Quotes of the Roundheads

The following are interesting quotes by Soldiers of the Roundhead Regiment as recorded in letters, diaries or other sources as referenced.   



"This was just the kind of weather that gnats flourish best in.  They annoyed me and all of us very much enough to the patience of a job"

Diary, Christian C. Lobingier, Co. A upon his arrival on Hilton Head, SC in March 1862


 "a flock of sheep came down the Causeway from Rebeldom opposite us within 200 yards. I wanted to go over and kill some for mittens but the Sergeant forbid saying it was only a hop set from us although I insisted on going"


 "I can’t imagine what the idea was in marching us around in this style only it is to train or break us in to marching and carrying a knapsack but I am already convinced that carrying a knapsack is not what it is cracked up to be. I fear it will kill me before I get used to it or broke in"

Diary, Christian C. Lobingier, Co. A, "Camp Stevens", Hilton Head, SC, April 1862


"who took more interest in learning to read than any whites I ever saw and learned faster, any idle moment they had they would come to us Pickets to teach them to read or read to them"

 I attended a religious ceremony by the nature slaves and I was utterly astonished to see that a civilized nation tolerated much less sanctioned such disgusting performances on the Lords Day.  Ah, such blasphemy in the sight of God yet the ignorant creatures think and believe honestly that they are worshiping their Creator – such is the fruits of slavery in the United States.

Diary, Christian C. Lobingier, Co. A,  Beaufort, SC, April and May 1862 (Websmith note: Lobingier displays both admiration and misunderstanding of the African American race.  Though a strong Union cause may have been to abolish slavery, the Union soldier often talked about the African Americans in derogatory but common slang calling them  "negroes", "niggers", "darkeys" and "donkeys")


"Brigade drill at the usual time Lieut. Cohen commanded the Company – made a mistake while drilling.   Col. L (Leasure) became angry riding up “said he would get Cohen a pair of leather spectacles and Co. A. where they would not spoil the Battalion.”

Diary, Christian C. Lobingier, Co. A, Beaufort, SC, May 1862


"I attempted for the first time to wash some clothes after rubbing and rubbing at least an hour and a half I found the shirt was not a particle cleaner than when I began so I become discouraged believing I never was cut out for a wash woman and I think I’ll never try it again. Perhaps it was owing to salt water."

"This was decidedly the most unhappy and unpleasant Lord’s Day of life lying under an apology of a tent or shelter of oil cloth blankets.  I, the mud and swamp were encamped in a buggy marsh swamp. I wrote a letter to Mama.  I felt very much indisposed owing to the attacks of Dysentery under which I have suffered severe since we landed.  I appear to be getting worse instead of better – Prof Love’s balloon busted about the time he was ready to make an occasion."

Diary, Christian C. Lobingier, Co. A, James Island, SC, June 1862 (Websmith note:  Lobingier having a couple of bad days....more misery was to come that month in The Battle of Secessionville)


"Some of the cooks were making coffee on the beach when to the surprise of all, kettles and coffee were sent some twenty feet up in the air, as the fire happened to be built over where a bomb shell had been buried during the bombardment – the report was bad and the natives were considered astonished – portions of the shell were scattered for a hundred pieces around but no one was injured"

Diary, Christian C. Lobingier, Co. A, James Island, SC, July 1862 (Websmith note:  Close call that must have been a topic of conversation at soldier reunions for years to come!)


"We arrived at the house after about 10 miles marching and skirmishing – surrounded and searched the house. Women were crying and very insulting – searched it but no officers were to be found some rebel clothes were found – We seized several fine mules and returned to “Fredericksburg” About sundown we reached Camp.  This was the most heavy seize march we have yet made and all for mules".

Diary, Christian C. Lobingier, Co. A, Fredericksburg, VA, August 1862 (Websmith note:  Lobingier discusses in the diary entry that the house was searched looking for rebel officers.  None were found.)


"The Old Planter nearby was completely robbed of everything.  I took a few of his apples – He made a speech to the soldiers warning them that “Stonewall Jackson” would settle us for the depredation. Sam Fowler and I were after sheep and made a narrow escape from bullets of our gunman--but we got no mittens".

Diary, Christian C. Lobingier, Co. A, Sulphur Springs VA, on the march, August 1862 (Websmith note:  Lobingier and pards are foraging/pillaging the local farms and have a close call with "The Old Planter")


"in 15 minutes after our arrival on the field Companies A and F were ordered by Gen. Stevens to charge on the Rebels. We did so and drove them back.  This was the first charge I ever had a hand in and I hope it may be the last. In carrying out this order we run foul of a Rebel masked battery which opened at short range with grape and canister.  This was the hotter fire ever I was under. Here we lay between two fires.  Captain Templeton ordered us to go and hunt the Regt. and we did so in small squads but I did not find the Regt. as I had wanted – assisted in carrying Joseph Templeton. Clark McKeever, Inc. Clements and me carried Joseph Templeton to the hospital a mile at least. He was wounded in the leg by a shell.  Saw a woman in the hottest of the fight with a child in her arms running to save her and her child's lives. She was scared out of her senses and knew not where she went.   Captain Templeton gave her good advice which she took".

Diary, Christian C. Lobingier, Co. A, 2nd Battle of Bull Run, August 29, 1862 (Websmith note:  more of an excerpt then a quote, included based on the intense first hand account of Civil War combat, including effect on not only soldiers but civilians. Captain William Templeton was mortally wounded in the day's action and died in a field hospital the next day)


 "Poor me was unfortunate on all hands today on presenting my paper to the ambulance driver he refused to have my trapps saying trudge along best as best I could.  Resigned to my fate, I stepped in a tobacco house on the roadside during the rain spent the time reading my Bible finished Luke – General Burnside passed – I cleaned my gun – I made my bed in the woods on the roadside of leaves, was awakened in the night by rain and arose and went in search of a shelter marching a couple to a tobacco house."

Diary, Christian C. Lobingier, Co. A, Prior to Battles of South Mountain and Antietam, September, 1862 (Websmith note:  Lobingier did not participate in these battles as he was ill, became a straggler and had to catch up to the regiment 11 days later, during his time away from the regiment, he fell in with a field hospital and helped as a "nurse")


"The Steward come around and asked me if I wished to remain any longer as Nurse together with two others to attend to all.  But oweing to the mean treatment of the wounded, I prefer to join my Regt. rather than be connected with this concern. The wounded soldiers in the hospital were not treated with as much sympathy by the Surgeons, as I would treat a sick dog. All were lousy and all with amputated limbs were fly blown--skippers crawling over their wounds all for want of attention.  Only the Surgeon, he would only dress amputated limbs once in 48 hours.  The doctors assembled in a little room in the house and drank the wines sent the wounded and sick. So I determined to leave this hole trap together and left. The Surgeon would not give me a mouthful if provisions to take with me which I thought rather hard – I lodged in a barn over night in the next town on the way.  Going up South Mountain,  a citizen gave me a half peach pie.  I thought it was the best thing I ever ate."

 Diary, Christian C. Lobingier, Co. A, as a nurse in Middletown, MD following Antietam just prior to rejoining the regiment, September, 1862  (Websmith note: again, more of an excerpt but a glimpse by one soldier of the appalling conditions of field hospitals following Civil War battles)




"Signed the payroll and were payed two months pay.  Playing dominoes.  Got my carcass weighed, weight being 166 lbs".


"Some officers of the 50th (Pa) reported our regiment for taking some boards and the brigade was brought out to make us take them back.  But we would not take them back and the brigade went in again." 

Diary, Phineas Bird, Co. C, February 1862 on campaign in SC


"Some rebel horses made a charge across the causeway and we received them with a volley which made them skedaddle.  The company heard the alarm and came to assist us."

Diary, Phineas Bird, Co. C, March 1862 on campaign in SC


"Company drill and dress parade.  Playing baseball".

Diary, Phineas Bird, Co. C, April 1862 on campaign in SC (Websmith note: Bird's entry shows the regiment or company was playing baseball, a popular camp activity of the Roundheads as was "cricket")


"Going ahead all day and our support water not being sufficient for the number of men on board.  As a natural consequence, it gave out and caused considerable growling among the troops"

Diary, Phineas Bird, Co. C, July 1862 on journey back to VA and the incident of a drinking water shortage on the sea aboard the Merrimac headed for Fortress Monroe (campaign in SC (Websmith note: Bird's entry re-iterates what was also discussed in Lobingier's diary. 


"Went on picket at 8 A.M. and were stationed on a reserve behind one of the batteries where we frose (froze) all night as well as we could under the circumstances.  And the circumstances were very favorable for freezing."

Diary, Phineas Bird, Co. C, December 1862 following Battle of Fredericksburg




"on the 6 the battl commenced at the wilderness we had three lines of batle and we mode (mowed) the rebels like grass"

Diary, Pvt. Dainiel Shaner, Co. E at the Battle of the Wilderness, May 1864


"12 we marched out and attacked them and met with heavy loss Sunday I got 2 leters. the names of the wounded in our Company wounded on the 12 at Sptsylvania John L pouns in the head and thum john hanah thrue arm elick hanah arm wesly bently thrue the arm and bely frank fare killed milton camel killed wes bently died on the 13 of his wounds gony bently slitly joseph Sunkir shot in the side bad (dead) ___mccomans three fingers off Daniel Shaner thrue the hand Steward hunt killed dead shot  James mc Cune mortally wounded and since died  John barber shot thrue the arm Samuel S. More dead shot thru the breas george maxel shot thrue the knee Henderson broun sinse dead shot thrue the thy walker Rodgers dead mortally wounded and left on the field Camel Stevenson slitly wounded John lock wounded in the foot John graham slitly Steward gill shot dead Huchison martin thrue the thy dead all on thursday the 12 day of may 1864 batle of Spotsylvania chorte house"

Diary, Pvt. Dainiel Shaner, Co. E at the Battle of Spottsylvania Court House, May 12, 1864 (Websmith note:  Shaner does not spare gory details of the wounds or mortal wounds suffered by he and his comrades.  His excerpt, though difficult to read because of the horrific spelling, details what body part where wounds or mortal wounds occurred.)




"Tell me what Bob Simonton is doing and whether he has any notion of going to war.   If he don’t he ought to be shot with a dry cowtird."

From the 1949 publication, "A Roundhead in South Carolina", a letter from McDowell to his brother Ben, January 9, 1862 from the Barnwell Plantation




"after the rebels retreated our men went & buried their dead. they had laid them between the corn roes & threw a little dirt over them some of them the hands were sticking out.  I think they are pretty near played out"

From letter dated December 23, 1863 to his sister Rebecca when Dawson was at Blaines Crossroads, TN


"we only got about one fourth rations & we had to forage for our living & when we got to the rear we would do some big foraging, we had chickens & every thing else good, we got orders to start back last monday & Sherman told park to march us slow & lay by in the heat of the day. but the old buggar marched us like everything we marched 20 miles the first day the weather is very hot & the men could not stand it. & there was a great many sun struck & died on the road it was so hot I saw lots of horses sun struck or several, we lost more men on that march than we did in the fight out of our corps"

From letter dated July 25, 1863 to his sister Rebecca following the Siege of Vicksburg describing the conditions of the marching in the extreme heat and humidity, Milldale, MS


"there has been nothing but skirmishing going on since last I wrote you.  those two armies puts me in mind of two old Roosters fighting, they fight away as hard as they can for 3 or 4 days until they both get tired out then they lay and peck at each other all the time, the skirmishers keep firing at each other all the time"

From letter dated July 23, 1864 to his sister Rebecca following the Siege of Vicksburg describing the skirmishing outside of Petersburg, VA


"on the night of the 1st of november the Winfield Scott had her masts cut away and the 50 Regiment of Penn. volunteers was on her and they threw all their guns and provisions and every thing over board the ship sprung a leak and had her bow stove in and the soldiers had to work day and night to keep the water bailed out to keep her from sinking"

From letter dated Nov. 17,  1861 to his sister Rebecca  relating the voyage to Hilton Head, SC




"I heard the other day that we were going to Washington, that is, the ninth army corpse. They are sending the sick all there today. That was a pretty hard sight. But we have got so use to it that it does not affect us much. A man is thought pretty lucky here that gets off with his arm or leg. here was one hundred sent away the other day from the hospital that had limbs taken off. There was a pile of arms and legs half as big as a wagon there"

From letter dated December 28, 1862 (following Battle of Fredericksburg) to his father (Websmith Note: Gormley is obviously distraught from the effects of war and shows understandable bitterness at the conditions.  His letter also discusses the plan that Burnside wanted to attack the following day of the battle but was convinced by other generals that it would be a bad idea with heavy loss to the 9th Corps)



"Our recruits started out with knapsack packed to their utmost capacity but soon found that to get along it would be necessary to dispense with everything but what they could not possibly do without.  So the consequence was the roadside for many miles was strewn with coats, blankets, pants, shirts and every article of clothing and many time the whole knapsack was thrown aside and left men preferring to lose everything rather than be left laying behind"

From letter dated April 26, 1864 to his father at the onset of the march into the Battle of the Wilderness describing the necessity of travelling light on the campaign march



"Our rations in this place, consisted of what was called a pound of corn bread per day, to each man, with water. The bread was of the coarsest meal unsifted and many of the boys declared it was ground cob and all together. But bad as it was, most of the men ate it at a single meal and then had nothing else till the next morning, except once a day, a pint of what they called bean soup. This was made about equal parts of black peas (each of which contained a bug and rat dung.) Disgusting as it may seem, I have seen men take out of their pint of soup a spoonful of rat dung and then eat the soup, to the very dregs. This story may seem incredible to those who never suffered from hunger, but starvation is not ever scrupulous about specks in the food. The soup was made of the river water, without salt and sometimes we had a couple of spoonfuls of the black peas to a pint of soup and sometimes not one spoonful to a quart. The corn bread was about half baked."


"It was with difficulty that I persuaded a rebel surgeon to cut a ball out of my neck, where it had been for three days, and then he took his jack knife, rubbed it on his boot and hacked it out".


"It remained dark and wet, no stars to be seen for three nights, and all that time we traveled as we supposed, away from Dobson; but what was our mortification, when upon inquiry of a boy we chanced to see we learned that after traveling three nights and part of a day, we were only ten miles from Dobson [NC] and had crossed the river, which was called “Big Fish,” fourteen times. We had probably “surrounded Dobson about as often. Our discouragement may be imagined, but it is useless for me to undertake to describe it. We looked at each other in silent astonishment; being in the situation of the burly alderman who had dined, or the heroine of some ten cent novel, “too full for utterance.” It seemed as though we were doomed to hover on the flanks of Dobson for all time"


The previous excerpt from  WHEN THE GATES OF HELL PREVAILED IN OUR LAND-ESCAPE FROM DIXIE.  Account of Company B's Sgt. William Morehead Gibson's Escape from Confederate Prison in Danville, VA was taken from a September 29, 1916 Grove City, PA newspaper (possibly the Grove City Reporter).   The article was transcribed by Tami McConahy. 




"As an officer he was mild but firm; brave without weakness; quick in perception and alert in execution. He wore, always, the "Red Badge of Courage". He had a due regard for the welfare of the men under his command whether on the march, in the camp or on the firing line, and possessed these qualities which endeared him to them and made them loyal, obedient and patriotic officers.

     It is a distinct pleasure for me, one of the surviving officers of his company and regiment, to make this brief statement. The friendship existing between us embraces not only the years of the war but the years that have since elapsed and shall never perish – a friendship born of the march and the bivouac, nurtured by the common trials we endeared and cemented with blood"

From "Tribute Letters" referring to Col. Norman J. Maxwell-- part of Maxwell's military service honor from the Soldiers and Sailors Home in Erie, PA, 1911.  Morrison went on to become a Treasurer with the State of Pennsylvania



 "I think my little eulogy would not be complete without stating that I no that the Col. Likes chicken for he helped me to pick the meat off of a rosted chicken on our way to Vixburgh"

From "Tribute Letters" referring to Col. Norman J. Maxwwell-- part of Maxwell's military service honor from the Soldiers and Sailors Home in Erie, PA, 1919.



 "My first Lieut. Richard Craven was blown all to pieces!  Poor fellow, he never knew what hurt him.  Adjt. Geo. Leasure, Major Hamilton and Lieutenant Johnson, of “D” company are prisoners.  The two former wounded.  Brig. Gen. Bartlett, was wounded twice, but he had a cork leg and it was struck both times"

From Aug 4th, 1864 letter to his brother Capt Joseph Morehead
















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