Eighth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers

Company A, Inc.

Hammonasett 1997 Event Report

Hammonassett State Park
Madison, Connecticut
May 2-4, 1997
November 30th, 1864
Grahmville, S.C.
near Honey Hill.

Dear Brother,

I am pleased to have this opportunity to place pen in hand and write you some lines that you might find acceptable. The boys have been in another mess, and I will try to give you the particulars that you might not have read in the papers. We arrived on this ground on the Friday night last. It was not a hard trip, and we left off from the junction and got to our camp in less than a few hours. We were placed near the center of a rather large camp, of three brigades, ours the second, under Col. Mark Adler, and our brave 8CV band under the command of our beloved Capt. Kurtz. Lt. Boucher was granted a furlough to go home for the birth of his second daughter. God bless our children.

The evening was busy with the erecting of canvas, as if they intended to stay a while here in the presence of the enemy. We are in strong force, and our fires and singing made no bones of our numbers, perhaps by some singular calculations on the part of our officers. We had our fun til rather late, and turned in to a good sleep. The weather here is rather cool, but not uncomfortable, given the season.

In the morning the artillery greeted us starting from our beds, and we fell in, answered roll, and went about getting some coffee. The rain started steady, and kept up for hours. Being rather part animal from not residing between woo en walls for so long, it was not that queer to see men just standing in the r in without regard. And so it went through battalion dress parade, drill, &c, nd back in camp. We did have some sense to move our wood into a tent for the uxury of a fire without excessive labor.

About noon, we were drilled by our own NCO's in their quest to improve themselves in their duties, and that was quite acceptable to the men, as they know who it is that takes care of them. The boys that were certifiable corporals were Dan, Tim, and Mike, and they did a fine job of proving it to us all. Bully to them for their labors!

After a bit, our afternoon resulted in being called out to face the rebels nearby. We formed in battalions, marched to a clearing across from a pond, and arranged a storming column of divisions. We were in the second one, and were able to watch the deadly work of the first as they went in and pushed the enemy but with heavy results. Our brigade was sent forward about the time the first wave lost its momentum, and we went in in line of battle, then were sent in on the right of companys to the front, so that the relieved battalion could get off. Our fate at the front was about the same, as we were able to push the rebels into the woods beyond the pond between us, and no further, as they enjoyed the cover, and kept up their fight. We also were then relieved in a similar manne , and the third had their way with the rebels, as it was clear that they were out of powder, and could not face the odds of our three to their one. They retired, our command did not follow them, but concentrated on getting our wounded off the field that they were to abandon and return to our camps. Our artillery and pickets were left to hold the ground. Our comrades in the 14th Conn. were dispatched as stretcher bearers and aides to the surgeons. What a solid job they did in the face of such dangers. I am truely glad to have our friends to conduct our wounded to the rear.

We returned to our camps about the time the rains halted, and felt as if the Lord had indeed blessed our victory today with some comfort from the sky. We proceeded to clean our muskets under orders, and proceeded to prepare an unplanned company mess from all the bounty of the foraging talents from the little messes. It was our main dish, "Wow", and how it did relish! It seems no matter what the available ingredients, and what the proportions, our approach to our "Wow" always turns out about the same. We enjoyed it greatly, and set about enjoying our camp under the protection of the guards. A late fire watch detail was made up of volunteers that would protect the camp during the breezy night.

The morning came again much as it has for every day since enlistment, and the roll and the reminder that the army still does own our souls was at least broken in part by some Sabbath prayers. The normal camp duties continued as is normal, and we again had a battalion dress parade and drill. Officers are not always men of God, and do not always accept the Sabbath, but it is without grumbles that the men do their duty.

Just after our noon meal, we were able to hold a game of townball. This game is getting under the skin of all our boys, they are bully for the sport. The spectators were many, and they all seemed to be getting up with the game as well. The game this time was with the 1st Maryland lads, and they were off to a grand start, opening up a sizable lead. But, as they were getting cock sure of themselves, our constant pressure broke down their defenses and finally put us out in front for good, and we finished with a 15-11 victory. The Captain was heartily proud of us, more than after a battlefield success, and he provided some bitters to the boys. We are now talking of using the cowbell struck for scoring as the trophy of victory, to be possessed by the winner, and be produced as the stakes for the next game.

Soon enough, it was time to form and pursue the hoard again, since they were appearing on the opposite side of the pond again. They were bold enough to be making preparations for us in the form of rude works. This time it was the plan not to appear in as strong a force as we tried yesterday, and so only one battalion was exposed to their view in preparation for the attack, while the rest of the column was hiddden from their view along a narrow wood road til required. Under this type of cover, the best times the men recall are passed. Apples are passed around from the depths of the haversacks, and other vices shared. It can only be thought that the men are aware of the risks ahead, and take advantage of this last chance to show their regard for their comrades.

We did move out on the field after a time, and it was a scene of great carnage, given the lop-sided numbers. The boys in blue were littered on the ground and the rebels hardly could be seen in their woody cover, but they did enjoy a better support from guns brought up in the night to the works. Our battalion went in just like the day before, relieved the first, low on ammunition, and poured it into the woods and the rebels. We were in the center of the lines, and the numbers of casualties around us mounted. We kept closing the ranks, sending the wounded to the rear with the stewards, and kept it up. Soon, we too were ordered back, and about only half our numbers were able to get off in order. Our captain got us moving forward after the third brigade, this time on the left flank, when, to our demise, we were faced directly into one of their guns, loaded, and fired directly into our line. A great hole was blown into us, and many fell, myself included in the third rank. We laid and bled, and suffered greatly, but our God allowed us to all live, given the long range to the gun, and the lack of powder they were charging. The battle did wind down to an end the same way it did the day before, with the rebel rabble falling back under the pressure of our brave numbers, and their lack of ammunitions.

We reformed our lines, and secured our weapons, took a roll, and marched back to our camps. They again say that this was a victory, and we will not argue. There are us wounded that will not go to the brigade hospital and subject ourselves to the practices there. It is sure that our wounded will recover on their own with the help of our close friends, and that we will be granted that from our God.

We were very soon ordered to strike camp, prepare three days rations, and get ready to march at the next order. The wagons were loaded, and the bedrolls prepared. We did march out of that locale here at a stumbling route step that will take us I know not where, other than to be sure that the fight for the Union will be where we go.

All the boys are well enough, and we all send our hopes that the same is true for all our families and friends at home. Please send word of your trials as often as you can so that we might be as well posted as we all try our utmost to keep you.


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