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Monday, May 21, 2012

Note: the 18th moved ever closer to Richmond

A few days before Company A Private Ray Reynolds had written a letter home confessing that he was loving Army life, particularly the camp part, and had gotten so used to the constant noise he didn’t know if he’d ever settle back into the quietude of his family’s Rhode Island farm. We'll never know whether his enthusiasm nose-dived, or if he was one of the first of the Regiment to fairly leap from their tent, and possibly with a smile on his face, after being roused from sleep by bugles sounding reveille in the middle of a rain storm at half-past three in morning.

The First Brigade stepped off promptly at six and, after advancing a couple of miles, were allowed a long respite. By the time the march resumed the rain had cleared off and the roadside filled with black women, who peddled hoe cakes, and black men, who “fixed canteens with ice water the sum of 10 cts per canteen.” The price for refilling canteens was deemed fair, as by late morning the sun was shimmering hot.

Camp was pitched at one in the afternoon after five tiring miles. That allowed time to prepare for yet another Company inspection, yet another dress parade, yet another cursive tirade by Capt. Joseph Collingwood. He was peeved that his hometown paper, the Old Colony Memorial, had misquoted him by carrying a story that the 18th Mass. had been in the fight at West Point. “When I write I state facts. We were not in the fight. It was all over before we got their. Such a statement places me in a peculiar situation as it touches my veracity.”

Note: to find out what Private David C. Meechan of Co. E experienced on this date visit his Facebook page


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