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Vermont Artillery
Third Battery Light Artillery
Diaries/Letters

Civil War Diary
Eugene W. Rolfe, Tunbridge,
3rd Vt. Light Artillery Battery

Thursday Dec. 1st. [1864]

Breakfast, the same as on Monday. Dinner, bread, vegetable soup and pudding?? Supper, the same as on Monday. I could eat none of the pudding had for dinner, it had such a nasty, disagreeable taste.

Dr. Hall recommended me for a furlough today but I supposed he had marked me for the front as I asked him to. Told Sister Amelia tonight that I had asked to be sent to the front and that I was going in about a week. I astonished her and I believe that she is better than I though for she said they should not send a boy in my situation to death, said I would not live to reach the front. She acted like a woman. I like the woman if I do not like the Sister. Have a gay old smoke whilst the Wardmaster is gone over to Douglas Hospital.

Friday Dec. 2nd. [1864]

Breakfast, two slices bread (one of them buttered), tea. Dinner, bread, rice and some good bread pudding, tee. Supper, bread, dry toast, tea. Did not eat the rice they brought me for dinner, it was too tough.

Had some fun last night, the Wardmaster went down to the Douglas Hospital to see a friend. After supper Nagle, Austin, Branch Knapp and I thought we would have a good smoke and soon went at it. I had just been telling of the better side of Sister Amelia and was wondering what she would say if she should come in when the door at the lower end opened and in a few minutes I knew just what she would say for in she came and the boy had to answer for all. I thought fast enough and made some replies that made the boys laugh and she went up to the Dispensary and sent for me to come there. I said I was too tired and she then said I must com and at once. I sent back word that I would be pleased to make her a call at some other time but that I could not at this time. Glory Halleluja! She was a woman again and I got orders that were very imperative and finally told the boys to take me up there. I then got quite angry and told her that if I went up there that night that I would go feet first and that I should hurt some of them first. She said that I should start for the front tomorrow (today) and I told her the quicker I got out of this damned hole the better I should feel. After looking at me a few minutes she went away without speaking again. I expected lots of fun today but all she said was in asking if I had not better make my bed up in better shape and I told her No! The doctor had heard of the fun I guess for he asked me if the "Civil War Was Over" and laughed when I said I hoped not.

Went up and took a bath after supper, when I came out of the bath room Sister Amelia and the Mother stood in the Dispensary. The Mother gave me an orange and in answer to my look said, "A peace offering," and then added "You are very stubborn," and she and the sister laughed.

Sat. Dec. 3rd. [1864]

Breakfast the same as that of yesterday. Dinner, bread and milk. Supper the same as that of yesterday. Am feeling worse today and a bit cross. I like our new surgeon very much.

Sunday Dec. 4th. [1864]

Breakfast, two slices bread, tea. Dinner, bread, beef, rice and cornstarch tea. Supper, bread one half slice buttered, tea.

Am pretty lonesome now Carl has gone but hope to be with the battery before the week is gone and with Milo and the rest of the boys I can keep a good house.

Monday Dec. 5th. [1864]

Breakfast, bread and tea. Dinner, roast mutton, rice, bread and soup. Supper, bread and butter, tea. A dull and uninteresting day.

Tuesday Dec. 6th. [1864]

I was called up to the Headquarters and had a description of my self taken and I expect to go to the Battery soon and I hope it may be very soon for I have a continual hunger and get but a quarter of what I want to eat and what I do get is not very good.

Wed. Dec. 7th. [1864]

Breakfast, bread, tea. Dinner, bread, rice and a rotten egg, tea. Supper, bread and milk.

Received two letters from father today, one bearing date of Nov. 30th., the other the 5th. instant. In that of the 30th. was 55 cents. I also received one from Charlotte bearing date of Nov. 14th. I commenced an answer to Charlotte's at once and whilst I was thus engaged a lady came in to see me and introduced herself as Mrs. Porter Baxter and an old schoolmate of fathers. She brought me $3.00 sent by father to her for me. She wanted to know if there was not something needed by me, said she would sent from her own anything my appetite might crave. Her husband, Porter Baxter, is a Member of Congress from Vermont. I mailed letter to Charlotte tonight.

Thursday Dec. 8th. [1864]

For breakfast and for supper, bread and tea. Dinner, potato, mutton, bread and oyster soup.

At night I went down to the Sutler's and went for fried turnovers One of the Ward boys followed me and then went back and reported me to Sister Amelia and when I got back to the Ward she had some more fun but the Sister did not get quite as angry as she did before but she asked me a great many questions all of which I answered Dutchy reported that I had emptied his "drops" into the spittoon and then there was more fun, but after some talk it was found that it was my medicine and I informed the Sister that I did not propose to take more than a quart of Sweet Tincture of Rhubarb per diem and was the end of that row.

Friday Dec. 9th. [1864]

Breakfast, bread, tea. Dinner, bread, tea. At about 2 P.M. the chief Wardmaster brought me in a furlough from Dec. 10th. to and including Jan.9th, 1865. This was not just what I expected but I concluded to go home. Went with Milton M. Branch of Waterville, Maine, of Co. E, 2nd Maine Cavalry, p to the Headquarters, got our knapsacks and, in spite of Sister Amelia's say so to the contrary we walked out to the city, past Lincoln Barracks, the old Capitol Prison, to the Capitol, turned to our right down North Capitol Street to the Baltimore and Ohio Depot, then to our left down C Street to the Quartermaster's office for our transportation papers then back to the B. & O. depot. Gave the ticket agent one of my (three), transportation papers that called for tickets to New York and return. The second paper called for tickets from New York to Bellows Falls and return. The third for tickets from Bellows Falls for South Royalton and return. Getting my tickets, I went into the restaurant and finding that Branch was like myself, hungry but had no money. I took him with me to one of the tables and in spite of warnings innumerable we two "Hospital Corpsces" eat a plate apiece of hot oysters and finding that they "tasted good" and that there was still a vacant lot in each of our stomachs we ate a second dishful of oysters each of which were as large as the palm of my hand. For the four plates they charged me but $1.40.

Started at 6 P.M. for New York, as we leave the depot, I see that there are some light flakes of snow slowly falling. In a few minutes we are going at a deuce of a rate over the roughest pieces of road that I ever rode upon. The road from White Oak Bottom to Annapolis and soon to Washington Junction, (or the [Relay] House,) was so rough that it was a great relief when we reached Baltimore at about 8 P.M. This was our first stopping place. Had seen but little of the country and that was pretty wild and to me uninteresting. As soon as we arrived in Baltimore the engine was detached and we were taken by horses to the depot of the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore R.R. and were soon speeding on our way through a better country in an in an hour were at Havre de Grace, (The Provost Guard examined our furloughs at this place), thirty six miles away. Here, without a stop we were run upon a huge old ferry boat, and in about a minute were across the northern extremity of the Chesapeake Bay or the mouth of the Susquehanna River to Perryville and as soon as we entered the slip the train starts and we are now passing through quite a snow storm on our way to Philadelphia. We soon are in Delaware, pass through Wilmington (the capitol of Delaware), and now run swiftly along beside the Delaware River to Philadelphia where we arrive at about 11:30 and after a little delay we back slowly around the city to West Philadelphia. The city of Philadelphia looks clean and neat but I do not like so much whie[?] with the brick. It is snowing fast and our train moves but slowly.

Sat. Dec. 10th. [1864]

We leave Philadelphia at a little past midnight, got into Trenton at about 1:30 A.M. An old gentleman shows me what he said is the battlefield and near Princeton, shows me where Gen. Washington's Headquarters were at one time. If the battle was fought at the place shown me I would like to jump off when I return and visit it. From there to New Brunswick we run quite slowly and although there is no great depth of snow it seems to be all that the engine could do to pull us. At this place we changed engines but the new one could not draw us do after a long time they hitched another one to the train and we started on. It is quite old, the wheels creak dismally, the country about us looks bleak and as the fire in the car stoves is low we wrap our blankets about us and shiveringly wait for New York. As we pass through Metchuson and Rayway to Elizabeth, I could walk faster than the train goes. Instead of getting into New York at 4:20, this morning at 8' o'clock we are at Newark. Crossing the ferry from Jersey City we find ourselves at the foot of Courtland Street wondering if all New York drives a hack. We went up to Broadway, took a Broadway stage and went up to the New England Relief Association Rooms at 194 Broadway. There we had some good soup, some biscuit and butter and food, and tea. At 11 A.M. took a 4t. Avenue car and went up to the Harlem River Depot. Broadway and 4th Avenue are full of gay sleighs, gay furs and gay people.

We found the depot at the corner of 26th. Street and 4th. Avenue. Going in I got my tickets to Bellows Falls and return and at 12:15 the horses were hitched to the cars and we were drawn out to the Bergen tunnel at 29th. Street. There an engine was attached and passing under the Harlem River we pass through Stamford, Norwalk and Bridgeport, besides a lot of small places to New Haven 74 miles over as smooth a road as is known, there was no jolt and if it were not for the moving panorama outside would not have though we were moving. At 6:30 P.M. we reached Springfield, Mass. and then went into the depot Restaurant and got some hot tea and some warm food. This was needed by me for I was very hungry and considerably sleepy as well as cold. At 6:45 we started on but we ran but slowly and I went to sleep in my seat. Waked up at Greenfield and again at Brattleboro. The first I know after this we were just leaving Bellows Falls and I found that the conductor (Don), had got my tickets for me. After this I kept awake but we dragged along and it seemed as though we'd never et from one station to another.

I expected that after I got to New Haven the country would look familiar and homelike but when I went over the route in September the fields were full of tobacco or corn whilst now all is covered with snow. The snow was falling quite fast as we left Bellows Falls and it appears that the storm in Washington at about 6 P.M. yesterday has but just reached Vermont. Lieutenant Roswell C. Vaughn of my battery came and spoke to me in the cars near Brattleboro. He had considerable complaint to make of the other officers of the Battery.

Sunday Dec.11, 1864. [1864]

Instead of getting into White River Junction at about midnight we did not reach there until 2 o'clock this morning. Got out at South Royalton at about 4 A.M., thought at first I would go over and go to bed but after standing on the platform for a few moments concluded to go out and take a look towards home from the Post Office corner. The view I got from the corner was so like something had seen before that I was impelled to go and look across the bridge, doing so I was led on until about 5:30 I stood on the threshold at Home. Drawing in a long breath of satisfaction, I rapped and when father came to the door I asked him if he could keep a sick soldier until morning. Hesitating he turned and asked mother if she had an empty bed. She answered, "Yes," and then asked, "That you, Gene?" and as I answered yes, I soon had the household about me. A good fire was built, a pitcher of cider was drawn and I lay upon the lounge, Monarch by right of my coat of blue.

The warm fire soon put me to sleep and I slept until about nine A.M. and then I had to sit up and tell of all I had seen. Went over to "King's" and Heber weighed me. I weighted 102 lbs. Cousin Carl and a host of others called this afternoon.

Monday Dec. 12. [1864]

Visited King's and Uncle Earl's this afternoon and found times had changed matters in this slow place but little. At King's I find the same old gang of patriots? All willing to say at home for their country.

Tuesday, Dec. 13. [1864]

Make a general visit today to all in village that are friends. Milo Cushman forwards letters that reach me tonight.

Wed. Dec. 14. [1864]

About town visiting old friends to day.

Thursday Dec. 15, Friday Dec. 16, 17, 18, 19, [1864]

1. Ride down to South Tunbridge today.
2. Visiting friends and writing letters.
3. Went down to the church today and had a concert of my own.
4. Went to church today and found there the ole familiar faces.

Monday, Dec. 19. [1864]

Had the pleasure of informing some of those who went forth to capture Carl and I the fact that they were not sharp.

Tuesday, Dec. 20. [1864]

Visit the school in Dist. 18 today and call at James M. Whitney's.

Ed Hutchins's and I make an appointment to meet at Mr. John McIntosh's for a sing.

Wednesday Dec. 21. [1864]

Expecting Carl, Adelbert and I went to So. Royalton to meet him but he did not come. Find Ed. Foster here in business with C. c. Southgate yet. Go down to I. Tucker's with Wib McIntosh and sing a few songs with Matt and Mary this evening.

Thursday, Dec. 22. [1864]

Carl came at about eight o'clock last evening. He is much better. Go down to the church to a rehearsal this evening and have considerable fun and much music.

Friday, Sat. and Sunday, Dec. 23, 24, 25. [1864]

1. A dull day for loafing. Have gained 30 pounds of flesh in 12 days.
2. Play dominoes at Plunketts today.
3. Attended two services today and in the evening with Sue and Em Hayward, Nell King and Dell, went to prayer meeting.

Monday Dec. 26. [1864]

Went "by special request" to the church and assisted in preparing for the Christmas Tree. Ed Hutchins and I had an organ concert of our own. Attended the Christmas Tree Exhibition this evening and received numerous gifts from Kris Kringle.

Tuesday, Dec. 27. [1864]

Charlotte and I go to Williamstown in a storm today, find the girls at home and have a jolly time. I occupied the middle, sure.

Wednesday, Dec. 28. [1864]

Go with Lib down to a Mr. Bacon's and get rose Adams and for half the night the old house was at least lively. I took the center and part of the wings as well as the vanguards.

Thursday, Dec. 29. [1864]

Charlotte and I returned home today; Lib came with us; it was very stormy and we get pretty wet.

Friday, Dec. 30. [1864]

Very busy with calls today. Katie Lee came this evening and I went with her to Sue's, Mrs. W. P. Kings and Uncle Earl's. She is incline to ask many questions of Carl's doing and I shall expected to have her for a cousin someday. Carl went back today, too early for Katie.

Saturday, Dec. 31. [1864]

Went down to the church today with O. H. King and E. W. Hutchins and had a pleasant musical rehearsal.

A company of Home Guards was formed this afternoon R. Smith, Captain, Geo. Rowell, 1st Lieut. C. T. Dunberry, 2d Lieut.


Diary Continued Back to Introduction


Contributed by Eugene L. Rolfe, Las Vegas, Nevada, great-grandson of Eugene William Rolfe.