could be squarely placed at the feet of "the Abolitionists in Congress," who had "a great deal to do with this," and were "purposely protracting the war in order to render emancipation necessary." McClellan's critics would have dismissed 1st Lt. Stephen Weld's thoughts as pure nonsense. They, on the other hand, were suspicious that McClellan's handling of the army was only part of his grand design to eventually manuever himself into the White House. One thing that Weld was certain of, aside from the sun rising in the morning, was not only that McClellan "would not accept the Presidency if it were offered to him," but at war's end "a history of these facts will come out, which will fully vindicate McClellan and show up Stanton and Co. in their true light."

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Note: the Regiment remained in camp near Gaines Mills

On what was considered a very pleasant day companies honed their skills as skirmishers by running through drills. "We now have tactics of our own," which were an amalgamation of the Scott, Hardee, and Ellsworth manuals. "Some of our manual can not be found in any book."

One of the soldiers from the 25th New York who had been struck by lightning on May 30th finally succumbed to his injuries. If that regiment's Descriptive List Book was anything like that kept by the 18th Mass. his passing was most probably noted with this brief entry: "Died in the hospital June 21st."

Hospitals, to which the sick and wounded were being evacuated to, were still a place of distrust among the rank and file. Sgt. Solomon Beals spoke for many when he voiced concern over how supplies donated by civilians for the care of patients were being utilized. A "box of brandy which would last the hospital for a month is broken open, one bottle set out for the wounded, the others drank up in a night by the stewards and doctors. Preserves are frequently on the hands of hospital officers, but they are not seen in the hospitals." The situation was allegedly the same with donated clothing as the better quality pieces seemed to wind up on the backs of "a set of as heartless men as disgrace the medical faculty." Beals was not casting dispersions on all medical staff, however. "I suppose there are surgeons who are not rascals in the army."

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Note: the 18th continued in camp near Gaines Mills

The 18th moved their camp for the third time in three days, shifting a mile and a half to the right in order to absorb new regiments, including George A. McCall's Division that had been reassigned from the First Corps the day before and now formed the Third Division of the Fifth Corps. The new accommodations were in the middle of corn stalks rising about a foot high, but "some distance from water." Close by was a pine forest where "trees average 1 1/2 to 3 ft. in diameter with no underbrush and clear of limbs for 10 or 20 ft. from the ground." The day fairly bid to be a scorcher as the noontime sun, which hung directly overhead, "casts no shaddow."

Casting no shadows either were large swarms of common house flies. "They congregate very thick in our tents. Thicker that I ever saw them in any house." The reverberation from Union cannons and incoming Rebel shells didn't seem to have any effect on the pests. Whether they'd still be around to greet the 32nd Massachusetts, who had recently arrived in Washington, was a matter of conjecture. That regiment had sent word to the 18th "they are eager and ready for the fray. After they have smelt powder a few times they wont talk after that fashion."

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Note: the 18th was situated once again near Gaines Mills

The Fifth Corps could have appropriately sung "one is the loneliest number," as they watched the Sixth Corps cross to the south bank of the Chickahominy. With that transfer Fitz-John Porter's Corps now found they were holding the north bank by themselves, a decision that would soon have the Confederate command salivating as they surveyed a reconfigured chessboard.

The First Brigade was salivating as well as 25 ration laden wagons made their appearance. Less appealing to the palate was the water supply, which " of late has been whitened with the clay which is washed into it by the rains. Our coffee looks very good, the clay giving it a color like cream but it tastes rather rough." That discoloration didn't stop anyone from imbibing though, as each man continued to consume a half-pint of non-ground beans that were issued every three days.

While Joseph Lapham continued in a drunken stupor to ward off the effects of his snake bite the Regiment also drew additional clothing from the wagons and at 4 p.m. stood another one of the seemingly endless Company inspections. While those inspections were routine and old hat many in the Regiment looked forward to spending their evening in a prayer meeting, while those with a more literary bent gathered for another of their weekly discussions and election of officers. Sgt. Solomon Beals wrote home with pride that he had been honored by being named Treasurer.