The Civil War Diary of Henderson George
Diary 1865


  JANUARY 1865  
Thursday Jan. 5th.
Was on the picket line last night on the right of the 39 section. Orders to keep up firing during the night; rebels doing the same. This part of the picket line is much exposed, and we expect a vigorous fire from the enemy during the night, and especially about the time the relief comes. It is bright moon-light; but to our surprise in keeping with our agreement not to fire on each other until after nine P.M., not a shot was fired.
Tuesday Jan. 10th.
Weather cloudy; commenced raining at three o'clock this morning and continued without intermission all day. Pickets are having a rough time on account of being flooded out of their redoubts.
Saturday Jan. 14th.
Weather cloudy, raining and cold. On picket last night on the right of the 35 section opposite the breast of the rebel dam.
Sabbath Jan. 15th.
Weather clear and cold. Company inspection at 10 A.M. By an agreement of both parties, (meaning the rebels and ourselves) shouting across to each other, there is to be no picket firing on our lines from dusk until after nine o'clock P.M. I saw several little white rags stuck up over the rebel picket posts as a truce that they would strictly observe our agreement. This little act on their part impressed us with a kindly if not brotherly feeling. Following their example many little white flags appeared over our picket posts.
Saturday Jan. 21th.
Weather cloudy with a cold sleety rain. Stood quarter guard last night.
Monday Jan. 23d.
Weather cloudy raining. Was on picket last night on a dangerous vidette post. This post can only be occupied at night, it is lonely and exposed, only one man is placed on it, who is instructed to vacate it at the first streak of day. The rebels know about where it is and sometimes fire on it. Heavy cannonading and musketry on our right.
Tuesday Jan. 24th.
Report that the heavy cannonading on our right yesterday was an attempt of the rebel gun boats to descend the James River to destroy our base of supplies at City Point, and also to cut off our communication by river. It is said one boat was sunk and the other blown up.
Sabbath Jan. 29th.
Weather clear and cold. An unusual scene took place to-day along our lines about three o'clock P.M. This unusual scene was the rebels by hundreds and thousands mounting the top of their breastworks unarmed, and wildly cheering and waving their hats; in response to this action our men did the same; this continued for a space of more than five minutes during which time not a shot was fired. The rebels were the first to dismount. The whole movement seemed to be spontaneous. It started speculation among our troops as to the cause or meaning. We were inclined to believe that the enemy were exulting and rejoicing over the achievement of some great victory of which we had not yet heard.
Tuesday Jan. 31st.
Weather clear and cold. Bid good bye to Lieut. Justice, who resigned and was mustered out of the service to return home. There is a feeling of regret on my part that our association of many months on the field of strife has come to an end. I can never forget the kindness and consideration of Lieut. Justice under whom I served as assistant in the Commissary department. There seems to be a feeling of optimism in the air that great things are going to happen at the opening of spring. It is reported that the rebel Vice President of the so-called Confederate States came into our lines at Fort Sedgewick under a flag of truce with two or three C.S. officials, on a peace mission. General Grant, it is said, met them at Meads Station.