Under the inspiration of the morrow's hope there was a great demonstration of joy in camp. Throughout the evening the air was filled with cadences of happy song and with uproarious shouting; and all felt, as we stretched ourselves in our tents for sleep that the morning would bring us assurances that we were homeward bound.
Wednesday, 15th.—Morning dawned through a dripping atmosphere as usual. We piled together the half burnt fagots, and rejoiced with the leaping flames in the expectancy of receiving immediate marching orders. We cooked coffee and soup, the partaking of which was not observed to result injuriously, strange as it may seem, and dried our tents, blankets, overcoats, etc. But no marching orders came. Nobody knew what was going to be done. We were packed and all ready for the final word, but that final word seemed fatefully to linger. It was a period of anxious suspense. We were yet a part of the Army of the Potomac, and in the very midst of it. General Meade's head-quarters were near. The enemy we supposed were still at bay in the mountains this side the river. It was evident that now was the auspicious moment to strike at him with all the might of the Grand Army. At that moment Madam Rumor whispered that Lee had eluded us and slipped across the Potomac! If this were true the golden opportunity was again lost, and the campaign at an end. Perhaps the wish was father to the thought, but we could not believe we were to be marched off into Virginia in pursuit. And yet if it were intended to send us home what meant this delay, during which the cool hours were fast slipping by. The camp grew moody. Some threw themselves upon the ground in drowsy unrest; some sat down against the shocks of wheat with which the field was strewn and read the newspapers drearily, or with affected indifference went napping; some wandered off to the stream, but quickly returned under an irrepressible nervous anxiety. At length a feeling not unlike disgust seemed taking possession of us, when shortly before eight o'clock word came! It swept through the camp like an electric current. "Fall in!" shouted the orderly. "Fall in!" shouted back the men. "Fall in! Fall in!" echoed from every quarter. We jumped into our harness, quickly got into line, and at eight o'clock were on the road with our faces toward Frederick, this time homeward bound in sober verity.
With this change in our affairs our relations to the Army of the Potomac terminated, and we were turned over to our own militia officers by the following order:
Head-Quarters, First Division, } Department of the Susquehanna. }
Special Order No.— July 15th, 1863.
Brigadier-General John Ewen will take command of all the New York troops in this Division, and proceed with them to Frederick, Maryland, at which point transportation will be furnished them to New York City. In parting with them the General Commanding must express his admiration of the courage and fortitude with which they have stood the toils and privations of their late marches.
By order of
Brigadier-General W. F. SMITH. PRESTON F. WEST, A.A.A.G.
The tribute to our fidelity paid us in this hastily penned order will lose nothing of its value when read in connection with the ungenerous slur upon our trustworthiness contained in the paragraph, before alluded to, of General Halleck's Review. Nor was General Meade unmindful of what was due to us, as witness the following:
Head-Quarters, Army of the Potomac, } July 15, 1863. }
Special Order, No. 190.
The troops comprising the command of Brigadier-General W. F. Smith are released from further service with the Army of the Potomac, and will be reported back to General Couch for instructions. The Major-General Commanding thanks Brigadier-General W. F. Smith and his troops for the zeal and promptitude which, amid no little privations, have marked their efforts to render this army all the assistance in their power. ******
By command of
Major-General MEADE. S. WILLIAMS, A.A.G.
On the eve of our departure homeward there were signs in camp of a mail having arrived with news from home. Beside the usual precious gift of letters there flamed out from the persons of many of the fellows—especially the younger men, quite an assortment of patriotic and other symbols. One flaunted a pretty tri-color, jauntily pinned on the breast of his coat, evidently just extracted from a dainty looking letter which he was reading. Ah, I fear me, the delicate thought of a sweetheart thrilled in that bosom, while coarser eyes only saw fluttering on the outside a tiny badge of red, white and blue. Another sported a miniature flag in the form of a pin; and other devices there were according to the fancy of the fair correspondent. Did these highly favored fellows know, I wonder, through what tribulations these precious messages had passed to reach their hands? All knew how, owing to our constant and rapid marches, and the impracticable condition of the roads, we had been deprived, ever since we left Harrisburg, of all means of communicating with home except as accident provided. The chaplain of the Twenty-Third interested himself in forwarding our letters whenever there seemed to be a reasonable chance of getting them through. But we were all indebted more than once to the energy and kindness of a gentleman of New York, not connected with any of the regiments, for tidings from home and for the opportunity of sending return letters.
 As this gentleman[5-1] in making his way to join us went over much the same ground that we did, his observations are interesting as showing how things looked in our wake. His adventures, moreover, are full of entertainment as well on account of their novelty and freshness as for the remarkable energy displayed in overcoming obstacles that would have appalled most men.
[5-1] JOHN H. TRIPLER, Esq.
On the fifth of July he obtained after great difficulty a pass to cross the bridge at Harrisburg; and having reached Carlisle the same afternoon by the cars, set out with one or two others on foot to overtake the column. At Papertown they halted for the night at a deserted house, where they found "some soldiers sitting around on the floor eating bread and molasses by the light of a dilapidated tallow candle." Next morning they entered upon the mountain road leading to Laurel Forge, which they found still nearly impassable. In the words of the narrator, "It was nothing but mud, mud, of the worst kind. Thus we travelled for many weary miles till we came to where a number of the Thirty-Seventh Regiment had been encamped with their teams. The road grew worse as we proceeded. We began now to pass a good many stragglers and wagons, some of them stuck in the mud, the soldiers with ropes assisting the horses to get through the well-nigh impassable mire. We came to a wagon that had broken down, belonging to the Thirty-Seventh, and found in it a barrel of hard-tack from which we filled our handkerchiefs and ate along the way, soaking it in the brooks to make it easier for our molars. We were told for our encouragement that the further we proceeded the less chance we would have of getting anything to eat; and we found it so. We had not gone far before we came across some hungry soldiers who gladly took some of our crackers." Our travellers were lucky enough to find a roof to sleep under that night but had to go to bed supperless.
"On Tuesday morning we proceeded on our way hungry, being unable to procure breakfast: the poor man who gave us lodging having been robbed by the rebels, who had not left him enough for his own family. The roads being here lined with cherry trees, we followed the example of the soldiers and satisfied the cravings of appetite with this refreshing fruit. ** We at length reached Cashtown, where we found the main body of our New York and Brooklyn regiments encamped. ** We found a great many had letters to send home, which we volunteered to carry, there being no regular way of sending them. They soon had us pretty heavily laden; so with a soldier's haversack over each shoulder we marched along with the column when it moved."
At Altodale our friend "after getting all the letters for New York" took final leave of us, and started alone to return. Thinking he might be molested on the road at night—for he meant to travel the greatest number of hours that his strength would permit—he armed himself with a pass from head-quarters. "I left," he continues, "about half-past eight o'clock in the evening intending to go as far as possible before resting. But the night being dark, there being some danger of falling into the hands of the rebels, and the few straggling soldiers with whom I was in company not being willing to proceed further, I concluded to halt at the first house I came to. I was up in the night several times from anxiety of mind, and about two o'clock in the morning, the moon having risen sufficiently to make the road visible, I roused the farmer, settled my bill and made my exit. No sooner had I got into the road than I was peremptorily ordered to 'halt!' The summons proved to proceed from a picket of the Thirteenth Regiment, who hailed a comrade and carefully inspected my pass by the light of a lantern. This proving satisfactory I proceeded on my lonely journey. A heavy rain soon set in which wet me through, adding to my discomfort." During the hours of darkness he stumbled upon various suspicious parties whom, being off their guard, having crawled under shelter from the rain, and being perhaps asleep, he managed to avoid, fearing they were rebels. One of these parties he learned to be Independent Pennsylvania Pickets guarding the road! "After a tedious journey," he goes on to say, "I arrived at Fayetteville about five o'clock in the morning. Arousing one of the storekeepers, I got all the information I could regarding my journey, and procured breakfast. The storm gave no signs of abating, but I was determined to proceed notwithstanding the roads were fast becoming impassable. I found the bridges washed away, and the roads over-flowed; but I soon got used to wading up to my waist in water. I at length came to a stream which I found unfordable, the bridge having been destroyed by the rebels. I was told that this was the heaviest freshet that had ever been known in those parts. Having engaged a boy to pilot me across the stream, I gave him charge of one of my mail bags and cautiously followed him. We found a temporary structure crossing the stream, along which we picked our way. But when we had got about half across the whole structure gave way and we found ourselves floundering in the water. After desperate exertions we managed to reach the shore, and I proceeded on my journey. I at length came to a railroad, or the remains of one. The rebels had torn it up, burnt the sleepers, and twisted the rails into every imaginable shape. ** I reached Shippensburg in time to learn that there was no train till next morning. Although tired out I concluded to push on to Carlisle in hopes of catching a soldier's train at that place. ** About six o'clock in the evening I arrived at a small village where I got supper. About seven o'clock I started again for a night's tramp, not being able to obtain any conveyance. I walked on till dark by a very circuitous and muddy road, being at times bewildered; till finally my route seemed to lie along a large stream of water. I was now becoming scarcely able to stand from so many hours' severe walking, occasionally stumbled headlong, in danger constantly of walking into the river. It became very dark, and the mist rising from the river made the road and water all look alike, and I had to feel my way along step by step. ** A few miles further I heard the welcome sound of a locomotive which served as a guide to the Newville Depot, where I arrived about half-past eleven o'clock.[5-2]
[5-2] Our self-forgetting traveller omits to give the distances of the remarkable journey he is pursuing. On the morning of the 6th he left Papertown; on the evening of the 7th he parted with the troops at Altodale; and now a little before midnight of the 8th he is at Newville—having walked a distance which cannot be much short of NINETY MILES in some sixty-five hours; carrying for more than one-half of the distance about one thousand letters, whose weight could not have been less than THIRTY POUNDS—all this through drenching rains and over horrible roads; and fording or swimming streams whose bridges had been swept away by the flood!
"Learning that no train would start for Harrisburg till towards morning, I took a room and went to bed. About one o'clock I heard a locomotive whistle, and hastily dressing, hurried down only to find it was a soldiers' train going to Shippensburg; but concluded not to go to bed again for fear I should miss the earliest train eastward(!) I spent the balance of the night in an engine room of the station drying my clothes and the letters, and took a train in the morning for Harrisburg, and thence to New York, where I arrived about ten o'clock at night." On that night he sorted the Brooklyn letters, and personally delivered most of them early on the following morning!
In a second expedition undertaken for a similar benevolent object, this resolute and indefatigable traveller recounts some amusing tribulations which he suffered in order to secure safe transit for a "large trunk filled with tobacco for the boys"—worth its weight in gold to the tobacco-famished regiments. Among other forwarding agents whose services he appropriated was one "Nat Wolf, who had recently been employed by the rebels in conveying dead soldiers", having been impressed by them when they passed by his manor. Nat showed what he called his "Pass", written on a piece of brown paper and signed by the rebel general Heath, which exempted him from further impressment into the rebel service on account of his "extreme poverty, and the unfitness of his horse and wagon to be of any further service" to their army! When it is considered what the exigencies of the rebel service are in the best of times, some idea may be formed of the prospective perils of the journey about to be undertaken by our traveller! But "Nat Wolf"—his wagon "tied together with ropes"—brought his rare freight through in safety, not to speak of dispatch. Collecting another "large mail", Mr. T. at once set out for home again, and delivered his precious charge at an early day, notwithstanding an alarming attack of sickness which overtook him at Frederick, Md.
"Such zeal in the voluntary service of the regiments, and such extraordinary exertions to relieve at the earliest possible moment the anxieties of thousands of hearts for whom he had most precious messages, is deserving of more than this passing recognition."
Our march being now directed homeward it may be imagined that our step was light, and our hearts also. The woods again resounded to joyous singing which broke from all parts of the line.
During the wearisome and forlorn marches of the last fortnight silence had for the most part fitlier expressed our emotions; or, if we sang, the melodies were pensive and often sad. But now all was changed. We saw that our painful trials were rapidly drawing to a close, and it is only the truth to say that we rejoiced with exceeding joy.
The distance to Frederick where we expected to get railroad transportation we understood to be upwards of twenty miles, a two days' march at the rate at which we had hitherto moved. But the road was good, though being macadamised it was hard for the feet, and we made but few rests. During the forenoon we caught sight of an army wagon train ahead of us in the distance, the white canvas covers dotting the road for miles like flecks of wool. The solidity of these wagons, which occasionally passed us singly, and the excellent condition of the teams excited our admiration, they contrasted so strikingly with our own. Each was drawn by four to six mules, fat, sleek, natty-looking creatures, which are taught to obey the voice instead of the rein like oxen. Though from what has been said of the staple of the soldiers' vocabulary—and it may be imagined the teamsters were not a whit behind—this use cannot be commended on moral grounds for the sake of either man or beast.
At noon we halted an hour or more in a deep, wide dell by the road-side, where we ate our rations of hard-tack which we carried in haversacks, rested a little, rambled a little, foraged a little; cooked coffee, chocolate or tea; partook together of delicate bits which some had contrived to pick up; bathed our feet in a brook which threaded the dell; and in one way or another refreshed ourselves for a speedy resumption of the march.
The day throughout was favorable for a long march, the sun being somewhat obscured by clouds and the heat not excessive. The column kept well together, and it was a magnificent spectacle to watch the long line winding over the hills and through the hollows in the far distance. On reaching the crest of Catoctin mountain a sudden turn of the road unrolled all at once before us a superb panorama of the valley of the Monocacy and a vast spread of adjacent country, in the midst of which we could just distinguish afar off the spires of a city which we supposed to be Frederick. A little further on we beheld the city completely revealed before us in the beauty of a most quiet landscape. Our day's march, it was now evident, was not to terminate short of this place, and we were not sorry; for we expected to find transportation awaiting us there, and that we should be hurried on to New York without an hour's delay.
It was amusing to observe the disposition among the men to collect souvenirs of the campaign, from the rusty iron button which a paroled rebel prisoner might be induced to cut from his coat, to a dog led by a string tied round his neck. In the dog line nothing appeared to be amiss. From a poodle pup to a raw-boned mongrel, whatever sort came along was sure to be gobbled up as if it had been a creature of superbest breed. It was not the value of the thing, but the association, that made it precious. The fancy however was short-lived. Perhaps the long march did not agree with the dogs; or their new proprietors grew weary of facing the storm of laughter which greeted them every little while when extricating their yelping charges from between their own or their comrades' legs among which they were forever getting tangled. Whatever the reason, the dogs disappeared, there being only one poor, limp, fagged-out mongrel left, according to the writer's observation, to enter with the stately column the city of Frederick. It is not impossible that some might have turned up in the shape of soup or stew, had our commissariat been subsequently in so suffering a condition as on some days and nights we had passed. At such times dog or cat or mule meat, well stewed, would have been accepted with enthusiasm and voted an immense success.
We entered Frederick toward the close of the day, and halted there for a couple of hours or more. The shops were instantly besieged for eatables and drinkables of every description, but could do little toward supplying the ravenous demand. At dark we buckled on our harness again, having three miles yet between us and Monocacy Junction, where we were to take cars. As we neared the Junction the screaming and snorting of locomotives greeted our ears, and pleasanter sounds could hardly be imagined. The idea of a train of cars flying across the country had haunted us in many and many a toilsome march; and now to know that such was to bear us over the distance that yet intervened between us and our homes, and to hear its shrill greeting, and to catch sight of its glaring Cyclops-eye, all this was indeed exhilarant.
This last three miles was to some of us, probably to all, by far the severest part of the march; much severer than it would have been had the rest at Frederick been shorter. The day's performance was certainly a great feat, only exceeded in severity by our Fourth of July's march from Carlisle to Laurel Forge through a sea of mud. The distance from Beaver Creek to Frederick is something like twenty-two miles. We moved with equipments complete, even cartridge pouches filled. What kept us up was the near prospect of home which loomed glittering before our eyes, the knowledge that this was to be our last march, and a belief that a great emergency existed in New York requiring our immediate presence. But even under the stimulus of these inspiring motives it is remarkable that we kept up at all. One poor fellow, a member of the Fifty-Sixth, N.Y., had no sooner reached camp than his o'erwrought powers gave way, and he died in half an hour. He had the appearance of a hardy workingman. Strange that Death, for that day's fatigue, should have passed by men unused to severe toil, and lain his strong hand on one of sinewy frame.
The place of encampment was a piece of woods near the railroad. The ground was somewhat damp and the air heavy with mist; but too fagged out to pitch tents, we spread our rubber blankets and dropped upon them. Moreover we did not suppose we were to rest there during the whole night, but expected to be called up soon to take the cars. In that bivouac, our bodies overheated and their nervous energy exhausted, there was peril, much greater peril than many of us thought of; but the night passed quietly and uneventfully.
Friday 17th.—The hours of Friday melted away one by one without bringing any intimation of a further movement. But a little after midnight following we were ordered into line to take the cars for Baltimore. It soon began to rain, and so continued till dawn; during all which time we remained under arms on the road, waiting, and got thoroughly wet again. At dawn the Twenty-Third and Fifty-Sixth were packed aboard a train of thirty cars similar to those which transported us from Philadelphia to Harrisburg at the outset of our campaign, and which we had thought so wretched. Some of them were provided with three or four rough pine boards for seats, and the rest with nothing whatever. But now our plane of view was shifted greatly; and the thought that our long marches, our exhausting fasts, our comfortless bivouacs were all ended, was so ravishing that we regarded the car as an asylum from misery.
We reached Baltimore about 4 P.M., where we got refreshments, and expected to take cars for Philadelphia at once, transportation having been secured for the Twenty-Third by its officers. The brigade, however, was ordered to proceed together via Harrisburg; and we accordingly marched across the city some two miles to the Harrisburg depot where we embarked about midnight on a train similar in style to that which had brought us from Frederick. Our progress was very slow, owing probably to interruptions on the road, the rebels having burnt the bridges and torn up and twisted the rails. Repairs were by this time nearly completed, though several structures we crossed were considered very unsafe for the passage of trains.
Saturday, 18th.—We spent the day for the most part on the car-tops which afforded a charming panorama of the pretty country we were traversing. The train being more than one half the time at a stand-still, some of us had the enterprise to build fires on the road and cook coffee; some hunted for berries; some ran off, at no small risk, to a neighboring farm-house for bread and butter, milk, cakes, pies, etc.; some whiled the time away with playing checkers, the squares being scratched on the tin roofs of the cars and small flakes of stones being used for pieces. At York we found awaiting our arrival a crowd of small venders of cakes, pies, etc., who brought their commodities eagerly to us, which we as eagerly purchased at outrageous prices.
Between York and Harrisburg we had a narrow escape of an appalling calamity. A new bridge over a considerable confluent of the Susquehanna gave way under a freight and cattle train only a few hours before we reached the spot—the whole now presenting a frightful spectacle of wreck. We crossed the stream—some by a light pontoon bridge, and some clambering over the broken timbers and wrecked cars, and took a train on the other side which brought us safely to Harrisburg by dark. Here we were threatened with another delay, which was prevented, as we understood, by the resolution of our regimental officers. After partaking of lunch freely furnished at the soldiers' dining hall, we proceeded without change of cars toward home. Our berths for the night were somewhat promiscuously dovetailed together, not unlike a box of sardines. But notwithstanding an occasional kick in the face, or the racy smell of an old shoe not far removed from the detective organ, or other like reminders of our situation, we slept and were refreshed.
Sunday, 10th.—At Easton, Pa., we were met by a great concourse of people loaded down with food for us. It was morning church time; but they had heard of our coming, and that we had but little to eat, and here, behold, was an earnest of their Christianity. It was certainly a very beautiful spectacle:—men with piled up wagon loads of cooked meats, bread, cakes, etc., driving alongside the car doors and dispensing the viands with lavish hand; ladies toiling along under heavy baskets to the nearest who appeared to be yet unprovided for; nothing for money, all for charity. It may be guessed the stillness of that Sabbath air was broken by many a ringing cheer for those good Samaritans of Easton. The train stopped long enough to give us a chance to prink up a little; and one fellow had the hardihood to go off and get shaved. The shout of derision which greeted this youth when he showed himself was only equalled by the laughter with which we saluted the first man we saw carrying an umbrella!
At 3 P.M., we reached Elizabethport where we embarked in a steamer which was in waiting. Landed at the Battery and proceeded directly to the Armory where we were dismissed.
In the foregoing narrative I have not attempted to conceal or underrate our eagerness to get home. It is a feeling common to all soldiers when their term of service is drawing toward its close, and distant be the day when camp-life shall have such attractions for the American citizen as to make him indifferent to it. But now that our desire to see the familiar faces and renew the associations of our daily life was fulfilled, we felt a willingness to respond again to a similar call upon our patriotism, even though it were certain that similar sufferings were in store for us. The service we had rendered the government we knew to be honorable and valuable, and we rejoiced in having so rendered it as not to be ashamed to keep its memory green. And thereunto I would cherish every memento. The knapsack and haversack, torn, musty and rusty; the battered canteen; the belt and cartridge pouch; the woolen and rubber blankets, most indispensable of equipments;—these shall not be thrown aside among the rubbish, but cherished with an ever-growing affection. Nor let me forget my shelter tent. Ah that painful roll! with which I toiled, day after day, over the worst roads, enduring the tormenting burden for the sake of the rosy hope that at the end of the march it would repay me and perhaps some wretched comrade beside, by its warm protection; and not having despairingly thrown it away in those mountains of our sorrow I do now and shall henceforth cherish it as among sacred recollections. Set up in some quiet retreat of my garden, it may in after years serve to keep alive the waning fires of patriotism, as beneath it will be rehearsed the story of Gettysburg, never to be forgotten while the love of glorious deeds remains among men, with that episode of the Great Battle which the New York Militia enacted, insignificant only when compared with the grandeur of the main story.
RESUME OF THE CAMPAIGN.
Tuesday, June 16th, 1863.—23d Reg. received marching orders.
Wednesday, 17th.—Ready; waiting for transportation.
Thursday, 18th.—Embarked early in the day. Weather pleasant.
Friday, 19th.—Arrived, A.M., at Harrisburg, reporting to Major-General Couch; and P.M. at Bridgeport Heights. Afternoon and night stormy. Marched 5 miles.
Saturday, 20th.—Details at work in trenches. Guard duty on ramparts. Day cloudy and heavy rain throughout night.
Sunday, 21st.—Work of yesterday resumed. New camping ground laid out. Cloudy but no rain.
Monday, 22d.—Captain Farnham, Company C, 23d Regiment, appointed Acting Major of the regiment. 448 officers and men present for duty.
Tuesday, 23d.—Brig.-Gen. William Hall assumed command of all the troops in and about the fort. Col. William Everdell, Jr., placed temporarily in command of the Eleventh Brigade, now consisting of 23d, 52d, and 56th Regiments. A squad of the 23d, twenty-two in number, arrived from Brooklyn.
Wednesday, 24th.—Usual routine of garrison duty.
Thursday, 25th.—Brig.-Gen. Jesse C. Smith arrived and took command of Eleventh Brigade, now comprising 1,124 officers and men. Last four days for the most part warm and pleasant, though heavy fogs prevalent night and morning.
Friday, 26th.—Left with two days' cooked provisions on tour of picket duty, to relieve 37th N.Y., Col. Roome. Rained in torrents. Detachments posted on the various roads, from one to three miles out. All quiet during the night.
Saturday, 27th.—Pickets moved forward to Shiremanstown. Toward evening the advance of 8th and 71st N.Y., who had been reconnoitering at the front since the 30th, appeared. Reported the enemy slowly advancing. Being relieved, returned, reaching the fort about midnight. Day lowering, little rain.
Sunday 28th.—Enemy constantly reported moving on our works. Garrison under arms throughout day and night. Glacis and space beyond cleared of trees and standing grain. Each company assigned its position at the breastworks. Day filled with alarms but passed without anything more serious. Guards doubled for the night. Cloudy and comfortable, but no rain.
Monday, 29th.—On the qui vive. Large detail from 23d for provost duty at the wagon bridge over the Susquehanna. Volunteer picket force went out composed of detachments from 8th, 56th and 23d, under command of Lieut.-Col. Elwell, 23d. Pickets shelled, but suffered no loss. Captured a rebel. Weather unsettled.
Tuesday, 30th.—Still on the alert. 22d and 37th N.Y. ordered out to reconnoiter. Expecting to return in course of the day left everything behind except arms and ammunition, and thus passed through rest of campaign! They moved along the Carlisle road to "Sporting Hill" where had a skirmish, in which lost three officers and four men wounded. A spatter of rain toward night.
Wednesday, July 1st.—Advanced P.M. in pursuit of the enemy, fully equipped, with forty rounds of ammunition and two days' cooked rations per man. Muster-roll of 23d gave 506 officers and men present for duty. Column consisted of the 8th, 11th, 23d, 52d, 56th, 68th and 71st N.Y., with section of Miller's Philadelphia Battery;—all under command of Brigadier-General Joseph Knipe. Bivouacked on Trindle Spring Creek, at 10 o'clock, P.M. Weather pleasant. Distance marched, 7 miles.
Thursday, 2d.—At 3 A.M., ordered up, and at daylight countermarched two miles. Halted all day. Bivouacked in a cul-de-sac of the Conedoguinet Creek, at a place called Orr's Bridge. Day warm and pleasant. Distance 3 miles.
Friday, 3d.—Resumed forward march, disencumbered of knapsacks and woolen blankets. Reached Carlisle at 6 P.M. Afternoon hot and sultry. Distance, 12 miles.
Saturday, 4th.—Took Carlisle and Baltimore pike through Papertown and Mt. Holly Gap. Severe storm. At Hunter's Run 23rd, the advance company excepted, countermarched to Mt. Holly paper mill. Crossed the run a little before dark. Regiment arrived at Laurel Forge in detachments during the night, men covered with mud, and exhausted with hunger and fatigue. Distance 17 miles.
Sunday, 5th.—At 8 A.M., resumed march. At Pine Grove Iron Works turned to the left and ascended a heavy mountain, on the summit of which halted and bivouacked in support of a masked battery planted at a cross-roads in a grove. Day sultry followed by rainy night. Many of the men without food, and all with but a scanty supply. Distance 5 miles.
Monday, 6th.—Rations furnished. About middle of forenoon moved forward. Reached Cashtown, on the Chambersburg and Gettysburg pike, about 8 o'clock. Bivouacked in an orchard. Nothing to eat. Day cloudy and comfortable; roads heavy. Distance 16 miles.
Tuesday, 7th.—Ordered to march for Gettysburg, but countermanded. Proceeded in the direction of Chambersburg some seven miles, where took road to Altodale, Pa. Halted near that village about 4 P.M. Day fair; roads heavy; rations distributed. Distance 12 miles.
Wednesday, 8th.—Rain set in again about 1 a.m., and soon grew to a furious storm. The whole camp helplessly at its mercy. At 8 A.M., took road again. Marched a little beyond Waynesboro', and formed a junction with Army of Potomac. Day pleasant; roads very heavy. Distance 11 miles.
Thursday, 9th.—Rested. Muster rolls of 23rd gave largest number during the campaign, viz: 519 officers and men.
Friday, 10th.—Out for reconnoissance in company with 71st N.Y. Under arms all day in a bare field beneath broiling sun. Returned to camp about dark. Distance 8 miles.
Saturday, 11th.—P.M., column moved toward Hagerstown, the 23rd having the advance. Bivouacked a mile beyond Lettersburg. Company B, 23rd, detailed for picket duty at the front. Evening pleasant. Distance 5 miles.
Sunday, 12th.—Countermarched to Lettersburg where took the Cavetown road, reaching the latter place about noon. Here encountered another terrific thunder storm. Several men of the 56th N.Y., struck by the electric fluid, and one of them killed. Fresh beef rations furnished. Bivouacked in a field which the rain flooded and converted into mire. Roads pretty good and morning comfortable. Distance 9 miles.
Monday, 13th.—Marched toward Boonsboro'. Bivouacked at dark in a rough, stony field, the fires of different encampments of the Army of the Potomac visible in the distance. Rained much through the day; very muddy. Distance 10 miles.
Tuesday, 14th.—Crossed fields to Boonsboro' and Hagerstown pike. Followed it toward the latter to Beaver Creek where encamped. Day pleasant. Distance 5 miles.
Wednesday, 15th.—At 7.30 A.M., started for home, taking the pike for Frederick. Reached Frederick about 6 P.M., and Monocacy Junction about 10 P.M., where encamped in a grove. Weather comfortable; sky overcast most of the day; road dry and pretty smooth, though hard for the feet. A member of the 56th N.Y. fell dead on reaching camp from exhaustion. Distance 25 miles.
Thursday, 16th.—Waiting for transportation.
Friday 17th.—Took cars for Baltimore. Arrived about 4 P.M. Marched to the Philadelphia Depot, and thence to Harrisburg Depot. About midnight took train for the latter city.
Saturday, 18th.—En route for Harrisburg, which we reached about 9 P.M., and at midnight got under way again for Elizabethport, N.J., without change of cars.
Sunday, 19th.—Halted at Easton, Pa., where citizens poured out en masse to feed us. Reached Elizabethport shortly after noon, and at once embarked on steamboat for New York. Landed at the Battery, and proceeded directly to the Armory, where were dismissed at 7-1/2 P.M.
Grand total of distances marched during 15 days from July 1st to July 15th inclusive:—ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY-FIVE MILES, or an average of nine and two-third miles per day; each man carrying an aggregate of THIRTY POUNDS of luggage, except during the first day's march of seven miles in which each carried an aggregate of FORTY-FOUR POUNDS.
Largest number at any roll-call:—FIVE HUNDRED AND NINETEEN, including officers and men.