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. 66

May 5th Lieut Baldwin returned last night from an expedition in the interior. He accompanied Capt Lyon with an escort of only half a dozen. The object was to take possession of Engineer tools and instruments supposed to have been left by the rebs. They were highly successful in getting many valuable instruments to the amount of 20 or 30 thousand dollars. Lieut B. tells some curious tales in regard to slaves and slave owners and their overseers. It appears that notwithstanding the proclamation directly forbidding it, the blacks are still used and worked as slaves wherever we have no actual military force. It will take some time yet before government can reach these miscreants who enforce obedience of the blacks with pistol and lash. I might fill sheets in relating incidents of this nature but I will content myself with what I have said. The subject will never be laid before the public. The papers never seem to publish these things. May 6th This has been an extremely warm day. I think it must be exceedingly hot here during the summer. I have felt considerably better to day. My cough has troubled me but verry little. It has been a lively day here. A large portion of the Army of the Potomac passed through the city on their way to Washington. I judge 100,000 men crossed the pontoon bridge. They commenced at 7 A.M. and continued till 3 P.M. The poor fellows looked tired and dusty but appeared in the best spirits at the idea of going home. Their cheers could be heard all along as they passed through the streets. It seems to bad to compel them to march all the way to Washington. It will perhaps be June before they will get their discharge. It seems to me they might just as well have been discharged at City point, and sent home on transports as to undergo a march of over one hundred miles merely to pass in review before some of the Washington officials. I can see but little object in reviewing troops about to be discharged.—

-244-

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