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
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.