The Sesquicentennial Diary Blog of Cyrus Forwood, Delaware Civil War Soldier Cyrus Forwood Diary Blog Home Visit the Delaware Public Archives' Website Visit the Delaware Sesquicentennial American Civil War Commemmoration Website

Category “Supporting Documents”

July 3, 1863: Cemetery Ridge

Wednesday, 3 July, 2013

 

On July 3, the Second Delaware helped defend Cemetery Ridge just south of town in Ziegler’s Grove during Pickett’s Charge. A marker on the battlefield shows the Delawareans’ position line on the Bryan Farm (not far from the old Gettysburg Cyclorama and Visitors Center).

 

 

 

Skirmish line of 2nd Delaware on July 3, 1863. Photos by Jim Hall

 

 

In the two days of fighting, the Second Delaware lost nearly thirty-six percent of their total strength. 11 soldiers were killed, 61 were wounded, and 12 were reported missing. The Battle of Gettysburg was incredibly deadly with approximately 51,000 casualties between the Union and Confederate Armies. Cyrus himself was wounded on July 3 and the Delaware State Journal and Statesman reported he sustained an injury to his thigh. According to his Hospital Muster Roll, he was admitted into the U.S. General Hospital (Tilton Hospital) in Wilmington, Delaware, for treatment, on July 11, 1863. Cyrus’ wound was not so serious as to cause him to lose his leg; he returned to duty with the Second Delaware in September 1863. The Muster Roll is below:

 

 

 

Sources: Gettysburg National Military Park websiteDelaware Civil War Compiled Service Records, Delaware State Journal and Statesman newspaper from July 1863, A Brief Account of the Services Rendered by the Second Regiment Delaware Volunteers in the War of the Rebellion by Robert G. Smith.

July 2, 1863: Wheatfield and Rose Woods

Tuesday, 2 July, 2013

With Cyrus’ diary coming to an end in March 1863, we do not know his personal experiences at the Battle of Gettysburg on July 1-3, 1863. However, we do know that the Second Delaware fought in Gettysburg and that Cyrus was wounded there.

When we left the Second Delaware in March, they were still drilling at their camp near Fredericksburg, Virginia. They left camp in late April to fight in the Battle of Chancellorsville under the command of General Hooker. Following that Union defeat, they traveled through Virginia chasing the Confederates. They eventually found themselves in the south-central Pennsylvania crossroads town of Gettysburg on the evening of July 1, 1863, where Confederate General Robert E. Lee had concentrated the strength of the Army of Northern Virginia, hoping to destroy the Union Army and move farther into the North. Gettysburg ended Lee’s Northern Campaign and was one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War.

Intense fighting occurred in Devil’s Den, on Little Roundtop, Culp’s Hill, The Wheatfield, and in the Peach Orchard on July 2. The Second Delaware fought in The Wheatfield, a 20 acre field owned by the Rose Family. There they helped drive back Confederate troops from Kershaw’s South Carolina Brigade and they captured Confederate soldiers. A monument to the 2nd Delaware Infantry made of Brandywine blue stone from northern New Castle County was erected in 1885 and dedicated in 1886. Originally the monument stood in the middle of the Wheat Field, but it was moved to the in the Rose Woods on Brooke Avenue in Gettysburg in 1909 to mark the farthest point in the Woods reached by the regiment during the charge. At the end of the battle on July 2, The Wheatfield and Rose Woods were littered with over 4000 dead and wounded soldiers.

 

2nd Delaware Monument in Rose Woods

2nd Delaware Monument. Rose Woods, Gettysburg, PA. Photo credit: Jim Hall

 

 

Sources: Stone Sentinels website, Gettysburg National Military Park website, Delaware Civil War Compiled Service Records, History of Delaware: 1609-1888 by John Thomas Scharf, Delaware State Journal and Statesman newspaper from July 1863, A Brief Account of the Services Rendered by the Second Regiment Delaware Volunteers in the War of the Rebellion by Robert G. Smith.

 

March 23, 1863: Death of Gen. Sumner

Saturday, 23 March, 2013

Diary Entry:
Pleasant day. Drill in Bayonet exercise. Dress Parade. Regt. officially notified of the death of Gen. Sumner.

See the scanned diary page.

More Information:
The March 24, 1863, edition of the Delaware State Journal and Statesman ran the following notice about the death of General E. V. Sumner:

 

Major-General E.V. Sumner died at Syracuse, N.Y., on Saturday, of congestion of the lungs [pneumonia], after a very brief illness. General Sumner was born in Boston in 1796. He was not a graduate of West Point. No man in the army has seen more service than this gallant officer. He was attached to the army of the Potomac, and was in all the bloody battles fought by that army. Upon Gen. Hooker’s appointment to the chief command, Sumner was relieved at his own request, and had just been appointed to the command of the Missouri Department when his death occurred. He entered the regular army as Second Lieutenant in 1819. He served in the Indian war and also in Mexico. He was severely wounded at Corro Gordo, and for gallant conduct in that battle was brevetted Lieutenant Colonel. He was military Governor of New Mexico in 1852 and in 1836 commanded in Kansas. In 1859 he was appointed commander of the Department of the West, in 1861 he was selected and sent to California to relieve Gen. A.S. Johnson in that department, in consequence of the resignation of the latter. Gen. Sumner was ordered, at his own request, from California, for service in the east. Under Gen. McClellan his corps was one of the most active and reliable. He was selected by General Scott to accompany Mr. Lincoln from Springfield, Ill. to Washington, in February, 1861, and on March 16th was appointed Brigadier-General in the regular army, in place of General Twiggs.

March 17, 1863: Steeple Chase

Sunday, 17 March, 2013

Diary Entry:
Cool and cloudy in the morning. toward noon the sun shown warm. a Steeple Chase took place on the Division Parade Ground. got up by Gen. Meagher.

Hurdles were erected and Ditches dug.

several accidents occurred.

Col. Stricker thought he could jump his horse over one of the ditches. he tried it and was thrown into the ditch. his horse tumbled in after him.

One horse was killed and his rider injured.

At 3 P.M. heavy firing was heard which proved to be at Kellys Ford. all the men were ordered back to camp.

See the scanned diary pages 59 and 60.

More Information:
A steeplechase is a horse race. Typically between two and four miles, the race features obstacles like stone walls, water jumps, brush fences, and timber rails that the horses and their riders must clear. The event was part of a larger celebration organized in camp on St. Patrick’s Day, that included foot races, sack races, mule races, boxing matches, and plenty of food and drink.

The March 20, 1863 edition of the Delaware State Journal and Statesman reported that a cavalry fight on the Rappahannock near Kelly’s Ford took place on Tuesday, March 17. That “cavalry fight” became known as the Battle of Kelly’s Ford, one of the earlier large-scale cavalry fights in Virginia. 2100 Union cavalry troops under the command of Brig. Gen. William W. Averill of New York crossed the Rappahannock in Culpepper County, Virginia to attack the Confederate cavalry of about 800 men under the command of Brig. Gen. Fitzhugh Lee. The Federal attack was a result of General Hooker’s emphasis on cavalry training during the winter of 1863 following the disastrous Battle of Fredericksburg in December 1862 and the “Mud March” January 1863. Although Averill withdrew his troops before completely destroying Lee’s forces, it was the first time the Union cavalry held their own against Confederate cavalry. The battle provided the troops with confidence for their summer campaigns.

Sources:
Delaware State Journal and Statesman, National Park Service Battle Summary: Kelly’s Ford, Virginia, Chancellorsville by Stephen W. Sears.

March 16, 1863: Lt. Tom Moore Returned

Saturday, 16 March, 2013

Diary Entry:
Pleasant day.

Lt. Tom Moore Co. G. returned to Regt. after absence without leave since Sep. 17th.

See the scanned diary page.

More Information:

On March 10, 1863, the Union government enacted a plan that granted amnesty to all soldiers who had deserted and who returned to camps by April 1. Although the plan was intended to bring the record number of soldiers who deserted following the Battle of Fredericksburg back to camps without fear of punishment or deadly consequences, other soldiers like Lieut. Tom Moore certainly also benefited.

The March 17, 1863 edition of the Delaware State Journal and Statesman included President Lincoln’s “Proclamation Respecting Soldiers Absent Without Leave”:

. . . I, Abraham Lincoln, President and Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, do hereby order and command that all soldiers enlisted or drafted into the service of the United States, now absent from their regiments without leave, shall forthwith return to their respective regiments.

And I do hereby declare and proclaim that all soldiers now absent from their respective regiments without leave, who shall, on or before the first day of April, eighteen hundred and sixty-three, report themselves at any rendezvous designated by the General Orders of the War Department number fifty-eight, hereto annexed, may be restored to their respective regiments without punishment, except the forfeiture of pay and allowances during their absence; and all who do not return within the time above specified shall be arrested as deserters, and punished as the law provides. . . .

 

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.

January 24, 1863: Two Months Pay

Thursday, 24 January, 2013

Diary Entry:
Troops still passing to the let to return to their old positions, yesterday the Rebs across the river stuck up a board with the words “Burnside Stuck in Mud” in large letters. The storm that caused the mud prolonged the lives of many of them as well as many of our own men.

This afternoon our Paymaster Major Potter paid us two months pay from the 31st of August to the 31st of October 1862.

I received $34.00.

The mails have been very irregular. I have not received any letters since the 1st inst. and do not know whether the letters I have sent lately reached their destination or not and there being no other means of sending money home that I know of now, I do not think it will be safe to send it at all.

See the scanned diary pages 47 and 48.

More Information:

On January 17, 1863, President Lincoln signed a joint resolution to “provide for the immediate payment of the army and navy of the United States.” The joint resolution stated:

My approval is given in order that every possible facility may be afforded for the prompt discharge of all arrears of pay due to our soldiers and our sailors. While giving this approval, however, I think it is my duty to express my sincere regret that it has been found necessary so large an additional issue of United States notes, when the circulation, and that of the suspended banks together, have become already so redundant as to increase prices beyond real value, thereby augmenting the cost of living to the injury of labor and the cost of supplies to the injury of the whole country. . . . By such measures, in my opinion, will payment be most certainly secured, not only to the army and navy but to all honest creditors of the Government, and satisfactory provisions made for future demands on the Treasury.

The Delaware State Journal and Statesman printed the president’s message to Congress in its January 23 issue.

January 22, 1863: Attack Abandoned

Tuesday, 22 January, 2013

Diary Entry:
Day before yesterday a great many troops were moving to the right. An attack was to be made there, but at night a heavy rain set in which continued until to day.  so much rain has fallen and the roads have become so bad that the attack has had to be abandoned. The troops have been moving back to their old position in front of Fredericksburg. I am very thankful that we have been permitted to remain in Camp. There is a report afloat that Gen. Burnside has lost confidence in our Corps, that he says we are completely demoralized. On the other hand the Corps has but little confidence in him, yet if taken into battle it will not disgrace its old name and fame.

I sincerely hope that he may prove successful in the next attempt. If he is, confidence in him will be restored.

See the scanned diary pages 46 and 47.

More Information:
General Burnside planned to launch another attack on General Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia in late December. The rumor Cyrus referred to about Burnside losing confidence in the troops most likely started after Brig. Generals John Newton and John Cochrane traveled to Washington, D.C. in early January, and spoke with Secretary of War Seward and President Lincoln about their concerns relating to Burnside’s ability to successfully lead the Army of the Potomac. After that meeting, Lincoln met with General Burnside and told him that two of his officers had expressed concerns for Burnside’s plans for a winter attack and the deteriorating condition of the Army. Burnside suggested those officers be court-marshaled, but felt that if Lincoln agreed with them, perhaps he should resign from his position. Burnside returned to Fredericksburg still planning a winter campaign, albeit it a scaled-down one.

The new battle plan was for the troops to cross the Rappahannock upstream from the Confederates on January 20 and circle behind them, thus surprising them. Up until that point, January had been fairly mild, but a Nor’Easter moved up the coast January 20 and 21, 1863. Rain fell for over 30 hours of rain, dropping over 3 inches of rain in Washington, D.C. over those two days. Artillery and cavalry forces soon became so swamped in the mud that  Burnside ordered the troops back to their quarters, ending the campaign before it ever really began.

Winter Campaigning. The Army of the Potomac on the Move
Drawn by Alfred Waud. January 21, 1863
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

Sources: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, “The Mud March Begins” on the Massachusetts 150 Sesquicentennial Commission of the American Civil War website, The Civil War by Bruce Catton, and The History of the First Regiment, Delaware Volunteers by William P. Seville

December 11, 1862: Building Bridges

Tuesday, 11 December, 2012

Diary Entry:
The ball opened this morning, the 57th and 66th were detailed to assist in building pontoon bridges. the work was commenced at 3 O’clock A.M. Our Regt. was under arms at an early hour. at 6 A.M. the Rebs opened fire and soon after our Regt. was moved down to a point opposite the lower portion of Fredericksburg. We left our knapsacks at the Division [sic], taking with us our blankets. We found a large force waiting the completion of the bridges, meantime our Artillery opened on the Rebs. 148 pieces kept up an incessant fire all day, making the whole country resound with their thunder. the 57th and 66th suffered severely in the morning. at night 100 of the 7th Michigan crossed the river in boats and drove the Reb sharpshooters away. then parts of Howards Division crossed and held the town all night. We bivouacked [sic] in a woods.

See the scanned diary pages.

More Information:
After waiting for several weeks outside of Fredericksburg for the pieces of pontoon bridges needed to cross the river to arrive, pieces were finally in place for the Army of Potomac to make preparations to attack General Lee and the Confederate troops in the city. To get the entire Army of the Potomac across the Rappahannock River, the engineers first had to build six pontoon bridges for the infantry and cavalry. A brigade of Mississippians anticipated this and opened fire on them from across the river. General Burnside ordered artillery to blast Fredericksburg and over the course of two hours, they shot at least 5,000 projectiles at the town. A report in the Delaware State Journal and Statesman described the barrage by saying the “shot and shell went crashing through the houses. In many cases setting them on fire, causing a dense smoke to gather, which, with the explosion of so large a quantity of powder, almost hid the city from view.”

Still, the Union artillery could not dislodge the snipers hidden in the town shooting at those soldiers building the bridges. One Michigan and two Massachusetts regiments were chosen to cross the river using some of the pontoons as boats. Once across the river they attempted to dislodge the snipers and engaged in street fighting with Confederates. This was the first time soldiers engaged in urban combat in the war, and it gave the Army of the Potomac time to finish building the bridges. The bridges were finally completed at about 4 p.m., when Union soldiers began to make their way into Fredericksburg. The remainder of the Army would cross in the following two days.

Building Pontoon Bridges at Fredericksburg, December 11th
Alfred R. Waud
Library of Congress Prints and Photograph Collection

 

Sources: Battle of Fredericksburg History-National Park Service, Fredericksburg: Confederate Victory, Union Story by George C. Rable, and December 16, 1862 edition of the Delaware State Journal and Statesman, Library of Congress Prints and Photograph Division

December 7, 1862: Very Cold Last Night

Friday, 7 December, 2012

Diary Entry:
Last night was very cold, the coldest I have experienced since I joined the Army. Three men were frozen to death on Picket.

See the scanned diary page.

More Information:

A correspondent in the same Union camp outside of Fredericksburg, Virginia, as Cyrus also noted the cold temperatures in a letter to the editor of the Delaware State Journal and Statesman:

It has been cold, bitterly cold, and many have been longing for cheerful fires and extra clothing. The snow fell, and the tents looked like so many sharp-pointed show bands. . . The primary object with all of us has been to find a little warmth, and numerous have been the expedients resorted to in order to generate heat in our tents. The nights have been clear, and the sound of the bugle and drum to denote the hour of sleep, rang out with an icy resonance, while the moon with a pale and frigid face looked down upon the wintry camp scene. The stars seemed chilly, and the entire atmosphere appeared possessed of tangible, acute points of extreme coldness which were applied to us unmercifully. A fifteen months round of military duty in Virginia had rendered us unduly sensitive to these northern impressions, for we had been led to anticipate from our experience a more genial temperature.