Eighth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers
Company A, Inc.
Old Bethpage Village, Long Island, New York
July 18-20, 2008
Old Bethpage Village, NY
Old Bethpage Village
July 20, 1862
The boys of the Eighth converged on the grounds of this beautiful little village on Friday afternoon, and established a small bivouac on the back lawn of a fine old farm house from the days of the Revolution. We were under the shade of an old grove of locusts, and hard by the old out house. The sheep were removed from the pen for safety, but the sow and bull pigs were left in the pen for our company.
We were greeted and welcomed into the ranks of the 119th NY and the associates of the 150th NY. Colonel Adler was very pleased with our reporting for duty, and was a fine gentleman in his treatment of all the troops. We were feeling very welcome, yet very hot. We proceeded past the guards and into the village for a dinner at a great inn, and gathered stores for the weekend. We spent the night in camp, off duty of course, and made the most of the old friends and new acquaintances.
Dawn brought reveille and roll call, and we found that the farm yard was also occupied by the 14th Brooklyn red legs. The morning activities yielded very little of the cooking nature as the heat was already building to unbearable with the rising of the sun. Mid morning, we were assembled for a sort of undress parade, and were advised that there were secesh in the environs. Sooner than not, we were called into line once more and marched off through the village.
We passed the fairgrounds and the grand exposition hall, via a very dusty road, but were rested in the shade of some of the barns hard by. Soon, we heard the sounds of skirmishing, and were marched by the flank towards the sounds of the battle. We came into line, and wheeled across a large green, and faced the Confederates directly. Several volleys pursuaded them to retire, and we followed, to the right, and past a tavern, and turned towards them and a church on the hill. We engaged and pushed hard, using street fighting to advance.
We were deployed to the right into a large open field, and came into line, facing the rebels who had dug into some trenches about 150 yards out. We commenced upon them, but the advantage was to them, as we were in the open, and they well protected. We were ordered to retire to the right, and return to our camp at the farm.
We spent the next several hours resting and coping with the extreme heat, just drinking water, and dozing in the shade. Late afternoon brought another alarm to sweep the rebels from their attempts to hold the village, and that was made at extreme efforts in the heat. The field music was there and entertained us in fine style as best they could muster in the dooryard of the farmhouse.
The evening brought a very well received supper invitation from the village residents, and they provided for all the boys with first rate rations of baked chicken, greens, soft bread, and many sweet treats for the compliments. We were all very grateful, and thanked them all so kindly for supporting the troops in the way that they did.
The evening was welcome, the sun setting bringing slight relief from the heat of the day. Yet, the dusk also produced such a host of moskitos that it was not at all pleasant to venture far from the fires that discouraged them and yet made us sweat some more.
The dawn on Sunday brought a visit into the farmhouse, at the request of the matron there. She was very hostitable, and showed us the place, and her pies for the oven. It was a great Quaker home, expanded many times over years, and now consisted of fourteen rooms.
The rest of the morning brought a copy of the activities described of Saturday, and the heat was equal to the same. We repeated the pass through the town to flush the pesky rebels once more, and with about the same effect. The afternoon wore on as the heat continued, and the second thrust was also repeated.
We finally determined to strike our little camp, pack the wagons, and head back to our own departments. After making the rounds of our old and newly made friends, we shook all the hands, and thanked them for the comraderie. Then we took up the march to rejoin our command.
The village of Old Bethpage is once more quite, and baking in the summer heat. The cows are in the pond, the geese are dropping about, and the pigs are swelling their bellies. What more could you ask, and what more could you want. We had a fine time on the adventure, and would like very much to repeat it, despite the bugs and the heat. It was a far better thing to keep the rebels in check, and not let them roll about in the fine little Union village. Old Bethpage is safe for another campaign.
Lincoln & Liberty,
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Eighth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers, Co.A, Inc.