Eighth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers

Company A, Inc.

Wickham Park 1997 Event Report

Wickam Park
East Hartford, Connecticut
August 22-34, 1997
August 24th, 1862
somewhere in Virginia

Dear Friends,

We are on the move in rather small force around these environs. The land about this place is quite used up, from the foraging of the rebel army, portions of which have preceeded us through here. We established a camp in a fine meadow with an open hill hard by, and are currently pressing the enemy to the west. The rebel camps are within a mile of here on the other side of the hill.

We awoke slowly with the sun on Saturday, and got our victuals on the fires. This was followed by the obligatory roll call, and company drill. We drilled some in the old manner, then drilled with our two new stands of color, becoming learned in the color guard and drill. This is a great honor for us, we are expecting to be named the color company and serve the battalion soon. We were soon organized fo a battalion dress parade, where the Colonel informed us that our orders were to remain in our camp, and not engage the enemy, but hold firm to our position.

The life in camp dragged slowly on as the forenoon and the midday passed. There was a strong picket out, and occasionally we could hear them making contact with the Confederate pickets. Around 2.00 of the clock in the afternoon, the sound was increasing and the mention of some trouble ran through our camp.

Soon, we did see an enemy company emerge from the wood line on the south side of the hill, and another company of their skirmishers approaching the crest. The long roll was sounded, and we all turned out in a hurry, but still expecting that our saber rattling would scare them away without a fight. That turned out not to be true. The 22d Mass was sent out as skirmishers, and the old 8CV was sent to support. Soon the 25th Mass and the rest of the camp was under arms. The skirmish was sharp, and soon, we were ordered to advance our first platoon as skirmishers on the right of the line, and did well for a while. We took some casualties, and then were ordered to move from the right of the line in order to the left to support the 22d, and make room for the main infantry and our guns to work on the right. On the left flank, we reeinforced that skirmish line which was just about used up, we did a charge bayonet, and took some hits ourselves. Only one man was left to run away as the rebel lines pressed past our line. But the main infantry poured it in and outnumbered the rebels, so contested their advance.

The rebels charged with a fury, and swept our boys back, and they turned one of our guns on us, as they pushed through the gap in a flash. But this was foolhardy on their part, since once we regained our composure, a complete battalion front was organized, and advanced on them with the desired effect. We turned the guns back, and a couple vollies of combined artillery and musketry ended the match with the rebels skedaddling from whence they came. We retrieved the injured, buried the dead, and proceeded back to our camps.

That afternoon, we were challanged to a game of Massachusetts Townball by our rivals, the 1st. Maryland. The game was lively, and ended with our victory by a score of 16 to 15. The game was hard, close, and spirited, but our bats prevailed once again. Hurrah! and Bully for the 8th! Back in the camps, the citizens of these parts took some time to visit us, and ask us questions about the army, and its intentions. Since we do not know the intentions, and would not tell citizens in this territory, we were obliged to be polite, yet ignorant. This is the standing order, as if one would have to order enlisted men to act this way. No matter, for it is very acceptable to have some new faces to see, and new voices to talk with, indeed.

As time for evening mess approached, Hal got some chickens and roasting ears on the spit and coals, and we all had a fine meal for his efforts. We thanked him emmensely, although he never did tell where the chickens came from. The evening was off to a good start as we sat around the fires and sang some of our favorite songs. We sang a long time, and late, many from the other circles joined us, till we had quite a number of voices being raised, including four heavenly womens' voices, two quitars, a mandolin, and two harmonicas to sweeten the normal soldiers voices. This was a grand combination, and we ended up singing almost every song we knew, and even some we did not.

The morning brought revielle in the form of an artillery round a 6.30 of the clock, and everyone was up with a start. Coffee, salt pork, and other morning messes commenced, and were soon followed by the normal course of events in the army, being roll call, drill, dress parade.

That sabbath afternoon, the rebels had the audacity to repeat their performance of the day before, and without enumerating the particulars, it had the very singular same programme as the day before. One only prays for the success of our arms, and the coming of an honorable peace. It might be that the rebels are also hoping for the same, but their actions show that they have some fight in them yet, and will not shy from the chance to bloody our nose, even if it costs them an arm and a leg.

The mails had come Thursday last, and I had no letters from home. It was a disappointment to me, but I was comforted by letters to my friends here that contained news from home. Please write often, and I will try to do the same. I am praying that you are all well, and I can tell you all the boys from home that are here are first doing rate. God Bless Lincoln and Liberty!

Your obedient servant,

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