Here is a transcript of the Journal of my g-g-grandfather George Henry Gardner, Sr. from the Civil War .... I have a copy of the original which is in the National Archives in Washington, DC .... He lived in Deposit, Delaware Co, NY and is buried in Laurel Banks Cemetery there .... he died 28 Sep 1889 in Deposit. --John A. Aiello, October 31, 2000
Journal Kept by George Henry Gardner during the Civil War>
We left Fort Smith, May the 15th to join the Army of the Potomac, it was Sunday and went to Alexandria, through a drenching rain. There embarked on a
transport to Bells Plains. Got there on the 16th. Went on shore and marched about one mile and then camped for the night. There we spent our time eating,
drinking and sleeping.
On the 17th we again took up a line of march for the wilderness in Spottsylvania. We crossed the Rappahannock River and through Frederick City,
and so on to Spottsylvania.
Got there on the morning of the 18th at 4:00 AM., after a march of 34 miles without stopping to eat or drink only as we went. We then made coffee and at
10 o'clock we went to the field of battle and stayed there till night and then went to the rear and lay on our arms all night.
On the morning of the 19th, we made our coffee and by sunrise we was on our way back to the field of battle but didn't have to wait long for we was met
by the Johnneys and a skirmish began which brought on a general engagement. There was 44 men fell in my company the first fire. This exasperated our
company and they fought more like fiends than anything else. Sometimes we were compelled to fall back the fire was so hot. Then we would rally and
drive then at the point of the bayonet till the ground was litterly strewn with the dead. The battle raged till the next morning when we captured about
five thousand of them and drove the rest from the wilderness. We then buried our dead and took care of our wounded.
Then went back to the old camp grounds and spent the rest of the 20th in eating and drinking till eleven o'clock at night when the bugle sounded and
the long roll beat and in fifteen minutes we were all in a line of march and on our way to Hanover Courthouse and so to Hanover Junction, still we found
no Rebbles. Then we went to Boling Green, There we found three hundred Johnneys guarding the village and railroad. We had a short skirmish and
gobbled them up and went down to the bank of the Po River. There we encamped for the night. About midnight the Rebs began to throw shells in our camp. We
soon returned their fire and drove them and on the morning of the 22nd we crossed the river and drove the Rebs to the bank of the North Anne. There the Johnneys were strongly fortified and held us. We then drew up a line of battle and began to fortify and done so all night.
On the morning of the 23rd we was strongly fortified and well we was for the Johnneys made a charge on us and was repulsed with the loss of about five
thousand. Our men drove them from their breastwork. They plunged in the river and many perished in the water. We then encamped on the bank of the North
Anne for the night and turned their breastworks against them.
On the 24th we crossed the North Anne River but suffered a heavy loss. We lost near five thousand but we drove the Johnneys before us. We close on
them. We crossed the South Anne about noon by Gains Mills, and so down to Chapens Farm, there they had strong fortifications. We were encamped and
threw up breastworks all night.
On the morning of the 25th we were well fortified. They began to shell us and a cannonade began. On the 26th we opened 44 guns on them which lasted up to
the 28th when we charged on them and took their works and drove them. They fell back to Cold Harbor, and our men close on their heels and when we crossed the Pomonkey, they had burned the bridges so we had to put in our pontoons. The Rebs undertook to stop us but we soon drove them and crossed over and got to Cold Harbor.
On the morning of the 30th and began to fortify for the Johnneys were strongly entrenched and the best ground to fight on. This was their last
stand this side of Petersburg, so we had to crawl up under their fire and build our breastworks.
By the 1st of June we was strongly fortified and ready to meet them. On the 1st the cannons loomed forth their doleful sounds and a general engagement
ensued and sometimes we charged on them and was repulsed and sometimes they charged on us and was also repulsed. This kept up until the 7th of June and
there was such a smell that those on the picket lines could not stand it so on the 7th the Rebs sent out a flag of truce to bury their dead for two hours.
Everything was still and I went to see what I could see and Oh My God! what an object met my eyes. There was some that had lain on the field four and
five days and was still alive but when you came to handle them their spirits took their flight to the land of spirits and you were left to look on or dig
a hole to hide the body. When I went out I should find some of my own company that was missing, but to my great horror the sun had so disfigured them and
the flies in their mouth, eyes and nose was so full you could not have recognized your own brother. I then visited the Johnneys and traded coffee
and sugar for tobacco until the time was up. Then we had to return to our breastworks and the cannons loomed forth their doleful sounds.
On the 8th the Johnneys charged on us and was repulsed with heavy loss and the battle raged most fearful up to the 9th when we charged on them and was
repulsed with the loss of some of the best of our officers and men. The cannonade was most fearful and continued all night till daylight.
On the morning of the 10th at 8:00 o'clock and I received the fatal shot which sent me whirling to the earth. It was a twelve pound shot which came
through our breastworks and drove a rail out against me. I was taken up for dead and put in the breastworks when they found that I was yet alive. I was
kindly cared for by our boys. I remained there up to the evening of the 12th when I was put in an ambulance to go to the White House Landing for the
Johnneys began to give way and our army was on the move but on the way to the White House the Rebbles flanked the ambulance train and captured a part of
the train but I was among the lucky for I was in one of the foremost ones but badly hurt for the ambulance that I was in was upset but soon set right and
we got through.
On the night of the 13th of June and found the hospital tents all taken down. The Johnneys close on us but a few shots from our gun bouts soon drove them
out of sight. We was then put on board a transport and sent to Washington, and got there on the night of the 15th and was taken to Emery Hospital, where I had good care taken of me and was kindly used. I stayed there up to the 20th when I was put on a car and sent to Jersey City. Then there was an order came to pick out one hundred of the worst cases and send them back to Newark in New Jersey. I was in that squad. We was then sent back to Market Street Hospital and put in the 11th ward under Surgeon Nicols, and had good care taken of me both by the doctor and ward master, Mr. Brown. I had such good care that I soon began to get better but this did not last long for there were a lot of black troops came from the front and we were all sent to Center Street Hospital and put in the 5th ward under the care of Doctor Karsner and ward master, Mr. Parks. This was a bad move for me for I was badly neglected by the doctor and ward master too. I was taken down to my bed again. I had to stay in for two months.
Finally I began to get better and asked for a furlough to go home and was denied, so I said no more. I learned the reason why I could not get a
furlough was because I opposed Doctor Karsner, raising seventy dollars out of the sick and wounded for the purpose of buying a set of surgical instruments,
for the doctor got more for one month than I did for four. I did not think it was right to give what little I got to one that had so much more than I had.
I think that was the worst place I ever was in both for card playing and drinking. It was as bad as any gambling house. You could not rest day or
night and by something to the ward master everything was kept still. When they are sending men to the front, a little to the doctor will keep them in
the hospital as long as they want to stay.
In October General Disc sent an order for all that wasn't fit to go to the front must be sent home to vote (1864), so I got a furlough to go to Deposit,
to vote. When I got there my wife had gone to Wyoming (Co.), to her fathers, seventy two miles and I was to lame to go any further so I did not see her
nor my three children. The time did not go well with me for I returned disappointed and down hearted, but I headed to Newark and when I got back
things were still worse if possible. I became tired of life and thought if I had to stay there I did not want to live so I managed to get my name among a
squad that was going to the front.
On the 13th of December I left for Bedlow Island, and was there and there put in barricks without anything to lay on. We did not have to stay long so we
took shipping for City Point. Got there on 24th of December, after a rough passage of forty eight. It was quite a sight to see so many sea sick on so short a voyage but it did not effect me any. When we got to City Point, we were taken to a slave pen and kept there till the 26th, when we again was called out and took the cars for Patrick Station. From there we were sent to our different Regiments and Companys. I felt myself at home once more.
On the 31st. I again was wounded and sent to the Division Hospital.
On the 2nd of January I was sent back to City Point Hospital, and got in a good ward and a good ward master by the name of Andrew J. Walton. He took
good care of me and some of the doctors, but most of them ain't fit to be here. But such is the case all through this army. It is a money making thing
and they all work to help each other make money.
Now I have kept this as near right as I could to the best of my judgment. I am still at City Point Field Hospital and in poor health yet.
It is now the 10th of March and as warm as it is in the month of April in Wyoming. There hasn't been any snow down here this winter to call snow. It is
a nice time to do spring work down here. This has been the garden of the world, but this war has made it desolate and a barren land. The fences and
timber is all gone and there is no stone and buildings and bridges are destroyed where the army has been. It's a terrible sight to see the army pass
through a country like this. Today there was a man shot for desertion and a negro for committing a rape on a white woman. 10th there is several more to
go the same way.
The 13th A very beautiful day.
March 14th this is a beautiful day, so much so that we don't need any fire to keep warm. Everything is quiet yet along all the lines today but we expect it
every day to begin.
Wednesday 15th it is cloudy today and we had between 300 and 400 sick and wounded came to the hospital this morning. The army is on the move.
Thursday the 16th it is very warm today.
Cloudy Friday the 17th
Clear but windy Saturday. There was two men shot here today. There is some excitement.
There is great excitement here today the 25th. The Rebs charged on Fort Stedman and found our pickets asleep.... the fort and took it and took 800 of
our men prisoners but we got reinforcements and soon drove them out again, and took 1500 prisoners. Our loss is heavy but they reported their loss is
about 6,000 and they still keep fighting.
Up today the 31st. Friday. April 1st. I left City Point and got to Washington on the 2nd and was taken to the Harewood Hospital where I am now.
here has nothing taken place worthy of note since up to the 13th.
NOTES END HERE.
President Lincoln was assassinated on Good Friday, April 14th 1865.
George Henry Gardner enlisted Sept 14 1862 at Delhi, NY.. Served with the N.Y.S.Vols., Co.D., 2nd Reg't, Heavy Art'y, entered December 26, 1862 at
Elmira, N.Y. enlisted for 3 years. He was 5' 10'' tall, blue eyes, brown hair. He was discharged May 25, 1865, Washington,D.C.. He received a pension of $2.00 per month which he requested an increase in the amount. according to affidavits filed with the pension office.
The original journal was found in the National Archives at Washington, D.C. by John A. Aiello.