Charles Hadsall Diary

A soldier serving in Co. M, 2d Pennsylvania Heavy Artillery

January 1865

Sunday, January 1, 1865

It was cold and clear with a little snow on the ground. I got two letters — one from Uncle Girden, the other from Henry Sands. I wrote and read in my bible the most of the day. Isaac and Mart Pembleton was here in the afternoon. We had a good visit. When they left, I went over with him and seen Lime & Isaac. They was well. Lime went on picket. We was mustered by Barber. Butler has come back, they say. We are at Redoubt Dutton on the Bermuda [Hundred] Front Line, Virginia. Provisional Division. No more news.

Monday, January 2, 1865

It was cold and clear. I worked hard all day getting wood. We had three teams a hauling. I got a lot of beans and crackers in the evacuated camps. There has several troops left and part of the Sixth Corps are putting up their tents. There is the 104th, 103rd, and 46th I. Vols. went in their new quarters. They camp but a few rods from us now. We will have pretty good times. I cut enough wood to last two or three days. We got a cup of molasses for dinner. It was nice. Line Smith put a 32 pounder shell in the fire and it burst after he got outdoors. Then he left Charles cause he scolded.

Tuesday, January 3, 1865

It was cloudy and snowed. I got a letter from home with mother’s photograph in. It looked very natural. There was two deserters shot a few rods in rear of the pits. Fourteen of our company was detailed for it. They was Provost Guards. Isaac helped lay them out. We layer a floor in our tent and I made a bread box for we have plenty to eat. Our folks has started us a good box, they say. I went over to see my cousin a little while. They have very good quarters. There is good news from Stoneman. He’s raiding in Tennessee. Mart gave me some songs.

Wednesday, January 4, 1865

Dutch Gap Canal filled with water (1865)

Dutch Gap Canal filled with water (1865)

It was clear and cold. In the forenoon I wrote a letter home. Then Martin came over and we had a nice time. I had baked beans for dinner. Then we went down to see Isaac. We got him & all went down to the signal tower to see Dutch Gap Canal. We had a full view of the whole place from Battery Sawyer. The balls whirled for the pickets and sharpshooters was pecking at each other. The end of the canal was blown out on New Year’s. The third Pa. boys working as if they had upwards of fifty torpedoes piled up in their camp.

Thursday, January 5, 1865

It was cold and clear all day. There was nothing much going on. I made me a nice writing desk and Isaac came up and staid till after dinner. I went over to see Isaac Hadsel awhile when Isaac left. [George] Chamberlin got his furlough for working on the canal. I don’t know what to write about hardly. I spent most of the day in reading and writing. We got two days ration of soft bread and there was an inspection at retreat. The boys all like to see my mother’s picture. Well , it is a good plain photograph. All is well.

Friday, January 6, 1865

It rained all day. In the morning, I went down to see Isaac and Sile Mac [Silas McMillan]. They was both at home as usual. I staid till after dinner. Then I got a good dinner. After I got back, Solomon [Moyer] — my tent mate — was writing a letter. I went to reading my bible. I cut up a good lot of wood for night. There has been a flag of truce up for the last five days. I suppose it is [Frank] Blair with his peace missions going to Richmond. David Phillips called in their evening to see us. Everything went off with pleasure.

Saturday, January 7, 1865

It was cloudy and showery. In the forenoon, I cleaned my gun. Then I took a walk and came across Lime [Limon?]  Frantz. He came home with me and staid till after dinner. Then we had a good visit. Then Co. F. of the First Connecticut left this Battery and we went in their quarters and got lots of things — boards enough to fix up our tents. There is no news only that the First Connecticut is going off with Butler’s Fleet and the johnnies fired several shots last night at the deserters that came in. It is very muddy and I hain’t had time to read or write much today. It’s getting cold now.

Sunday, January 8, 1865

It was clear and cold. I staid close to my tent but had plenty of visitors. Isaac and Mart [Pembleton] were both here. I got two letters — one from Aunt Elsie, the other from H. N. Rush. They say Emma Sands is working for herself. It’s no more than can be expected of a young woman. There has several johnnies come in for the last two or three nights five at a time in some places. I baked a nice pan of beans and Martin help me eat them. I wrote a letter and read a good deal of the tie when no one wasn’t here. I have a very sore tongue that bothers me some.

Monday, January 9, 1865

It was a cloudy day mostly. I wrote a later to Rush. There was a report that we was agoing to leave this place. I started to cut some wood this morning but there’s no teams came so I stepped over to see the boys. They had got their back mail. There was an order came out to give furloughs. I sent to see Gee about it. He said I had one of the first chances. He had sent in two. Mine is or was to go in next. I have caught a very bad cold. Phillips offered me $20 for my chance to go home. Some sold theirs for ten dollars.

Tuesday, January 10, 1865

It rained, snowed, thundered, and lightninged all day hard. The ground got so full of water that the boy’s shanties commenced falling in. Four or five came down. They was covered heavy with dirt. The boys moved up to the fort in safer quarters. There was nine rebs came in last night. I staid in my tent and read and wrote most of the time. We didn’t get no dinner from the cooks for they got drowned out. Most couldn’t get their rations up from some cause or other. My cold is getting better. I am taking medicine every night. No one has got any furlough.

Wednesday, January 11, 1865

It was a clear day. I went at it in the morning and washed my clothes. I had just got them in the rinsing water when Battery D comes to relieve us so we had to pack up and go to our regiment. I had all I could carry but the distance wasn’t quite a mile. Me and Moyer put us up a good tent by ourselves but 1st Lieut. Gee had to go on picket. We got three days ration of soft bread. I got my clothes dried all right before dark. There’s no news of importance to mention. We are encamped in a beautiful fine grove. We was here last August.

Thursday, January 12, 1865

It was a clear day. In the first place, I was detailed to report to Headquarters for work so I went and got an ax, cut abatis with the boys all day up near Swift Creek. We quit very early for supper. I took in my blankets, made my bed, and got all fixed up. Then I went up the line to see the boys. I found them all well in their tent. I staid till tattoo for Moyer is on picket. There was a Reb Lieut. came in last night. There are cook house reports flying through camp that Lee has gone to Pennsylvania all right.

Friday, January 13, 1865

It was cloudy most of the day. I answered Uncle Girden’s letter and that is most I done. Sixteen more went on picket tonight. All that was off had to go carry abatis up to the picket line for to be laid. It was heavy work. We stuck to it till midnight. Some we had to carry half a mile and it was dark and muddy. They offered us all the whiskey we wanted before we came out but I didn’t go for mine. I went on dress parade in the morning and Isaac was down to see me awhile. A johnny came in last night where we was working.

Saturday, January 14, 1865

It was clear and windy. I went to the doctor and got some medicine for my cold. Our clothing came today. They got boots in place of shoes. We got our old equipments condemned. I staid around camp till picket time and read my books and papers. Then I went on picket. We go out about three o’clock. The boys was out and lay the abatis. There was four johnnies came in near my post. They bring their guns along. I had a long chat with one. He was ragged and hungry. The boys fed him up well before they sent him in camp.

Sunday, January 15, 1865

It was a clear day and we done nothing — only watch the moves of the enemy. They was changing their troops in place of the Alabamians. They have to change often on the account of desertions. We got relieved at the usual hour and when we got in camp, we drew our clothes. I got shirt and drawers. It hain’t seemed like Sunday today for there wasn’t anything going on. No news in the papers — only I am going to bed blame soon.  My cold is so bad I can hardly breath. Me & Sol has got wood and everything ready for a good rest tonight.

Monday, January 16, 1865

It was clear and cold. After breakfast, we had dress parade. Then me and Moyer went over to the company. I showed Isaac the big letter I got from home this morning. And Frank Long paid me two dollars of what he owed me. Then I came back for dinner and in the afternoon I answered the letter and put down the records of our folks in my bible. Then there came off an inspection. I passed it very well. Then I got things ready for to go on the picket line. Last night they say some thirty deserters came in at once.

Tuesday, January 17, 1865

It was cloudy cold day and not very wholesome on picket. I got on the reserve post on the railroad. Everything passed off very quiet except our green pine wood — it wouldn’t burn for us  good. There is good news today. Fort Fisher is taken. There was a salute of one hundred guns fired in each department. After we got relieved and in camp, we got three day’s ration of soft bread. After supper, I went to writing as usual and Mott sent in another requisition for clothing. My cold is betting better.

Wednesday, January 18, 1865

It was a cloudy, cold day. Moyer went to driving team so I am alone now. He gave me one of his tents. We had dress parade as usual. Then after that was over, I went to the 104th Penn. Veterans to see them boys. The pickets had started out and I was one that was detailed. I soon got ready and was with them. The news is that two thousand prisoners and 72 guns was taken at the fall of Fort Fisher. I got on one post below the railroad with [David C.] Black and Fragg [?]. Our wood burns poorly indeed.

Thursday, January 19, 1865

It was cloudy all day and looked very much like a storm. And to our surprise this morning, we see a line of abatis in front of the johnnies picket line. I worked a greater part of the day getting wood for to burn. We got a good cup of soup for dinner. And we got relieved at the usual hour and when I got in camp the newsboy came along. I got an Inquirer with all the particulars of the day. It had on of the late proceedings that transpired at Fort Fisher. My cold is a little better again tonight.

Friday, January 20, 1865

It was cloudy and cold and I run around the most of the day to get a diary but found none good enough till I came across this. There was dress parade as usual and short drill. Then I wrote a letter to Elsie Ann. Sol Moyer stopped and got dinner with us and took his clothes and other things. He has a good team. About one o’clock, in came Lime Frantz and a buddy of his. We had a good visit. After they left, I took a walk down to the Point of Rocks and got a quarter’s worth of biscuit. Came back and went to writing.

Saturday, January 21, 1865

It rained and froze hard all day. The ground was covered with ice. I stuck close to my tent and kept up the fire and read my bible and wrote letters. I was on the detail for picket again. I tell you, I hated to go out in the storm. We waded through to the picket line and relieved the boys. It stopped raining after dark and we kept up good fires. A johnny soon came in. It’s a good dark night for them. I took out plenty to eat for that is half the battle now-a-days. My cold is getting nearly well. No news nor mail.

Sunday, January 22, 1865

It was cloudy and misty. Everything was quiet along the lines — only two johnnies tried to gobble up one of our boys while he was a getting wood between the lines. We got ready for them so they went back.I got on post with [Line] Frantz and [Henry] Dubbs. The sergeant staid with us the most of the time. We got a good dinner — all we wished. We was relieved at the usual hour and when we got in camp we got two day’s ration of soft bread. I made a fire, got supper, read in bible, and wrote a letter. I am quite comfortably situated. Our box came from home.

Monday, January 23, 1865

It rained most all day. After breakfast, I went up and staid with Lime Frantz till after dinner. We had a good visit. Then I went down to the book store and got this diary. Paid $1.50 for it and when I got back to camp, I found Isaac there with a lot of good things for me that we got in our box from home which reached here yesterday. Not a thing was spoiled. I had a nice feast indeed. Then I got up a lot of wood and water for night and went to writing. It got windy after dark and stopped raining.

Tuesday, January 24, 1865

The Battle of Trent's Reach was one of the final major naval battles of the American Civil War. Beginning on January 23, 1865, a powerful flotilla of Confederate warships bombarded Fort Brady along the James River and engaged four Union Navy ships with the intention of breaking through the blockade to attack City Point, the base of General Ulysses S. Grant who was besieging Petersburg, Virginia. After two days of fighting the rebels withdrew back up the river without completing their objectives. This photo shows the wreck of the Confederate gunboat CSS Drewry in the James River.

The Battle of Trent’s Reach was one of the final major naval battles of the Civil War. Beginning on January 23, 1865, a powerful flotilla of Confederate warships bombarded Fort Brady along the James River and engaged four Union Navy ships with the intention of breaking through the blockade to attack City Point — the base of Gen. U. S. Grant who was besieging Petersburg. After two days of fighting, the rebels withdrew back up the river without completing their objectives. This photo shows the wreck of the Confederate gunboat CSS Drewry in the James River.

It was clear and cold. We was roused out in the pits this morning at five o’clock for there was a muss up about Dutch Gap. Two rebel rams came down the river last night and one got sunk for them. The pickets fired like fury. Heavy firing was kept up all last night and today till noon. I was writing most of the day till picket time. I went on picket. There was three johnnies come in this morning. I heard that 6 rebel gunboats run below Fort Brady and only two got back. One was blown up — the others injured. Our monitors came up today for to destroy them all. I enjoyed the contents of my box from home.

Wednesday, January 25, 1865

It was clear and cold. We had a nice time for picket. This morning at four o’clock, the heavy firing commenced up t the gunboats and was kept up till daylight. I haven’t heard the result of it. One johnney came in last night. Three shots was fired at him. We got relieved at the usual hour when I got in camp. I took a good wash and had supper. We got a loaf of bread tonight. Our gunboats looked pretty — all shiny [and] full of flags over the recent victory. Mr. Blair is to Richmond on his second mission. Some people are a making big bets on peace within two months. Let it come.

Thursday, January 26, 1865

The 100-pounder Parrott Gun dislodged from its carriage at Fort Brady appears in the foreground.

The 100-pounder Parrott Gun dislodged from its carriage at Fort Brady appears in the foreground.

It was cold and clear. I got a letter this morning from home and it had some stamps in. Then I went to washing my clothes. I spent the day around my tent sewing up a bed tick and cooking beans &c. I wrote a letter home. It remained quiet till about four o’clock. There was an hour or two of heavy firing near Dutch Gap. Some of the boys was up near the James [River] this forenoon helping mount a hundred pounder. It fell on two men and broke some [of] their arms of another company. Isaac was gone as safe guard to citizens dwelling at Bermuda.

Friday, January 27, 1865

It was a cold, clear day. After I eat breakfast, I went over to see Isaac but he was gone. I went in [Jacob] F. Long’s tent and he handed me $1.00. That made us square. Then I came back time enough to cook a pot of beans for dinner which were good. I got a letter from Allen G. Eggleston. He expects his discharge soon. He is well. I bought a daily paper. There is great jokes about Blair’s mission, Mrs. Davis kissing himm &c. &c. I have to go on picket tonight and it is very cold indeed. I got on post with Lucius Marshall and [William] Maddox.

Saturday, January 28, 1865

It was cold and cloudy. There was one johnny came in our line last night, bare-footed and nearly starved. Lieut. [Edward J.] White staid with us most of the day and everything passed smoothly. We cut down a green pine and made wood of it to hover over. We got relieved at the usual hour and I went in camp and build a fire, heat some water & took a wash. Then I eat supper. I went to write [but] my ink was froze up. Then M___ gave me a candle. I don’t feel any too well tonight anyhow.

Sunday, January 29, 1865

It was a cloudy, windy, cold day. I spent most part of the forenoon in cleaning my gun and fixing my tent. Battery A started for Wilmington, North Carolina. They say the whole regiment is under marching orders. Nine johnnies came in last night at the railroad — one orderly sergeant. In the afternoon, I read and wrote most of the time. And I lent Lucius Marshall one dollar for a few days. [John H.] Bliss was over to see us. I got up a lot of wood for it was cold. After that I stewed some peaches and berries for supper. After supper, I went up to see my cousins in the 104th Pennsylvania Volunteers. I got back at bed time. Lime [Frantz] went on picket.

Monday, January 30, 1865

It was clear and warm. I was detailed on a work squad to help put up a battery near Fort Sawyer to command the river. We run down a hundred pounder to the place. It is reported that Blair has arrived from Richmond with six rebel commissioners — governor of Georgia being one. There wasn’t quite enough post pickets tonight but we weren’t detailed. Battery A hasn’t left yet. When I got in camp, I got two loaves of bread & made a good supper. There is now three monitors up near the obstructions. The Atlanta was one that we captured in Charleston. Ram was the double turreted Onandaigua.

Tuesday, January 31, 1865

It was a clear mild day. We had inspection of quarters at nine o’clock. I looked for Isaac and some of the other boys here today but none came. Therefore, I staid at my office and done my business as usual writing and reading. I sent my old diary home. There was some firing [by the Rebels] at the Highlet [Howlett] House Battery [later called Battery Dantzler] on our working party. I was on picket tonight. We went out at the usual hour. I got on post with [Charles] Fowler and [Edward K.] Dentzel. It all went off very well. we got one day’s ration of extra bread. That is what our general done for us. We get plenty.

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