FREDERICK L. HITCHCOCK
A major in the 132nd Regiment of the Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, Frederick L. Hitchcock was mustered in as an adjutant of the unit only to find himself in control of a large body of troops with hardly any experience in command. Winning its baptism by fire at Antietam and participating in the action at Fredericksburg, where Hitchcock received two wounds, the regiment went on to fight its final battle at Chancellorsville. After publishing his account of battlefield experiences as installments in a local paper, Hitchcock compiled the articles into a book, War from the Inside, from which this selection is taken.
General Burnside was relieved from command of the army on the 26th of January 1863, and was succeeded by Major-General Joseph Hooker. "Fighting Joe," as familiarly called, was justly popular with the army, nevertheless there was general regret at the retirement of Burnside, notwithstanding his ill success.
That there was more than the "fates" against him was felt by many and whether under existing conditions "Fighting Joe" or any one else was likely to achieve any better success was a serious question. However, all felt that the new commander had lots of fight in him, and the old Army of the Potomac was never known to "go back" on such a man. His advent as commander was signalized by a modest order announcing the fact, and matters moved on without a ripple upon the surface. Routine work, drills, and picket duty occupied all our time. Some of our men were required to go on picket duty every other day so many were off duty from sickness and other causes. Twenty-four hours on picket duty, with only twenty-four hours off between, was certainly very severe duty, yet the men did it without a murmur. When it is understood that this duty required being that whole time out in the most trying weather, usually either rain, sleet, slush, or mud, and constantly awake and alert against