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15th Vermont Infantry
Biography

DIARY OF OLIVER A. BROWNE
Co. K, 15th Regiment, Vermont Volunteer Militia
November 29th, 1862

been very comfortable, for camp life. The march today was very hard. The first night we had just come in from picket and had not had any sleep for two days and quite a number of the boys fell out on the way. Today makes the fifth day that I had been on the march without any sleep to speak of and hardly anything to eat, and am now on guard for twenty four hours to come. Things look hard and the country is a present desert as far as any vegetation is concerned. I am here to help guard a bridge that was destroyed one month ago to day, by the Rebs at the time of the last Bull Run fight. About a half millions worth of property was destroyed at that time. The bridge was new, seventy feet high, and the river below is full of ruins in the shape of car wheels, axles, timbers, rails, rod iron, and everything else that you can think of. There is a regiment of artillery on the hill in sight of our camp, and one of cavalry, which makes quite a business place of it. Our Regiment has moved back on to higher ground where the Rebels camped last winter, and intended to go into their old barracks, but found them so filthy they gave it up. There is a small fort erected on the hight and some other small earth works. I should think by the appearance they were built by the Rebels.

Nov. 29. Just at this present moment I am flat on my back in a small piece of wood about two miles from Bull Run battle field on picket duty. There is a large force concentrating here en masse, and I think there is a large battle to be fought on that old ground again, and that before long. There are Rebel scouts in every direction, and Union, too. There are four men on my beat and are relieved once in two hours, while the other posts are not relieved until 10:30 to-night. Our post is on three roads and we have to look out rather sharp for reason we are relieved often. It is quite a pleasant day, looks some like rain. It is dinner time and I have got hard tack and raw pork awaiting my presence.

Nov. 30. Sunday. Come in from picket this forenoon. Had beans for dinner. The first time I have had anything of that kind for more than a week. Has been very quiet to-day for Sunday. Have done nothing to-day but inspection of arms and attended divine service. I have not my knapsack with me and I have nothing but blanket. No writing paper or stamps and I can't get any. Some of the boys give half a dollar for a three cent plug of tobacco, must be hard up to give that price. They are having a prayer meeting in the street of Co. C, led by the Chaplain.

Dec. 1. Heard nothing to speak of to-day. Went out on company drill this afternoon. It seems some like home to get the company out alone once more. Went through the skirmish drill and now and then a charge. The colonel and staff had considerable sport this afternoon in betting and racing horses. The first bet was won by the Colonel. The pickets are in and fired at a mark. The Colonel bet a quart of oysters that they put more than three balls in the center of the target but they did not. Next came the horse race between the Lt. Col. and the Col. The Colonel's old black horse won. Next came the foot race. The last three that touched the stake should pay one dollar apiece. There were six of them. Off they went, the Colonel taking the lead and the little chaplain bringing up the rear. The Colonel kept the lead until they got near the stake, when he fell back to see who was fool enough to touch the stake. He and the Chaplain were the men that won the money. The money got by them was to get up a thanksgiving which drew on the Lt. Col. and Chaplain rather hard.

Dec. 2. Once more on picket for twenty four hours. Our company is on once in three days. The sun shines, but the wind blows cold and chilly.

Wednesday, Dec. 4th. Three regiments have come in to relieve us from this post. I received orders to pack up and be ready to march at day break for our old camp. Got ready to start at the appointed time but did not start until three in the afternoon. Marched as far as Falls Church, and halted for supper, which consisted of hard tack and raw pork. By six we were on the road again and marched until 12 at night, when we arrived tired and hungry and footsore. We made thirty miles in eleven hours, which I call very good for green troops. To-day commenced snowing and blowing, continued to snow until nine o'clock at night, when the snow ceased falling and the wind increased almost to a gale, but I made out to live through it.

Saturday. A cold, stinging morning. Our regiment was reported in quarters to-day, and the regiment are feeling pretty gay about it. Continued to freeze until Sunday noon, when it began to thaw a very little. Dispensed with divine service on account of severity of the weather.


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