Chelmsford Historical Society
Daniel P. Byam, June 1864

Wednesday, June 1st, 1864

Stopped at Helena last night for soldiers to get off attached to Gen. Steele's Division. 

Thursday, June 2nd, 1864

We have heard of Rebels with a 9 gun battery on the Ark. side; we were under the convoy of a gunboat for 50 miles; when we were within 3 miles of Columbia a gunboat stopped us and the Capt. said we must drop anchor, as he would not allow us to go down that night. It was done, but a great many were opposed to it. The excitement was kept up all night, the officers being all tight. A worse thunder shower was never known than was that night. In the morning we started with the Marine boat B. J. Adams lashed to one side; as we came opposite the bend, they opened on us with artillery and musketry solid shot and shells passing through both boats. The excitement was intense, there being a great many ladies on board who fainted and were nearly frightened to death, and I cannot blame them–everyone looking for a safe place behind wood, hay, etc. There were 200 cattle and other Gov. property worth over a million dollars. The Rebs would like to have got it. There were 4 men killed on the Adams and a great many wounded; they fought like tigers; they were killed in a shocking manner. Stopped at Greenville, a hard looking place, nothing but the walls and chimneys remaining.

At this place the dead were buried. There are 7 boats here. We leave tonight; have to go past another battery, but we have a stronger convoy.

Friday, June  3rd, 1864

Left Greenville at 2 o..c. with the M. boat Dianah on one side and several in the rear; the lights were extinguished; all was quiet, each one waiting for the ball to open, but our great fortune was to get by without a shot. Stopped at Goodrich's landing at 4 o.c. We came in sight of the noted city of Vicksburg; it still bears the marks of the severe shelling Grant gave it. Drew rations, started at 10 o.c. bound for Natchez, Miss. saw the 25 boys that left before we did.

Saturday, June 4th, 1864

Arrived at Natchez at one o.c.; marched allover the city to find the quarters of Col. Miles; after reporting we went to the bluff on the bank of the Miss. about 200 feet above the water; drew some old tents and started a camp.

Sunday, June 5th, 1864

Nothing to do. Have had a mental examination for the purpose of being instructed in the code; live on half rations. Letters came, but none for me.

Monday, June 6th, 1864

On guard; somewhat rainy. We have old tent flies good for nothing; 12 in a tent; wrote home and to Lysander.

Tuesday, June 7th, 1864

Excused from duty. Have been examined by the Surgeon and find I still have a piece of glass in my hip 2 inches long; shall not have it out.

Wednesday, June 8th, 1864

Moved to camp mile in a peach orchard.

Thursday, June 9th and 10th, 1864

Nothing to do; am quite lame; very warm; plums are rips.

Saturday, June 11th, 1864

The Mollie Able arrived last night with mail, but none for me, as usual.

Sunday June 12th, 1864

Have been to the Methodist church; there was fine singing; very warm.

Monday, June 13th, 1864

A pleasant day. Richmond and I have been picking blackberries on the outskirts of the city; had a fine time.

Tuesday, June 14th, 1864

Have been to the outside fortifications to the post Surgeon's, a fine place once belonging to a Secesh [Secession], but now confiscated.

Wednesday, June 15th, 1864

Have been out reaching boards for a bunk; found any quantity of plums. The famous iron clad Carondlet and Benton are lying in the river.

Thursday, Friday, June 16th and 17th, 1864

Have been loafing on the Bluff about all day. Not much of a celebration here to what there is in Mass.!

Saturday, June 18th, 1864

Very warm; been out picking berries; came across cows; had berries and milk.

Sunday, June 19th, 1864

Were inspected by Lieut. Camp. Waitt and I went to church–a splendid house.

Monday, June 20th, 1864

Warm; steamer came down with mail, but none for me; written to Everett.

Tuesday, June 21st, 1864

Pleasant and cool; been out picking peaches and cucumbers; written to Laura.

Wednesday, June 22nd, 1864

Boat came down with mail; received a letter from home, the first one for five weeks. Written home.

Thursday, June 23rd and 24th, 1864

Lowell and myself were out for horses–had quite a time; boat came down from Vicksburg.

Saturday and Sunday, June 25th and 26th, 1864

Very warm; inspection this morning at sunrise on account of it being so warm. Went to church. Not very well; been to the Foundry after the telegraph wagon; boat came; no mail for me, as usual.

Tuesday, June 28th and 29th, 1864

Have been lying off on the Bluff all day; took a few peaches from a neighbor's orchard.

Thursday June 30th, 1864

Have been getting ready to leave, bound for New Orleans; the Headquarters have been changed to New Orleans under command of Gen. Canby.

Copyright 1997-2017. All rights reserved.
This website is maintained by Chelmsford Historical Society members. To comment, or report broken links, e-mail webmaster