Friday, May 16, 2014

Monday, May 16, 1864

Nancy and I papered the sitting room -- it looks very nicely.
The accommodation train on the Union road began to run to-day.  It goes down about 11 o’clock in the morning and up again at three o’clock P. M.  William went to Marietta & then to Belpre and was home again by the middle of the Afternoon.  There passed down two trains conveying a regiment of National Guards from Camp Dennison to Parkersburg from whence they proceed to Washington.  Belonging to this regiment was cousin Mason D. Parker.  He is a teacher of one of the principal schools in Cincinnati, and the company to which he belongs is almost entirely composed of city teachers.  Another cousin Eben. Parker a lawyer in Millford is Adjutant of a regiment which passed over the road a few days ago.

Peggy's comments:

Rufus Dawes wrote again to his wife, Mary Gates Dawes:

Line of Battle near Spottsylvania, May 16th, 9 A. M.
Last night we were ordered to charge the enemy's entrenchments, provided he attacked Burnside's corps on our right, but no attack was made and for the time being we were spared another scene of horrid butchery.  We know absolutely nothing of what is going on outside of our army or even within it.  We have had no newspapers since May 3rd, and get only a pitiful handful of mail for cooks, orderlies and lieutenants of staff at the various headquarters.   Put 'Headquarters First Brigade, Fourth Division, Fifth Corps,' on your letters and perhaps some may get through.

Rufus's father-in-law, Beman Gates, was in Fredericksburgh, VA, attempting to bring supplies and to discover information about Rufus.  He wrote to his wife, Betsey Gates, on May 16th from Fredericksburgh:

I walked from the Potomac here yesterday, the last four miles in a very severe rain and hail storm.  I am sick but hard at work.  The latest news from the front is that Rufus was well and safe Saturday P.M.  There was a report two days ago, that he was killed on Wednesday, but I have talked with M. Dempsey, First Lieutenant of company 'A', twenty-fourth Michigan, who left the front yesterday, and he says that on Saturday afternoon between two and three o'clock he saw Colonel Dawes and talked with him.  The Chaplain of the Twenty-fourth says that Dempsey is a reliable man.
You cannot conceive of the suffering here.  Every house, barn, and shed is a hospital, and although everything possible is done, the accommodations are imperfect.  The roads by the late rains are so cut up, that the transportation of the wounded men to the river is in many cases fatal.  The delay in receiving sanitary and hospital stores is very great.  It is impossible to get reliable information from the front.  Last night it was currently reported that Grant was falling back, and that General Warren's corps would be in Fredericksburgh.  This morning men from the front report that our general hospital was yesterday advanced to Spottsylvania, and that General Grant had issued a congratulatory order.  One hour we hear that Butler is in Richmond, and the next that he has been whipped.  We know almost nothing, except that on every hand are thousands of brave men suffering and dying.  The Sanitary and Christian commissions are doing a great deal, but their supplies cannot be got forward.  The stores that I started with are yet at Belle Plaine, but I hope will be got through to-day.  I send this to Washington by an Ohio man, who is going there with a wounded son, and he will mail it from there upon his arrival. 

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