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

Diary of an Engineer During the
Rebellion

No. 55

Jan 14th All right today. no chills or fever, though this is the day to have them. Yesterday afternoon the pontoon bridge was put in running order. On either side of the river hundreds of boats had collected waiting to cross, and for many hours there was a continual line of teams as far as the eye could reach. Anyone unacquainted with army matters cannot imagine the inconvenience nay almost want arising from such an accident. We were fortunate in getting our rations over only an hour before the bridge gave way. But there were many regts that failed in getting their next ten days across in consequence of which I have the following serious incident. Parts of three white Regs becoming exasperated at their long abstinence from food and impelled by hunger joined their forces and made a raid on a suttlers shop tearing it to pieces and taking out everything. Col West comdg a cavalry brigade hearing of the disturbance rode down to disburse the mob. In trying to do so like many others in similar cases very impudently discharged his pistol among the crowd wounding one man in the arm and making amputation a necessity. Soon after the mob disbursed. The Col was arrested this morning and will be court martialled. It is said there was no occasion for using a pistol at all. I am well acquainted with Col West having transacted considerable business with him connected with the depot. He may be hasty but I always found him very much the gentleman. It is to be regretted that officers are to much in the habit of indulging their propensities for shooting. Let justice be done though the heavens should fall.

Sunday 15th Received a letter from home to day at 12 Noon. Answered it and then took a ride across the river. Lewis S Moat, clerk at the Bermuda depot called in the morning and I accompanied him half way home and then left him to see some friends. I had a pleasant time and ride and reached

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