Eighth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers
Company A, Inc.
Old Sturbridge Village Time Line Event Report
Old Sturbridge Village
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August 6-7, 2005
August 7th, 1863
Having received special invitation from the Governor to come North and do some recruiting, a detail for that purpose started arriving here in this counrty town around dusk on Friday evening from the various stations. It was a fine little town, much like home, and various details were being encamped in various meadows around the town. We were placed in a nice field along the river behind a saw mill and a grist mill. We erected our tents, and adorned the Captain's shelter with a big old fly, and set up headquarters there.
The evening was passed in light talk and song around the fires, and many a story from the front were told once more in this more peaceful environs. The night was unusually cool, but there was not extreme discomfort, excepting the mosquitoes that were so thick their buzzing would keep one awake, and their bites were numerous, even through the clothes and blankets. Breakfast came and we all ate well on fresh rations. The battalion of five companies was formed in the field and we marched to the town green, where the local militia raised the flag with much pomp and ceremony. All were drwan up in line, and all was calm. We returned to camp, and we held many a conversation with the citizens coming to visit us, but the recruiting was none. If an able bodied man had not gone to war yet, he probalby was a bomb proof, and will neot come until drafted if even then.
Around 11.00 o'clock, the battalion marched once more for the green, where we held a formal dress parade for the review of the town. All in attendence were impressed with the veteran troops and the conduct of the officers. We returned to camp once, more, and around 1.00 P.M. we once again formed and marched into the town. We took up a position in a long line of march, which started with the French & Indian troops, the British, the Militia, the Union Army, and the Confederate troops. The parade stepped off, and circled the green, then circled the whole town, and returned to the green. It was a warm day, and many a canteen was emptied along the route. The townsfolk were all turned out at every doorstep, and cheered us on magnificently. After the parade, our company was stationed above the mills and conducted a fine weapons and tactics demonstration for the public. It was very well received. Then we returned to camp to get a load off our dogs.
Supper was prepared, and again, a fine night was passed in the camps. Several groups of citizens came round during the evening, to be entertained by the camp life, and we were going to show them the Governor's veteran reenlistment orders and discuss if the $300 bounty was enough to keep boys in the ranks. But none came to our fire. We held a company meeting that discussed preservation of monuments at the State Capitol among other company financal issues. The night was passed about the same as the last, but the mosquitoes seemed to be a little lighter.
The next day, being the Sabbath, was spent still on detail, and the schedule for the day was essentially the same again. After the parade, the battalion stacked arms along a small brook, and rested a bit, but was then called into line of battle. The Colonel advanced a company at a time over a small foot bridge, and into a field bisected by a fence line. We were engaged directly by the Confederates at a good distance, and our manuevers were teased by the whine of balls. We were able to check the left and right flanks, and then the Colonel advance us into the center, trying to gain the gate by which we could enter the upper field and attack the rebels directly. We opened by company, and in the process of movements, we disturbed a large nest of ground bees. They were swarming all over our line, charging us, and attacking with bayonet, and the ability to concentrate on loading and firing at the more distant enemy was compromised to a great deal. We were screaming to the Colonel, Bees, Bees, and so he ordered us forward and to the left, more towards the gate, but the black and yellow minie balls kept following us. We finally moved far enough away to ony be harassed by a file of them here and there, and we were also able to destroy the rebel right flank, and commence to roll down the line to our right. The sausy rebels held some, ran some, and then capitulated. With our victory, we returned to camp to lick our wounds and stings, and proceeded to break camp, and return to the seat of war without any enlistment papers.
Please continue to direct via Washington, as the mail will not follow us here, and will catch up to us when we arrive back with the Corps.
Your obedient servant,
Eighth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers, Co.A, Inc.