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Diary of Battery A, First Regiment Rhode Island Light Artillery   By:

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DIARY OF BATTERY A, FIRST REGIMENT RHODE ISLAND LIGHT ARTILLERY.

by

THEODORE REICHARDT.

Written in The Field.

Providence: N. Bangs Williams, Publisher. 1865.

CONTENTS

PREFACE. DIARY. 1861. 1862. 1863. 1864. Roster of Battery A. REMARKS.

PREFACE.

COMRADES OF BATTERY A: The time for the fulfilment of my promise to you, has arrived. The days of our trials, hardships and sufferings are past, and it but remains to memorize the period during which we were battling for the sacred cause of the Union. Although we have not seen the closing contest of this sanguinary strife, yet I feel confident that we have done our share towards securing a good end, and nobly has the old battery sustained the honor and name of Rhode Island. Of all the light batteries Little Rhody sent to the seat of war, none was ever equal to the old Second, or Battery A, in efficiency, endurance, and the intelligence of the men. Truly did an officer remark: "My men can fight without officers."

It is no easy task to give a true and satisfactory record of our three years service; only the entreaties of my comrades induced me to undertake it. It is a natural wish to possess a copy of the records, to refer in future days to those of the past; it will not only be of interest to the members of the battery, but also to their friends and relatives.

Hardly had the first call for three months men been responded to, by sending the First Regiment, Col. Burnside, along with the First Battery, Capt. Charles H. Tompkins, before the military authorities of Rhode Island contemplated to organize another regiment of infantry and a second battery. Enrollments progressed rapidly, and but a few days after, not less than four hundred men were desirous of linking their fortunes with the battery; the armory on Benefit street was the rendezvous of men from sunrise till late in the night, eager to acquire the most indispensable knowledge of military tactics, foot drill, and manual of the piece, as speedily as possible. Some men were so anxious as to come before daylight, and would not leave in the evening until the armorer persuaded them to. We expected to get mustered into the three months service; but the federal government, by issuing a call for 75,000 men for not less than three years, left no other alternative but to serve the said term. Messrs. Parkhurst and Albert Munroe were untiring in their exertions to complete the efficiency of the battery. At last the day that was to transform us from citizens into soldiers, arrived, the requisite number to man the battery being selected out of four hundred, by Surgeon Wheaton. On the fifth day of June, 1861, at five o'clock, P. M., we were mustered into the service of the United States for three years, unless sooner discharged. A few days afterwards, the battery, together with the Second Regiment, infantry, marched to Dexter Training Ground. Tents were pitched, and the people of Providence enjoyed the unusual spectacle of a field camp, of reveilles, dress parades, firing of artillery by sunrise and sunset, of tattoo and taps. The unusual sight attracted multitudes of men, women and children, day after day. While in camp, mounted battery drills wore away the hours of impatience; men in those days were eager for the fray. During our stay on Dexter Ground, all of our battery carriages were exchanged for new ones, (the pieces were James' brass rifle guns,) which we hailed as a sign of our early departure. Ammunition arrived on the evening of the 18th of June, and the limber chests being filled during the night, the rising sun of the 19th witnessed our leave of friends and dear ones, perhaps never to be seen again. Only those who have experienced such emotions themselves, can imagine the sad feeling, to leave whatever is dear to the heart, for three long years. But the time is past; the little band that was spared from carnage and disease has returned; they will forget all sorrow amidst the joyous welcome of their friends... Continue reading book >>




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