Eighth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers
Company A, Inc.
Hammonasset State Park Event Report
Hammonasset State Park
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The Atlanta Campaign
May 1-2, 1999
to the north of Atlanta
May 1st, 1864
We were concentrated in the vicinity of a large plain, and had the opportunity to advance our cause this last week since I last wrote to you. I might tell you of our trials and tests, but it would not be so easy to understand. I will instead try to tell you of the events as they have unfolded for us in the past few days, and let you know the news in my own terms.
As you know since I have last posted you, we are here in Georgia, and advancing with Sherman. We arrived at this location Friday last, and had a great amount of the civilians come out to greet us. There were myriads of the youngest children were brought here, and we did our best to show them that we are a well disciplined army, and would not hurt them, their families, or their propery. It is apparant by their reactions that they did not necessarily agree with us, and that they were still reserved for their safety. We did our best to communicate our orders to safeguard private property, and they went away with that message for their parents.
That evening we sent out a small detail to assess the rebel positions, and they were successful in locating a small band of them. With no cause to fight in the dark, it seemed more appropriate to belay hostility and talk with them and gather intelligence. It was a company of the 1st. Md., and they indeed were gentleman, hospitable, and honorable in avoiding trouble. We spent some time there, and departed in safety, after trading some good items back and forth.
Our main host began to appear during the late afternoon and evening, and it turned out that the numbers in this locale were formidable. We were under the direction of Col. Mark Adler, 119th NY, and organized under his Right Wing and in the command of Capt. Larrocca of the 124th NY. In our organization, we were accompanied by the 56th Pa, 14th Brooklyn, 2d Conn Heavies, the old 8th, the 25th Mass, and the 9th Mass Battery. There were other good troops with us which I could not identify.
As the Saturday dawn came, our boys were called out for roll, and we went right to drilling. It was a good drill, and smooth, as many veterans will want to please the officers and get their breakfast as soon as they might. And that we did, and even sooner, had our dress parade for the day early. But, after the regulation dismissal, our 1st Sgt. took the company out of line, only to get about 5 rods, when the holler came to return the company. We were put back in line, and were subjected to a battalion drill for a good while. Form Column of Companies, Close Column on the First Company, Deploy Column, and other evolutions. It went with mixed results.
The parade was followed by an alert, and then a call out of the units in force. We were put into line, but waited for a good while, in formation, standing on a hard road, till my poor dogs were complaining. After a good amount of cannon work to our right, we were brought up, and went in. We formed column, and deployed as drilled, and swatted the rebels to our front. We were hard pressed to advance, and tried, but the advance was costly. It took about three steps, and the results were predictable. Our company was cut in half by artillery and infantry finally, as we were repelled from a snake fence, leaving a good may boys drapped onto it.
We tried to desperately take a stand at several lines of retreat, but were pushed from the ground in vain. We returned to the rear a good distance, and took up our camp. During the afternoon, we were pleased to engage in a few distractions in the form of games. We pitched horseshoes with the 14th Brooklyn, and had a grand game of townball against the 1st Maryland boys, in which we were successful. The trophy bell is once more called ours.
That evening, in spite of all the orders to the contrary, a strange dish showed up in one of the messes. It seemed that a typically southern dish of pig feet and dandelion greens was prepared in ample quantity to produce some rare left over fare. In the course of the generosities, it was noted, although quietly, that there might have been more of a domestic taste to the ham, more so than a wild boars appeal. Bully. And not quite a salty as brine pork or salt horse.
There was announced a barn dance in the area, and several were allowed passes to go beyond the pickets and attend. One of our more available privates concocted a scheme to gain himself more favor with the ladies by trading blouses with one of the sergeants. And, upon his return, it was declared indeed a success.
We spend another cold spring night in our dog tents, but were pleased to awake to another cloudless day. This morning, I suppose it being Sunday, the officers allowed the men to make their breakfasts after roll, before calling for the morning drill. This drill went just as well, and the platoon drills came off remarkably. And unexpected from our respected officers, we were allowed to drop out of drill for the Sunday services at will. After our morning meal, the officers were back on the street, with the permission of the first sergeant, and inspected every quarter, and even more, they levied fines for additions to the company fund for minor indescretions. This is the first time that they have done so with fines, and many feel that they must be up to some thing in this account. And as a Sunday blessing, we received quite a large mail, the first since the equinox.
The battalion had a dress parade after Sunday services, and we were returned to camp. The thought of a quiet break from marching and fighting was broken shortly after the meridian, and we were ordered to form once again. And this time was not too much different than the last, except Capt. Larrocca allowed the companies to Rest for a while after undue waiting, rather than to stand in line on the pike. But, we were called into line soon, and ordered to meet the rebels on the same ground as yesterday. This time they were more tenacious, and we were held back in the reserve. The bulk of the troops present went in before us, but did not gain much ground. Our wing went forward, and was subjected to much artillery, blowing holes in the lines. We once again stalled at the fence, and as if a dreaam, the rebels there seemed to run at that moment, out of their want to fight. They started retreating, and left us the field. That made it easy to reform the ranks, attend to the wounded on the field, and once more still in these three days, return to our bivouac.
We were quickly ordered to strike the camp, have two days rations prepared, and move on. It seems that this command will take every feinting opportunity to push this campaign forward, as we make for Atlanta as the prize, and for the center of the Confederacy.
I will try my best to let you read a few lines that you might find acceptable from these places, but it is getting harder and harder to find both the paper and the stamps to post you properly. Please include in your next missive, a few stamps that I might avail myself of to write back to you. They are simply not available here, and the mails from the North do not follow us a quickly nor as regularly as they did when we were closer to Washington and you.
Keep the faith in our government, our army, and our family. We will be home only in honor, and covered in the glory that we were true to our cause, and that we kept the Union together, whole and strong. God grant the day. Please keep your thoughts full of us, as so do we of you.
Eighth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers, Co.A, Inc.