THE REGIMENT TRANSPORTED TO GRAFTON, VA.
On the evening of the 8th of
July, the Regiment with its tents, baggage, transportation, &c., was
embarked on board the cars at Camp Dennison, and rapidly rolled away to
the Seat of War. We had heard of the route of Garnett's army by McCLELLAN,
of the brilliant dash of LANDER and KELLY
at Phillippi, and every man was anxious to push forward, and, at
least, "Be in at the death" PHINEAS P. MERWIN
had been elected sutler of the Regiment and was aboard with a stock of
goods that put the idea of hunger and thirst out of the question. S.
B. FULLER, of Norwalk, commonly known as "Jonathan,"
was made wagon-master, and he was on hand with his transportation and
cargo of quartermaster and commissary stores.
The men were noisy and jolly all night, not seeming to
care about sleep, and when daylight came, the road side was literally
lined up with people who had congregated along the route to cheer us
onward. At Zanesville, a splendid lunch was in readiness for us, and
the whole town seemed to be present with good things and cheering words.
Banners were waiving everywhere. Bands were playing. Songs
were sung. The Flag, the Country, the President, the Army, and the
Eighth Ohio were cheered. and "three times three and a tiger" could be had
for almost anything, and at any time for the asking. We arrived at
Bellaire, and same in sight of the grand old river that separated the
loyal from the disloyal states. Nothing could be heard but "Away
down south in Dixie," parodied and paraphrased in the most uncomplimentary
terms of the "Chivalry."
We were soon across the river, loaded into some
crazy old cars, and on our way to Grafton, one hundred miles east of the
The train wound along among the mountains at a very
slow rate of speed, frequently stopping for trains to pass or for some
other purpose, so that it was near daylight when we arrived at Fetterman,
near Grafton. Here we stopped until eight or nine o'clock. The
men built fires in the woods, cooked their breakfast, and being worn out
with the journey and two wakeful nights, sought a quiet place and
addressed themselves to sleep.
Lieut. Col. PARK and the writer reported to
Gen. HILL, then in command, and had a long
conversation about the situation of affairs, and what was expected of us.
Garnett's army seemed to be on the retreat,
and the force under Gen. HILL was expected to cut
off and capture it. Maps were examined and the line of retreat
traced along Cheat river and over the summit of the Alleghenies, near the
source of the Potomac.
Gen. HILL was awaiting orders or
information from the army in pursuit of Garnett, and in the mean time our
troops retained possession of the cars at Fetterman.
On this night, we were for the first time aroused by
the "long roll," and formed in line of battle. A picket line was
thrown out along a line of hills in our front. The long roll beat
and the regiment was formed in the twinkling of an eye. Desperate
work was expected. On officer was said to have sallied forth with a
navy revolver in each hand and his sword in his teeth! The innocent
cause of the alarm was soon ascertained. The fact was that an
inquisitive cow had approached one of the sentinels who fired, dispersing
the cow and summarily arousing the troops. This fact having been
ascertained by our commander, we fell back in good order to our bunks.