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Upon the Tented Field, by Bernard A. Olsen
Letter of Albert C. Harrison
Alberton, Howard County, Maryland
September 6, 1862 5 1/2 P. M.
My Dear Mother You see that we are now about 12 miles west of Baltimore. We were at Monocacy Station about 3 miles south of Frederick from which place I sent you a few lines and I have only time now to tell you that I am safe well through. I have slept in the open air on the ground for the last two nights. The people here are in a great excitement. The rebels, 5000 strong, have taken the same camp ground that we yesterday vacated. We left about an hour before they came. We are expecting a cavalry raid tonight. Tell my dear Father not to be afraid but that I will act gallantly for I have experienced the hour before the battle several times and can stand the test. I will write fully as soon as possible.
One meal a day and riding all day and sleeping in the open air agrees with me. The Colonel says you would not know me I am so brown. I have not arranged my things yet until we get settled because we expect the rebels all the time. I will write fully as soon as possible.
Your Affectionate Son Peter
September 6, 1862
Dear friends at home I wrote you one letter while at Monocacy and as we left there the same night I will have to write again to let you know where I am so you can send a letter to me. We had orders to move here as the rebels were advancing on the place which we were at. There were about 30,000 of them coming so General !God thought it would be useless for us to stand against so many. And therefore ordered us away. from Elysville is 10 miles from the Relay House and 20 miles all Baltimore. This is a splendid spot I can tell you. We are well but sleepy tonight. When we were at Monocacy we
Upon the Tented Field, by Bernard A. Olsen
Letter of Albert C. Harrison
were out all night expecting to see the rebels but nary one did we see. We are on the railroad 40 miles from the old place and our duty will be to scout around the country from here to prevent the guerillas from committing any outrages. I believe this is all as I only want to let you know where we are. After we get settled I will let you know all the particulars.
Write soon as I want to hear from home. All the People here are Union. I slept in one of the houses last night and got my supper and breakfast and they would not take a cent for it. Remember me to all my friends and tell them I like this business better than anything I have ever been at yet. I believe this is all at present so goodbye and write soon.
Camp Wood, Elysville, Alberton County, Maryland
Sunday September 14, 1862
My Dear Father How glad I am to know that you are apprised of our true situation and know that the many exciting rumors which have circulated in the Philadelphia press of disaster to our regiment are false. They were not entirely though, without foundation. The bridges over the Monocacy which we were sent to protect we have since learned from reliable authority have been blown up and we would have taken the same elevating tour if we had remained there. We heard heavy cannonading all day yesterday and understood last evening that our forces were shelling the rebels from Maryland Heights. We do not apprehend any sudden danger where we are now. Lt. Col. Hall has just returned from Washington this morning and says that a great battle is expected near Frederick today. There is no use in my writing war news though, because you know from the New York Papers, before we do. We arrest all travelers and make them give an account of
Upon the Tented Field, by Bernard A. Olsen
Letter of Albert C. Harrison
themselves, and thereby gain sometimes a little news in advance, but we can hardly ever depend upon what we gain from such a source. We are very pleasantly located a mile southeast of Elysville in a beautiful orchard. The greatest obstacle to our enjoyment being the difficulty of getting supplies. I feel so thankful Father, that I did not accept the Quartermaster appointment. Poor Mr. Cowart cannot complain about the monotony. He has to keep on the go all the time, and even then owing to the tremendous influx of soldiers into Baltimore he meets with poor success. The men have been without bread and fresh meat for two days. I would not be Q. M. for five thousand dollars a year. Don't trouble yourself Father about my wants. I really want nothing more. I have too much to take care of now especially if we should have to take French leave again. My horse has apparently recovered from his lameness and both are looking fine and fat.
Elysville, Maryland Sunday, September 14, 1862
Dear Pa & Ma I hardly intended to write sooner but better sooner than never. Since leaving Freehold the 14th has traveled a good ways and have had a hard time of it. We landed at Monocacy Thursday morning (by the way Monocacy is on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, a distance of 60 miles from Baltimore) and pitched our tents and was calculating on a stay of a month or two. But at night we received word that a strong force of rebels was crossing the Potomac at Point of Rocks, a distance of 11 miles above us. Company H was thrown out on picket and during the night nearly all expected we would be attacked. The next morning we got a dispatch from General Wood ordering us to fall back to Elysville a distance of 20 miles from Baltimore. We got out of the way just in time for the rebels reached our camp within 3 1/2 hours after we left. The health of the Regiment is good considering we have not had but one good nights sleep since we left Freehold. We have had plenty to eat but most of the time not of very good quality. All hands are in good spirits and looking ahead to better times which we will have when we get settled. I must not forget to add that I am very well, and I would like to hear from Grandpa and the rest of you.
Yours, Marcus P.S. Just as I finish a train from Frederick Junction brings the news that the rebels are in strong force in and around
Upon the Tented Field, by Bernard A. Olsen
Letter of Albert C. Harrison
Monocacy and Frederick City.
Alberton, Howard County, Maryland.
Sunday night, 1862 past 7 o'clock September 14
My Dear Mother
As I will have more time tonight I will commence scribbling you a few lines with my pokeberry ink, my own manufacture, in answer to your letter which I received this morning. I was glad to hear that you could say you were well, only a little nervous. But thank God you were well enough to write to me, and by his kind Providence may you continue so. Dear Mother I rejoice to think that I am a soldier not only in this glorious union army, but in the army of God, where there will be no fighting. And I thank God that there are some sol- diers in this, our own Regiment, that feel their need of a savior. We have a great many members of Churches of different de- nominations in the Regiment. We hold Prayer meetings every successive night until the taps of the drum to turn in. There was a happy time last night among us for our chaplain had just arrived, a finer young man you don't often crop or a smarter one. His name is Rose, he is from Trenton. We held a meeting this afternoon before the Colonel's tent, and had a reviving time. The boys are all in good health and excellent spirits, They are all anxious to Say a few words to the Rebels in the shape of bullets. But as things look in the land of Dixie, I don't think they will have a chance to Satisfy their wishes. There has been an old fashioned battle fought since last Friday. You will see it likely in the papers before you receive my letter. But I will tell you all I know about it.
The Colonel sent 105 men yesterday to guard the provision train as far as Frederick Junction. When I wrote to Libbie the Rebels were 30,000 strong instead of 10,000 at that place, but three hearty cheers for the union. McClellan has given them Hail Columbia assisted by the Noble Burnside.
The took 2000 Rebel Cavalry and 800 infantry at one haul and have the remainder of them surrounded without a doubt. Our boys returned tonight and said the provisions went through all right. There were about 3000 wagons ready to take the supplies on to McClellan. The bridge I spoke about in Libbies letter that we guarded is blown up. The battle was fought on our old camp ground. They said it was a sorry old spot. Some of the boys brought back swords, pistols, bayonets and all quantities of rubbish. There was immense excitement in the camp tonight when the boys returned. We heard they were all taken prisoners. But they came in all sound and whole.
I suppose Libbie told you all the particulars of our leaving Frederick so I will only state to you that we are en-
Upon the Tented Field, by Bernard A. Olsen
Letter of Albert C. Harrison
camped in an apple orchard and a splendid position it is. The water is excellent. The trees are loaded down with fruit and we are in an enemy country and on a Secesh farm. The owners name is Dorcey and he is rank Secesh. He came over when we first came here, but had little to say as it was not well for him to say much.
Monday morning, September 15, 1862
I will commence again this morning and say a few words, as I have a few minutes to spare before going to break- fast. It is a little cloudy this morning but will be a scorcher by and by. We have breakfast at seven o'clock, then get on our equipment at 9, drill until 11 o’clock, have dinner at 12 o'clock, equip ourselves again and drill from 2 until 4 o'clock, have a dress parade at 6 o'clock lasting half an hour. We drill well for the short time we have been in the field. The colonel is beloved by all and in fact all the officers. Major Vredenburgh is on hand all the while.
There were about fifty letters came yesterday morning for Company G, and you would have laughed to see the boys rush after me. Their faces were all pleasure. Some would receive 2, 3, 4 letters and turn away singing or whistling and some received none, they would turn away sad and dejected and wonder why there were none for them.
I haven't had a chance to find fault yet except when we skedadled from Frederick. Then we had nothing but paving stones, some may call them soda crackers but I think they came without calling. Without a joke mother, I have gained 4 lbs. since I enlisted. My health is better than it ever was in that store. I don’t feel the least inclined to be there. When you write again Mother, let me know how the nine months men are getting along. I mean those men that were bought with a hundred dollars for fear of draft.
I am not sorry that I am one of Uncle Sams sons. He uses us well, even if we do have to sacrifice home ties, and feather beds and all such like. I would like to drop in and see you all this morning. You and Libbie especially. Give my love to her to her and tell her to be a good girl and I will come home and see her by and bye. The Southern Confederacy is nearly played out mother. You may make up your mind to that for Mother, I can more truth here than you can read in the paper in six months. There is only two cases of sickness in the regiment and they are in favorable circumstances of recovery.
Charley White sends his love to you mother. He hasn't any hair on the top of his head, the place where the Wool ought to grow. He has his head shaved and looks like a “what is it.” We talk of sending him to Barnums. William Byram is getting bald. Thompson says he never was better in his life but would like to have a drink of apple. But I can't see it. George White ways if it wasn't for Poke Berries it would cost me a pile for ink, but so be it, I am bound to write. The 12th NJ is within 3 miles of us, encamped at a place called Ellicotts Mills. I suppose you are aware of our being in Wood's Division. I think we will be Brigaded soon. Write when you have a chance. I must come to a close as it is time for squad drill and I must get out my squad. I must bring my letter to a close.
From Your Ever Obedient and Affectionate Son,
Albert C. Harrison
The Monmouth Inquirer, September 11, 1862
ARMY CORRESPONDENCE. From Our Correspondent in the 14th Regiment N. J. Vol.
Sunday Morning, Sept. 7, 1862.
We are now in camp, on a beautiful rise of ground, about one mile from Elysville, in the middle of a fine apple orchard. The grounds are owned by Capt. Dorsey, now in the Rebel army, and a son-in-law of Senator Mason. The boys are very generally securing the fruit, in the absence of the owner. His pigs, while stocking abroad upon our camp ground, made a sudden descent upon our meat. •Accordingly we we were out. This is never allowed by the Fourteenth; therefore the boys secured three of the varmints, weighed them, and struck a ballance with the absconded owner. We serve our pork today.
At the entrance of our camp you will find a natural spring, capable of supplying 10,000 men, from which flows as cool and sweet water as ever leaped over a rock. It has been walled up by that veteran well digger-old John Crithers.
While stationed here, our friends in Monmouth need have no fear of our health. You can find no healthier spot in all Jersey-pure mountain air and delightful shade; added to this the never-tiring care of our Surgeon - Maj. Treganowan and Lieut. Woolverton, and Mr Yard.
The people here travel almost altogether on horseback. The country is too rocky and mountainous to ride in your 100 pound skeleton wagons, or buggy's, as at Freehold. In carting, you seldom see the driver sitting in the wagon with reins in hand; you find him seated on one of the horses; Oxen are used to a great extent.
I wrote you in my last that we hastily left Monacaly. Two and a half hours after leaving, the Rebels reached there in force. Here we are, a green regiment, the Rebel army in Maryland, and placed in advance—no regiment between us and the enemy.
To-day is our first Sunday in camp. The men are gathered together in squads, thinking and talking of home and the loved ones left behind. Some, like myself, are seated on the ground, pencil in band, scratching a hasty line. We are anxiously looking for our Chaplain, Rev. Mr. Rose.
I wrote you that Lieut. John C. Patterson was unwell, I am happy to say that he is again at his post. Before concluding, allow me to add that if Col. I. S. Buckelew was on this road awhile, it would not take troops 3 days to reach a few miles beyond Baltimore.
SUNDAY NIGHT, Sept. 7.
I find we are at present off the line of communication, and my letters, which I had hoped had reached you, are still in the Post Office. You see the Rebels are just below us and have cut off telegraph and post communication. To-night We have only four companies in camp, the rest are out on scouting expeditions.
An incident occurred to-day which will give your readers an insight into the position of affairs around us—one which should awaken every-loyal man in the North. A mean came in camp and informed the Colonel that a house some miles distant, occupied by a Secessionist, named Tompkins, had a quantity of arms and ammunition secreted in it. Capt. A. H. Patterson, with 30 men, started to search the premises. Upon arriving at the house, Mr. Secesh seemed quite indignant, and declared upon his honor as a man that he had no arms about the house. Capt. P. informed him that a man that would take grounds against his Government had very little honor, and accord ingly searched the premises. It was a three story building, and in the 3d story, between the ceiling and roof, discovered & quantity of powder, ball, cartridges, cavalry swords, one of which had just been ground to a sharp-edge, Colts Navy revolvers, all new, and loaded, dirk knives, &c. From there he proceeded to another house, some distance off, to make search, and. found eight Rebel horsemen at the door, but discovered no arms. Thus you see everything is rife in Maryland for insurrection. Nothing but force keeps them down. Tell the people of Monmouth there are also strong Union men here—the: firmest I ever met anywhere, and that they used protection. The most deadly foes to the Rebels are the Union soldiers of Maryland. The company which is stationed near as roughly handled some Southern gentlemen who had the temerity to cheer for Jeff. Davis in their presence.
The Union men here, tremble, at the prospect of Jackson's approach, and say that they will receive no quarter at his hands. They are as true as steel though.
Five contrabands came into camp today looking for work. They left a plantation about two miles. We learn that their master is a true Union man, and we advised them to return. We learned this from undoubted authority.
Now we retire to rest, not knowing how soon we may be startled by the release of arms. Every man sleeps upon his arms. Yours &c.,
W. D. CONNOLLY.
LATER;—The Rebels are crossing the Potomac at Edward's Ferry about 12 miles from here. A Union General has just come into camp, and we are planting cannon near our camp on a hill. we expect to have 20,000 men here and near here by to-morrow morning. Unless the Rebels change their tactics we'll be in a fight before 4 days.
I desire to express my obligation to Quarter-master E. L. Coward, and Capt. Benj. F. Yard. for their personal exertions in forwarding our letters. We have no mail here as the Rebels tore up the track below us the other tight. Our Quarter-master is very obliging, and is every day becoming more and more popular among the men. Our staff is composed of men - noble hearted men. On Sunday night our pickets were fired into by Rebel-horsemen - citizens. They are becoming more and more daring even day since the Rebels crossed the Potomac. They will hear music if they come too near the 14th.
Monmouth Democrat, September 11, 1862
Our Army Correspondence.
From the 14th N. J. Regiment.
MONOCACY, Md., Sept. 4, 1862.
DEAR MAJOR: The 14th N. J. Regiment arrived here this morning at about 7 o'clock, after a journey of three days without rest or sleep. Everywhere, save in portions of Mary- land, we were received with enthusiasm.— Philadelphia—God bless her patriotic sons and daughters will never be forgotten by the 14th. We wanted there for nothing. I could write many pleasing incidents connected with our journey, but must defer them for another letter.
Our camp is situated in the valley of the Monocacy; on the Baltimore & Ohio railroad, about 63 miles from Baltimore and 3 1/2 from Frederick City. And a lovely spot it is— the wealthiest and most picturesque part of Maryland. The air is pure, and health abounds. Fine, cool spring water gushes out of the hill sides, and the Monocacy river runs within three rods of our camp ground. Here the buys can wash and bathe—no excuse for uncleanliness or contagious diseases. Just a few rods from our camp stretch high hills, from which we can view the country for miles around. A splendid place from which to watch the movements of secesh.
This is a very important place, in a military point of view. Over this road passes all the supplies for our army at Harper's Ferry —which is twenty-three miles distant—and also for the army in the Shenandoah Valley. Hard by our camp runs the turnpike from Washington to Harper's Ferry. We were placed here to protect two bridges—one the railroad bridge running over the Monocacy, and the other the Georgetown turnpike bridge, over the same. Some months ago a party of rebel cavalry made an attempt to destroy these bridges, but did not succeed. They are again threatened by a large force, and the Colonel has orders from Gen. Wool to hold these bridges at any cost. So your readers can readily imagine the importance attached to this point.
A party of the 5th U.S. light artillery— two guns, rifled, twenty-four horses and thir- ty men—have just arrived. For the present they are attached to the regiment.
We found encamped here a company of the First Maryland Brigade. They have been encamped here three months.
11 o'clock, A. M— Now our tents are all up, and everything looks like camp life. We all look forward to a good night's rest, as surely we need it.
Later in the day I find much excitement throughout the camp. Upon inquiring, I find messengers have come in, reporting Jackson, 30,000 strong, crossing at Edwards' Ferry on the Potomac, twelve miles from us, and that they intend blowing up the bridges at this point. Very encouraging news for a green regiment.—Looks more or less like fight every hour. But the boys are cheerful all the while and our much-loved Colonel is as cool as if all were safe. Now a dispatch has just been received from Gen. Wool, confirming the report that the rebels in force are crossing near us.
The men ask many questions, and wonder how we will ever be able to contend with so many, Night comes on—three of our companies, in connection with the Maryland company, are thrown out as pickets; among the number Co. H, Capt. Stults, to which I am attached. At about 11 o'clock at night Col. Truex received a dispatch to retire to the other side of the river, as the rebels were on us. Then came the confusion of hurrying across the river baggage, &c., some half-mile —and all by hand. Just at this moment our pickets commenced firing an alarm, rockets rose in the heavens from different directions, signals from where we knew not. You will agree with me, Major Yard, in saying that this is the hour which tries, more than any other, the mettle of old veterans, let alone inexperienced men, just from home and all its dear associations. Not a man flinched, not a nerve seemed to quiver, but all stood prepared for the worst. has matters stood ‘till morning—an awful suspense—but no rebels came
Sept. 5—Early in the morning expressmen came in, reporting the rebels on the way.— The people were all fleeing before the dreaded Jackson. Later, pickets came in from the Maryland company, stating that they had been shelled by the rebels, and that one of their number was drowned in crossing a river. Everything looks dark. Now comes a dispatch from Gen. Wool, ordering us away, with despatch. Surely we could not be expected to contend against such odds. Rebel cavalry are within four miles of us, and we are not yet on the cars.
But I am too fast. Previous to receiving the dispatch to evacuate, Col. Truex called all the officers together, and told us to prepare for the worst. Then every man expected fight. Think you the 14th became nervous, and trembled? Not so. The Colonel said the men acted like heroes—that they had shown endurance beyond his expectations.— Remember, another night,and no sleep or rest; nothing but hard, fatiguing work, both of mind and body.
Now we are all aboard, and off for some unknown point.
At about 11 o'clock, P. M., we halt at Elysville, eighteen miles from the “Relay House,” and twenty-seven miles from Baltimore, on the same road. Here we find another bridge to protect. This is quite a smart little place. The principal attraction is a large cotton mill, engage present in manufacturing tent cloth for government. Here is a small stream of water known as Patapsco Falls, fine for bathing. This is a delightful place. Good water—no contagious diseases rage here—and all in all, a pleasant exchange. The inhabitants are generous to a fault, and nearly all unconditional Union people. A Maine regiment was quartered here for some time. I trust the 14th New Jersey will leave behind them as good a name.
Work is before us, as our pickets are to be thrown out seven miles.
Our staff officers are becoming more and more popular every day. Major Vredenburgh and Adjutant Buckelew have an eye single to the interests of the men. They will make a mark yet. Yours in haste, W. D. C.
ELYSVILLE, Sept. 7th.
The rebels are crossing the Potomac at Edwards' Ferry, about twelve miles from here. A Union General has just come into camp, and we are planting cannon near our camp on a hill. We expect to have a large body of men here by to-morrow morning. Unless the rebels change tactics, we will be in a fight before four days.
Ocean Emblem, September 17, 1862
We publish in to days EMBLEM a letter from W. McKean in Company F Fourteenth Regiment New Jersey Volunteers, and since it was in type we have been favored with another from George Bryan, of the same company. Lieut Baily, and also one from Capt. Gowdy relating mainly the same incidents and movements as that published. To show the moral of the officers and men of this company we make the following extracts from Gowdy's letter. It will be read with pleasure by all who feel truly conserned for the best good of our noble soldiers.
Camp Wool September 9th, 1862—
We are now getting settled away nicely and it seems more like living. The 12th New Jersey Regiment came on yesterday and encamped within 3 miles The officers paid us a visit to day~most of them are old acquaintances and friends. It will be quite pleasant to have them so near us—we shall be able to visit one another, besides they will share part of our guard duty and be within supporting distance in case of attack. I am almost sure we are to stay here some time. No one need go into the army thinking they will have nothing to do - there is something to do from daylight until 9 at night. It is evening and the men are amusing themselves some in one way and some in another. Singing seems to be the favorite method.
We have a prayer meeting in our company from half past eight until half past nine in which my 1st. Lieut, and myself take part. I think it is the only one in the Regt. Last evening the tent was full and quite a number kneeling outside. It would do your heart good to listen to some of the prayers offered—The wives and children at home are never forgotten.
I do not see that camp life is so demoralizing. If the officers do their duty there is a restraint over the men that there would not be at home even—we allow no profane language to be used in the Co. nor anything like gambling—I notice that those of my men who are professors of religion make the best soldiers and when the time of danger comes have the least fears' It is always pleasant thought to me to know that however distant we may be from our friends—the same God watches over and protects us and though families and friends may be seperated their prayers will ascend to the one Great Source Of All Good—
September 10th 1862.
We are fast becoming accustomed to Camp life and feel no inconvenience from it, our tents are tight and warm and we get up in the morning feeling quite as well as though we slept on a feather bed, The weather since we left home has been remarkably fine. It is raining today for the first time, I hear to night that McClellan and Burnsides are between us and Harpers Ferry —Burnsides pickets nearly join ours— One half of our Regiment are on picket duty extending eight miles from Camp. We have heard the booming of cannon at intervals all day. Newspapers are contraband with us—dont know anything outside the camp. Send the Emblem— how can we do without it—I would rather be put on short allowance than attempt it.
Ocean Emblem, September 17, 1862
Fourteenth Regiment N. J. Volunteers.
LETTER FROM W. MCKEAN JUN:
ELYSVILLE, Sept. 6th 1862.
We are now about encamping on a rising piece of ground in the rear of Elysville, situated about 100 feet above the level of the town. We have had a rough time of it, since we started. We left the Camp near freehold at about 11 o'clock a.m. on Tuesday. When we arrived at Camden we took the Ferry boat to the Navy Yard, and got there at 6 o'clock p. m. We were marched to the Union eating saloon and partook of a handsome supper. After the whole regiment had partaken we formed in line and marched up to the Depot of the Philadelphia and Baltimore Railroad. As we marched along we were greeted with thousands of hearty shakes of the hand, and “God bless you.” Some times our hand was not down by our sides for a hundred yards; for as soon as one released it another had hold of it, and every few steps could be heard the kind voice of some one wishing “the brave Jersey boys a safe return.” When we arrived at the cars it was an hour before we took seats, but we could not leave our places in the ranks, but we was greeted on all sides by the same good cheer, which made us all feel as cheerful as men could be who were leaving all their friends and going to fight the Rebels.
When they got the cars fixed we marched along in line and took seats in them. We had nice comfortable cars, with only two on a seat. We were in the cars about an hour before they started; during this time the ladies came along the cars and shook hands with all of us who sat by the windows, and nearly all as they shook hands gave us some good advice. About 12 o'clock we started for Baltimore, and the trip down was pleasant. We reached the Susquehanna River about 10 o'clock next morning, (Wednesday) there the cars were divided into three parts and ran on the boat and Ferried over the river to Harve de Grace, and there ran again on the tack and proceeded to Baltimore, where we arrived about noon. We had not been there long before one of the depots caught fire. It had a great quantity of government stores in it. We had to catch our guns and knapsacks and run. The four or five large depots would all have been consumed had it not been for the tin roofs upon them Two fire engines was speedly brought into action and soon put out the fire.
We left Baltimore about 9 o'clock p. m. and of all cars those used to carry us from that place was the poorest I ever saw. They were old boxes with holes knocked in the sides and a bench all around and one down through the middle, and then stowed so full of soldiers that they could scarcely get seats, in which condition we rode all night. We crossed several streams and two rivers before we reached our destination. Several miles of our route was through the mountains where they had cut through solid rock from 60 to 75 feet deep, in many places for nearly half a mile.
We arrived at Fredrick Station at the Baltimore and. Ohio railroad about 7 o'clock on Thursday morning. This place is situated about 54 miles from Baltimore and 22 miles from Harpers Ferry and 9 miles from Fredrick City. We was sent here to guard the railroad bridge and two bridges on the Turnpike. We pitched our tents in a field where there had been wheat, being a splendid place for a camp. We got all of our baggage into the camp and our tents pitched, and fixed everything all nice before night. There are some very high hills all around the camp, most of them from half to one mile off. Just at dark the Col. detailed all of company F. and Company K, to go out on picket duty. We marched over the railroad bridge about a quarter of a mile from camp and sent out ten pickets for two hours, with orders to stop anybody they saw come within 30 yards of them, and if they did not stop after the second command to halt to fire on them. About 10 o'clock p. m. we was aroused from sleep by the pickets firing and coming in amongst us. One of them had spied a man sneaking around and ordered him to halt twice; but the stranger jumped into the bushes, and our picket fired on him but did not hit him. Our pickets fired on three different persons before two o'clock in the morning.
About that time the Col. received a telegraphic despatch to get all the baggage together and march over the rail road bridge to where we we stationed as the rebels had crossed into Maryland. We rested on our arms the remainder of the night and the next morning we marched over into the Camp and eat our breakfast, and then returned over the bridge again.
About 11 o'clock A. M. on Friday we were again ordered over to Camp, to to strike tents and get everything down to the cars in a hurry. The cars arrived in about an hour and we soon loaded up our freight and in very short time we had everything across the railroad bridge and started for Elysville, where we arrived about 11 o'clock.
That night we slept on the side walks. Next morning we unloaded the cars of our baggage and marched out where we are now encamped.
Elysville is a pleasant village, built mostly of brick, contains a large cotton factory and about 20 houses. The factory is busy making duck for tents.
Sunday morning Richard Skirm, George Bryan and myself took a walk down to the village and went in the stream to bathe, then we went to one of the houses and took dinner, which was excellent and cost us only twenty-five cents.
Yesterday about noon there was great excitement in our camp. The cars came in from towards Frederic Junction and a report circulated that the rebels had possession of our Camping, ground and had cut the telegraph wire; that there was about 500 rebel cavalry and 2 brass field pieces, with 8000 Infantry at Frederick city. When we went to Frederic Junction there was one Company of the 1st Maryland Regiment, who had been encamped there about four months. They had orders to leave there the same day we left but they did not do it, and that night they fired a lot of wheat stacks, sufficient to make 600 or 700 bushels of wheat and then they laid in ambush until the advance guards of the rebel cavalry came up, when they fired a volley into them, and then skedadled, some of them arrived in our camp last night.
There is several large secession farmers around our camp today a union man also come into Camp and told the Col. that one of these secessionists had a lot of arms and ammunition concealed in his house. The Col. sent a guard forthwith to search the house, but they have not yet returned, They told us where we eat our dinner that there were a good many secesh around through the country but that there it none in the town. They are very much afraid the rebels will come there. All the Ocean county boys are well.
The guard sent out by the Col, to search the rebels house have returned, They found two Cavalry swords and equipments for two cavalrymen, and ammunition sufficient to last them six months; three revolvers well loaded a bowie knife about 10 inches long.
Towards night three men came into Camp and wanted the Col. to send four companies of men to a point on the Baltimore and Harpers Ferry turnpike called Edicots Mills' as they expected a raid of rebels on the Mills. The Col. detailed four companies, our company being one of them. We started about 7 o'clock and marched some 8 or 9 miles to our destination, and was stationed about three fourths of a mile from the Mills, and about 9 mills from the Relay House, in a corn field near the road, so that if the rebels came along we could gives warm reception. Our men all kept cool.
The corn referred to was the tallest I ever saw. I could not reach the tops of it with my gun. We stayed in the field all night but the rebels did not come. We arrived in Camp about 8 o'clock this morning all ready for another trip if wanted to go.
Monmouth Democrat, September 18, 1862
From the 14th N. J. Regiment.
CAMP WOOL, ALBERTON, Howard Co., Md.,
September 8, 1862.
DEAR MAJOR:—As you are aware, we left the battle-field of Monmouth on the 2d of September, about noon, and arrived in Philadelphia by 7 o'clock, where we accepted the generous invitation of the “Soldiers' Relief Association” to supper. At 12 o'clock we started for Baltimore, which place we reached at noon on the following day. The only incident worth mentioning was our meeting a train with 2,500 wounded soldiers, on their way to the Northern hospitals. I was a pitiful sight, especially to men unaccustomed to the horrid sights of war, to see the poor fellows mutilated and exhausted, and not the least unpleasant idea connected with it was, to think that it would most probably be our turn soon.
A change of circumstances soon produced a change of feelings, and by the time we reached Baltimore, the thoughts of wounded men had given way to meditations on our situation. We marched, in the city of Baltimore, from the depot at which we had landed to the depot of the Baltimore & Washington R. R., a distance of about two miles, and stacked arms near the sidewalk, about forty yards from the depot.— Here we waited till 9 o'clock in the evening, when we took the cars for Washington; but just before starting, a dispatch from Gen. Wool ordered us to Monocacy, a station on the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, three miles south of Frederick, to protect the bridge there over the Monocacy river. We immediately left for our destination, and arrived there about 6 o'clock the next morning. The Colonel and part of his staff then had their horses saddled, and started out to view the land for the purpose of selecting the best ground for encamping, and after riding over the fields for about fifteen minutes selected a spot not fifty yards from the depot. The Colonel sent the Lieutenant Colonel and myself to a large farm house, to inform the owner that we lad appropriated the field. Notwithstanding we were very tired from having been up two nights, with no sleep through the day, yet we really enjoyed the ride very much. The air was clear and serene, and just cool enough to be bracing, while the sun appearing above the glittering hills which rise with majestic grandeur on the western side of the Monocacy, robed with rich tints the lovely valley below. Even the poor horses, that had had nothing to eat since leaving Philadelphia, two days before, seemed to feel the inspiring influence of “nature in her loveliest mood,” and cantered quite gaily towards the house.
The proprietor of the field willingly agreed to let us have it, (as we were the stronger party,) and soon the solitude was disturbed by the noise and confusion of encamping. About 12 o'clock Col. Cram, large, fine-looking man, decidedly “a la militaire” in his appearance, came to the camp and inquired for the Colonel. After talking a minute or two the Colonel told us that the bridge would in all probability be attacked that night,and that we must accompany him, as Col. Cram intended showing us the grounds, and positions we were to take in case of an attack.
We then started for the bridge. Colonel Cram showed us the order from Gen. Wool, commanding our Colonel to protect the bridge to the last extremity, and if any man shirked his duty to shoot him forthwith. The Colonel said all the men who would run in his regiment had already left him; that his regiment was raw, but he would defend the bridge with the bayonet. You can readily believe that I, for one, began to have a proper appreciation of our position; and if any man in that party paid close attention to every word of instruction dropped by Col. Cram, it was I. Col. Truex and the Lieutenant Colonel took it as cooly as if they were bargaining for the land, and though I suppose I apparently did too, I thought of a good many wicked things I had done, and resolved to be better in future, if I had a chance.
Things went on pleasantly enough till 9 o'clock in the evening, when as I was letting my man out by the sentinels, a horseman came up, escorted by our god. He said he had information for the Colonel, so I went to his tent and, having called him out, the stranger told him that he had come to advise him to leave, as a large force of cavalry and infantry had crossed at the Point of Rocks, about ten miles off, and would be down upon us before morning.
He seemed to be very fair, but the Colonel I think would not have paid no attention to him had he not, just as the stranger was leaving, received a telegraphic dispatch, confirming the news. The Colonel then ordered the men to get under arms, and see that all had their rifles properly loaded. After calling the Captains and giving the necessary orders, I went to my tent and finished a letter; and then putting on my revolver was soon in the saddle, waiting, with our forces on the turnpike, for the enemy. The pickets had fired off their guns about the time I finished my letter, and so certain was I that we would have an engagement immediately, that I left my trunk open, not thinking it worth while to lock it. All night long we waited or marched slowly down the turnpike; the men, to my astonishment, treating the matter as if the question of life or death was not at issue. Not a man faltered. About 4 o'cl'k, A. M., we crossed to the other side of the bridge, where, being out of danger from any sudden attack, exhausted nature could stand no more, and I, with the rest who are not on special duty, laid down in the arms of mother earth and slept as peacefully and soundly as if we were at our own homes. The next morning the men engaged themselves in erecting the tents, while the Lieutenant-Colonel and myself went off on a reconnaissance, to see whether the report about the enemy being in such force so near us was true. All along the road the people confirmed the tidings, and when we reached the camp again we found that the Colonel had really been ordered to remove from his position to Elysville, about thirty-five miles nearer Baltimore, on the line of the railroad. The men having soon pulled up stakes, we again started, at 5 o'clock, P. M., making the fourth day since we left that we had had no chance to rest. We arrived in Elysville about midnight, and all not detailed for special duty laid down upon the ground and slumbered. The Lieutenant Colonel and myself put one horse-blanket under us and one over us, and slept soundly. In the morning the Colonel and myself rode about a mile into the country, selected a spot for our camp, and once more we were busy erecting tents, &c. The poor fellows worked hard, but the distance was so great from the depot that when evening came at least half of the regiment had not yet raised their tents. Among the unfortunate number were the Lieutenant-Colonel and myself; so again we prepared a place for our heads under an apple tree, and in the pleasantest humor possible slept till the “king of day came rejoicing in the east,” when, giving our faces a wash in the dew which had settled peacefully upon them during the night, prepared ourselves again for work; and about noon succeeded in finishing our arduous labors.
Reports are rife here that a large body of rebel cavalry are near us on the road to Baltimore. In fact, the enemy took possession of Frederick the very day we left. the Monocacy, and about an hour after we left, they destroyed the bridge and cut the telegraph wire, so that now the cars do not ran up the road at all. We observe the utmost vigilance in camp, and have our pickets extending two or three miles up the road towards Frederick.
Letters for the regiment should be directed to
Co. , 14th N. J. Vols.,
Howard Co., Maryland
Monmouth Democrat, September 25, 1862
From the 14th Regiment, N. J. Vols.
CAMP WOOL, ELYSVILLE, MD.,
September 14th, 1862.
DEAR MAJOR: So engaged have I been by a multiplicity of cares and and duties, that hitherto it has been impossible for me to drop you a line; but as matters of interest have just transpired, I send you the account as it has been detailed to me. Yesterday our Colonel received an order for a guard of one hundred men to be sent in charge of a supply train from Baltimore to Frederick city, or as far up as safety would admit of. The men were selected from the various companies, and were put in charge of Lieut. Kerner as commander, and Lieuts. Conover and Baily. Being absent from camp visiting the sick in companies E and I, who are stationed about one mile from us, guarding the bridges over the Patapsco, I unfortunately missed the opportunity of accompanying them. The cars stopped for a while at Mt. Airy. and on information furnished by a lad, a store and dwelling were searched, and sundry contraband articles seized. The ladies at the dwelling were very indignant at the search, and gave the Lieutenant to understand that they would make and wave secesh flags as much as they pleased. The Union ladies, on the contrary, were wild with delight on seeing our troops, and one old, gray-headed lady waved a flag large enough for a regimental standard, and with the tears streaming down her cheeks, invoked God's blessing on the Union troops. They went with no detention or delay till they arrived at the bridge crossing the Monocacy, which they found to have been blown up by the rebels. This was the spot we had occupied previous to being recalled by order of Gen. Wool. Here a guard was thrown out, and on examination it was discovered that the rebels had skedaddled precipitately, and we had the honor of reoccupying the very ground we had been driven from, before any other Union troops. But, oh! what devastation and destruction marked the change! Fertile fields and waving crops, had given way to smoothly-trod camp grounds, and barren fields. Dead horses laid around, and the offal of slaughtered cattle lay festering in corruption, with here and there the corpse of a soldier half buried. In one instance the hands of a dead soldier protruded from the soil, and in another the headless trunk of a rebel, whose head had been blown off, and his body mutilated in the attempt to blow up the bridge. Vermin literally covered the ground, and the men were really afraid of becoming lousy. The rebel soldiery were represented as a ragged, lousy and filthy set, but well armed and in good spirits.— Numbers of them were captured, having hid themselves in the wood and shelters about. Our men behaved nobly, hardly waiting to be formed by their officers, so anxious were they for a brush with the rebels. They captured many trophies, among which are two cases of Enfield muskets, bayonet scabbards, cartridge boxes, belts, etc. Numerous letters were also found on the ground, some of which I send you as morceans for the amusement of your many readers. The boys have just returned, and were hailed by their associates in camp with tremendous cheers. Their watchword is “TRUEX AND VICTORY!” An amusing story is told of a storekeeper in Frederick, who, on the arrival of the Confederates in the city, waved a secesh flag, and seemed perfectly wild with delight at their occupation of the city. So well pleased were they with his patriotism, that they bought all of his stock of boots, shoes clothing and camp stores, and magnanimously paid him the full price for them in confederate script. Now his neighbors make him the butt of all their jests. A family of secesh proclivities, living near the camp we occupied on the Monocacy, who, while we were there, became very indignant because one of our men for a piece of fun undertook to milk one of his cows, had fifteen cows and one horse stolen from him by his rebel confreres.—The general health of the camp is good; the men enjoy themselves finely, and everything is working nicely. The men idolize the Colonel, and well they may for he neglects nothing that will tend to their comfort or efficiency. As an instance, to-day we were short of rations, and had had no soft bread for three or four days. He sent the Quartermaster—a most excellent one we have too, by the way— to Baltimore, to wake up the Commissary Department there, and ordered a discontinuance of drills and work, till the men were supplied with fall rations. I will embrace the first leisure moments to apprise you of anything that may occur of interest. Yours, FLETCHER.
Ocean Emblem, October 1, 1862
The 14th Regiment New Jersey Volunteers is now encamped at Camp Wool, Md. Capt Gowdy and some of his company esceorted several hundred rebel prisoners to Fort Deleware last week, and From the letters received here from our soldiers these poor beings are in the most wretched condition possible. They are almost naked and have been nearly starved for food. Some of them are sick of the war and others are eager to be exchanged that they may return to fight the Union army again.
Monmouth Democrat, June 25, 1863
From the Fourteenth N. J. Vol's.
The Regiment at Harper's Ferry.
RUMORED CAPTURE OF COMPANY E.
We have received letters dated 16th, 18th and 20th of June, from the Chaplain of the Fourteenth, giving detailed accounts of their recent movements. We are unable, on account of the pressure on our columns, to publish them in full, and we therefore make the following synopsis of their contents:
On Sunday, the 14th inst., the regiment was lying at Camp Hooker, near Frederick On Sunday afternoon they received orders to go to Harper's Ferry, to aid in repelling the rebel who had crossed the Potomac. Late that night orders came for them to fall back to the Relay House with all their stores and equipage. They were ready before morning, and waiting for the cars.— Nearly all the government property at the post was loaded into wagons and started off to the Relay House. The excitement in the city was intense, and the streets were alive with people all night. The Fourteenth left Frederick at 2 P. M. on Monday, and reached the Relay House the same evening. Many of them had been without sleep for forty hours, and they all rested in the open air that night. On Tuesday they pitched their tents and arranged a new camp; this was scarcely finished when orders came to leave everything and march instantly to the relief of Harper's Ferry, with instructions to proceed cautiously and beware of a surprise or attack on the way. They left at 6 P. M. on Tuesday.
Our correspondent was left at the Relay House, and when he wrote on the 18th there was no communication with his regiment. They were provisioned for forty and no fears in regard to their safety Were entertained. All the camp equipage, horses, wagons, &c., have been sent to Baltimore, and most of the personal baggage of the officers and men has been sent by express to their homes by our correspondent, who was left behind for that purpose.
On the 20th our correspondent was still at the Relay House, as he expresses it. “like a Russian criminal waiting transportation.” He had received a telegram from the Lieutenant Colonel, assuring him that all was well with the regiment. Lieutenant WOODWARD, of Co. B, and Sergeant E. D. SMITH, of Co. C, were detailed to superintend the Quartermaster’s Department, and owing to their energy all the property of the regiment has been cared for and secured. Quartermaster COWART has been detached from the regiment, and by special order appointed Acting Assistant Quartermaster on General BRIGGS' staff, and is said to “bear his blushing honors well.” All the sick of the regiment, numbering 28 or 29, were sent to the general hospital at Baltimore. Our correspondent promises to write whenever anything of interest in regard to the regiment transpires.
The proceedings relative to the presentation of colors, by Governor PARKER, will be published next week.
P. S.—A letter in the New-York Herald of to-day, dated at Frederick on Monday last, has the following:—
“The mail boy of the Fourteenth New Jersey was on his way to the city after the mail for his regiment, stationed at Harper's Ferry, but fell into the hands of the rebels. his horse was saved by some ladies. His parole reads as follows, verbatim et literatim:
“FREDERICK, June 20, 1863.
“You are not to ade ner abet the southern coutederacy.”
The Latest from the Fourteenth.
Correspondence of The Monmouth Democrat.
RELAY HOUSE, MD.,
June 22d, 1863.
In my last I omitted to state that company E, of our regiment, was left to man the two unfinished block houses at the Monocacy Bridge, in charge of Captain BODINE and Lieutenants BEDELL, TINGLEY and HOFFMAN, respectively. I heard from them yesterday (Sunday), and they were then still in possession, although a force of rebel cavalrymen were in the city, (Frederick.) There is a rumor this morning that the bridge has been destroyed, which I hope is only a rumor. If such is the case, the company must have been overpowered or retreated. I shall know more by night,and will advise you. A train started for Baltimore this a.m. at 4 o’cl’k, loaded with provisions for the garrison at Harper’s Ferry, but it is very doubtful whether it reaches its destination. However, they have sufficient stores to last thirty or forty days, and are in an impregnable position on Maryland Heights. I have no fears for their safety at present. Our friends at home have not heard and likely will not bear for 3 week or more from the regiment, but they need not be uneasy, as it is owing merely to the derangement in the communications, and not to […] evil that has befallen them. A few days will develope the intention of the rebels, and things will change. Let us pray that it may be a blessed change, fraught with great good to our cause.