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Vermont Artillery
Third Battery Light Artillery
Diaries/Letters

Civil War Diary
Eugene W. Rolfe, Tunbridge,
3rd Vt. Light Artillery Battery

Wednesday July 27, 1864. [1864]

Charles B. Cushman and I enlisted this evening for the 3rd. Vermont Battery (Light Artillery). Dickerman-Lewis agreed to give us $250.00 or $500.00 if the Selectmen pay as much to any other who may enlisted to fill this town's quota under the present call.

Father is vexed because I enlist and says I shall not go. Have some words about the matter but have determined to go at any rate and at any cost, but only because I conceive that I can do my country some service and that that service is not only needed but her due, but because there is another motive which is a selfish one is under the circumstances almost an imperative one. For some years our old home has been mortgaged and there is danger of its being taken from us. To save this I want the large bounties and all that I can get for my services, hoping that in this way it may be saved to us and now after my enlistment I can look soberly ahead, not to any glorious career,-for that is not my ambition,-in the army for myself. I only care to do my duty well and in common what my comrades receive the reward that will surely be ours- the gratitude of our country.

Thursday, July 20. [1864]

Am working about home and making preparations for my "Southern Tour."

[From this date to that of August 4th. It is all the same.]

Thursday August 4th. [1864]

In company with my aunt, Abby F. Marston and my cousin Carla B. Cushman, I went to East Canaan, N.H. today on a visit to my mother's uncle- John Wilson, meeting there relatives whom I had never seen before, Uncle John, Aunt Sophronia and cousins Albert, Loraine, Warren, Effie and Abby Wilson.

Sat. Aug. 6. [1864]

Came home from East Canaan today and are well pleased with our visit to the "Happy Land." Have had a pleasant time with all and hope that if I live I may again visit them.

Thursday Aug. 11. [1864]

Received a letter from Bethel tonight, got a team and will go over there. The rest of the incidents of this day will be recorded elsewhere.

Thursday Aug. 18. [1864]

Receiving a letter from Cousin E. Searles tonight, Carl and I took a team and went by way of Chelsea to Williamstown, "West Hill," getting out of our road twice and going several miles further than we ought, so that we did not get to Uncle Allen until after ten o'clock, but we woke up all hands and have a general good time until the new day is begun. Lib and Vi are full and we are not far behind so that there is plenty of fun and we do not care to go to bed at all but finally conclude to for fear we may never have a better chance.

Friday Aug. 19. [1864]

Have an addition to our crew in the person of Miss Rose Adams who makes a jolly boatswain and pipes all hands forward. There is but little peace for any of us today, if one tries to be sober for a moment the rest will take pains to stir him or her up.

Sat. Aug. 20. [1864]

Came home today via the Gulf Spring Route to East Randolph and then over the hills.

Going into the store this evening, find that Uncle Earl is having a dispute with Lewis Dickerman in relation to the terms of Carl's and my enlistment. Dickerman denying that he had ever agreed to give us more than $250.00 under any circumstances and saying that he should hold us as enlisted men and getting quite excited over the matter, comes out in pretty strong terms, saying that we should go for Tunbridge and that we shall receive but $250 from the town. Carl and Uncle Earl act a little foolish in talking with him and in making threats. I content myself in telling Dickerman that we shall hold him to his trade, and then keep still, make no threats, but determine the question in my own mind and decided that I will not go for Tunbridge for any price or any consideration. D. F. Champan and others interest themselves enough to say that we were holden and that we could not squirm out-enough said,--my dear sirs,--I will not go for Tunbridge and I will go for some other place if I do not get a cent. If you had not tried to be dishonest with us there would have been no trouble but now I will hurt you all I can and present several who would come here if I say so, from coming. Will make this a costly game for you.

Monday Aug. 22. [1864]

Received a letter from Wm. M. Ellis of Berlin, Vt., offering $1000 for 3 Tunbridge men and $600 (?) for 1 Tunbridge man.

There is a good deal of watching by Jim Brown and others who probably think they are a little too smart for two younsters neither of whom are over 18. (Count your chickens and not your eggs).

(Just before Aug. 22). [1864]

See Carl tonight and arrange a plan with him by which I am to write to some other town and draw the shrew ones off to a distance whilst we make an arrangement near home, keeping quiet all the while so that they shall not hurry us off before we have time to complete our arrangements and thus spoil our plan I one respect. "ie" going for another town.

Thursday Aug. 25. [1864]

James and Flora came today. James, Carl and I went to South Royalton and had a good (?) time this evening.

Sat. Aug. 27. [1864]

Jim and I go to Williamstown today leaving Flora here. Hope to come over with Carl tomorrow. Vi and Lib at Rose Adams and take here home.-Go to bed early tonight and do not keep an open house.

J. C. Howe pats my back a little saying that they will pay me $400 if I will say nothing to anyone and use my influence to get others to enlist.

Sun. Aug. 28. [1864]

Go over to Jim - crack butternuts, sing songs. Carl and Flora came in about 3.30 P.M., we go over to her father's and sleep 3 in a bed or more.

Monday Aug. 29. [1864]

Lib gave me her husband's photograph and Rose gave me one of herself to take into the Army to prevent homesickness. - Carl and I start at about night and come home through the "Gulf." - Uncle Earl has made an arrangement with the Selectmen of Royalton to have their agent (Minott Wheeler), watch for a chance to slip us in sometime whilst Rich Smith is gone. Royalton is to give us $500 apiece and run all risk of Tunbridge making them any trouble, the $500 to be paid as soon as we are mustered into the United States Service and they will want us to go this week so we finish our preparations for making a start.

Tuesday Aug. 30. [1864]

Norereby Smith finishes a pair of Franch-boots with heavy nailed soles today,--the price is $8.00. - Carl and I went up to Chelsea tonight and bought me a clasp knife, a drinking tube and a pipe, this last being the essential.

Wed. Aug. 31. [1864]

Dickerman notified me to be ready to start for Windsor next Friday morning, to be mustered into the U.S. Service, saying that if I did not go peaceably that I should go by force. Doubted by the court-Mr. Dickerman. - Wheeler came up from Royalton at noon to get a grist ground, but his grist is to say that Smith will go to New Haven today, and to notify us to be at H. H. Woodward's at 10 P.M. I got a team of E. C. Jones and went over to Charley C. Whitney's where Charlotte was a work picking grapes, saw Whitney and wife, Kate Ordway, Nell Parker and her sister, Lib, Flora Chapman, Sue Parahar and others. Had a good time and after supper took Charlotte and came home. Got ready and seeing the Selectmen around, walked around a while. Set valise down by Carl and father and after a while walked down to B. W. Cushman's with Nile Cushman. Got into team with Father and Uncle Earl. Carl and Harper came in another and we went to South Royalton and enlisted, and started on the Nigh Express for Windsor. Carl and I made the following affidavit to be left with Father.

Affidavit

I, Eugene W. Rolfe, aged 18 years do depose, testify and say that on or about July27, A.D.1864 Charley Moody, Charles B. Cushman and myself signed enlistment papers, the selectmen of Tunbridge Lewis Dickerman, Jeremy C. Rose and John Narely being the recruiting officers. The first talk about the amount of bounty to be paid by the town was nearly one rod Northerly of James Brown's shop and the sum there named and which the said Dickerman and Howe offered was $250. After the talk there we came to G. Rolfe's and I came into the office and James H. Whiney Esq., my father, G. Rolfe, Jeremy C. Howe and Francis J. Clark and, I think, Nason Farnham and Dr. Terry, were in the office then,, the said Dickerman, Charles Cushman and Charles Moody were at this time talking together outside of the office and about 12 feet from the same. I soon went out to where they were. They were talking about getting their fathers' consent to their enlistment.

The first I recollect of, Chas. Moody said to Mr. Dickerman, "If Father does not give his consent, can you hold me?" and Mr. Dickerman said, "No." then Chas. Cushman said, " I don't think father will give his consent and if he don't will you strike my name off the roll so that there will be no fuss, will you?" Dickerman said, "You put your name down and when he sees you have got your name down he will probably give his consent,--if he don't at first he probably will bye and bye." Then Charles said he understood that he could not hold us unless our fathers gave their consent-and unless father does give his consent he wanted his name taken off so as to be sure to have no fuss! Then I told him that I did not think there would be any trouble about getting my father's consent. Dickerman said "No, he did not expect there would be any trouble there, that he understood he would give his consent if I wanted to go; then I told him if he should not give his consent, I should want my name taken off so that there should be no fuss. Dickerman said, "There won't be any fuss for if they don't give their consent we can't hold you." Charles said then, "We want to be sure about it and if they don't give their consent we want you should strike our names from the roll." Dickerman said, "Oh, if they won't give their consent we will take your names off." Then said Charles Moody to Mr. Dickerman, "If you pay any others more I suppose you will pay us the same." Dickerman said, "We will do what is right about that." Then Charles and I said, "Yes, we want that understood before we put our names down." Dickerman sad he would do what was fair about that-said-"We may have to go out of town and have to pay big bounties." I then aid, "If you go out of town we sha'nt ask it, but what I mean is-if you pay others larger bounties here in town, you shall pay us the same." Then Charles Cushman and Charles Moody assented to what I said, and then Dickerman said he would unless there were two or three of the last ones that he had to pay big bounties to fill quotas. We then went into the office, were examined as to our height and so forth and then we signed the enlistment contracts, but no declarations on the back of them and then the oath was administered to me.

Signed           Reference Ninot Wheeler


Diary Continued Back to Introduction


Contributed by Eugene L. Rolfe, Las Vegas, Nevada, great-grandson of Eugene William Rolfe.