Third Battery Light Artillery Vermont Volunteers
Civil War Diaries and Letters of
Eugene William Rolfe, Tunbridge
Camp near City Point, Tuesday April 2nd, 1865
I am on guard today. We received orders to turn in our chests and be ready to march tomorrow morning at 9am. I received a letter from father and charlotte tonight and a box with a latter from charlotte. The things were pretty well used up all that we got out of it was the maple sugar, 3 apples, a portfolio with some paper and envelopes of which this is a sample some dried apples and pears and a few sausages some gum cheese ad some tea but the tea had got wet and I only got enough out of it to make up what I have borrowed of my comrade and as I have got a pretty hard diarrhea I could only taste of it the rest I divided amongst the boys. I came off guard at 6 pm and I went to work and fried some sausages and swan boiled some potatoes. I packed my knapsack and haversack and then went to bed.
We were waked up this morning at 4 am and we packed our blankets. We started at half past 7 and setting fire to our camp we went to Broadway Landing and crossed the Appomattox. From there, we went up the James to Aikens Landing where we crossed the James. Just above the landing lay a large monitor with two turrets. We passed up the river by Aikens House, a large mansion built of brick, by Butlers Lookout, Dutch Gap Canal and out to Coxs Farm where I stopped for the night. We encamped in front of the works evacuated by the rebels on the 3rd of April. After dress parade, I went up to the Forts. Along in front of one of the lines of works, were torpedoes placed in the ground and the tops covered with tin cans to prevent their being until and the whole covered with dirt. They were simply round four inch shells filled with powder and a piece of wood placed in the hole so fixed that a person stepping upon would explode it. These torpedoes were marked by little flags and were placed at a distance of about ten inches apart. Leaping the ditch torpedoes, I went into a large bombproof fort by the side of the river where there were two large ten-inch guns. The one weighing 9200, the other 8762. By this time it was dark and returning to camp, carpenter and I spread out our things under the caisson and laid down on a soldiers bed.
Thursday, May 4th
We started early this morning and followed the river up to Richmond and passed through a portion of that city. I kept a good lookout for did not see anyone belonging to the 9th . On the way I saw the top of the celebrated Libby Prison. There were a great many large guns in the rebel works between Coxs Farm and Richmond and on the wharf was about50 pieces of light arty and 32 pounders. After leaving Richmond we took the road to Mechanicsburg passing through that place at about 2pm and camped about three miles from there. Mechanicsburg is a place with about three dwelling houses, a blacksmith and a carpenter's shop and pigpen. I rode on the carriages a part of the way today but I am used up tonight. We had a hard thundershower tonight.
Friday, May 3rd, 65
We started early this morning. I went to 1st Lieut Rowell and told him that it was impossible for me to go afoot. He sent me to the ambulance. It is quite rainy this morning. We passed by Hanover Court House and camped about three miles from there. I got letters from father, Herbert, and Wilbur tonight. I went to Walden the offices cook tonight and he gave me some blue pills and told me that I had got the jaundice. The pills kept me a trotting through the night.
Saturday, May 6th, 65
It is quite warm today. We did not move today as the pontoon train is stuck in the mud near Hanover Court House last night and has not come up yet so we cannot cross the river. I have layed in the ambulance today and am same although not much better.
Sunday May 7th, 65
This is a very pleasant morning. We started early this morning and passed through Wilford Station and camped just beyond Bowling Green, one of the prettiest places I have seen in Virginia. I am feeling better tonight. Walden made me some toast tonight and some tea which was all the better for having milk and good sugar in it. The is the first food I have taste of for ---days.
Monday May 8th, 65
It is a very pleasant day. We started early this morning and crossing the ---ttapery went within1 ½ miles of Fredericksburg, turned around and went back 4 miles and camped waiting for the pontoons. There was a canvas pontoon bridge across the river but they thought it would not hold as it is rainy and I have an awful toothache tonight.
Tuesday. May 9th, 65
It has been a rainy night and bids fair to be a rainy day. I did not sleep any last night on account of my tooth. --------------------------
April 13th , 65
As it is a rainy day, I believe write a little more. If I could pick up a blanket I would send another box. I have got a good infantry overcoat and the other day the engineers moved away from here. I went over into their camp and picked up a good portfolio and a good pair of boots. If I had some money now I could buy a lot of relief such as Rebel money, bluebacks and the Richmond Whig and the Petersburg paper but while I am speaking of this I must speak of something that I came near forgetting. When I came back here, I expected to be paid off with the rest but did not, But before I got paid, some of the boys that had some money let me have some over two dollars and I have used that up for a tin plate, cup, a knife and one or two other little things. One of them has broke his leg and has gone to the hospital. I owe him two dollars. Please ask father to send that amount and I will pay him the rest off. The boys will wait till payday/ I shall spend nothing only for tea, ink and those things that are necessary. I draw more rations than I want and I was never any tougher in my life. I am growing fat every day. Please give my respects to Phil and the rest of the boys and to those young ladies that sent theirs. I should like to know their names. When Helen get any toothpicks please send me one.
Contributed by Eugene L. Rolfe, Las Vegas, Nevada, great-grandson of Eugene William Rolfe.