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ALEXANDER HART DIARY

Typescript copy courtesy American Jewish Archives

Keep A-goin’!
If you strike a thorn or rose,
Keep a-goin’!
If it hails or if it snows,
Keep a-goin’!
‘Taint no use to sit an’ whine
When the fish ain’t on your line;
Bait your hook an’ keep on tryin’—
Keep a-goin’!

When the weather kills your crop,
Keep a goin’!
When you tumble from the top,
Keep a-goin’!
S’pose you’re out o’ every dime?
Gittin’ broke ain’t any crime;
Tell the world you’re feelin’ prime!
Keep a-goin’!

When it looks like all is up,
Keep a-goin’!
Drain the sweetness from the cup,
Keep a-goin’!
See the wild birds on the wing!
Hear the bells that sweetly ring!
When you feel like sighin’ – sing!
Keep a-goin’!

Alexander Hart
Com’g 5th La. Reg’t,
Hays’ La. Brigade,
Gordon’s Division,
Ewell’s Corps,
Army North’n Va.

Care
Mr. A.Z. Ezekiel,
99 Main Street,
Richmond, Va.

Or
Mr. N. Ezekiel,
Cor. 12th and Marshall St.
Richmond, Va.

Left Richmond, July 6th, 1864, 6 A.M. o’clock.

Provost Marshal’s office, Richmond, July 4th, 1864

Special order:

Having received orders from Gen’l Ro’t E. Lee to send all soldiers in this city belonging to the 2nd Corps A.N.Va. to their command by way of Staunton, Major Alex’r Hart, 5th La. Reg’t will take command of a detachment of 250 men of said corps and such commissioned officers as may report to him for duty. He will take said detachment to Staunton, Va., by rail and thence, with all dispatch, to said command, wherever it may be, reporting to Lt. Gen’l J.A. Early. Lt. Masters will furnish transportation.

Signed: J’st. Carrington, Maj’r and Pro. Marshal.

Copy.

Left Richmond at 6 A.M. Tuesday, July 6th. Arrived at railroad terminus 9 P.M. Camped for the night.

7th

Marched at 4 ½ A.M. Entered Staunton at 7 ½ A.M. Many men complaining. Had some eighty examined by the surgeons who reported about thirty-five unfit for service. Left Staunton at 1 ½ P.M. Camped nine miles from said place at 7 P.M.

8

Started at 4 ½ A.M. Reached Harrisonburg (twenty-five miles) at 4 P.M. Issued two days’ rations and camped on the Court House grass. The men’s rations were cooked by the ladies of the town.

9

Left Harrisonburg at 4 ½ A.M. Entered New Market at 6 ½ P.M. Camped at the Springs one mile from town, distance twenty-eight miles. Issued rations.

10

Rations cooked at the hotel in New Market. Did not reach camp til 7 ½ A.M. Started on the march at 8 ½ A.M. Entered Mt. Jackson at 2 ½ o’clock P.M., distance four miles. Men being fatigued, camped one mile from town in rear of Mr. Allen’s house with whose family I am asked to supper.

11

Started at 4 A.M. Camped near Strasburg, distance made about sixteen miles.

12

Started at 2 ½ A.M. Rested nine hours during the day. Camped three miles from Winchester. Made twenty-one miles.

13.

Entered Winchester at 5 ½ A.M. o’clock. Reported to Col. Godwin and camped one-half miles from town. Reorganized the bat’n into five companies. Brigade divisions.

14

Reports of various kinds in circulation, but unreliable. Col. Owen of No. Ca. Assumes command of the forces and makes his [] at the place of my quarters.

15

Early reported at Leesburg on way to Winchester. Formed another company to my [] making six companies of about 500 men in all.

16

X X X X X X

17

Received marching order.

18

Marched from Winchester at 4 A.M. Col. Owens of N.C. in command of the [] on way. Command transferd to me. Was relieved at Berryville at 1 o’clock. Reached regiment at 3 P.M. Found brigade in line of battle under fire of shell, on the Shenandoah River opposite Snider’s Gap. Drove the enemy into the river. Returned to camp at 9 P.M.

19

Rested all day. Started on march at midnight in direction of Berryville.

20

March’d all day. Made about thirty-one miles. Camped five miles from [] Royal.

21

Marched at daylight. Fell back to Middletown on Nalley Pike.

22

Marched at light of day. Formed line of battle at Strasburg. Sent afterwards to guard a fort.

23

Still at Strasburg.

24

Moved at daylight towards Winchester. Encountered the enemy at Kernstown, four miles from Winchester. The whole of our line attached and drove the enemy to and through Winchester. Bivouacked in open field four miles from Winchester. The enemy retreated in great disorder to Martinsburg. Made twenty-five miles, six of which in line of battle. Rained very hard. No shelter.

25

Still raining. Wet and cold. Marched at 4 P.M. Halted at Bunker Hill, two miles from Winchester to rest and cook.

26

Marched at daylight. Reached Martinsburg and encamped on the Opeccan River, one and a half miles from town. Commenced destroying Balt. And Ohio R.R. Went to see the families of Hinkel and Butler. Received very warmly.

27

The camp in same place. Still burning cross ties.

28

Went to see Hinkels. Took supper at their house.

29

Visited Butlers and dined there.

30

Took dinner at Hinkel’s

31

The army moved to Darksville, seven miles on the pike towards Winchester. Went into camp.

Aug’t 1st, 2nd, 3rd.

Resting in camp at Darksville.

4

Moved at daylight and, taking the road leading to Leetown en route to Sheppardstown, camped one mile from latter place. Dined with Mrs. F. at 2 P.M. Supped and spent evening with Mr. Hinkel.

5

Moved at 5 A.M. Crossed the Potomac and through Sharpsburg. Sharp shooting commenced a short distance from town. Breakfasted with Mrs. F. when passing through Sheppardstown.

6

Moved at sunrise. Passed the old [Antietam] battle field. Saw the place I had been wounded at 17th Sept., 1862. Made a circuitous march to Williamsport. Crossed the river and encamped at Falling Water.

7

Moved at daylight. Passed through Martinsburg. Encamped at Darksville. Remained in camp until 9th. Marched to Bunker Hill.

10

Moved at daylight to Jordan’s Springs. Sent on picket duty. Moved at 3 A.M., 11th. Skirmished with the enemy near Winchester until 8 P.M. o’clock. Moved into bivouac.

12

I am a man,

So weary with disaster, [] with fortune,
That I could set my life on any chance,
To mend it or be rid on’t.

When once sordid interest seizes on the heart, it freezes up the source of every warm and liberal feeling; it is an enemy alike to virtue [] taste; this it perverts, and that it annihalates. The time may come when death shall dissolve the sinews of avarice and justice be permitted to resume her rights.

Started at daylight. Formed line of battle near Strasburg.

12th, evening

Skirmished with the enemy. Moved at 9 P.M. two miles south of Strasburg and took position on line of battle. The La. Brigades on a mountain top.

13, 14, and 15, 16.

Still in same position between the mountains called Maznette and North Mountain.

17

Marched at sunrise towards Winchester. Reached [] town at 2 P.M. Rested one hour. Formed in line of battle. Commenced to advance. Skirmished hourly. The enemy retreated slowly followed f[] continually. 9 P.M. opposite Winchester. Ordered to halt. The Yankees continued to retreat. Order’d to rest and cook rations. Casualties very few. Captured a Lt. Col. And some dirty non-coms. Officers and men. Find that we have been engaged with the 6th Army (Yankee) Corps. The Yankee force estimated at 60,000, commanded by Gen’l Sheridan.

18

12 noon. Resting in same place. Anderson’s Corps camp up this morning and continued to travel on the Martinsburg Road. Raining.

19

Moved at daylight and camped about noon one-half a mile from Bunker Hill. Cooked rations. Raining.

20

Still at Bunker Hill. Camp very swampy. Raining.

21st

Moved at 5 o’clock towards Charlestown via Smithfield. Met the enemy four miles from latter place. Formed line of battle and skirmished all day.

22nd

The enemy having retired to Harper’s Ferry, moved at 6 o’clock A.M. to Charlestown. Camped one mile from town and prepared rations. Raining very hard.

23

In camp all day.

24

On picket all day and night.

25

Moved about 7 A.M. Formed line of battle at Leetown. Engaged the Yankee cavalry. Had a rousing fight from Leetown to three miles east Sheppardstown. Distance over nine miles. Casualties in both brigades about thirty odd, principally by schrapnel shot and shell. Col. Monaghan [] Brig. Shot through head. Camped near Sheppardstown about 8 ½ o’clock P.M.

26

Camped all day. Acted as field officer of day and pallbearer for Col. Monaghan with Gen’l York, Col. Wiggaman, Maj. Grogan, Lt. Col. [] and Maj. Singleberry. Took dinner and breakfast with Mrs. Frerry.

27

Moved at 8 A.M. o’clock and camped at 3 o’clock at Bunker Hill.

28

Inspection at 12 noon but revoked. Orders to move, but did not.

29

Inspection at 9 A.M. o’clock. Moved at 10 o’clock in direction of Smithfield. Met the enemy. Formed line of battle and advanced to support the skirmish. Line drove the Yankees one mile past Smithfield and returned to camp after dark to Bunker Hill. Distance marched about fourteen miles. Casualties in brigades about thirty. My regiment (had) three wounded.

30

Orders to move at sunrise. Still in camp.

31

Moved at 10 A.M. Camped near []

1st Sept’r.

In camp.

2nd Sept.

Sept 3rd.

Moved at noon to Bunker Hill. Camp back to camp at 4 P.M. Moved at 7 P.M. Raining. [] night very [] Bivouacked in field on [] two miles from Winchester. Marched eight miles.

Dept. 4

10 A.M. Cooking rations. Moved about 4 P.M. a short distance forward and [] 5 P.M. moved to the Peighton Road, one mile from Winchester. Raining. Rained all night.

5

Wet and miserable. No shelter from rain. 6 A.M. Moved half a mile to procure water and wood to cook.

6, 7, 8

Raining night and day. Very cold. Still on picket. On the Romney Road one mile from Winchester. Bivouacked on a hill. Several orders to prepare to move, but countermanded. Heard skirmishing on the Berryville and Martinsburg Pikes, and ordered to be ready to support Kershaw’s Dv. Or []erry’s Brig.

9

Moved at 5 P.M. and camped near Brucetown, six miles from Winchester.

10, 11, 12, 13

Still in camp. Weather rainy and cold.

14

Skirmished with the enemy on the Opequon River ‘til 7 P.M. o’clock, then retired to old camp near Brucetown.

15

In camp. All quiet. Twelve midnight. Orders to move at sunrise.

16

Twelve noon. Still in camp.

17

Orders to move at 2 o’clock. Marched at 3 o’clock and camped at Bunker Hill about dusk.

18

Moved at 4 A.M. Reached Martinsburg 10 A.M. Attacked and routed the cavalry. Noon returned to Bunker still having marched twenty-five miles today.

19

Moved at 4 A.M. towards Winchester. When within three miles of town, heard heavy firing and about 10 A.M., met the enemy. Fought in our front with success, but about 4 P.M. the left of the army giving way in confusion, compelled Gordon Div. To follow rapidly, after which the troops rallyed twice, but broke at last into complete rout. Captured about 5 o’clock. My horse wounded in three places. Died in [] of Winchester this night.

20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28. 29. 30. Oct. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.

At Union Hospital, Winchester.

Oct. 10

Transported in waggons to Martinsburg. A painful ride.

11, 12

Remained crowded into a little church in Martinsburg.

13

Took train, B. and Ohio R.R. for Baltimore. Arrived at 10 P.M.

14

Left train at 1 A.M. in ambulances for West Hospital.

15, 16, 17, 18, 19

At West Hospital

20

Sent to Fort McHenry by steamer Star

20, 21, 22, 23, 24

At Fort McHenry

25

Sent by way of Balt. And Wilmington, Del. To Fort Delaware.

26, 27, 28, 29, 30

At Fort Delaware

30

Started 400 priv’s and 48 officers in the hold of steamer, Edward S. Biddle from Fort Delaware.

31

Reached Point Lookout at 7 A.M. Embarked at 5 P.M. on board str. George Leary, 60 odd officers, 400 privates. Reached Hampton Road at 6 A.M., Nov. 1st.

November 1st, 1864.

On board str. Leary in Hampton Roads, Va.

8th

3 P.M. Transferred from str., George Leary to the steamship Illinois. Started from Fortress Monroe in company of four steamships and two steamboats at 5 P.M.

9, 10

At sea.

11

12 noon. Off Hilton Head. Off Hilton Head in Fort Royal

12

1 P.M. o’clock. Transferred to the George Leary and started for exchange. Met the steamer, Beauregard, with Gen’l McLaws and Capt. Hatch, Com. Of Exchange on board at 5 P.M. Officers transferred to the Beauregard about one mile from Fort Pulaski in Savannah River Started immediately up the river, singing all kinds of joyfull songs. Saluted at different points. Arrived at Savannah at 8 P.M. Crowds waiting to receive us all cheer’d lustily. Conducted to the Pulaski Home. Had good supper and bed. Were distributed about town. Ladies did everything in their power to make us comfortable.

13

Saw Mr. Alex Abrams and f[] accepted invitation to stay with them. Remained 14th and 15th at their house.

16

Received parolled papers and started for Columbia, So. Ca. Arrived at Columbia at 8 P.M. Put up at Nicholson House, 9 P.M. Went to house of Mr. Joe Mark. Surprised all the folks who did not know of my exchange. Left at late hour for hotel.

17

Started for Charlottesville. Arrived at 4 P.M. Went to see Heilbruns. Received splendidly Stay’d two days with his family.

19

11 A.M. Started for Richmond. Arrived 20th, 10 P.M.

30

Started to see my fiancée and all the folks. All glad to see me. Leonna cried some. Staid in Richmond, having a good time generally, during months of November, December.

January 5

Order’d to report to command, but examined by a surgeon who pronounced me unfit for duty.

March 10

Applied for retirement. Application sent in.

20

Reexamined at Louisiana Hospital.

24

Received my certificate and ordered to report to Gen’l Williams at Mobile, Alabama. For duty on Gen’l W.’s staff. Did not start immediately.

April 2nd

Made up my mind to start next day. Packed up at 3 P.M. 4 P.M. noise in street. Mrs. Ezekiel called me. Heard from her that the city was about being evacuated, as our troops were beaten. Hurried my preparations. Bid all good-bye. 3 P.M. Got on train full of all kinds of people. Mr. Be. Florance also there. Capt. Zeke Levy, Mr. Ezekiel, and several others came to depot with me. Left folks in Richmond in great distress. My Uncle Abram loaned me [] thousand dollars in bonds to give Mr. Goetts.

4

Arrived Danville 4 P.M. Stopped at hotel. All confusion in town. Confederate Cabinet in town. After great [] got away on train for Goldsb. Arrived there on 5th. Staid all night. Saw Jake Abrams.

6th

Arrived at Charlotte, N.C. Staid two days Passover. Gave Heilb. Matzos brought for her from Richmond.

8th

Started for Augusta, Geo. Arrived at 7 P.M. Stopped at Savannah Hotel. Sold $1,000 worth of bonds for one hundred dollars gold. Visited Mr. Joe Marks and other family. Supped with Rev. Henry Jacobs.

12

Started for LaGrange, Geo. Arrived on 14th. Staid at Mr. Jones’ house until the 5th of May. Had a pleasant time. Went to Atlanta to get parolled.

May 8th

Bought mule for $40 gold and saddle for $10 gold. Started for Montgomery. Arrived there 12 May, 4 A.M. Saw my Aunt Fanny and all relations. Staid with them a week.

15th May

Started for Mobile.

16

Arrived Mobile 2 P.M. Took steamer for N.O. arrived

17th

4 P.M. Once more at home (thank Gd). Did not get in town ‘til 10 P.M. Went up to the house. Woke up Uncle Abe, Mother. All came down in dishabille. Such shouting and kissing. All were full of thanksgiving. Retired at after midnight.