Nearly every day during the Civil War, Sgt. George Buckman faithfully recorded the experiences he had in the First Minnesota Volunteer Regiment in two diaries.
In 1897, he used the first diary to write about his experiences at Gettysburg. That diary was subsequently lost, but his handwritten memoir based on it exists in the archives of the Minnesota Historical Society. The second diary, purchased in Gettysburg after the battle, continues until he was mustered out in May 1864. It is also in the archive, along with letters he wrote home.
Account of Gettysburg, from 1897 memoir based on Buckman’s first diary:
On the morning of the 29th of June 1863 the 2d Div. of the 2d army Corps left camp on the Monocacy River and took the road leading to Frederick City, Md. Turned to the right after going about three miles, again crossing the Monocacy on a splendid stone bridge and ascended a steep hill, turning to the left and wading a creek, the water being about two feet deep. Orders had been given not to allow any man to halt after crossing the stream. Time was precious. The Infantry, Artillery and Cavalry were being hurried along as rapidly as possible. In crossing the stream the boys of the first Minn. had more or less sand washed into their shoes, and sat down on the opposite bank, pulled off their shoes and stockings and deliberately proceeded to shake out the sand and …ing their stockings. The whole performance did not occupy over five minutes. Col. Coville knew of the orders and knew also that to march his men in that condition would be ruinous as we had a long and hot march before us. He quietly sat on his horse until the men were ready and then moved on. In a few minutes an orderly rode up from Hancock's staff and placed Colville under arrest. He rode that day and the next in the rear of the column but was restored to command on the morning of July 2d. After this little episode a rapid march commenced and continued for six miles over Mt. Pleasant. The column halted there a few minutes after turning the crest of the hill which gave the men an opportunity to arrange their belts and accoutrements.
The march was then resumed in quick time, only one short halt being made before reaching the pleasant village of Liberty. The troops were not permitted to enter the town. The citizens were rejoiced to see the Union Troops. They had been in a state of alarm for some days as the Confederate Army was hovering in that vicinity. Everything they had cooked was freely given to the troops along with their blessing for the success of the Union Army in the impending battle. In an hour we were on the road again passing Johnstown and going into camp a half mile beyond Uniontown, having marched a distance of thirty miles. As for myself I was pretty well used up and for the last mile before reaching camp could walk only with the greatest difficulty. The portion of Maryland passed through is the most fertile of any in the state and strangely in contrast with the desolated country of Virginia. Here there were rich fields of grain, comfortable homes, thrift and prosperity, but the people were in fear and trembling for they knew not what the morrow might bring forth. I said to myself, this is the most beautiful country I have seen since leaving the fair State of Minnesota.
June 30th. Remained in camp. Weather cloudy and misty. The men are not very buoyed in spirit. Mustered out for pay. Cavalry skirmishing in front.
July 1st. Broke camp at 8 am, passing back through Uniontown, turned to right, going in a N. East direction across Big Pipe Creek and going into camp about noon near Tawneytown. The country in this vicinity presented the same fertile appearance that characterized the portion of Md. through which the Army has passed. Buildings looked neat and tasteful. Everything betokened an air of comfort. As we approached the State line of Pa. we could see clouds of smoke and distinctly hear the roar of artillery. The people along our route were simply terror stricken. Anxious and enquiring looks at the troops as they passed rapidly along seemingly to read, if they could, the kind of stuff they were made of. Some more thoughtful than the rest had placed tubs of water by the road side from which the men snatched a cup full and continued on their way.
Went into camp late in the evening about three miles from Gettysburg and formed line of battle. The roads passed over during the day were bad from late rains and blistered feet added to my discomfort. After the line was formed search was made for water to make coffee. It was found after a tedious tramp and preparations at once made for a royal supper which consisted of hard tack in addition to the coffee. The hard tack was considered to be very choice as it came from a box marked 2,000 B.C. This was interpreted by the boys to mean 2,000 years before Christ. Indeed its appearance confirmed the interpretation. But I digress from my coffee. It is doing nicely but as it commenced to boil the orderly came along with orders to move. The line had to be changed. Over went the coffee & my expectations with it. Well, the line is reformed and a new cup of solace prepared. It is almost ready when that confounded orderly shows up again and I am detailed with twenty men and ordered to report to Surg. Genl. Hammond's Hdqrs. That fixed the coffee business, and if I remember correctly, my temper too. It was now twelve O’clock.
I got my detail together and started out to find the Surgeon Genls. Hdqrs. It was a foggy dismal night and after wandering around for some time at last found Hdqrs and reported. All right said the Genl. lie down and make yourselves comfortable. Comfortable! Gracious me. Wet grass for a bed and a delicious hard tack thrown in. I unslung my knapsack for a pillow, unrolled my blanket and rolled up in it, and slept all unconscious of the impending morrow until the guns at the first streak of daylight awoke the echoes of the morning.
My detail under the guidance of a staff officer led the advance of the 2nd Corps.
Genl. Hancok was at the head of the column which entered the field about half was between the Gettysburg cemetery and Little Round Top. The line of battle was formed there and several hours was spent in preparation.
Immediately after the formation of the line we were ordered to the Hospital which had been located just south of the road in the rear of Little Round Top.
The ground selected was in an orchard which extended on the south to a log house near a fine spring of water. In the north west comer of the enclosure was a barn, and between that and the road a stone wall. We stacked guns and awaited developments.
Heavy skirmishing and cannonading soon commenced and by the middle of the afternoon the battle began in earnest. From the crackling fire of musketry it increased to a roar of thunder augmented by the artillery fire and exploding shell. The earth fairly shook with the concussion, not only for the moment but for two solid hours. The field to the right of the Hospital looked as though a hurricane was passing over it. Solid shot that struck the ground in front of our line ricochet and plowed great furrows in the earth to our right.
Wounded men began to pour into the hospital, hobbling along, using their muskets for walking sticks, while the more seriously hurt were brought in on stretchers, mangled and torn, bleeding, groaning, dying. Everything in our power was done to relieve the suffering. What could we do except to bring them water and receive their last messages to friends and home.
When the attack upon Round Top was made the shell and musket balls poured into our hospital from a new direction. The wounded in the barn were frantic to be removed fearing they would be burned alive if it should take fire from the shelling. I removed them with the assistance of some of the detail. Among the wounded in the barn was the Col. of the 14th Ala, a Confederate. It soon became evident that we must get away from that locality and we pressed every man into the service who had one hand to use and could walk. Holes were knocked in ambulances as they were being filled. Pandemonium reigned. I ran over a stretcher with one leg knocked off which I took and looking about to see who I would take first discovered my comrade L.J. Mosher lying on his back with the hot sun pouring into his face, badly wounded. He greeted me with a welcome I shall never forget. The wounded were all moved back about a mile to Rock Creek during the night. A large number of the wounded died in the orchard.
In July last I again visited the place and it seemed like treading upon sacred ground. [The following phrase was struck out: I felt as if in the presence of some awful influence I could not understand.]
The number of wounded increased materially on the following day. We were short of rations, tents and blankets. Many of the wounded were uncared for for several days and exposed to a drenching rain in the night of the 3d. We were in a deplorable condition without supplies and scant medical attendance. Nearly four thousand men, many entirely helpless lay scattered over the ground, Union and Confederate intermingled.
“I quote from my diary of July4.” The wounded continue to be brought in. Some are dreadfully mangled and suffering excruciating pain. It is truly heart rending to witness the condition in which the men are in when brought from the field to the hospital covered with blood and dirt and without care or attention. The matter of hospital tents or means of alleviating the suffering seems to have been entirely neglected. Language fails to describe the scene. Surgeons are busy with amputations. One young fellow, a Confederate, was taken up in the arms of one of the surgeons and carried to the amputation table, pleading all the way to have the surgeon save him. Putting his arms around his neck and telling him of his home, his mother, and his sister that he wanted to see again. His appeal was so pathetic and earnest that I could not endure it and turned away. The poor lad did not survive.
On the 6th of July we received a supply of hospital necessities and the situation began to be improved. The wounded still continued to be brought in. After being ordered by the surgeon in charge I went over the hospital ground and picked up hands, feet, legs and arms enough to make a heap as high as a common table and then buried them. But the most sickening duty was yet to come. In spite of all we could do many of the dead were left unburied for three and four days. We had great difficulty in finding spades and shovels to work with but the dead must be buried. I took four men out of my detail one afternoon and went just across the creek and buried forty five men. Previous to our going over the creek some of the hospital men had dug a trench over there about fifty feet in length and about eighteen inches deep in which had been placed as near as I can recollect about forty men for burial. They had not been covered. Alongside had been placed the bodies we were to inter, bloated, blackened and greatly decomposed. We considered the question for a few minutes as to the best way to proceed. We had an abundance of resolution but our stomachs offered a strong protest. Ignoring everything we commenced our labor by excavating by the side of the first man. When done we laid the corpse over and proceed to dig for the next, throwing the earth over the first man and so on for a few times when the stench became so unbearable that we were obliged to adopt different tactics. I returned to the hospital steward and procured some brandy in which we washed our faces. Took a swallow inside. All were unanimous that we could not continue the excavations.
[The following phrase was struck out: Four of us then placed ourselves by the side of a body, drew a long breath and carried it over, and deposited it upon the corpse already in the trench, and ran hastily away to breath. In this manner we completed our task and covered the bodies with earth.]
On the 7 the Sanitary Commission arrived with wagon loads of supplies and immediately began to distribute soft bread and butter, oranges, lemons, clean clothes and a great many delicacies sorely needed. The situation of the hospital at that time was deplorable in the extreme. I can not describe -- there is no language that can describe -- no pen picture, or work painting that can or ever will illustrate the scenes that transpired in the 2d Army Corps hospital at Gettysburg. The wounded numbered about three thousand, a large number being Confederates. The heavy and frequent downpour of rain added to the misery.
The wounded of the enemy presented a pitiable sight on the morning of the 8th as they lay shivering in the rain. We could not do much though ever so willing for the reason that we had nothing to do with. Many died during the storm of last night. The creek overflowed its banks and washed away several wounded and dead. I pulled one man out of the creek who belonged to the 106th Pa.
As late as the 14th I wrote Hospital grounds thoroughly cleaned. The Christian Assn. are doing wonders. Loads of delicacies are brought in but with all the labor done the hospital is but a scene of wretchedness.
Buried 14 men, mostly Confederates. This recital is only a hundredth part of my experience at Gettysburg. I have always maintained and still maintain that my being detailed on the night before the second days battle saved my life. The percentage of loss of the 1st Minn. was 86. An excellent opportunity of having to wear a wooden arm or being knocked into eternity.
Providence interfered and I am here in the year of our Lord 1897 to relate a little of unwritten history. When I ascertained how my comrades had fared I said "I never will complain again happen what may. I was very much out of temper when I had to spill my coffee a second time and to go out in the darkness and mist, weary and footsore, to hunt up headquarters but the sequel taught me a lesson.
Buckman’s second diary picks up after the battle, while he is still assigned to tend to the dead and wounded near Gettysburg, and continues until the end of the war.
2d Armie Corps. Hosp'l
Near Gettysburg, Pa.
July 22d 1863
Geo. R. Buckman
Co. G. 1st Minn.
20th July 1863 - Quite pleasant. The same routine of business continues. Men are dying very fast. Very disagreeable duty. Do not feel well but labor must be done. Buried 15 men.
21st- Nights are very cool. Pleasant. Hope the damp cloudy weather has ended. Have been busy in moving the Hosp'l. The location selected at first -- though pleasant -- has by an oversight in placing the tents too near each other -- and the wet weather -- become a filthy spot. No wonder men die in such a place. The location decided upon for the removal is a beautiful open field a short distance away. Several advantages in moving -- good water, nice open field -- can feel all of the air stirring. 14 men have been consigned to the earth today, mostly Confederates.
22nd July 1863. Went to Gettysburg this morning with W. Pleasant. Afternoon assisted in putting up tents. Hosp'l. mostly moved. Today 11 more have died and have been laid in their last resting place. Had an introduction to Mr. W. of St. Anthony Minn. Came to find the remains of Capt. Farrell of the 1st Reg. Minn. Vols. Killed on the 3rd day of July.
23rd Somewhat cloudy. Rained a little in evening. Occupied in moving. Put up my tent in edge of woods facing Hosp'l. Third Division of the corps moved to the same ground of the other Divisions. 9 men - Confederates buried.
24th Have been busy in erecting bunks in the tents for the wounded. Saw Mr. Silas Newcomb of Faribault Minn. Went with him to the graves of the Minn. men. After dinner took a walk over the battlefield for the first time. Everything bore testimony to the terrible struggle. The stench of buried horses and of half buried men in some instances was nearly suffocating. N- was very much interested in everything he saw. Old clothing and equipment -- graves -- marks of bullets were all duly noticed. As for myself I was more interested in the positions which the two armies held. The position which the Union troops held in the rocks near round top (so called) was an admirable one. Followed the line of battle to the Cemetery Hill near the city of Gettysburg – occasionally crossing over to the Confed. line. A person must see for himself -- to have any idea of the sad appearance of a great battlefield. Language must fail to describe the scene. Parted with friend N- at the Cemetery and made my way to the Hosp'l. with sad feelings. After sundown -- at the request of a young man whose brother died from wounds received at the late battle -- took up the remains by moonlight -- placed them in a coffin -- and buried them again. The occasion reminded me of the burial of Sir John Moore -- so faithfully described by an anonymous poet. The deaths are decreasing. 8 only being reported on the list today.
25th July. Went to Gettysburg in morning with thirty men of different Regiments. Reported them to the Provost Marshall. Sent from there to join their regiments. Quite warm. Thunder showers towards evening. Flies are becoming very troublesome -- myriads swarm about every tent. Reminds me of Harrisons Landing Va. 8 men put in the ground.
26th July. Sunday. Very warm -- Quiet in Hosp'l. Have not had as much to do as usual. Wrote a letter home. Sent a few more stragglers to Gettysburg by H. Religious services performed at the burials. 9 men -- all Confed. but one -- buried today. Though enemies -- Peace to their dust.
27 July 1863. Heavy thunderstorm in afternoon. Had a few hours leisure. Wrote a few letters. 5 deaths.
28th. Colonel Colville who has been in the hospital dangerously wounded since the battle of the 2nd July was removed to Gettysburg this morning. Taken on stretcher, carried by eight men of the Regiment. Foggy morning -- raining in afternoon. Duty becoming lighter. Mr. B.P. Cheney of Mantorville called on me today -- Though not having the pleasure of an acquaintance it really seemed like meeting an old friend, coming as he has from the far off state of Minn, and so near my own house. Have nice dishes of blackberries each day. Have not had an opportunity -- to get any -- since in the service before. 2 soldiers buried. Noticed today, the neat manner in which the 12th Armie Corps have buried their dead. Good H.d. Boards, [?]ard fenced.
29th of July 1863. Cloudy. Rained about sunset. Not much to do other than pilicing and moving a few tents. A dozen ambulances or more were filled with the wounded and taken away. A number of men were also sent away. A close observer can perceive a falling off -- of men about the Hosp'l. Hope the whole will be removed soon. Buried 4.
30. Rained heavily during the night and until 8 this morning. The air is fresh and cool -- a slight wind. Regret the loss of Peter Whellan. Died during the night. He has always been a Pioneer of the Regiment. The poor fellow suffered two amputations. Afternoon hear thunder occasionally -- sun shines scorchingly. Have just returned with some gentlemen from Staten Island who have been looking after the remains of a friend who belonged to the 2d N.Y. The heavy rains of last night and this morning have swollen the creek so much that the men had to wade in going to the burying ground. Had several dishes of blackberries, very good -- wish soldiers generally could have the same liberty to pick berries. Buried 4 men.
Sesession sympathizers are abundant as usual. They flock about the tents of the rebels -- giving delicacies -- in great quantities. I can not look upon them without bitterness of feeling but avoid saying anything to show certain collission. Thoughts will out sometimes.
31st . Warm and cloudy. Had considerable leisure time. A Provost Guard from Gettysburg came into the Hosp'l. to keep away the rebel sympathizers -- and guard the rebel chivalry -- who have been employed about the Hosp'l as nurses. Things in my view of the subject have been conducted in a loose manner. Why open and avowed traitors to their country should be allowed to do as they please -- and run at large is more than I can divine. I have no doubt many have escaped in citizens dress. Am glad to see measures taken to put a veto to such work as I have witnessed for the last week. The idea of permitting Baltimore Secessionists to swarm in a U.S. Hospital -- with their thousand luxuries -- and words of cheer -- breathing vengeance towards the Union -- is more than humble soldier can well endure if he has any love of country. 4 more poor fellows gone to their last account.
August 1st . Very warm. Received a bundle of mail from the Regiment. Had a fine time reading letters. First mail since the 19th of June. Went to the grave of J.S. near the battlefield. Placed head board. Hear news from all parts of the country in regard to drafting. Hope the country will not be disgraced by any more riots as in New York.
Aug. 2nd 1863. Extremely warm. Several deaths. Attended Religious service in evening in the Hosp'l. Syr. One obituary.
Aug. 3rd 1863. Very warm. Buried Corp'l Wilbur Welman of the 1st Minn. under arms. The first military honor which has been shown any of the dead. Procession quite long. Rained in different directions toward night but not a drop cooled us. This intense heat -- which tries a well person -- is having great effect on the wounded. 10 were buried today.
4th Aug. Continues warm -- a drenching shower has cooled the air materially but it is yet uncomfortable. Preparations are being made to move the wounded. Everything will go tomorrow. 2 today have been added to the long list of the departed.
5th Aug. The wounded have all left except one poor fellow who can not live but a short time. The day has been cooler. One Confed. buried. W.S.R. detailed as nurse to Col. Colville 1st Minn.
Aug. 6th 1863. The Hosp'l grounds look deserted. The tents have all been taken down and the Sanitary Commission and Christian Association have left for other places of duty. Thought we should get through our business here today -- but it will take several days to pilice the ground.
Aug. 7th. Everything of value has been picked up and sent away. Spent a portion of the day with F. in visiting the yards -- taking names -- Numbering and drawing a diagram of the different places of burial. Much labor in squaring up matters.
8th. Spent the day in painting Hd. Boards. Many of the graves have been dimly marked on small pieces of boards with pencil. Had the men engaged in Building fences around the burial yards. Weather pleasant. Everybody gone -- but those at Hd. Qrs. and Hosp'l. Guard. Shall go to Gettysburg Monday. Hope I may go directly to the Regiment.
Aug. 9th 1863. Very Quiet and warm. Spent the day in marking head boards preparatory to leaving in the morning. Gave passes to some of the men to go to Gettysburg to Church. Everything has been done that could be done -- by which the different burying yards can be distinguished.
Gettysburg Pa. Aug 10th 1863. Relieved from duty at 2d Corps Hosp'l. Ordered to report to the Provost Marshall in Gettysburg. Drew two days rations. Very warm day. Found Quarters in an old carriage building. Saw Col. Colville. Procured transportation for 27 men to Baltimore. In the morning shall bid adieu to Gettysburg and vicinity. The incidents and associations of the place will ever cling to my memory.
Miscellaneous diary entries:
11 August. Left Gettysburg at 8 in the morning [for Baltimore, with 27others]
Saw Major Downie and Capt. Berger [at Camp Tyler, camp of distribution outside Baltimore]
20 August [on board Steamer Atlantic]. Lt. Crayer [Kreuger], A.A. 1st Minn. Stepped overboard in the darkness and was drowned. A brave men and good officer. In the battle of Gettysburg he actually threw stones at the enemy so closely were the combatants engaged.
4 October. Just as the detail was about leave camp Maj. Downie, Lt. May and Lt. Hoyt arrived from the Hosp'l having been wounded at the battle of Gettysburg.
27 October. Have been busy putting up my shanty with the assistance of Corp'l Barron, Areman and Gatzke who will compose the mess for the winter. The camp begins to look like a town. Our chimney of sticks and clay though not finished does very well. This evening we are comfortable in our new house. Do not expect to enjoy it long for it is too early for the Army to settle down for the winter.
12 November . The new flag arrived today. A splendid fancy thing -- price $200 paid by the men and officers. The old National flag had become so tom and tattered by the campaigns and battles of two years since that nothing remained but shreds. Upon the new one the different battles have been inscribed in golden letters. In the field a farmer can be seen ploughing. His attention appears attracted by an Indian who is riding at full speed over the prairie. The landscape is surrounded by stars numbering in all thirty four. The motto and fancy touch of battlefields are objectionable. "Qno pursum velo vilera" being an old Territorial motto, meaning "Advancing toward the setting sun". The staff is a beautiful piece of workmanship. The Reg't now has two beautiful flags, State and national.
24 November. Corp'l Ed. Phillips returned to duty last evening having been absent since the Battle of Fredericksburg on the 3rd of May last. Was wounded in that action.
30 November 1863, 4 p.m. In skirmish line 300 yds from Rebel fortifications. Left camp at three -- very cold. Followed the plank road for a couple of miles as far as the 1st Division went yesterday leaving the road turned to the left and formed in line of battle, the 1st Minn. being put out as flankers. It was intended that the attack should commence at 8 but daylight revealed an entrenched position which in the opinion of the men as well as the officers could not be taken by assault. But the order had been issued and it must be obeyed though all felt that few if any would be able to reach the works alive. An open field had to be crossed which could be swept by grape and canister besides musketry fire from the breastworks. Daylight disclosed the enemies skirmishers across the field ready to dispute our further progress, while beyond their earthworks loomed up fearfully, the battle flag of the S.C. waving defiantly in our very faces. We had no position for artillery -- could not use any. Our line of skirmishers had orders to throw off knapsacks – to advance as far as possible and then to remain standing until the line of battle came up and then to fall in with them and press forward. The line of battle were ordered not to fire a shot. Thus matters stood at 8 -- everything in readiness to advance. Gloomily the hours passed. Death looked us in the face. The faces of the men told too clearly the danger to be incurred but they were resolute -- determined to do this duty though it was plain that when "forward" was the word they would walk out to certain death. In silence we waited orders. Dreadful suspense! But the time passed and no orders -- noon -- and we are still ready and waiting. Night came and the attack was not made -- a wise conclusion in Gen. Meade and we felt relieved. The wanted buoyancy of spirit returned to the men.
6 December. Army corps badges are getting to be quite popular. The Major has just obtained one which cost $30.00. Old soldiers take price in wearing their corps badge. An emblem of honor.
13 December. Lt. Col. Adams returned. Was wounded at Gettysburg.
14 December. Lt. Col. Adams took command of the Regiment. He has not recovered from his wounds which he received at the battle of Gettysburg. Has no use of his left lung and walks lame from a musket ball in his knee. Had 7 rounds.It is surprising to see how he ever lived.
15 January . Adj. Peller arrived in camp last evening. Has been absent since the Battle of Gettysburg, Pa. Severe wound in left arm.
31 January. Corp'l C. M. Benson returned from Hosp'l having been absent since the fight at Bristow on the 14th of Oct.
15 February, evening 15th [St. Paul]. The climax of the journey- Great excitement. The people on our arrival crowded around so much that it was with difficulty that the line could be formed. Many affecting scenes were enacted. The Firemen led the procession -- 21 being selected to carry banners designating the names of the battles in which the Regiment had been engaged. The streets were densely crowded as we passed through -- flags waved from every window -- while handkerchiefs rose and fell -- the bells rang -- cannon were fired -- the 1st had come home. Marched to the Atheneum Building where a bountiful table was spread loaded with all of the delicacies which a noble country and generous people could provide. We were welcomed by the Mayor in a handsome speech -- speeches were also given by Gov. Miller -- and many others. Music by the Great Western Band. The Ladies vied with each other in waiting upon the soldiers.
19 March [back at Fort Snelling, no quarters ready for them, very cold]. We obtained supper by cooking some beef, making some coffee which we chanced to have, bread having been provided. Today has been extremely cold. The boys becoming incensed at the treatment they were receiving were very boisterous, upsetting the tables, knocking down the stove, throwing bread and fresh beef about the room besides doing various other things at variance with good order and discipline. Drew rations and kettles for cooking. Hope we may get settled soon. I can hardly realize the fact that after three years or nearly so, of active duty in the field that I am permitted to tread once again the free soil of my adopted State -- Minnesota. I have seen the people from different parts of the state, of other states. I have witnessed their devotion to the cause of their country. I have greater faith today in the stability of the government to overthrow this mighty rebellion. I am glad that I belong to such a people -- such a country -- and such principles. No power on earth can blot out the fair escutcheon of liberty.
24 March. Geo. Burt Company C buried today. In a moment of insanity he jumped from the bluff on the east side of the Fort a distance of 40 feet receiving injuries which caused his death.
4 April. Sat for pictures at Whitneys.
8 April. Walked a mile up the River along the R.R. for a half mile above the Fort the road is being cut through a beautiful stone rock. The embankment in the rear of the fort has kept caving away until the wall has fallen.
April 23. Attended as Representative of the Company, a meeting held at Co. C.s Hd. Qtrs. for the purpose of investigating the condition and amount of the Regimental & Hospital fund -- what disposition &c would be made of the colors -- on expiration of the term of service of the old members. At a meeting this evening I was appointed one of a committee of three wait upon the Col. at the earliest moment and learn his views in regard to the disposition of the funds and colors. A majority of the members are in favor of placing the colors in the Historical Society for preservation.
4 May. Men being impatient at being kept so long without being mustered out. Two Co.s were mustered and paid yesterday. The Mustering Officer did not make his appearance today. In consequence the men are swearing vengeance. Camp Kettles and Mess Pans have been turned in, also guns and equipments. Nothing to cook anything with. Much complaint and dissatisfaction. A disagreeable kind of life to live. How I deplore the unhappy condition of this country and yet when I think of the sort of men who are clothed in power, in military power -- I feel that the time when peace will be restored to the country is very indefinite. It is enough to make a patriotic curse to be and know himself to be of no consequence whatever in the eyes or feelings of the shoulder straps -- called officers -- in reality hell-hounds and miscreants of the Devil. There are exceptions of course. For the sake of selfish and personal motives -- nothing else -- the men of the Glorious First have been detained now a week since the expiration of their term. After having been in the field doing active service since the commencement of the war it is a shame and discredit to Gov. Miller and Col. Adams to try and detain the men who have so faithfully served this country as men through a score of battlefields and are now awaiting anxiously to return to their friends. The men are loud and earnest in their damnations of Mustering Officer A. D. Nelson, an infernal government official base and heartless as Satan.
The past seems like a dream. Three years of active service in Va., Md. and Penna., and a citizen again. Truly I have something to remember. The terrible battlefield, the dusty weary march, the long nights when on pickets in storm and cold -- can I forget?