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Vermont Artillery
Third Battery Light Artillery
Diaries/Letters

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

Mar 1 [1865]

I did not rest very well last night. Went over to the fort and ran Lieut Perrin and Lt Brigham over to the battery where the cent section is and see simmons Barn and __ the rest of the boys. Then Milo and I went over to the 6th gen Estes, conant Frank lermer was over to see us after supper Milo and I went over and at ___ found Meader. Then went over to the 11th, saw ____. Over to 2nd, saw cilly Preston, Hopkins Notel, adams went into Genhams tent and played a spell he's in 1st. He gave me one of his photographs.

Mar 2 [1865]

It rained like fun today. I have to take care of scribners horses today. At ten AM we were ordered to take the horses out to exercise them after standing out in the rain about an hour we were ordered to take the horses back we done so. I got a letter from Father, Herb and Jim Lee I commended a letter to Edda, charlotte and Herbert. I have not much appetite now.

Mar 3 [1865]

I finished and sent the letter commenced yesterday. After that I went to the captains and got permission to go over to the Vermont brigade. I went over to the 6th and saw Eaton. Then over to the 11th saw __- conan then to the 2nd and saw geo york, lentz, geo Ordway, elihu fuller, stillman Bushel Graham and ___. I got back to camp and Thomas ordered me to go up to Fort fisher and report to Lieut Rowell S Denoro and tent with libby Swen carpenter Neipoleen horty. (NOTE: See letter)

Mar 4 [1865]

It rained like fun today and I went down to camp and had my hair cut Will Evens cut it. I laz in camp the rest of the time: in the afternoon we had a drill. I received a letter from mother today. Gave. (code) __ 27 of last month and in the same night received a letter from a Milar Trches which mother thinks caused her death. It is well Ruth is not here for if she was she would never lie again. I can never forgive her this. … he has given his beloved sleep.

Mar 5 [1865]

It is warm and pleasant today. We had inspection today. Rowell t for the Captain has gone home. said he was well pleased with the looks of our section. after inspection. I went down to camp and drawed me a long jacket and a piece of ___. In the evening I went down to ____. Got __- and went over to the 2nd. Saw L H seeler, ranson whitney and rest of the boys/ I wrote to E searles and Vi today. Geo Ordnez and Mike were up to see me this morning. The boys signed the pay roll this evening but ___ I was left out.

Mar 6 [1865]

The boys were paid off today but I was not as I was not mustered for Nov and Dec. Milo let me have two dollars this evening. I am on guard today. Through the night We stood 9 hours a piece. I went in at 11 and stood till 4 the next morning. They are signaling from the lookout today and this evening out on the picket line with lights. There is considerable picket firing along the lines to night.

Mar 7 [1865]

I came off guard this morning at 4. I went to bed and laid till 9 PM. There is a heavy fat___ party to woek her today. ___ Osman and charles Meady amongst the rest. I climbed a large pine and saw a great body of Rebs pass to the left. Gen Meade, Wright, and Getty passed along the line this afternoon. I went over to the 2nd then over to camp. Clapp and his 15 men came up from City Point this evening they have been ___ our old camp.

Mar 8 [1865]

It rains like fun today. I wrote to mother and sent it down by Milo. Ed hart. The rest of the time I spent cooking and eating and reading . I bought 50 cents worth of tea from Carpenter but did not pay him.

Mar 9 [1865]

I went down to camp today. We had no __ to do today excepting to drill this afternoon. It rains like fun today. I am lying in my bunk and thinking of the past _- the present and the future are but a blank to me. I am not weary of life yet I would willingly give my life to see all some of the events of the past few months It does not seem as possible to hate a person as I do ruth ( maybe tuckor)

Mar 10 [1865]

It continues to rain. I went on guard today stood till ten then went down to camp and then Milo and I went out and see then many a deserter come back went up to the fort and ordered to take my knapsack and go back to camp so back I went and now and I __ with Geo hacket and leone adams . I went on guard in the park through the night I was on the third relief. It is quite cold tonight.

Mar 11 [1865]

It is quite cold this morning. I let Milo have my vest and one of my shirts to get some pictures taken I had to go on wood detail today. We went off three miles from camp. I have got the diarrhea hitched on to me.

Mar 12 [1865]

We had inspection this morning after that I went in and wrote a letter to __ in answer to one I received from him this morning. I got one from Herbert and Charlotte. Milo and I wrote to Carl. Elihu talder , russell and Meader came over to see us today.

Mar 13 [1865]

I am on guard today but have to stand but two hours. During the day, Milo is on with me. I wrote to one R. G Graham for Milo today sending one bottle of __ . Price 1.00 . After __ wrote to ed and Whllow and to Herbert, sending him two photographs, one of Milos and one of den D narhams. It is warm and pleasant here today . It seems like home in Vermont. Milo let me have a couple of Postage stamps today. I would like to be to home today long enough to get some maple sugar.

Mar 14 [1865]

It is not quite as warm today as it was yesterday. I had to go on wood detail today. We went out to the left again today. We had to load ___ team as it got stuck. Milo bought some apples of a sutter that tasted good. Milo went over to Waldens tent and got some fried turnovers for 13 cts apiece. They were nice: this evening milo and I went up to the front with a box of hard tack. We found the infantry were all packing up as the corps is ordered to be ready to move at a moments notice. 43 deserters came in tonight. Petersberg is lying evacuated in that is the report.

Mar 15 [1865]

It is very windy today. We had orders last night to turn in two of our guns and be ready to move but the order was countermanded at 1 o'clock this morning I have laid in my tent the greater part of the day.

Mar 16 [1865]

I am on guard today at the stable. I am on the 2nd relief. Go on at 10 AM and not again till 10 PM this evening. It blows like fun this evening and rains or rather it pours. I got a letter from Herbert and one from charlotte tonight. Milo got one from Carl with one of his photographs.

Mar 17 [1865]

It is quite pleasant today. I am on wood detail to day but all I had to do was to fetch couple kettles of water. After dress parade I went over to the 2nd. __ let me take a pack of (code) I got a letter from herb and one from father with one of wibs? Photographs.

Mar 18 [1865]

It is a splendid day. I wrote to eddie, Herbert and charlotte today. I am feeling pretty mean today We had a stew for dinner consisting of potatoes beef and onions but I had too much headache to feel like eating much.

Mar 19 [1865]

I am on guard today at the stable. It is very warm today. The warm weather makes my head jump some. I had to go out on inspection today. My head aches and I am dizzy as from sleeper __ over today.

Mar 20 [1865]

I am on wood detail today. We had to get two loads with the lifting and the hot sun today my head feels beautiful. In Vt we would call this hot enough for july. I got excused from dress parade and from roll call tonight. I got a letter from Lib tonight.

Mar 21 [1865]

It is not as warm today as yesterday. I went down to the surgeon this morning. He gave me a pill and a dose of salts. The pill I took down. There is had helped me already. There is a great monthly inspection today pieces and all. G layman is over here today.

Mar 22 [1865]

I am on guard today. 2nd relief at the stable. It is quite windy today. I wrote to leit today and sent it to elert field. I guess she will think she has got an answer to her letter with mettag…. You can't catch me. I have got no appetite yet the salts are beginning to operate pretty well. The old brigade band came over and serenaded us this evening but as russell did not have any whiskey for them, they concluded to go back and come again in a few night.

Mar 23 [1865]

I am on wood detail today. It is blowing like fun. I received letters from father, Herbert ed Hutchins, rolle, and Vi. Hutchins sent one of his photographs. I brought eight shares full of water and at noon we carried beans up to her fort and night I carried 32 ---- of soft bread up to the fort.

Mar 24 [1865]

I went down to the Surgeon this morning and he gave me six powder, to be taken every day. It is not as windy today as yesterday. I had quite a chill today. I got a letter from Carl today.

Mar 25 [1865]

There is very hard firing off towards the left this morning. The report is that the rebs broke our line at that place but that our folks rallied on them and drove them back, capturing 3500 prisoners. About eight we struck tents and were marched back into a hollow out of the way of the shells. They had an awful fight along these lines today. Hundreds of wounded are passing by all the time. Two of our pieces went out on picket. We returned to our old camp this evening.

NOTE: Lincoln was under pressure to end the war. For 4 years different generals had tried to take Richmond, the reb capitol. It was so heavily defended that they were beaten back each time. (Duh) Lincoln finally gave the assignment to Grant. Grant had been an old Indian fighter and knew that he had to have a good supply route behind his army to win so he built City Point supply depot in a month. Huge port with many warehouses and piers and a line of ships extending out to sea ready to unload. Railroads from the port to his troops 20 miles to the south. Grant knew that he had two advantages. He was better supplied than Lee and that he had many more troops. The south had wasted most of its manpower during the war. Grant ignored Richmond and instead concentrated on destroying Lees army. He made lee defend Petersburg instead of Richmond. At about this time (March 1865) Lincoln met with the reb VP and tried to get them to surrender. When he refused, the war continued. These references are when Lee made his final charge of the war. He was out of supplies and troops. See my typed copy of civil war letter written March 2 for an expanded eyewitness account.

Mar 26 [1865]

I had to go on guard at ten last night and 4 this morning. It was quite chilly. I wrote to father today. Milo sent box with our ---- yesterday. Everything is quiet along the lines today.

Mar 27 [1865]

I went to the surgeons this morning. He gave me 6 powers and marked me day duty. I changed the pocket in my new pants and mended my old ones. The rebs charged the lines and captured 1500 of the old brigade. Wilson reed, George and Alexander Sargent were captured. I went down and got a --- of hard tack and a --- of lean raw pork and eat for the first time for a fortnight. We turned in two of our guns tonight.

Mar 28 [1865]

It is a splendid morning. I wrote to Carl and to Millard today. Milo went over to the old brigade Frank Corman came back with him. Charlie Davis has gone to the hospital. We turned in some of our horses this morning. The drivers had to harness up at 4 o clock and remain so till 8 AM. It is very quiet today. I drawed two days rations of hard tack tonight.

Mar 29 [1865]

It is some cloudy today and very warm. I went with Corporal Clapp and 6 others. Shot and burnt two condemned horses this forenoon. We had boiled potatoes and new pork for dinner. I am in the first detachment. Now sergeant Parker has command. Sheridan has gone out on the left with 3500 cavalry. Look out Johnnies I wrote to Katie lee today.

Mar 30 [1865]

It is a very rainy day. There is pretty heavy firing on the left today. I am on guard but di not have to go until dark. Corporal Gilman is -- of the guard. I wrote Rolle and Vi this afternoon. The report is that Sheridan has driven the enemy four miles. I got a letter from Herbert and Charlotte tonight. I am on guard around the officers horses. Carl expected to start for the front last Tuesday.

Mar 31 [1865]

Leonard Serges and I started to find the 9th but did not find them but I picked up a good infantry overcoat and smoking cap. There is heavy firing along the lines today. I wrote to Herbert today. There is considerable firing on the left. General Sheridan is pressing General Lee pretty hotly. The rebs charged on fort Stedman night before last but were repressed with great loss. We harness up every morning at 4 o clock.


Diary Continued Back to Introduction


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