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6th Vermont Infantry
Frederick Marius Kimball - 1863 Diary
May 1 - Very warm today. I scarce know what is being done by Hooker. We remain upon the banks of the Rappahannock. I gather some flowers. Heavy cannonading up the river. Balloon assensions. May God give us success in our struggle for our country. We make a feint upon the river with us but little is done today.
May 2 - I read last night a dear letter from Sue, my darling Sue. Each day we expect fighting. May God keep us through this fearful ordeal. We cross the river tonight at 8PM. I am in command of the company. Probably a battle soon. Get a letter from home & A.
May 3 - I have but little space for events like these to record. Before daybreak we moved. Our skirmishers advance. Cannon open, we move to the right near Fredericksburg. Shells flew over our heads & thick among us. A little before M we charged upon their entrenchments on the hills & in less than one half hour we gained them. The enemy passed shot & shell into us fearfully but still we pressed on. We took 15 cannon & prisoners. Our Regt. passed the 33d N.Y. on the charge.
May 4 & 5 - We are in the midst of fighting. We pressed on last night more than a mile beyond their entrenchments. The 1st division had hard fighting. The enemy have moved upon our left. They give battle. Our Regt. made the most gallant charge I think during the war. The rebs charged upon when we rose, passed a volley into them & charged. We drove a whole brigade & took abt 500 prisoners. I was hit by a rifle ball upon my belt plate & had it not been for that I should be in eternity. I can but thank my heavenly father for sparing me in that fearful charge. God kept me safe and I will praise Him. O Father of heaven I thank thee. I can but feel that I was kept by thy will. That charge was fearful & it was the saving of our whole corps. Had we broke we surely would have been captured. Our army had to fall back over the river for want of reinforcements. The day they charged upon us we lost many a brave & noble soldier. Our company had five wounded & one I think mortality, beside two that were wounded in the charge Sunday. I was alone with the company for my Captain came up missing. 9 officers were wounded & one has died. I want to avenge their death, the wrong we suffer for by traitors.
May 6 - We learn this morning that Gen. Hooker is falling back this side of the river, if so we must have a larger before we make another attack upon the enemy. May God save our country. I am not at all discouraged yet, still it looks dark if this movement has to be given up. Corp. Bliss was the only one of our Glover boys wounded. He was hit in the shoulder. We had hard fighting & our brigade alone held the enemy back while our Corps crossed the river & we were the last over. Twas nearly daylight when we got this side yesterday. Although we have had to fall back & leave the highest ground we were not whipped, but rather we finished the enemy greatly. A more daring charge than our regt. made was never known, braver men never lived. Our country-May God save it.
May 7 - Hard thunder showers. We moved our camp yesterday about three miles toward Falmouth. We crossed the Rappahannock about a mile below Fredericksburg & recrossed it at ______ eight miles above. If we could only have had a reinforcement of thirty thousand we might have whipped them out & out, and if our regt. had only had a support when we made the charge we might have taken the height. We more than took our number in prisoners yet our corps lost a good many prisoners. Though we are back this side we are not demoralized or at all disheartened. The army fought well & the rebs suffered the heaviest by all odds. I never knew men in better spirits than ever now. I have faith to believe that God will yet save our country from tyranny.
May 8 - I need not attempt to dwell longer upon the events of the last few days for I can but fail to tell all. I leave it for the historian. History will do us justice and posterity will bless us. We march today to our old camp & then move westerly abt 2 miles & encamp. We may remain here awhile. Tonight finds me tired and my arm paining me where I was struck by a rifle ball. Thank God that I live.
May 9 - This morning is beautiful. I need not attempt to tell more of the fearful struggle through which we have passed, leave it for the historian. The day is very warm. I make out pay rolls & a monthly return. We are now in a pleasant camp. I learn the sad news that ____ G. Bliss of G is dead. His son was wounded badly & is now a prisoner.
May 10 - Very warm. Inspection. Write a long letter to the Standard. Write home & to AH. Very warm. We are in a new camp about 1 mile from our old one. Lt. Backus came back yesterday from Vt. The Chaplain held services in a grove near by & preaches form 2 to 4.
May 11 - Very warm. Write to Sue my darling Sue. The army is in good spirits & discipline never better. Read. The mail brings me a kind letter from friend A.
May 12 - Tis very warm again today. Brigade review. Write friend Chase. Write to Aunt Mary and Peacham Cousins generally.
May 13 - Lt. Joslyn starts for home on a leave of absence. Assuredly I was supprised at receiving a visit from my cousin John Kimball today. I never dreamed of seeing him in the army. Have not seen him for about 4 years. He has preached in California since then. I was indeed happy to see him.
May 14 - For a change-cloudy this morning. Write Jeff K. I cut my finger yesterday badly. Sergt. Nye has got a commission as 2d Lt. in Co. D. Very good. I shall try & visit cousin John before he leaves the army. He is now stopping at the Potomac Creek Hosp. On the Christian Commission. A fine fellow. Showers.
May 15 - We hear from Bliss-he is doing well. Detailed for Picket today. Pleasant. Have an awful tramp to get to the picket line-go full 10 miles. The Major looses the way. Start at 9 AM & do not get into the line till 1 PM. I have a relief of 55 men & 6 non com officers, part of them the 3d boys. I get supper at a house of a poor white family of hoe-cake.
May 16 - and breakfast too. On the reserve or grandguard today. Pick & press some flowers to send home. Very warm. Read a romance of Charles Edward, the last of the illustrious Stuarts of England or Alice ____, who was the heroine. A tale of one hundred years ago.
May 17 - Read my testament. May God be praised for ever more. Relieved from picket about 12M & get to camp at 2PM. Very warm. I have an awful sweat getting in. Find a letter awaiting me from Sue. My heart responds. Lt. Nye is to be officer of the day tomorrow.
May 18 - Cool & pleasant. An inspection. Write Sue. Read an adventure of Vermonter in Mexico. Receive a letter from mother & pained to get the sad news that my sister Martha is very sick & not expected to live. May God restore her.
May 19 - Capt. Davis & I go down to the Potomac Creek Hosp. to see our wounded boys. Some of them are doing well & some are bad off. O such suffering. Two of my company have lost a limb & one of them, poor fellow, I fear will die. Had a pleasant visit with cousin John K. Tis warm & we got very tired.
May 20 - Division review at 9AM. Gen. Brooks on account of ill health has resigned & is going to leave the service. I regret it for he is brave & kind hearted officer. The officers of the Vt. Brigade at 10AM present him with a silver tea set with gold lining as a token of our respect & esteem. The old General was affected almost to tears; such told more than words. Get two Standards.
May 21 - Yesterday poor Claflin died. I visited the wounded the day before & thought he could not live. "Peace to his soul." Anxious to hear from home, but no letter today. Visit with the boys in Co. D-Lt. Nye-Alex D. Drunkeness among the officers. May I be kept from this vice. Gambling too. Write to A. H.
May 22 - Very Warm as usual. Write to an old friend & school-mate ____ Harris. Receive a leter from home.
May 23 - Write home & send some pictures that I get taken-poor things. Exceedingly warm. Read. May we ever feel to exclaim that "God doeth all things well." Think. Peruse old letters. God judgeth the world. 9PM a letter just now from Sue & a welcomed one.
May 24 - Pass the day reading. Attend divine service.
May 25 - Ditto. The mail brings me a letter from Home & A.
May 26 - Cloudy & Cool-All day. Write AH and Mary. In the letter from home yesterday I learned the joyful news that they have heard from my long lost sister & Thank God they live. Warren is on a British Runner from Arlington to Nassau & that we can write them in Nassau.
May 27 - Write to my sister Eliza-hope she may get. Thirteen years ago today the little Kimball family were feeling sad for our father left us for the "Golden State," California. Four years & a half & he returned to this family. Dress parade. Tired.
May 28 - Officer of the day. Have out a police detail-fix up the camp. Read a letter in the Standard. Write to father. Very warm. Write Sue.
May 29 - Go to White Oak Church & have a picture taken for-Tis a poor thing. The artists here are good for nothing. Lt Joslyn & George P return from Vt.-bring me some things from home & things I sent for. The Pay Master has come. Receive a letter from Sue, written in her school room.
May 30 - Warm & windy today all day. Paid off for two months get 205.00 dollars. Check to J.B Page Treasurer $150.00
May 31 - Inspection. Very windy & dust flys awfully all day. Write Sue as is ever my highest pleasure. Send "Descriptive Lists" to Maj. ____. Receive a letter from home. The Brigade Band has come & glad to see Henry Bickford-right from Glover. How the boys have changed. Write to cousin Susan.
Jan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
Letters to the Editor
Diaries transcribed by Frederick's 2nd great-grandson.