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Vermont Artillery

2nd Battery Light Artillery
Extracts from Civil War Diaries of
W. H. Flint, Leicester, Vt.

(Diary continues from 1862)

Dec. 30-Jan. 1 (1863) - Trip to Galveston - city captured by Rebels all our fleet ordered back to New Orleans.

Jan. 2-4 - Trip back to New Orleans.

Jan. 5 - Battery unloaded - camp at Factor's Cotton Press.

Jan. 6-10 - Guard duty - etc.

Jan. 11 - Detailed as orderly for chief of artillery for the day.

Jan. 12 - In camp.

Jan. 13 - Taken sick again - chills & fever.

Jan. 14-15 - In camp.

Jan. 16 - Battery given orders to march at daylight.

Jan. 17 - Battery ordered out on drill.

Jan. 18 - Waiting orders - Battery inspected by one of Gen. Banks' staff.

Jan. 19-24 - Sick again went to hospital.

Jan. 25 - On board steamer Laurel Hill - went up river.

Jan. 26 - Arrived at Donaldson, La. - went into camp near river.

Jan. 27-Feb. 7 - Battery drill - guard duty.

Feb. 8 - Battery inspection - went over to fort to raising of flag - then went over the Bayou into the town, took a stroll down the river met some girls went with one of them to her home.

Feb. 9-13 - Battery drill - guard duty, etc.

Feb. 14 - Taken sick & went back to quarters - did not answer to my name at retreat & Lieut. Chase ordered me to guard house. But was released by order of surgeon.

Feb. 15-18 - Sick - excused from duty.

Feb. 19-Mar 1 - Battery drills - guard duty - building stables for horses.

March 2 - Struck tents and embarked for Baton Rouge went into camp near U.S. Barracks.

March 3 - Regulating our camp at Baton Rouge. I was recommended as bugler Frank J. Hubbard was ill. This circumstance indicates to me that Capt. Holcomb knew my ability entitled me to be something better than private. He often told me when I was Sergt. that I was the best drilled man in the battery.

Mar. 4-8 - Inspection - bugle practice.

Mar. 9 - Battery had orders to cook six days rations & be ready to march.

Mar. 10 - Practiced bugle calls.

Mar. 11 - Went on drill for first time as bugler in just a week I had mastered the bugle calls to satisfaction of Capt. Holcomb.

Mar. 12 - All troops reviewed by Gen. Banks to-day.

Mar. 13 - Struck tents started for Port Hudson.

Mar. 14 - On march to Port Hudson.

Mar. 15 - Last night about midnight mortars & gun boats commenced to shell Port Hudson - within about six miles of Port Hudson during night we were a frightened lot of boys.

Mar. 10-19 - Still camped near Port Hudson.

Mar. 20 - Arrived at Baton Rouge - camped about a mile south of City.

Mar. 21-27 - In camp - drills, etc.

Mar. 28-29 - In guard house [unjustly accused he thought]

Mar. 30 - Released from guard house.

Apr. 1-10 - Drill with battery - cleaned camp - about town.

Apr. 11 - Building floors & fixing up quarters.

Apr. 12-30 - Drills - inspections.

May 1 - 6 mos. pa to-day. My pay $89.60.

May 2 - A portion of 6th & 7th Ill. Cavalry came in to-day. They had marched from Gen. Grant's army in Tenn. They brought in 75 prisoners with them - cheering all over camp.

May 3-17 - Battery drill - cavalry drill - inspected.

May 18 - Broke camp to-day - started for Port Hudson - marched 13 miles - bivouacked for night with Gen.. Dudley's brigade. I'm about sick with fever & ague.

May 19 - Went about 3 miles - exchanged shots with Rebel pickets.

May 20 - Center section of our battery came up from Baton Rouge to-day.

May 21 - Battle of Plane Store near Port Hudson - was ordered as bugler to hold Lieut. Chase's horse and one other that Lieut. Tenney rode. To manage my own and the other two with shots & shell flying in all directions was about all I could attend to. After about an hour at my request I took Corp. Edwin Ayer's place as gunner and continued at the gun until the battle ended - not a man in our battery killed - camped on battlefield.

May 22 - A flag of truce from Rebel Gen. Gardner's com. at Port Hudson for permission to bury their dead - granted - all quiet.

May 23 - Still in the field awaiting events, took stroll outside picket lines - news of Gen. Grant closing in on Vicksburg was read to-day - all quiet inside our lines.

May 24 - Went with Capt. Holcomb of our battery to the extreme right of our line & put 18 N.Y. Battery into position - fired few shots into Port Hudson and enemy returned it - Capt. & I under fire 5 hours. Then returned to battery. Capt. Holcomb was made chief of artillery & I was ordered to discontinue bugle calls & act as orderly for him.

May 25-26 - In field in front of Port Hudson - heavy firing on our right and occasionally a shot from the enemy all along the line.

May 27 - First attempt to storm Port Hudson - Bombardment of Fort Hudson commenced this morning - our troops expecting to carry the works after shelling the works all the forenoon - a general assault was ordered in the afternoon - our battery was in the fight but in the rear of the infantry so we did not feel the awful effects of lead and iron hurled at the troops in front, though several shots passed under our guns. The attempt to carry the works was a dismal failure. During the fight Capt. Holcomb took the 5th gun - went within 500 yards of the Fort - fired several shots and every man returned unhurt.

May 28 - Flag of truce to bury dead left on field - 1863

June 5 - Taken sick again with chills and fever. The mortar boats on the river bombarded Port Hudson to-night.

June 6 - Sick with chills and fever but helped F. J. Hubbard & Prosper Fales fix up our tent.

June 7 - SIck with chills and fever.

June 8 - Went to Gen. Banks' headquarters twice also went to the front and back.

June 9 - Chills & fever - firing all along the line this afternoon.

June 10 - Sharp firing during the night.

June 11 - Went to front - 2nd Battery dismounted one of the enemy's heavy guns.

June 12 - To the front and back.

June 13 - Went to front to learn if breastworks were ready for our Battery. They were & our battery moved into them during the fight. The works are built of cotton bales and earth large enough for our 6 guns & only 300 yards from the rebel earth works.

June 14 - We have settled down to the Siege of Port Hudson. Battery opened fire on the Rebels at 3 A.M. & fired until daylight on brigade - made a feint to carry works. Rebel sharpshooters kept up constant fire during the day. The battery fired several shots during the day. I went to rear once, this was rather a dangerous procedure as we were obliged to pass an open space that the Rebel sharpshooters covered most of the time.

June 15 - Our battery fired occasionally a shot during the day. Gen. Banks sent in a flag of truce to-day with some provisions and medicine for our sick and wounded in Port Hudson. I went to Gen. Arnold's headquarters in rear with a report from Capt. Holcomb - firing by sharpshooters on both sides.

June 30 - Heavy firing on our left by our troops last night. Capt. Holcomb went out in front and met a Rebel Maj. Buckner an officer that he knew in the regular army.

July 1 - Heavy firing on left - sharpshooters troublesome.

July 2 - It was learned the Rebels dreaded our battery for the execution it did.

July 3 - Went to Gen. Auger's headquarters.

July 4 - National salute fired at Gen. Banks' Headquarters in our rear at sunrise. Adjt. Gen. Halstead came into our quarters and read the Declaration of Independence after which our battery fired 34 guns - firing all along line to-day.

July 5 - Sergt. Daskane & I went into country back of Port Hudson some six miles after green corn. Our men sent into Port Hudson some medicines & provisions to our sick and wounded prisoners under flag of truce.

July 6 - Heavy firing on the left. Sharpshooters troublesome.

July 7 - Rec'd news that Gen. Grant had captured Vicksburg to-day - there was long and loud cheering all along the line. The 116 N.Y. Regt Band came into our quarters & played several national airs.

July 8 - Last night I met Rebel between our lines and had a long talk with him. He belonged to one of the Arkansas regt's. During the day Rebel Gen. Gardner sent in a flag of truce but Gen. Banks refused to receive it, but Gen. Gardner said he would surrender - Everyone nearly wild with excitement.

July 9 - Marched into Port Hudson this morning - Rebels drawn up in line with Arms grounded - 7,000 prisoners surrendered with the Fort - many of them glad that the end had come - so were many of our boys. We had been under fire day & night since May 27-1863. Many of our boys went bathing in Mississippi River with the Rebels that only a day before were in arms against each other.

July 10 - In camp on river bank or bluff - troops leaving all day.

July 11 - By order of Capt. Holcomb I lent my horse to an officer to go to headquarters - when he came back he did not tie him securely. When I wanted him could not find him - at Battle of Plane Store I captured an officer's blanket - a splendid one - this with the horse saddle & bridles are all gone. The horse was one of the best in the Battery, the saddle a new McBellan.

July 12 - Helping sutler - looking some for horse.

July 13 - Rebels leaving all day - I received a good tent from an officer - Not able to find my horse - Officers say I will be obliged to find it or pay for it. Help sutler.

July 14 - Picking up guns & caissons - helping sutler - put up tent for him.

July 15 - Our battery fired salute - the occasion was the coming into the Union of [West] Virginia - helped sutler.

July 16-18 - Helping sutler.

July 19 - The battery inspected - went over to 3d Louisiana guard to see Capt. Blake - a friend of mine.

July 20-24 - Helped sutler.

July 25 - Paymaster arrived to-day - four months pay - amt. for me $52.00.

July 26-30 - All Quiet.

July 31 - Lieut. Dyer gave me orders to take charge of the sick call - go to hospital with prescriptions - have them put up & give to men & act as Steward for Battery. This was done to impose more duty upon me as I was bugler at time.

August 1-3 - Orders to be ready to move - all excitement.

August 4 - [A long account of meeting some of the enemy forces, losing men and guns and horses and finally reaching camp by making their way through Rebel lines - their camp fires all about them.]

August 5 - Word from Lieut. Dyer who was wounded night before and left at a farm house, that he wanted some Confederate money - boys chipped in what they had also sent some gold & silver.

August 6 - Capt. Holcomb with 13 cavalry men went out to Jackson under a flag of truce to look after Lieut. Dyer, he having been paroled but not able to be moved yet. I went to the hospital for the medicine.

August 7-12 - Inspection - attended surgeons call after medicine - to outpost with medicine for Lieut. Dyer who is still in Jackson.

August 13 - Was called up about midnight - went to Provost Marshall, to lower landing with an order to Maj. Gen. Did - went to Gen. Andrew's quarters - to Jackson with a flag of truce after Lieut. Dyer - arrived there about 11 A.M. saw the college & back to Port Hudson. I went as bugler for he truce party.

August 14-26 - Acting as bugler and steward for the battery.

August 27-28 - A. A. Rocaster and I got a furlough to go to Baton Rouge. Boat not stopping at Baton Rouge - had to have transportation back from New Orleans.

August 29 - Back at Baton Rouge - Chills & fever.

August 30 - About town - made call - returned to Port Hudson.

August 31 - Sick call - to hospital after medicine on drill with Battery.

Sept. 1-8 - Duties as steward & bugler as usual.

Sept. 9 - Began medicine chest for Battery - regular work besides.

Sept. 10-11 - Regular duties - works on chest.

Sept. 12 - Finished medicine chest - attended sick care - made out monthly reports and took them to MEdical Directors.

Sept. 13-19 - Duties as bugler & acting hospital steward.

Sept. 20 - Attended surgeon's call - went on inspection - made an application to be appointed Steward for the Battery. It was approved by Lieut. Tenney commanding the Battery.

Sept. 21-Oct. 8 - Moved camp quarters - inspection - fired at boats going up river but did not stop here.

Oct. 9 - Lieut. John W. Chase arrived from Vermont last night - his wife is with him.

Oct. 10-11 - Inspection - all quiet.

Oct. 12 - Men presented Capt. P. E. Holcomb with a fine sword - he having been promoted to be Maj. of a Texas Cavalry Regt. - after a few words of advise to the men he turned the Battery over to Lieut. J. W. Chase.

Oct. 13 - I am Bugler and acting hospital steward but now that Capt. Holcomb has left us and the Battery is commanded by Lieut. Chase, I may be obliged to take my place in the ranks again, however, I shall try to profit by my past experience.

Oct. 14-24 - All quiet - cold & rainy.

Oct. 25 - Inspection - new potatoes & bake beef for dinner.

Oct. 26-31 All quiet - Battery paid off $26.00 to Sept. 1.

Nov. 1 - Inspection by Lieut. Chase. This evening Lorenzo Dow, D. W. Carr, and A. F. Wallace came into my quarters & we bought a pound of candy and had a good camp fire all by ourselves.

Nov. 2 - Need supply of medicine for Battery & two wall tents.

Nov. 3-4 - All quiet.

Nov. 5 - Rec'd box from home.

Nov. 6-8 - All quiet - inspection.

Nov. 9 - Reviewed to-day by Adjt. Gen. Thomas, Washington, D.C.

Nov. 10-18 - All quiet - built floor in my tent.

Nov. 19-28 - All quiet - sick.

Nov. 24 - All quiet - some better.

Nov. 25 - All quiet.

Nov. 26 - A. B. Canfield and I went up to medical directors and got some things for our sick. Four of our boys chipped in and had a turkey for dinner. We had a good time.

(Diary continues - 1864)

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