The Civil War Diary of Henderson George



The foregoing words set forth briefly the beginning of my army life. I may here state that the following narrative, including mainly notes from my diary are not intended, except in a very limited sense either as a war history or as a history of the Roundhead Regiment, but to give very briefly some of my personal experiences. I may here also say that a short history of the Regiment was published in 1884, by the Hon. Samuel P. Bates, State historian of the Pennsylvania Troops. You will find a copy of this little book among my relics. And further I may say that a complete history of the movements and achievements have long been contemplated by the "Society of the Roundheads," and some preparation has been made, but it now seems doubtful whether the project will ever be accomplished.

Throughout the way the writer served and was discharged as a private. Much of the time, however, he was placed on detached service which took him from the ranks.

A few days after joining the regiment at Pleasant Valley Md., a forward movement of the army was begun in the direction of Richmond Va., the Capitol of the Confederacy. This movement was under the command of General A. E. Burnside, and may be designated as Burnside's Fredericksburg Campaign.

This movement of the army was begun about the 10th. of Nov. 1862. On this date the army crossed the Potomac on Pontoon Bridges a few miles above Harpers Ferry, and was now in contact with the scouting parties of the enemy who became active in harrassing our advance. On our march down through Virginia, the army reached the north bank of the Rappahannock opposite Fredericksburg Va. Here the enemy was found posted in full force on the opposite bank of the river. Our army encamped on considerable hills overlooking the town. Over and beyond the city was a plain, rising from which was a series of hills terraced in form and including the famous "Maries Hill," and the road bordered by the Historic Stone Fence, made famous by the battle which followed. On these hills, and beyond, the rebel army was posted, forming an almost impregnable position.

From the 19th., of November until the 12th., of December, the two great armies lay defiantly facing each other, inactive, except the constant routine day and night of camp, picket, and scouting duty. About four o'clock on the morning of the 12th., of December 1862, our artillery opened fire on the enemy, shelling the town and setting it on fire; the shelling was for the purpose of driving out the enemies sharp shooters who were annoying our troops who were engaged in laying Pontoon Bridges.

After completing laying the Pontoons that day, when night came our army crossed the Rappahannock and next day (Dec., 13th. 1862) fought the disastrous battle of Fredericksburg. Next day the 14th., both armies lay inactive, taking care of the wounded and burying the dead. That night the Union Forces recrossed the river totally defeated, but seemingly not demoralized. Our losses were heavy, while that of the enemy was comparatively small.

Many hundreds of men laid down their lives in this battle while not a single point was gained. Our Division being held in reserve was not in the action.

Thus ended Burnside's Fredericksburg Campaign.