Diary of a Yankee Engineer: The Civil War Story of John H. Westervelt, Engineer, 1st New York Volunteer Engineer Corps

By John H. Westervelt; Anita Palladino | Go to book overview

Journal of an expedition to Folly
Island
April 1863

No. #3

Sunday the 26th continued. An accident occurred to a Lieut of the … Illinois. He was walking under a pine tree that was hollow at the bottom in which someone had built a fire. It was nearly burned off and falling and suddenly nearly crushed him to death. 28 & 29th. all quiet.

30th. This is a day set apart by the President for humiliation and prayer.1 Nothing done in the shape of duty. AM. Mustered in for the last two months. We are always mustered on the 1st of every two months. We then have to turn out with everything we have, muskets, cartridge, boxes, canteen, haversack, knapsack, eating utensils, extra boots, shoes & clothing. We are not allowed by the regulations to carry any useless things. If anything is lacking we are supplied the first opportunity. Each mans name is called and provisions are made should there be any vacancies, but you do not know anything about it at the time. After muster some of us went in bathing. We have a most beautiful beach for bathing, and hundreds of men can be seen in the surf from morning till night. It is glorious to swim out and let the waves break over you, burying you from head to feet as you plunge in a wave and come out the other side. And then it is laughable to see some of the timid ones, who deceived by the apparent calmness have ventured out to far and perhaps cannot swim when along comes a huge billow frightening him half to death with its foamy crest and before he can reach the shore tumbles over him, and tumbling him over half a dozen times, finally leaving him sputtering and blowing the salt water from his

1. One month earlier, on Monday March 30 President Lincoln had proclaimed April 30 as a national fast and prayer day. Long, Civil War Day by Day, p. 332.

-11-

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