Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 25.djvu/293

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tic Artillery, of Richmond, was in winter-quarters at Petersburg. The men had erected good quarters, and were greatly enjoying the much needed by them. In fact, they wen- so nicely fixed that they entertained strong hopes it would be a long time ere they should have to take another long march, or participate in some bloody struggle.

It was near the close of December, 1863, when this company was ordered into line, and orders were given to prepare rations for a march of several days. Here the hopes entertained by the men, a- expressed in the preceding paragraph, were dashed to the ground, and all kind of conjectures were expressed as to what this movement meant where were they to go; what was to be undertaken; what was to !)(.- gained, and lastly, but not the least, would all hands come back again ?

The members of the company needed rest; they desired a relaxa- tion from the long marches and severe struggles so recently under- gone; but orders issued during war are inexorable; so to the work the men went. Camp-fires were kindled, and rations, composed of the best of the land that could be furnished by the powers that then existed, were prepared and packed away in haversacks In a few hours all was in readiness for the march. The drivers here received orders to harness and hitch horses to the guns, the ammunition in the gun-chests and caissons was examined as to condition, etc., and a report made to the commanding officer, Lieutenant William I. Clopton. As soon as this report was received, the drivers were ordered to mount, and to the command, "Forward, march!" the battery moved off, the men still wondering, where!

The battery had not been on the road but a very few hours before it was discovered that the company had crossed the line and were in North Carolina. The march was continued on to Goldsboro, when the cars were taken to the town of Kinston, on the Neuse river. On reaching Kinston we encamped for several days, in order to give the men and horses rest.

On the ist of January, 1864, the weather being as warm as an August day, the company was again ordered on the march. The sand in the road just below Kinston was several inches deep, and the pulling of the guns and heavy caissons was exceedingly hard. After we had proceeded about ten or twelve miles the horses, covered with a lather of foam and the men considerably fatigued, on account of the heat and the tramp through the heavy sand, a countermarch was or- dered. Back to Kinston we went, where we encamped until February.