Infantry Experience

Picket Duty - (USAMI) Camp near Petersburg Va
Aug 8th/64

Dear Father & Mother,
We are now encamped near the Petersburg & Norfolk RR on the extreme left of the Army. Our Division is doing picket duty, half of it being on picket all of the time while the other is in camp. This will show you something of what the ravages of war are. A steady bombardment is kept up in front of Petersburg all of the time and our men and the reb's are busy mining and countermining. Well, mother the principal object of my letter is to ask you if you will send me a couple of summer shirts. We cant draw any but thick coarse cotton & wool shirts, & the weather is so excessively hot that they are rather uncomfortable. - Henry Matrau, The Iron Brigade

United States Colored Troops Living History "Winter life in camp is very weary, as it is but one routine over and over again--reveille in the morning, breakfast call, sick call, guard mount call, drill call, dinner call which is the best of all calls; the batallion, or brigade call, which is not liked very well; dress parade call, supper call, roll call and taps, which means lights out and cover up in blankets."
- D.G. Crotty, Third Michigan Volunteer Infantry

Infantry Rifle Firing Demonstration "The attack this afternoon was a fiasco of the worst kind; I trust it will be the last attempt at this most absurd way of attacking entrenchments by a general advance in line. It has been tried so often now and with such fearful losses that even the stupidest private now knows that it cannot succeed... The very sight of a bank of fresh earth now brings them to a dead halt."
- Colonel Charles S. Wainwright, 1st Regiment New York Volunteer Light Infantry

Infantryman in Trench - (The Civil War Library and Museum) "As July, 1864, wore on, both sides settled down in their trenches. In addition to performing picket duty, the Floridians labored to further strengthen their position, building covered ways connecting different parts of the line so troops could be moved without exposure to enemy fire. Though the fire was very light, sharpshooting continued to be annoying and deadly. Life in the trenches was made even more miserable when the Yankees began to employ Coehorn mortars."
- 10th Infantry Regiment, C.S.A.

Infantry Drill Demonstration "Today we are nine-months men. For twenty-seven months we have endured the dangers, the hardships, and the privations of war. Why we are not dead or wounded is not easy to explain. The battlefields of Virginia, from Fredericksburg to Petersburg, bear the testimony of the sacrifices this regiment has made..." - Journal of a Maine Volunteer

Last updated: February 26, 2015

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Mailing Address:

Petersburg National Battlefield Administration Office
1539 Hickory Hill Road

Petersburg, VA 23803


(804) 732-3531 x0

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