A Confederate A Federal

William Wallace van Amber
Civil War Diaries & Letters


Diary Entries August 17th, 1863

Diary entry Dated 08/17/63

Mon. Aug. 17, 1863

Today there has been some changes on the island. There was a company of conscripts landed here from Elmira. Then there was a part of the 1st Mass Regt of volunteers come here with their Col and relieved the old Col of his command.

Tues. Aug. 18, 1863

Last night was a very cold night but it is pleasant this morning. It is one week ago since I came here.

Wed. Aug. 19, 1863

I am sick today, got the diarrhea. This is the worst place ever got in and the living is ridiculous, so nasty.

Diary entry Dated 08/20/63

Thur. Aug. 20, 1863

Today have done some washing today, one shirt socks towel and handkerchief Feelsome better. It is awful hot here. Henry got a letter from home.

Fri. Aug. 21, 1863

Feel very well today. We received orders tonight to pack up and be ready to start for Washington or Alexandria or some other place. There was just 100 men come from Elmira.

Sat. Aug. 22, 1863

This morning we was ordered to come into line. Our names was called and we was left in line waiting for the boat. We stayed there until night in the hot sun.
Then was ordered to our tents to be ready to start at 5 in the morning.

Diary entry Dated 08/23/63

Sun. Aug. 23, 1863

This is Sunday morning again. We are waiting for the boat yet and I have not heard a word from my dear home since I left it. Here we are on board the boat for Dixie. Started from the island at 3. Passed New York and Brooklyn.

Mon. Aug. 24, 1863

Out at sea today, it is very rough. I have been rather sick all day today. Water is scarce and rather bad.

Tues. Aug. 25, 1863

Here we are at Fortress Monroe. Got here at 3 last night. Stopped till 7 this morning. Now we are off again. I feel very well. Here we are run up to ... 10 o'clock ... Chesapeake Bay at 3. Anchored until ... till 6 in the morning.

Diary entry Dated 08/26/63

Weds. Aug. 26, 1863

Here we are on the Potomac running for Alexandria. I am feeling very well today. We lie in front of Alex, 12 o.c. in plain sight of Washington. Ordered to pack up but did not leave the boat.

Thu. Aug. 27, 1863

We are off the old boat here on the grass just out of Alex, 8 o. c. Marched to the depot up through the city of Alex. Got onto the platform cars. Rode 50 miles to the front. Got here within half a mile of the Rappahannock in the 9 New York Militia.

Fri. Aug. 28, 1863

Here on the front in the army of the Potomac, within 2 miles of the rebel picket. Our pickets are on the other side of the river.

Diary entry Dated 08/29/63

Sat. Aug. 29, 1863

Have rigged up our tents today. Got a pretty good one. There was 5 men shot in the next regiment only 2 miles from us. A good many of our men went to see them shot. Have not heard from home yet.

Sun. Aug. 30, 1863

A fine day this. Nothing of interest today. Got my arms last night. Have been all day cleaning my gun.

Mon. Aug. 31, 1863

Was mustered for pay today.

Diary entry Dated 09/01/63

Tues. Sept. 1, 1863

David Gotham was here today. Was here all day. We are well as ever yet.

Wed. Sept. 2, 1863

Have been out cutting brush for a shade over our tents. Have to drill for about 4 hours every day.

Thu. Sept. 3, 1863

Finished up our shade. Nothing of interest going on here. It's only the same thing every day - camp life.

Diary entry Dated 09/04/63

Fri. Sept. 4, 1863

This is my birthday. Here in camp on the Rappahannock River in front of Lee's army. I wrote a letter to my dear wife today, have not heard from home since I left there.