Clinton Hogue's Civil War Diary
My great-great-grandfather, Clinton Hogue, and his brother Harvey, both served in the Civil War on the Union side. Clinton joined Company G of the Iron Brigade's Indiana 19th Regiment, was "shot to pieces on two different occasions", and participated in most of the major battles of the war. He began service as a private and ended as a 1st Lieutenant. On January 1st, 1864 he re-enlisted at Culpepper, Virginia.
The following diary records his experiences during the period from May 3 to June 22, 1864 and provides a glimpse into the life of a typical soldier of the time. The description of his wounding on June 18th is understated: "...then came the tug of war. This is where your humble servant got his pass to the rear." Leg wounds such as his were often fatal and the chances of surviving an amputation in a field tent not good. When the surgeon "gave all those that could walk to the river a chance to get off", Clinton somehow managed to hobble a half-mile on his "wooden horses." If he had not managed to complete that journey, I would most likely not be here to transcribe his words.
May 3, 1864Passed off quietly with nothing to disturb the monotony of camp life until after dark when we received orders to pack up and to be ready to march at a moment's notice.
We had been expecting marching orders for the last two weeks so that we were not surprised to hear the orders to pack up sung out. We broke camp at Culpepper at about eleven P.M. and took up our line of march going in the direction of Germania Ford. We marched all night not stopping for any length of time until the next day at ten P.M. when we halted to make coffee.
May 4, 1864Eleven A.M. We resumed our march again. The boys feel somewhat refreshed after drinking their coffee and eating a few bites of hardtack. We crossed the Rapidan at Germania Ford at about two P.M. where we rested for an hour. We then took the road leading to Mine Run. We marched in that direction until about five P.M. We then halted for the night. The boys are footsore and nearly tired to death. A good many lying on the side of the road unable to keep up with their regiments. The day has been very hot and the road dusty.
May 5, 1864 Battle of WildernessWe were aroused up by daylight and cooked coffee. We then moved off taking the road to Mine Run. We marched about two miles when we found that we were in close proximity to the Johnnys. We formed in line of battle, loaded our springfields and advanced into the woods and built breastworks. We then advanced into the woods about a mile where the undergrowth was so thick that it was almost impossible to keep a line formed.
Here we found the graybacks strongly posted in a ravine when a desperate fight took place, we driving the Rebs at first. When their reserves came up they drove us a short distance. We were then relieved by fresh troops. We lost heavily, both in officers and men. Our company went in the fight with thirty men and came out with eighteen, losing twelve men in less than one hour's fighting. We rested about an hour, then went in as a support. At dark the heavy musketry ceased and we rested on our arms until morning. The day has been extremely hot and sultry.
May 6, 1864We were aroused up at daylight by heavy skirmish fighting in our front and the singing of minnies (cannon balls) around our heads. Now commences fighting in earnest. We drove the Johnnys back into their earthworks, not withstanding their artillery played into our ranks with deadly effect. Our Colonel was killed by a shell. We also lost several men in the days march. We were then relieved and taken back out of the woods where we made coffee and remained the rest of the day. The day has been rather cool and pleasant.
May 7, 1864We got up at daylight and cooked coffee. We were then moved to the right and formed under the brow of the hill, as we were expecting the artillery to open at eight P.M., where we remained until ten A.M. when we were again moved to the right where the Rebs were trying to break through our lines, but they were repulsed before we got up there. We stayed until after dark.
Just before dark the Rebs set up a yell to which our boys responded almost making one think that he was in the Lower regions. At about eight P.M. we moved to the left marching all night. The day has been rather pleasant.
May 8, 1864 Battles of Laurel Hill and SpotsylvaniaAt daylight we came up with our cavalry when we halted for a few minutes to rest. I made some coffee, but did not have time to drink it before moving on. We marched about two miles then halted to cook breakfast which time I improved by sleeping. There was considerable skirmishing ahead.
At eight A.M. we moved forward again about two miles when we formed in line of battle and advanced on the Johnnys where ensued another battle, but without either side gaining any advantage over the other. We then went to work and built earthworks.
From where I am I can see a number of dead men on both sides lying on the fields but nobody seems inclined to go after them. Even a flag of truce is not respected here. At night we lay on our arms, expecting an attack. We were aroused up a number of times by skirmish fighting but it finally died away without doing much damage. I had to go about three-quarters of a mile to draw rations which occupied nearly half of the night.
May 9, 1864Our company was detailed to go on the skirmish line. We kept up a brisk fire all day. At dark we charged their pickets and drove them behind their earthworks but not without losing some of our best men. We were then relieved and taken behind our works where I slept until morning. The day has been hot and dusty.
May 10, 1864We went into another engagement. We charged the enemy's entrenchments but were repulsed. The Rebs also charged our troops two or three times and were repulsed in return. Our loss in killed and wounded is heavy. We lay in the woods until after dark then took our positions behind our works. The day has been hot and sultry.
May 11, 1864The enemy has been amusing themselves by throwing shot and shell at our works but without much damage to us. In the afternoon we made some improvements in our works. At dark our regiment was detailed to go on the skirmish line where we stayed until morning. The day has been cool. It commenced to rain just before night with a fine prospect of continuing to rain all night.
May 12, 1864We feel somewhat cold and hungry after standing picket in the rain all night. At daylight we are ordered to press back their skirmish line which we did driving their pickets behind their works. We kept up firing until about noon when we were relieved and taken about two miles to the left where there was a brisk fight going on. Our forces charged their earthworks, capturing five thousand prisoners and eighteen pieces of artillery.
We then marched to the right about one mile and build breastworks. We were then ordered back where we arrived about nine P.M. We then lay down as we supposed, for the night, the enemy's bullets flying uncomfortably near our heads. We lay there for about an hour, then were ordered up and marched to the right about three or four miles in the mud from three inches to two feet deep. I then got four rails and lay down in the mud and slept as sound as I would in a feather bed.
May 13, 1864No fighting with the exception of picket or skirmish fighting and occasionally shot from the artillery. We were making a great calculation on having one night's rest but only to be disappointed, for we were ordered to the left about seven miles. This was decidedly the muddiest road that I was ever on. It took us from ten P.M. till after daylight the next morning to reach our destination. The men were the nearest used up I ever saw before. When our brigade halted to stack arms, there was not more than two hundred men up to the stackout of the six regiments that compose the brigade and there were but two in our company of which your humble servant was one. The day has been cool and cloudy.
May 14, 1864While I am writing this our regiment is supporting a battery. There is heavy firing on our left. Just before dark we moved forward and occupied earthworks. The Johnnys are strongly entrenched on a rise of ground about half a mile from where we are. I can see plenty of Johnnys from where I am. The day has been cool and pleasant.
May 15, 1864We lay in breastworks all day. No excitement until about sunset. We were ordered to be ready at a moment's notice to move out. There are three lines of battle in our rear which looks like some work. But the excitement finally died away and we lay down and slept soundly all night. The day has been cloudy and cool.
May 16, 1864We lay behind earthworks all day with no excitement until about two P.M. when there was an attack apprehended on General Burnside's forces. If they do, our forced intend attacking the Rebs at this point. But there is no attack made so we put up our tents and everything is quiet in our front although there is heavy cannonading going on in our right. The weather is splendid for field operations.
May 17, 1864We are still behind our earthworks. Everything seems to be quiet so far. Just before dark we can see a heavy column of our troops moving to the left. The present indications are that we will see lively times in the morning. We can also see a large force coming from the direction of Fredericksburg and as there was an order read us that there was reinforcements coming it is very probable that it is them.
May 18, 1864Our regiment was aroused up before daylight and ordered to occupy the line of works to our rear leaving the rest of the brigade in the front works. We were ordered to cook coffee as soon as possible as they expected the artillery to open at daylight - and it did open with a vengeance, literally filling the air with shot and shell until about ten A.M. when it ceased and there was little excitement the rest of the day. Troops seem to be moving to the left leaving only a sufficient force to guard the road, namely the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania pike. The day has been cool and pleasant.
May 19, 1864We lay in earthworks for the fore part of the day. No excitement until about four P.M. when there is heavy firing on our right and rear, caused by the Rebs trying to get possession of the Fredericksburg pike but they were repulsed. At the same time the Johnnys drove in our pickets. We were ordered forward to support the front lines if the enemy should attack us. They did come out of the woods with two lines of battle but our artillery played on them so effectively that they could not advance far. We were then taken back to our old positions and remained for the night. The weather continues to be splendid for our work.
May 20, 1864Everything seems to be quiet, with the exception of skirmish firing. We received our mail today for the first time since this campaign began. There was hardly a boy but received a letter or paper. It had a tendency to cheer the boys a good deal. They have had a rough time so far.
May 21, 1864I got up at daylight and cooked coffee. We were then ordered to put on our cartridge belt and to be ready to advance the skirmish line but that passed off without doing much damage. At about ten A.M. we received orders to march which we did in about an hour after receiving the orders, going in the direction of Guinea Station. We halted for the night between Guinea Station and a little place called Flippo and remained for the night. The report in camp is that some of our pickets were gobbled today. It rained some.
May 22, 1864We were ordered up at four A.M. and marched to Flippo, a distance of five miles where we built breastworks so as to guard a crossroad until the rest of the Corps came up. We then marched forward five or six miles farther and camped for the night. Our forces picked up a number of Johnnys on the road. The day has been very hot.
May 23, 1864 Battles of North Anna and Jericho FordWe were ordered up at daybreak and marched about five miles when our regiment and the 6th Wisconsin were halted for the purpose of guarding a crossroad until the rest of the corps and trains would pass. We then moved forward and crossed the North Anna River when the Johnnys came down on us with the intention of driving us in the river, but they went back with a flea in their ears, leaving about two hundred killed that we buried the next day.
May 24, 1864We moved forward and occupied the ground held by the Johnnys yesterday and entrenched ourselves and remained there the rest of the day. There was a detachment of men sent from our division and destroyed the Virginia Central Railroad and cut the telegraph wire. We whipped the Johnnys bad here yesterday. The woods are filled with their stragglers of which we are picking up a good many. The weather is awful hot.
May 25, 1864We were ordered up at three A.M. to cook coffee and be ready to march at four A.M. which we did moving to the left about two miles. We were then formed in line of battle and advanced into the woods when a brisk skirmish fight took place. We pressed back their skirmish in line until we got within three hundred yards of their entrenchment when we halted and built breastworks where we lay the rest of the day. A continual fire was kept up by the skirmishers.
May 26, 1864We lay behind breastworks until after dusk when we packed up and took our march going in the direction of Hanover Courthouse. We marched until two A.M. when we halted to draw rations. We had a heavy rainstorm today completely overflowing the ground where we were and filling ditches behind entrenchments with water making the motto with us "swim or climb." The Rebs wounded a number of trees around us today.
May 27, 1864At four A.M. we resumed our march going in the direction of the Pamunkey River. We halted at eight A.M. to cook coffee. We then marched until dark when we encamped for the night. The men are pretty well used up as we have had a long march today. If anyone should ask me the way I feel now, I should probably tell them three or four hundred miles. I feel as though I was old enough to avoid the draft.
May 28, 1864We were aroused up at three A.M. with orders to make coffee and be ready to march in one hour. We crossed the Pamunkey River near Hanover town at about twelve noon and took up a position on the heights about one mile from the river where we entrenched ourselves and awaited an attack form the Johnnys but they did not deem it prudent to show themselves after the whipping we gave them at North Anna, so we put up our tents and remained for the night.
May 29, 1864We were aroused up at four A.M. with orders to cook coffee and be ready to move at five but we finally did not march until about noon. We then moved forward about four miles and formed a line of battle and advanced into the woods and lay on our arms till morning. The day has been very hot and the roads dusty.
May 30, 1864We were aroused up and ordered to be ready to move at four A.M. We marched to the left about four miles where the Johnnys came down on the Third Division where ensued a brisk fight resulting in the Johnnys backing down. I presume their first position was too hot for them.
Our brigade went on the double quick for about one mile and took up a position and built breastworks where we remained until about dark when we moved to the right and front for the purpose of guarding a gap in the lines until the rest of the Corps came up. We went to work and built another line of breastworks where we remained for the night. The skirmishers are sending their compliments to one another. The weather is scorching hot and the road is dusty so that we can hardly see a man three rods off.
May 31, 1864I got up at daylight and cooked breakfast. We drew rations last night so the boys had plenty to eat this morning. At about nine A.M. we are relieved and report back to the brigade. There is heavy cannonading on our right. The weather is extremely hot. Just before dusk there is heavy firing heard at our left which continued until nine or ten P.M. There is nothing but skirmish fighting in our front so we spread our blankets and go to sleep.
June 1, 1864 Battle of Cold HarborI got up at daylight and cooked breakfast. We then moved to the right and front and took possession of rebel earthworks which we repaired and occupied for two hours. We then advanced across a large open field and into a piece of woods and built breastworks. The enemy shelled the woods in the meantime. As soon as we had finished our works we were taken to the left and rear where we remained until about dark.
When our regiment and the 6th and 7th advanced about half a mile in front of the lines to support a battery there ensued one of the liveliest artillery duels that I have seen in some time. We were taken to the right where we built another line of breastworks which took us until morning. We now occupy a position near Bethesda Church. This has been one of the hottest days of the season.
June 2, 1864We take our position behind our breastworks as we expected an attack from the Rebs. Their line of earthworks is but a short distance in our front. Their bullets are flying thick around our works. I went to the rear and cooked breakfast. I captured some potatoes which were first rate for breakfast.
Our forces are planting a battery in the rear of our works. There is no fighting with the exception of skirmishing until about four P.M. when the Johnnys attacked our right flank and partially succeeded in turning it enough so that they had a cross fire on us with their artillery - which they were not slow to take advantage of, making it rather hot where we were, but our forces finally repulsed them and drove them back.
The day was hot and sultry until about five P.M. when it commenced raining and kept it up all night. I lay down as usual with my accoutrements on and got to sleep.
June 3, 1864I got up at daylight and cooked breakfast and then worked on breastworks as we rather expected that the Johnnys will amuse themselves by throwing shot and shell at our works - which they did, but not until after our batteries opened up on them. They threw one shell in the works at the right of us, killing one man and wounding two more besides covering myself and four or five others with dirt. Adam and I had burial rites for the man killed and put a board at the head of his grave at the same time that the enemy's bullets were flying thick around us. I was struck with a piece of shell but the force was spent do that I was not materially injured.
Their artillery and sharpshooters kept up a fire nearly all day. Just before dark there is heavy firing heard on our left. It is very probable that the Johnnys are trying to break our lines. The day has been rather cloudy and showery. At dark, orders came that one third of the men had to stay up at a time as an alarm guard. I stood until twelve midnight. I shoveled on the works most of the time that I was on.
June 4, 1864I got up at daylight and cooked coffee then lay down in the ditch and went to the land of Nod as I had gotten but little sleep the night before. There was occasionally a shot from the artillery on both sides during the day. The skirmishes kept up a fire all day. There was a number of our men wounded today back of the works. The weather is cloudy. There was also a heavy fog all day. The orders in regard to the alarm guard is the same as the night before.
June 5, 1864We were aroused at three A.M. and ordered to remain under arms until after daylight. It is evident to my mind that somebody was badly scared or else commissary was running the machine. About two P.M. we were ordered under arms again as there is heavy fighting on our left but little ways off at that. We received mail at about four P.M. The day has been cloudy and rainy.
At dark we received orders to be ready to move at a moment's notice. I lay down and went to sleep but was aroused by heavy fighting on our skirmish line. The bullets flew thick around our heads for a few minutes but finally died away without doing much damage. We fell in line about ten P.M. and moved to the left marching all night.
June 6, 1864We halted at daylight and cooked coffee where we remained until about twelve P.M. We then moved a few rods and then went into regular camp when we put up our tents and made ourselves comfortable generally. There is heavy cannonading in our front and also on our left. This has been one of the hottest days of the season. Water is very scarce around here.
June 7, 1864We were ordered up at three A.M. with orders to be ready to march in half an hour. We moved in the direction of Bottoms Bridge on the Chickahominy River. We halted within one mile of the river and stayed the rest of the day. The Rebs have a big gun that they shell us with. It is supposed to be on a car on the York River Railroad. The gun is supposed to be a seven hundred pounder by some of the officers who should know. Our pickets occupy one side of the river while the Johnnys are on the other. The day has been rather cloudy and cool.
June 8, 1864I got up at daylight and cooked breakfast, then gave clothing a cold water wash which was a rare thing for them since I have been on the campaign. I then cleaned my gun as there is to be an inspection at seven P.M. My mess mate and myself then built ourselves a summer bower. There has been nothing of note going on in front of our lines today although there has been considerable firing on our right. The day has been warm and pleasant.
June 9, 1864I got up at daylight and cooked coffee. About ten A.M. we received our mail. I received and answered a letter from home. At six P.M. I was detailed to go on picket. We are doing picket work on the Chickahominy. The Johnnys are picketing the opposite side of the river. Our pickets and the Rebs have made an agreement not to shoot at each other withoug one side or the other advanced. The day has been rather cool and pleasant. Everything goes off smoothly on the picket line during the night.
June 10, 1864I am aroused up before daylight and watched while the rest of the boys sleep. After daylight I saw a couple of Johnnys on the opposite side of the river washing their faces and hands. I went down, washed my hands, and had a little conversation with them. They seem to be very friendly, rather tired of war. They are North Carolinians. After breakfast, boys and also the Rebs take their hooks and go fishing. Others go down and have a chat with the Rebs and then return to their posts.
The river is from thirty to forty feet wide and deep at this point. There is peace and harmony existing here while there is heavy cannonading going on to the right. Such is war. At half past seven P.M. we were relieved from duty. I go to camp, cook supper, discuss politics a little, then crawl under blankets and go to sleep.
June 11, 1864I got up, cooked breakfast, then tore down and rebuilt our bower and put up our tent. Our 2nd Lieutenant returned to the regiment today. He was wounded on the first day's fight in the Wilderness. Everything seems to be quiet along the lines today. This has been one of the pleasantest days of the season.
June 12, 1864I got up, cooked coffee, then lay around camp doing nothing but cook and eat my regular rations of coffee, pork, and hardtack until evening when we get orders to pack up and be ready to march at a moment's notice. We pulled out about ten P.M. and marched until morning. The day has been cloudy and cool.
June 13, 1864We crossed the Chickahominy River, a long bridge by daylight. We then marched up the river about three miles where we were halted, cooked breakfast, then lay in the woods until about two P.M. There is heavy firing going on in front. We then marched back nearly to the bridge and took the road leading to Turkey Bend on the James River. We marched until about twelve, then lay down and slept until morning. The day has been cool and pleasant and a good time to march if it were not for so much dust.
June 14, 1864I got up at daylight and cooked breakfast. We then took up our line of march for Charles City Courthouse where we arrived at about twelve noon when we halted to cook dinner. We finally lay there the rest of the day. We can see the steamers on the James River from where we are encamped. This is the finest country that I have seen in Virginia. The day has been hot and the roads dusty. The boys are as hungry as wolves and they have been out of rations for two days.
June 15, 1864I got up early as usual, cooked coffee and the lay around doing nothing in camp but cook and eat my regular rations. In the afternoon we draw rations. There are some hungry boys in camp as they have had nothing but boiled wheat and parched corn for the last two or three days. We had potatoes and pickles for supper - something extra for the march. The day has been hot and the road awful dusty.
June 16, 1864We are aroused up at three A.M. to get breakfast and be ready to march by daylight which we did, going the direction of the river. We crossed the river about ten A.M. at Wilcox Ferry on one of the government steamers. We lay on the bank of the river until two P.M. when we were ordered to Petersburg, a distance of twenty miles, which we made by midnight, but the boys were nearly used up when we halted for the night. The day has been extremely hot and the road so dusty that we could hardly be told from the graybacks. There is heavy cannonading in the direction of Petersburg, also sharp skirmish fighting. The report has just reached us that General Smith has taken eighteen cannon and a good many prisoners.
June 17, 1864I got up at daylight and cooked coffee. We then moved to the left and front and built breastworks, the enemy shelling us in the meantime. The Rebs have strong works in front of us. Looks as though they were hard to take. We are in sight of Suffolk and Petersburg Railroad. The day has been hot and sultry.
June 18, 1864 Assault on PetersburgWe were aroused at daylight with orders to march at a moment's notice. I just had time to make and drink coffee before moving. We then advanced and took two lines of earthworks without much fighting. We charged the third line at three P.M. - then came the tug of war. This is where your humble servant got his pass to the rear but the lines were too strong for us, I understood.
It took me from three P.M. until after dark to get to the hospital. I hopped as far as I could, then was carried on a gun about a mile. I was then put on a stretcher and carried to the ambulance, then hauled to the division hospital where I had my wounds dressed and was made as comfortable as could be under the circumstances. This has been an extremely hot day.
June 19, 1864I woke at daylight and wet my wound, then my breakfast was brought to me and I did ample justice to it. I lay out in the sun until about nine P.M. when I was taken into one of the hospital tents where I remained the rest of the day. The nurses were attentive. The day has been clear and pleasant.
June 20, 1864I was rather restless last night and did not get to sleep until about two P.M. Consequently, I did not awake until breakfast was ready of which I took my share. I was then stowed away with seven other wounded men into a government wagon to go to the city point, a distance of twelve miles, where we arrived at six P.M. safe but with sore limbs. The accommodations here for wounded men are rather poor, but we live in hopes of getting away from here before long. The day has been very hot and the roads dusty.
June 21, 1864I was rather restless last night, and did not get much sleep. Ate breakfast at nine A.M. which we thought was late considering that we had nothing but hardtack and dishwater coffee for breakfast. If it was not for the sanitary commission we would nearly starve. There was another train of wagons loaded with wounded that came in today. The day has been rather pleasant and we had a nice breeze blowing from the river.
June 22, 1864Rested first rate last night. I ate breakfast at about seven A.M. The surgeon then came around and gave all those that could walk to the river a chance to get off. I mounted my wooden horses and rode off, but as I had to go half a mile and the sand was deep I was somewhat fatigued when I reached the water, and after lying in the sun about two hours I was permitted to go on board the steamer the DeMolay where I was furnished with a bunk and had my wounds dressed and made as comfortable as circumstances would permit, although the air was awful hot.
Here we remained until the afternoon of the 24th when we arrived in New York harbor. We were then put aboard another steamer and taken up the East Hudson River to Daid's Island, a distance of twenty-five miles, when we were taken to the hospital and are now receiving the best of care. This hospital is divided into pavilions of which there is twenty. Each pavilion is divided into four wards which contain twenty beds each.