Grumbling is a sacred military tradition and it would have necessarily followed the merciless notes sounded at three a.m by buglers. The 1st Brigade followed the lead of the 3rd just after four-thirty. By six-thirty all four regiments of the 1st would have seen the last of everything the town of Burkittsville Maryland had to offer. In the year 2000 it had a burgeoning population of 170 residents and its claim to fame was as the setting for the film "The Blair Witch Project."
The next six miles, covered in three hours beneath a clear blue canopy, brought them to the unincorporated village of Petersville, where at nine-thirty a.m. knapsacks were unslung and muskets stacked until the following morning. The Brigade caught sight of the wagon trains for the first time since before Gettysburg.
The only sour note for what turned out to be a day of rest and relaxation for the 18th Mass. was Bernard Glancy, a Private in Company D, being declared a deserter. Colonel Joseph Hayes had no way of knowing that Glancy had been taken prisoner on May 29th at Ellis Ford in Virginia and was still three days away from being paroled at City Point. It was the first of two periods of confinement Glancy experienced in Confederate prisons. The second lasted from May 5, 1864, when he was captured at the Wilderness after suffering gunshot and shell wounds, until escaping near Mobile, Alabama on May 3, 1865, a fact confirmed by official documents in his military service record. Long exposure to the subhuman conditions all prisoners faced at Andersonville and the Florence Stockade, had resulted in Glancy losing thirty-five percent of his body weight.
Captain George M. Barnard, Jr., who was on detached service from the 18th Mass. as Assistant Commissary Muster, utilized the down time to catch up on correspondence, starting with a letter to his father, a wealthy and politically influential Boston merchant. Herein, at long last, was an explanation as to why Meade had maintained a cautious post-Gettysburg approach.
I suppose that Meade will have to stand a heavy fire in the rear for allowing Lee to get away. Gen. [Charles] Griffin told me that Gen. Meade told him after the battle of Gettysburg that all the men that he could rake and scrape together were 45,000. Lee crossed into Pennsylvania with 120,000 and if, after Gettysburg he had lost as many as 30,000, he would still have left 90,000 men to oppose our 45,000.