Chelmsford Historical Society
Daniel P. Byam, April 1864

Wednesday, April 6th, 1864

Arrived in Washington at 11 o'clock; had supper at the Sol­diers' Retreat; stopped there the remainder of the night; took breakfast and, started for Georgetown, two miles from Washington.

Thursday, April 7th, 1864

We are now camped on a very pleasant rise of ground overlooking the Potomac, Washington, Georgetown and Alexandria; have not yet received our uniforms; expect blankets tonight; comfortably cool.

Friday, April 8th, 1864

Received our uniforms today–very good ones; got straw tonight; slept bully. There are 4 of us in an A tent: Hildreth and Taylor of Westford and Maynard of Barre, Mass. Going to have passes for Washington tomorrow.

Saturday, April 9th, 1864

Have been to Washington; visited the Capitol, it is a splendid build­ing; went down to Camp Emery; saw Falls of Westford; had a very good time; commences to rain.

Sunday, April 10th, 1864

Nothing to do today. Stopped raining; we have a meeting in camp; several have gone to Georgetown to church; am not feeling very well.

Monday, April 11th, 1864

Pleasant day. Have been drilling with the Sabre; rather hard work. We have found we belong to the Regular U. S. Army. Our officers are very strict.

Tuesday, April 12th, 1864

A beautiful day. Received $25 Government Bounty. Have been practicing with the Signal flags; understand it very well. Going to rain.

Wednesday, April 13th, 1864

A fine day. Been drilling with the flags. Have taken oath never to reveal the secrets and codes of the Signal Corps of the U. S. Army. Have been to Georgetown to express my baggage home. Hildreth and I have been to Washington tonight; went to the Canterbury Theatre; passes run till 1 o'clock.

Thursday, April 14th , 1864

Fine day. Have been practicing with the flags forenoon and afternoon. New recruits arrived–from Boston, 30 in number; 50 leave soon for the front.

Friday, April 15th, 1864

Flag drill the order of the day. Received a letter from home. Been vaccinated; two cases of small pox in camp. Live on pork: Live very high indeed: pork and beans for dinner, beans and pork for supper, and keep doing so.

Saturday April 16th, 1864

On guard today for the first time. Raining very hard but it came kind of natural–a good deal different from Suffolk, Virginia.

Sunday, April 17th, 1864

A fine sabbath day. Not much to do. Written home; sent a letter to Lysander by a Prussian, one of our men who is going to Boston.

Monday, April 18th, 1864

A splendid day. Have been drilling with sabre; like it much; made some awful cuts to imaginary men; flag drill is the order of the afternoon. Row in camp between Mass. and Ohio boys–Mass. boys victorious.

Tuesday, April 19th, 1864

Flag drill is the program for today. Received a letter from Lysander. It is very cold here.

Wednesday, April 20th, 1864

A fine day. Have been to Washington; had some pictures taken. Saw Indians of the Sioux and Chippewa tribes; received a paper from home. Inspection tonight.

Thursday, April 21st, 1864

April showers today. Flag drill. 40 new recruits arrived from Boston; 20 have left for the front. Only 2 of us in tent now: Maynard and myself.

Friday, April 22nd, 1864

A fine day, but looks like rain. Have to take care of horses, ride them to water a half mile; gay fun.

Saturday, April 23rd, 1864

A pleasant day. Flag drill today. Inspection tonight.

Sunday, April 24th, 1864

A beautiful sabbath morning. Have been to the Episcopal church in Georgetown. A very good sermon.

Monday, April 25th, 1864

A rainy morning, but has cleared off and we are having a fine day. A lot of men have been examined to go to the front from here. General Burnside's 9th Army Corps is crossing the Long Bridge into Virginia, 50,000 strong; we can just discern them from our camp with a field glass. Very warm here; apple and peach trees in blossom.

Tuesday, April 26th, 1864

Fine day. Flag drill is the order of the day. 100 men going away to Alabama tomorrow. Expert to go before long; understand the signals now.

Wednesday, April 27th, 1864

A fine day. Maynard has gone to the Stanton Hospital, sick with a fever. I hope he will get better soon.

Thursday, April 28th, 1864

On guard today; had a very pleasant time; written home. Heard from Maynard; he is about the same; he has very good care taken of him. He is at the best hospital in Washington.

Friday, April 29th, 1864

Another splendid day. It is very warm in the daytime, but cold nights. Our officers are strict. One man has a ball and chain at­tached to his leg which he has got to carry for six months and have 10 dollars of his pay taken from him.

Saturday, April 30th, 1864

A fine day. Have been to Washington today to see Maynard; he is some better; he has the best care taken of him by the Nuns.

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