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. 68

June1st I went over the river yesterday to see Hotchkiss and Patterson. They are much dissatisfied in regard to a report that Genl Michie had said that no one should be discharged from the Regt till the bridge was finished except those whose times expired. The report says that Michie applied to the war department to retain the Regt to complete the bridge. I cannot believe it, at least I dont believe it is intended to hold the men whose times expire before Oct 1st nor will it affect the sick except to make the Dr careful in regard to those who are trying to play themselves out of the service. I think Burdick was one of that class. The weather is very fine and for 4 or 5 days I have been improving. I do not cough so much, my rheumatism has entirely left me and I feel better generally, but I am totally incapable of any exertion more than slow walking. 2nd & 3rd Nothing new. It is very hot. I am playing clerk again. The clerk is sick it is thought of typhoid fever. He is very bad and is light headed most part of the time. I believe it is unhealthy for the men here just at present. Some half dozen in the detachment and a large number of the Regt are on the sick list. One great cause of sickness is the kind of food we have to eat. Not a solitary kind of vegetable do we get, nothing but bread, beans, and salt pork and fish with fresh beef 3 or 4 times in ten days. It is a burning shame on the government that no better care of the men is taken. Now that their services are of very little use, they are like the Poor old horse, left to die. They have done their duty, but the war is over and they are treated as unworthy of a thought or care. If it were not but the country is mine as well as it is of the miserable things that rule us I would say let the war go back to where it was from years ago and let them fight their own battles. But there is more love of country among the men than there is among officers, or the men would not have stood such imposition as

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