Bygones of Monroe:
Fourth Regiment – Its March from Adrian to Harrisburg
On the March, June 25, 1861
We left Camp Williams at 9 a.m. with the usual excitement and bustle, attending the departure of a thousand men, just leaving home and friends to engage in a cause fraught with the deepest interest. The men begin to realize that they are soldiers, and take pride in their profession. The Regiment has improved quite fast in drill since going into camp, but we anticipate more rapid progress when we get away from home. The oft repeated visits home have kept the Regiment broken so badly for the last ten days that neither officers or privates were present for a tolerable show at drill or parade.
But one man was so sick as to be left behind at the Hospital. Co. A. has had less sickness than any other Company, probably owing to their being quartered in tents, and besides, they had received such excellent instructions before going into camp.
The men seem to be in good spirits, pleased with the prospects of realizing their aspirations so soon.
The train of 28 passenger cars left Adrian at 11:10, arriving at Toledo at 12:30. To much praise cannot be given Supt. Campbell for the excellent arrangements he made for our comfort. It was the best evidence of his patriotism and ability.
5:30 p.m.—The train has been greeted by the people of farm houses and R.R. stations, with smiles, bouquets and cheers all the day. Men, women, and children have been ready at all stations when the train stopped, with pails of ice water to refresh the soldiers. At Norwalk, hundreds of bouquets—very beautiful, like the giver—were thrown in the cars. The universal expression seems to be, “You’re all right; go ahead.”
Wednesday 2 p.m.—The train has just left Olean, New York, where coffee has been served to the Regiment. The scenes through which we have passed this forenoon have been very pleasant. The richly wooded highlands which commence the Allegany range, and the swift running streams which feed it, form a striking contrast to the mountainous scenery of Michigan, with its vast plains, its sluggish rivers, and lakes.
There is very little land skirting the New York and Erie Railroad, adapted to agricultural purposes. The only land which can be cultivated, is the valleys lumber, shingles, staves, and bark are the staple products.
We have been treated better in New York and Pennsylvania than in Ohio. At Cleveland they had a table expressly for the officers furnished tolerably, charging 50 cents apiece—a compliment not very well appreciated, I believe. At Erie, Pa, we found this morning scores of men and women with baskets of cakes, which they had waited all night at the depot to give us. Such kindness tells better on our hearts just now, than bouquets, waving flags, or firing cannon.
Willamsport, Pa, Thursday, 7 a.m.—We left Elmira, N.Y. last night at 10 p.m. The ladies of Elmira had a very fine supper prepared for us at the barracks of the N.Y 23rd Regiment, which has been quartered at that place for two months. While we were at Elmira, two men were stabbed in a whisky brawl. One of them was a soldier belonging to the 23rd. He was stabbed by a woman. The knife opened his windpipe, and severed the jugular vein.
Harrisburg, Pa, 3 p.m.—We arrived here about noon, since which, our men have been busy pitching tents. Our camp is one mile from the City. Each Company is furnished with eleven tents, which will accommodate the soldiers quite well. After leaving Williamsport this morning one of the soldiers belonging to the Company K. (Dexter Union Guard) fell from the cars while attempting to climb to the top of a car, and fractured his skull. The surgeon thinks it doubtful whether he recovers.
The crops, as we approached near this place, looked very well, and were far ahead of New York or Michigan in growth. Wheat fields fully ripened, corn in the tassel, ripe cherries, and ripe field raspberries, formed a very pleasing contrast with the backwardness of our own state. The valley of the Susquehannah is very beautiful. The mountains were objects of no little interest to us. To see an occasional coal vein cropping out, or the rocks reddened with traces of iron, was a novel sight to many of us. The strata of the bluffs on the Susquehannah are inclined to the north from 30 to 80 degrees.
(A private letter received this morning from one of the boys of the Smith Guards, under date of the 28th ult, says: “We will get our arms and five dollars apiece, if nothing happens, today. We will probably leave here Monday. We have been told along the road that we were the best Regiment that has passed through. There is another Regiment here, but they are not uniformed.”)
(Monroe Commercial, July 4, 1861, Page 3, Column 2)