Sunday, March 30, 2008

Getting to the Peninsula, Part 2

Captain Kautz's diary contained more details on the regiment's cruise to the Peninsula as it progressed.

“March 28. – The rest of the regiment embarked this morning, and the steamer, loaded with troops, began to take the schooners in tow, without a reference, however, to what company or squadron they belonged, and I lost sight of Balder. About 2 o’clock my schooner was taken in tow. We were towed down as far as Mathias Point and there the steamer anchored. We are not going to make a very rapid passage. Captain Mercer is the skipper, a pious Jerseyman from Cape May. The steamer Long Branch has us in tow.” (Supplement to the OR, Volume 1, page 113)

One item nearly always found in personal accounts is the weather conditions. This personal detail, important to the person riding or fighting or sleeping in it, is often absent from historical accounts.

“March 29. – We reached the mouth of the Potomac and anchored about dark. Since noon a snow storm has been prevailing and the atmosphere is so thick that we cannot possibly travel after night. Nothing of note transpired. My health is improving. There has been a considerable snowfall, and it now lies three inches deep on the docks.” (Supplement to the OR, Volume 1, page 113)

In a message to Major General McClellan from the steamer Commodore on the 29th, Assistant Adjutant General S. Williams stated, “All the regular cavalry except the Second Regiment has now embarked.” (OR, Ser I, Vol 11, Pt III, pg 51)

“March 30. – The weather did not promise very fair this morning but the wind was favorable, and with steam and sail together we reached Hampton Roads and anchored without any event of importance. We found the harbor full of vessels.” (Supplement to the OR, Volume 1, page 113)

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