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
Morris Island

No. 16.

Sept. 17, continued. During the day the sun shone and the rain deluged us alternately. In the intervals between the squalls Patterson and myself got a piece of heavy canvass and stretched it over our tent poles which made an excellent tent and one that would defy any amount of rain. Several tents took wings throughout the day and flew away. Some who had laughed at us during the morning were now in a worse plight than ourselves as no more canvass was to be had and they were obliged to find quarters where they best could. But as I remarked once before everything sent by providence is taken in good part by the men and it all passed off with a laugh and joke at one anothers misfortunes. The officers however came in for a fair share of swearing at as we should have had new tents long ago. Our old ones never was worth a cent as they leaked from the [start] and were only accepted temporarily they being condemned before they were given out. But that is the way government is robbed and the soldier is cheated out of what Uncle Sam intends he shall have, and which if he got a murmur never would leave his lips. Somebody no doubt made a big thing on the tents. As I may have occasion to mention Lieut Coe1 again in this journal I may as well tell you now that he was elected 1st Lieut when the co was organized but through some hocus pocus work or other the commission was made out in Lieut Butts2 name (son of the major) and Coe came out as sergeant and acted in that capacity until we left Hilton Head when he was handed a 2nd Lieuts commission just as the boat was leaving the dock. I think he never

1. Richard W. Coe, 36, enrolled in New York City, mustered in as sergeant November 21, 1861; first lieutenant August 17, 1863, captain March 19, 1865. Phisterer, New York in the War of the Rebellion, p. 1642.

2. Richard F. Butt, 20, enrolled December 2, 1861; mustered as first lieutenant February 14, 1862; as captain October 10, 1864. Mustered out July 19, 1865 at Hilton Head, S.C. Report of the Adjutant-General, p. 46.

-38-

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