On board Schooner “Recruit”
Jan. 9th, 1862
My memorandum was sent with Sexton’s things by mistake; therefore I will keep one on paper and send every opportunity. Our schooner did not leave as expected. The very last chance to send ashore we hear as often as three times a day. Two cases of measles today. One has anticipated it and brought it on by his own worrying when he had no symptoms. [indecipherable name] had another of his fits; is better today.
I have great confidence in our new doctors. Two days ago, many were getting worse; now all are getting better. I had the first all night sleep upon the boat. Pity we did not have the doctors before and have something done for Sexton.
On guard through the day, but was not called at night. I am in the best of health with a good appetite. I eat two rations every meal – thanks to the nurses for that. I help them take care of the sick and they give me extra rations. I saw another case of measles this morning broke out finally.
The doctor says we shall be towed out as soon as the fog rises which is very thick. The weather is very warm and sultry.
The sick are much better; none dangerous. We are going to stop at Fortress Monroe. Dr. Green (head surgeon) has me get things for the sick very often. I like it as it give me something to do. The Zouave drum major, a Frenchman who cannot understand English, is quite bad off with the rheumatism. He got up and tried to get back but could not. I with another carried him. The Dr. talks with him in French. I have a sore throat, caused by smoking strong tobacco.
Saturday, Jan. 11th
Weighed anchor about 9 o’clock A.M. Was tugged out of the harbor into the (Chesapeake) bay. There was a light breeze and she started off finely but the breeze soon died down and we hardly moved. The cook made his soup from salt water and nobody could eat it. Complaints made to the Dr. and complaint to the General is in circulation signed by many of the soldiers. I do not approve of it; think it will amount to shucks.
The Dr. is the man to remedy the evil. Did not feel well this morning. Stiff breeze towards night rocking the vessel. One of the sailors sea-sick. Let go anchor for the night. Lost a gold dollar. Agreed to stand guard for a man that did not feel well.
Sunday, Jan. 12th
Weighed anchor early but made slow progress. Stiff breeze in the P.M. There is not a time but that we cannot go on more sails. Let go anchor at night. Great argument upon religion this evening. Sick all doing well.
Monday, Jan. 13th
Good wind; arrived at Fortress Monroe about 11 o’clock. It is a very busy place. The fleet here is one forest of masts. All hands are ordered to make up their beds as the brigade surgeon is expected on board soon. A chance to send and receive letters now offered. I presume the well ones will join their respective regiments at this place. We know nothing as to our destination but popular opinion among the passengers is that we shall proceed to Richmond. We are just as likely to go somewhere else. I have heard nothing from our regiment since about 4 hours after Sexton’s death. I am the only one from our Co. here, but I am now acquainted with nearly all on board and enjoy it very much, perhaps more than with our own company. I care very little whether I leave here or not, but I presume it will make no difference whether I care or not.
The boat rocks so it is almost impossible to write. The sea is quite rough. The weather is a little stormy. Orders are passed over to weigh anchor and go outside. I suppose they are afraid of contagious diseases getting into the army. We have had a good deal of fun this morning seeing the Dr. shoot at ducks with his revolver. Write soon; direct to Fortress Monroe until you find where we are.
The Rip Raps are a low rocky island looking like a stone quarry upon the other side of the river channel from the Fortress and has a very important position in the military point of view. The Fortress looks like a large reservoir, something like the one in Hartford only large enough to cover over six acres of land, the top and sides made permanent with cement. Can you read this?
Both doctors are seasick.