The History of the Ninth Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, June, 1861-June, 1864

By Daniel George Macnamara | Go to book overview

ADDENDA.

DIARY.

The writer has in his possession a diary kept by his brother, Capt. James W. Macnamara, when 1st sergeant of Company I. It covers the time from our first advance on Yorktown to the battle of Gaines’ Mill, when he was wounded and exchanged.

Friday, April 4, 1862. Left Hampton en route for Yorktown. Out skirmishing during the march. The enemy left their fortifications at our approach after firing a few shells. Camped at Cockletown that night; distance marched eighteen miles.

Saturday, April 5. Took up our line of march and arrived in front of the enemy’s works before Yorktown about 1 P.M., when they opened fire on us. Our company thrown out as skirmishers; advanced to within four hundred yards of the works, the enemy firing at us all the time, doing us no harm, although some very large guns threw shell and shot amongst us rather thick, causing us to retire, being ordered to do so. Camped that night in a ravine.

Sunday, April 6. We lay in the ravine all day. Not allowed to pitch our ponchos on account of being so close to the enemy’s forts. An occasional shell burst in amongst us. One shell killed and wounded four men in the next regiment (62d Pennsylvania). Our lights are keeping the enemy at work firing. The balloon (ours) is up. We saw General McClellan for the first time on the Peninsula.

Monday, April 7. Our regiment was out last night and dug an intrenchment close to the enemy’s works. Towards morning the enemy shelled us, the shots passing close. It is the first intrenchment thrown up.

Tuesday, April 8. Very wet, raining all day; an awful night, having no tents, it is very uncomfortable. Our turn for picket. Fifty men from each company. The firing between our artillery and the enemy’s is pretty heavy; some of our party killed.

Wednesday, April 9. Rain still continues. Nothing of interest. Shells bursting close to us, but few hurt. None of our regiment.

Thursday, April 10. Raining still; shifted camp one mile back in the afternoon. Slept very comfortable last night for the first time for a week.

Friday, April 11. Weather fine. The enemy is firing occasionally. Our men are at work in the trenches.

Here nothing is written until

Tuesday, April 29. Nothing of interest. Fine weather. Occasional firing by both parties.

Wednesday, April 30. Our regiment detailed for picket. In the trenches all night, raining nearly all the time. The enemy shelled us towards morning, but doing no damage, although very close at hand.

-412-

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