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Archive for February

February 28, 1863: Officers Had a Spree

Thursday, 28 February, 2013

Diary Entry:
Muster day. warm and pleasant. Officers had a spree last night. Lts. Nolen and C. Smith had a fight. Bailey and Stricker very drunk. Evans and Jones only ones not in the mix.

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February 27, 1863: Warm Day

Wednesday, 27 February, 2013

Diary Entry:
Warm day, on guard. Col. Bailey returned to day. Officers have a frolic.

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February 26, 1863: Frogs

Tuesday, 26 February, 2013

Diary Entry:
Frogs commenced croaking last night.

Rain in the morning, balance of the day pleasant.

See the scanned diary page.

February 25, 1863: Finished Muster Rolls

Monday, 25 February, 2013

Diary Entry:

Pleasant day.

finished the muster rolls.

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February 24, 1863: Muster Rolls

Sunday, 24 February, 2013

Diary Entry:

Plesasant day.

Nothing Important. I have been at work on the muster rolls of our Company.

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February 23, 1863: Froze on Picket

Saturday, 23 February, 2013

Diary Entry:
Last night was very cold. 26 soldiers of our Brigade were froze on Picket. snow 10 inches deep this morning. warm day. Lt. Col. Broady was the Officer of the day and tried to get the men in trouble. some of them left the line to avoid freezing. he was on Picket the 14th of Jan. and was surnamed the Dromedary.
See scanned diary page.

February 22, 1863: Washington’s Birthday Salute

Friday, 22 February, 2013

Diary Entry:
Heavy snow storm. a salute fired in honor of Washington’s birthday, but not much rejoicing on account of the weather.

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More Information:

A letter to the editor of Wilmington’s Delaware State Journal and Statesman dated February 27, 1863, described the salute in honor of George Washington’s birthday:

At noon, whilst the storm was at its height, the roar of artillery was heard. At first it was remote and then it sounded in our vicinity, until every battery on the field opened. We instantaneously thought what an unfavorable day for a fight, but we soon learned that the firing was in honor of Washington’s birthday. This was the more appropriate since his birth place is but a short distance from us, and the remains of his mother are interred near the city just opposite.

February 21, 1863: Weather Getting Colder

Thursday, 21 February, 2013

Diary Entry:
Pleasant day. Dress Parade in the evening. weather getting colder.

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February 20, 1863: Our Thanks to Gen. Hooker

Wednesday, 20 February, 2013

Diary Entry:
Pleasant day, windy toward night.

11 O’c. P.M. Dad and I being unable to sleep, have made a fire. he concluded to toss up a cent, and if heads came up best in three, he would make some coffee. if not, heads won.

When he found there was no water in the tent, he then pitched into a loaf of bread and a plate of meat, determined to demolish them.

I undertook to roast a potatoe [sic], when Aleck wakened up and wanted a potatoe too. I roasted one for him and we put them away. We return our thanks to Gen. Hooker for the bread and potatoes.

Midnight. getting ready to go to bed again.

See the scanned diary page.

More Information:
The mention of “Dad” in this entry is puzzling. There is not an entry in the Delaware Compiled Service Record for a Samuel Forwood, who was Cyrus’ father. This is the only time Cyrus mentioned him in his diary. Was his father visiting? Did he call an older tent-mate “Dad”?

February 19, 1863: Fresh Bread

Tuesday, 19 February, 2013

Diary Entry:
Dull day. heavy rain last night. our Brigade now Pickets below Falmouth. previous to last week we Picketed above the town.

Since Gen. Hooker took command of the Army of the Potomac, fresh bread four times a week, beef four times, and vegetables three times are issued to us. he makes it the duty of the Surgeons to report the number of times they are issued.

See the scanned diary page.

More Information:
After General Hooker took command of the Army of the Potomac in late-January 1863, he instituted a series of changes to improve the morale of troops. Changes included establishing an innovative intelligence system, instituting generous furloughs, making troops drill, and as Cyrus noted, improving rations, medical care, and living conditions of the soldiers. In General Order Number 9, issued on February 7, 1863, he ordered:

Flour or soft bread will be issued at the depots to commissaries for at least four issues to the troops. Fresh potatoes or onions, if practicable, for two issues per week. Desiccated mixed vegetables or potatoes for one issue per week.

Commanders of army corps, division, brigades and separate commands will require any commissary under their orders who fails to issue the above-named stores to the command to which he is attached, and as often as stated, to produce the written statement of the officer in charge of the dept from which he regularly draws his supplies to the effect that they were not on hand at the depot for issue to him, or otherwise to satisfactorily account for his failure.

by command of Major-General Hooker:
Jos. Dickinson,
Assistant Adjutant-General
General Orders, Headquartes Army of the Potomac

 

Sources: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation fo the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Vol XXV and “Intent of Major General Joseph Hooker during the Chancellorsville Campaign” by Major William M. Jurney.