Diary of the Battle of the Wilderness
THROUGH THE WILDERNESS IN VA.
ARMY OF THE POTOMAC
COMMENCING MAY 4TH 1864
May the 7th 1864
Arose at daylight, we had our breakfast about half cooked when the battle commenced. The rebels came out of the woods in 4 lines of battle, then Our artilery opened on them with Grape & Canister causing them to retreat in confusion & were glad to get out of sight. Very heavy fighting down the left of the line near Chancelorsville. It was reported we had captured between 4 & 5000 prizoners today. Heared good news about dark and Great Cheering prevailed the whol length of the line. We recd orders to be ready to move at dark. We marched 3 or 4 miles and halted untill 2 O clock in the morning by the side of the road. We slept with our knapsacks on our backs. Was aroused from our slumbers by a pack of mules running away. We sprung to our feet, grabbed our muskets & got ready for action. We considered it an attack from the rebels. In a moments time we were all quiet and down we laid until daybreak.
May the 8th
Arose at daylight and marched about 8 miles very fast. Very warm today. We passed our ambulances loaded with our wounded comrades & saw lots of men laying by the road side that were wounded. Some with a leg off, some with an arm off, some a hand, some a foot. I tell you it was a hard sight to behold. We passed through Chancelersville and also through a dense pine forest. We saw lots of dead & wounded all along the roadside. Canonading in the morning but not much fighting today but at dark we made a charge on the Rebel Breastworks and drove them from their position. We cut them down dreadfully. The ground was covered with the dead and dieing. They laid like sheaves of wheat in a harvest field. Our men slept in the Breastworks & rifle pits they had captured.
More of the Cummins' diary may be found online at www.pasty.com/book/diary.html.