1864

June Thursday 2nd

The steamer Fire Fly that towed our boats down returned today and reported that our boats did not make an attack last night as it was too bright and clear.

Friday 3rd

In forenoon Lieut. Dalton sent for me and introduced me to a man who he informed me was our future ship steward and requesting me to give him all the information that he needed. I showed him the books and how to keep them, and how to issue rations, etc. and explained everything that any man of common sense could need, but he is the thickest headed man that I have seen for some time. Our old steward had been sick in hospital for some time and I have been doing his duty during his absence. He came on board yesterday and I expected to turn the books (torn) Lieut. Dalton so, but he informed me that McLean was disrated. This is an act of injustice of he has been in service ever since the war broke out and the man that takes his place has just entered service to avoid being conscripted. In the afternoon the captain received a dispatch stating that our men had attacked the U. S. Steamer Water Witch and that the Yankees had killed and wounded all our men except 30 who had made their escape. When I heard the news I felt as if I had lost every friend that I had for I never felt so bad in my life. All the officers and men on board of our ship looked down in the mouth, but thank God in about an hour a dispatch was received from one of our officers that were on the expedition stating that our men had captured the Water Witch with small loss on our side. This made us all feel better. I was on watch from 8 PM to 12 Midnight. At 9 PM Bill Lowe who was discharged today came on board and informed us that he was just from the Naval Hospital where several of our own men and wounded Yankees were. They came in ambulances. Tom King and Antone Williams are among them. They both belong to our ship. They state that Jules Chabert is badly wounded in the bowels and that he is not expected to live. Hi is so bad off that they could not bring him up in the ambulances. Patrick Loftus one of our Qr gunners and Whiskey Bill were killed, also Moses our negro pilot was killed. These men belonged to our ship and their death is very much regretted by all the officers and crew for they were good and brave men.

Saturday 4th

Jack Perry our boatswain’s mate arrived at hospital today. He is severely wounded in the thigh but would not give up and fought like a hero until the vessel was taken. Lieut. Pelot who commanded the expedition was killed. During the day his remains together with those of the other killed were brought to the city and in the afternoon all the men were (torn) to the funeral of Lieut Pelot. We fell in and marched up to his late residence and just as we got there the rain began to fall in torrents. We then marched into the basement of the house and remained there for about an hour, but as the rain continued to fall in torrents and it was getting late we fell in again and marched with the corpse through the mud and water ankle deep to the Episcopal Church where the funeral service was read over him, then marched to Laurel Grove Cemetery. About three miles from the city, and buried him with military honors. Laurel Grove is the prettiest cemetery I have ever seen. Marched back to the ship and through mud and rain and arrived at 7 ½ PM, all hands wet to the skin and our clothes full of mud, changed our clothes, got supper and turned in.

Sunday 5th

A quiet and pleasant day, nothing worthy of note.

August Sunday 28th

Nothing to do all day except swabbing decks in morning.

Monday 29th

All hands washing clothes in morning and after quarters all hands at work raising the fore pivot gun off its carriage, the carriage being our of order. The carpenter fixed it and after dinner we put it back in place. On watch 12 M to 4 AM.

Tuesday 30th

Not much to do, took in 17 lbs. bread in afternoon.

Wednesday 31st

All hands washing clothes in morning, drill at B.S. gun in afternoon. John T. Lowe came on board. He is just from Wilmington, hard time of it on her having to work hard day and night and only three seamen on board, the balance were greenhorns. 27 of the crew deserted in Halifax. They were out from Wilmington (blank) days and captured 4 vessels. They bonded a few and burnt the balance.

Sept. 1st, 1864

Thursday: A cool and pleasant day. Hauled up two of our boats and put them in the warehouse to be painted. The Chattahoochee’s crew went to the Georgia in the morning, they have been with us ever since they came from Columbus, Ga. Two months ago and we are all truly glad they are gone for they were in our way and made us very uncomfortable living very much crowded.

Sept. 2nd

All hands busy in the morning washing clothes, scrubbing hammocks and holystoning spar decks. General quarters at 9 ½ AM. I was on watch all night.

Saturday 3rd

Holystoning gun and berth decks in morning.

Sunday 4th

Preaching in forenoon by a Methodist minister. I went on board the steamer Sampson after dinner and while there was taken with a chill. Came back and turned on a cotton bale. After the chill went off I had a violent fever which lasted all night.

Monday 5th

I had no fever in morning but felt very unwell yet I attended to my duty for I dislike going to a doctor. Drilled at B.S. gun at 9 AM. Had another chill at 12 M followed by a fever which lasted all day. Eat nothing all day.

Tuesday 6th

Felt a little better in the morning but reported to the doctor who gave me any quantity of quinine and a dose of oil. At 12 M I had a severe chill followed by a violent fever. Eat nothing all day, feverish and very restless night.

Wednesday 7th

No chill or fever today but took lots of quinine and a does of pills. Eat a little soup for dinner which is the only food I have tasted since Sunday. Felt pretty well all day but very weak.

Thursday 8th

Felt very weak in the morning and eat some breakfast. During the day I felt rather unwell but had no fever.

Friday 9th

My birthday, 29 years old today, not a cent in my pocket, my health gone forever, far away from home and but slim prospects of ever getting there again. This is encouraging, certainly. General quarters at 9 ½ AM but as I am on the sick list did not attend. Scrubbing spar deck and clothes in the morning.

Saturday 10th

Holystoning gun and berth deck in morning. I am still on sick list having a violent cough and pains in my breast. In the afternoon forty two of our men from the different vessels to the amt. of 100 men were sent up town to guard a lot of Yankee prisoners. Our ships looked deserted. I expect they will have to guard them until they are exchanged and I feel that they never will be for the Yankee government refuses to exchange privates but will exchange officers. I have not yet seen the prisoners, but all who have say it is an awful sight.

Sunday 11th

My cough is a little better today but I am still taking medicine for it. Had a wretched headache all day. Wrote friend Crusoe today.

Monday 12th

Men washing clothes. No drill for there is nobody to drill. I feel quite well but the doctors won’t take me off the list. Still have a cough and am taking medicine for it.

Tuesday 13th

Cool and pleasant. I am on the list yet although I feel quite well. Men washing clothes.

Wednesday 14th

I came off the sick list this morning, feel first rate but the cough troubles me at times.

Thursday 15th

Drill at fore pivot gun in morning, the remnants of the broadside gun and of the fore pivot were put together and then we had a very slim crew. I was in the guard boat at night. Pulled down against a very strong tide. Pleasant all night.

Friday 16th

Started at 4 AM with a fair tide and pulled up the river. Arrived at the Ram at 3 ¼ AM got breakfast and I turned in and slept till l0 ½ AM.

Saturday 17th

All hands holystoning decks etc. I was quite sick through the night, felt very unwell all day. After dinner I went in the dinkey (dinghy?) and got a load of wood from the government yard, pulled up against a strong tide distance about 1 ½ mile. Our vessels looked deserted now for about ½ crew are guarding prisoners and a lot of them are on board sick.

Sept 18th

Rainy morning. I feel pretty well this morning. After dinner I went on shore and went to see our boys that are guarding the Yankee prisoners. Some of them like the change first rate and others would rather be on board the Ram. I had a good look at the prisoners. They were very dirty and ragged and some are naked and the place stinks awful. Came on board at 5 PM. Sick through the night.

Monday 19th

Washing clothes in morning, rain all forenoon. I went to work after dinner on the gun deck helping carpenter’s mate cutting out a lot of the deck under the broadside guns and putting in oak.

Tuesday 29th

A rainy day. At work all day on deck. Very heavy rain all night.

Wednesday 21st

I was at work all day on deck. Very heavy rain all night. Worked on dressing planks. Had a severe fever and headache all night.

December Tuesday 17th

Started at daylight and arrived at Wilmington at 11 AM very tired and sore, drew a pair of shoes and went to the navy yard and were ordered to hold ourselves in readiness to leave for a battery somewhere on a river. Drew some rations and remained there all day, and night. Got but little sleep for a lot of the men came in drunk and kept up a noise all night and the place is overrun with lice. They were running over and biting me all night. I should not say lice for it is vulgar, the proper name for them is soldier bug.

Wednesday 18th

Turned out at daylight and got breakfast and packed up ready for a start. At 1 PM all hands fell in and went to Fort Campbell. I and 2 more remained behind and started with the provision wagon at 4 PM, arrived at sunset. This battery mounts 1 eight inch smooth bore, 1 eighteen pounder, 1 twenty-four, and two thirty-two pounders, all smooth bore. The qrs. are old leaky shanties, not half enough room for us, 6 of us sleep out doors.

Thursday 19th

Turned out at daylight and got breakfast, on guard – pleasant day. Cannonading all day down the river. All hands were ordered to hold themselves ready to fight at moment warning for we are expected that the enemy will be up the river any minute. In the afternoon a flat came down with two 9 inch Dahligrine (sic) guns. All hands except the guard worked on them getting them ashore. Knocked off at midnight. I came off post at midnight and had just turned in when one of the sentinels fired his gun. The guard turned our etc. but it was a false alarm, some animal in the woods no doubt.

Friday 20th

I came off guard at 8 AM and went carrying pine legs to slide the guns on. Worked all day and succeeded in getting the guns up the hill at 10 PM when we knocked off, all hands wet for it had been raining all the time and I have no clothes except what I have on. Turned in in my wet clothes and slept well.