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. 59

March 2nd A dull rainy day. Just as it begun to dry up a little and make decent walking if not wheeling, down comes another deluge of the liquid element and mixing itself with the sacred soil of Virginia converts the whole country into one vast bastion of mud. Received my warrant as Sergeant to day, dated Dec 17th, 1864. 3rd This morning circumstances have come to light accounting for some of the letters lost within the last few months. One of the drummer boys of the regt detailed to do errands for the Adjuncts office has been detected in purloining letters from the box placed in the office for their reception. He had attracted suspicion from always having a profusion of money. A decoy letter was placed in the box with a two dollar bill in it. On missing it he was searched and the letter found in his pocket with a number of others. He partially confessed but denys taking many of the missing letters. There were twenty letters missed out of the thirty four the night he took the decoy. It is impossible to estimate the number he has purloined, probably hundreds, burning all after searching them for money. Fragments of letters were found in his fire place and identified. I cannot say what his punishment will be. The major is inclined to be easy with him in consideration of his age, but other officers are of opinion that a terrible example should be made of him in that the mail may be secure against such depredations in the future. The latter is my opinion for the crime is a most heinous one.

A slight return of my chills and fever again to day. I have a very severe cold almost unfitting me for duty. 4th Took some pills last night, but no better yet. During the afternoon it cleared off and the wind blew strong and fresh and though I felt strongly inclined to give up the ghost and go to bed nearly all day, yet at sundown I feel like a new man. I still have a bad cold and severe cough. It is astonishing what numbers of

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