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Title: "My Life in the Army" William McCarter, Philadelphia, America.
CollectionIrish Emigration Database
FileMcCarter, William (1)/27
SenderMcCarter, William
Sender Gendermale
Sender Occupationsoldier
Sender Religionunknown
Recipient Genderunknown
SourceD 3561/A/18: Deposited by Dr. P. R. Green
ArchiveThe Public Record Office, Northern Ireland
Doc. No.9311592
Partial Date
Doc. TypeEMG
LogAction By Date Document added by C. McK,. 22:11:19
Word Count7241
Note(collection of letters where he describes his life as a soldier during the American Civil War)
TranscriptPapers of Prof. E. R. R. Green

(Copies of emigrant letters collected by and sent to E. R.
R. Green as part of his research project on emigration)

Deposited by Dr. P. R. Green

VOL. [Volume?] VII.
"My Life in the Army"

Dedicated to my Mother,
and to my Daughters.

William McCarter
Philadelphia, Pa. [Pennsylvania?]
December, 1875.

On guard duty at Turner's house 1
Female slaves _their kindness, etc., to Union
soldiers, _ their intelligence, etc. 3
Picket headquarters on the Rappahannock,
November 27th, 1862 _ their dangerous location
Bible found _ hasty retreat _ shelled by
the enemy _ horses killed _ dodging cannon
balls etc. _ destruction by fire of these
headquarters 5
Turner's house as headquarters 11
Genl. [General?] Meagher's order for my return
to camp immediately 12
Duties of Adjutants 14
A private document copied for Genl. [General?]
Meagher 17
Relieved from all regimental duties, and
appointed by Genl. [General?] Meagher his secretary 17
Special meeting of Army Officers in the tent
of Genl. [General?] Meagher 20
Presentation to Genl. [General?] Meagher of the
private document copied for him 22
Genl. [General?] Meagher's opinion of my
penmanship and my reward for the same 23-4
Indications of a great Battle near at hand 27
Description of Winter-quarters in the field 28
Positions of the Union and Rebel Armies, and
their strength
Within 3 days of the Battle of Fredericksburg 33
Marching orders for Thursday, December 11th, 1862
issuded Wednesday, December 10th, 1862 destination
Fredericksburg, Va. [Virginia?] 33

Notes and Memorandums of
My Soldier-Life in
the war for the Union, 1861 to 1865
In the Union Army
(Army of the Patomac [Potomac?]

Vol. [Volume?] VII.

(Continued from Vol. [Volume?] 6.)
On Guard duty at the house of Mr. Turner, near Falmouth,
Virginia, and opposite Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania
County Virginia.

Thursday Night
November 27th, 1862.

Two of the Slave Women referred to in the conclusion of
the last Vol. [Volume?] (No. 6) were natives of
Louisiana where they said they had a good Massa (Master?]
who treated them well, and taught them to read and write,
but that soon after the breaking out of the war their Massa's
plantation had been burned and destroyed by both Union and
Confederate soldiers, and wishing to escape North, fearing
capture by the Rebels, they had entered the Union lines near,
New Orleans and reaching this point in Virginia had been met
by Mr. Turner to whom they volunteered their services, which,
although not needed, were accepted by him and in whose
service they had been in 14 or 15 months. Their children
accompanied them North, some of them sharing the
hospitality of Mr. Turner, and the rest that of a neigbor
planter. Their husbands they stated had entered the Federal
Army about the same time. the other woman, who was much the
older, stated that she did not now her exact age, but
thought it to be 63 years _ that she was born in Georgia,
and there sold, when very young, to the father of Mr.
Turner, at whose death she became the property of his son
the present owner, and (to use her own words) "was
considered one of the Turner family." She was the
mother of 4 children all residing with her there, her
husband being dead several years. I asked her if she
was satisfied with her condition as a slave. She seemed

astonished at the question, and replied "Yes, I guess I is
_ the good Lor [Lord?] gives me all I want" and in
answer to, Would you not like to be free, she said,
Why child, what do ye mean _ free, free _ I could
not be freer than I am here _ de [the?] good Lor [Lord?]
has given me and my children de [the?] best Massa
[Master?] in the South _ got all we want _ I tell ye
ge'men [gentlemen?] got all we want _ all we want"
I then asked her if she would not like to see her less
fortunate people in slavery set free, which
Mr. Lincoln and the army were trying to do. This
seemed to touch her heart, for lifting up her hands,
and with tears in her eyes, she said "Satanly
[certainly?] honey, de Lor bress [bless?] Massa
[Mister?] Lincoln and all his men, _ I pray de
Lor [the Lord?] for dem [them?] every day _ ye see I
was only telling ye about myself." I asked her how she
and her children got the learning that they had, to
which she replied, "Massa [Mister?] Turner taught
me reading and writing 20 years ago, and now sends
the children to school in Falmouth every Saturday
and Sunday, and lets me go to meeting once a
week." First rate, old gal [girl?]," thought I.
"Slavery" after all is not so bad as I heard it to be,
and proved to me that in this locality at least,
it existed "only in name" and that many of the slaves
preferred that kind of a life to one of freedom in
which permanent employment and homes would be
uncertain to them.
At 10 o'clock the women retired leaving us in
charge of the house and premises. Before leaving the
room, the eldest went to a closet and bringing
therefrom a quantity of cold roast pork, bread and
butter laid them on first and then brought up from the
cellar a bucket full of cider setting it near the
table. "Now ge'men [gentlemen?] said she as she
modestly bade us good-night, with a blessing,
"Jist [just?] help yerselves [yourselves?] when
ye feel like eating." she also left us plenty of
coffee which we preferred to the cider. But such
comfortable quarters and good living in the very
face of the foe were entirely too much of a
luxury to last long as we soon realized.
It will be remembered that our headquarters on this
occasion were in a little log house, or hut on the top
of a bluff overlooking the river. This hut was
formerly occupied by Mr. Turner's slaves and was

fully exposed to Rebel view. During our 24 hours picket
service here, the hut was, at times, occupied by 25
or 30 men of the Reliefs. At 11 o'clock myself
and a partner took a walk over to the hut to see how
the Boys were getting along leaving our 2 comrades
in charge of Mr. Turner's house and premises till
our return. The night was still, dark and cold, and
nothing to be seen but the innumerable camp fires of
the enemy on the opposite shore, and a few of our
own on our side of the river. We approached the hut
quietly to see what was going on inside. We went around
to the South side of it facing the Confederate works, and
there found a small window out of which poured the
glare of the fire within, bright and large enough to
make 3 respectable head-lights for locomotives.
A fine target for the Rebs [|Rebels?] said I to my
companion, if they felt inclined to send over a few
shot and shells. We peeped through the window and saw
several of the Boys sitting around the fire upon which
there seemed to have been piled a whole cord of wood
while others lay on the floor asleep in all
conceivable positions and some were smoking and chatting.
The scene was interesting and amusing, and was a real
picture of the soldier's life in the time of war. It
was now nearly midnight.
We now entered the hut and took seats at the fire.
In a few minutes I arose and asked one of the men to
loan me his blanket. He did so, saying "What the devil
do you want with a blanket here?" You'll soon see,
said I, then pulling a few nails out of the old walls, I
went to the window and nailed the blanket up against it
to hide from outside view the light of the fire. What's
that for asked the Boys. O, not much, said I _ but
you see that "fire" there, _ Yes, and you saw those
"shooting irons" over the river to-day _ Yes _ well
now I'll tell you all what it's for "I thought that some
of us might get our heads blown off time enough
without coaxing the Rebs [Rebels?] by the light of
that fire shining in their faces, to knock them of now.'
Good for you Bill, old boy, said a number of voices,
By ----, we never thought of it. Now, Boys, take
my advice and let the fire go down _ don't put another
stick on it to-night. Thinking now _ that the hut was
dangerous quarters so long as the fire burned so high,
we retired to the outside for a while till it would
go down a little. All, however, on the Confederate side
of the river remained quiet, no demonstration of any

kind being made by the enemy against the hut, yet
something told me that there was "music in the air," and
I said so to the Boys, for it was impossible that such
a conspicuous object as the fire now was, and had
been an hour before, could escape Rebel notice.
I, and my partner, now returned to Turner's house.
After relating to the 2 men on guard there what had
transpired at the hut, we returned to the Boys
still in its locality, who told us that nothing
alarming had as yet occurred. At about 1 o'clock,
after the 2nd Relief had been posted, thinking
that the hut might then be occupied with
comparative safety, we again took possession of it,
keeping up only fire sufficient to counteract the
chilling effects of the cold damp night, and
stopping up every hole through which the light of the
fire might again reveal our position to the enemy.
An old bedstead stood in the corner of the hut,
upon which lay a mattress, bolster and counterpane.
Feeling sleepy, I lay down upon it and stood my
musket against on the post close to my head, and
requested my companion to wake my up in an hour,
or in time for the posting of the 3rd Relief.
Before laying down, an object, which seemed to
have been carelessly thrown, or kicked under the
bed attracted my attention, and picking it up
I found it to be an old "Bible", with the
name Sallie Jackson (or Johnson) written on the
fly leaf and, a date illegible. I tore the leaf
out, and put the book into my haversack with the
intention of keeping it, and taking it home, should
I live, as a memento of this terrible war. On the
inside cover I wrote a plain inscription with pencil,
of which the following is an exact copy _
"William McCarter,
Company 'A'
116th Regiment Pd. Vols. [Paid Volunteers?]
Found in a Negro's hut near Falmouth,
Va. [Virginia?], while on Picket duty on Rappahannock,
on the night of the Thursday, November 27th, 1862."
Note _ I will have occasion to say something more
about this Bible and its fate farther on.
In a few minutes I was fast asleep, while the
Boys sat around the little fire spending time in
the ususal manner in such places while not on duty.
I slept without rocking, but I did not enjoy it
long, for in 1/2 an hour, and just as I had commenced

(as I was afterwards told) to play some beautiful tunes
on my "nasal organ", I suddenly found myself caught
by the leg and jerked out of bed and sprawling on the
floor. I jumped up, but it was to see matters in great
confusion. The men were rushing pell-mell out
of the door, shouting to me as they went "Get,
Bill. Get, quick, quick." I was soon on the run
too, knowing that such a hasty retreat could only
be caused by most imminent danger. We ran to the
woods and I then learned its cause. A shell from
a Confederate battery (while I was alseep) had
been thrown at the hut, but fortunately not
hitting it, burst within 50 feet of it without
injuring any one. We awaited more of the
deadly messengers, standing behind trees for
protection. Nor had we to to wait long. We were
evidently marked to the enemy, and judging
from the shots fired, he got our range pretty
accurately. In about 10 minutes another missile
came hissing over the tops of the trees and
falling between the hut and Mr. Turner's house, on
open ground, burst with a loud noise, killing a
cavalry horse tied to a tree, and breaking the leg
of another, which next morning had to be killed
with bullets, to put it out of pain. At almost the
same time another shell came along, but falling
short of its mark buried itself in the earth. But
the "Johnnies" had not done with us yet, for in a
short time bang went another Rebel gun, and over
came another shell sweeping through the air like a
firey tailed comet, eliciting the cry of "Look
out there," and hitting a barrel used as a chimney
top on the hut, shivered it to pieces, together with
portions of the shingled roof, and all falling
down on the fire below, soon ignited the wood work,
and in 5 minutes the entire structure was wrapped
in flames. "What about my prediction noir [now?],
said I to a comrade," _ Right again, said he.
Note _ Persons who have never seen Artillery
firing are apt to suppose that a cannon ball or
shell after leaving the muzzle of the gun, cannot
be seen passing through the air, but such is not
the case. It can be followed without difficulty
with the eye, and a person standing in its track,
if at a reasonable distance from the gun can, to
use an Army phrase "dodge' the ball, or shell, if
he is watchful and quick to get out of its way.

The hut was now in flames illuminating the heavens,
for the night was pitch dark, and our little party
retired deeper into the woods, fearing that the bright
light would reveal us to the enemy who would then have,
undoubtedly, shelled us vigorously. The hut, however,
soon burned down, and the bright light it had made
gave place to total darkness, and a death-like
stillness all round.
Fears were now entertained that Mr. Turner would hold
us responsible for the destruction of the hut. I and
my partner started for his house to tell him about it,
and when about 1/2 way we met him coming over to it,
half dressed, to see (as he said) if any one had been
killed or wounded. We told him that no casualties
had occurred, at which he was glad and thankful he
said, and added, "Well, the damned old place (the hut) it
was out of the way anyhow, the Boys will have no shelter
now just go back and tell them, that when not on duty, to
make my house their headquarters till morning." I
need hardly say that this was unexpected and good
news to our comrades. Soon after, the cosey [cosey?]
kitchen of Mr. Turner's house was occupied by 28 or
30 members of our Reliefs, where they spent the
remainder of their time till daybreak, with plenty
to eat and drink. At 5 o'clock the women were again
about, and Massa's [Master's?] orders provided our entire
party with breakfast consisting of hot coffee, salt
fish and corn bread, after which, all the men,
except myself and three guard companions, left for
other parts of the picket line. At 1/2 past 8 we too
bade Mr. Turner and his household good-bye thanking
them for the kind treatment extended to us and our
comrades, and receiving from the colored [coloured?] folks a
blessing that certainly followed and rested upon some
of us afterwards. We reached the regiment at the
appointed time, as it was preparing to leave, and
1/2 past 9, our pickets all being in from the front,
the entire command returned to camp, a Michigan
regiment taking our place on the picket line.

In Camp near Falmouth, Virginia
Friday, November 28th, 1862

Notwithstanding the almost every-day picketing
by my regiment since encamping here, it was again
ordered out on the same errand to a point some
2 miles east of its position on the 27th. Nothing

particular occurred on the march thither, and the
weather, although cloudy, was pleasant. I was attached
to the First Relief, and with another comrade went
on duty at 9 o'clock, on post No. 13 near the river.
Little, however, did I think that this was to be my
last day of picket service. While standing on my post
a little after 10 o'clock, I saw a mounted horseman,
recognized to be General Meagher's Orderly and Lieut.
[Lieutenant?] Nolan of my regiment. Nearer and nearer
they came to me, till the horseman brought up at my
side, when the Lieutenant addressing the rider, and
pointing at me, said, "Here's your man, Orderly,"
and then to me, as he drew from his pocket a paper,
"Consider yourself under arrest, here's a warrant
for you." Then handing me the paper, he said, Here
it is _ read for yourself. I read it, and as near as
I can recollect it was worded and signed as follows _
"Look up McCarter, a young Irishman of Company A
of your regiment and send him forthwith to my tent, with
the bearer. Fill his place in the line with another
(signed) T. F. Meagher."
All right, said I _ Shall I go now, Lieutenant _ Oh no,
said he, wait till I get another man to take your
place here _ the Orderly will wait for you.
He then left, saying, that he would return with my
substitute in 1/2 an hour. After he was gone, I
asked the Orderly if he knew what the Genl. [General?]
wanted with me. He said No, and did not know what
the paper was about till it was opened by the
commanding officer at picket headquarters.
In a little more than an hour after, the Orderly
and myself reached Genl. [General?] Meagher's
quarters. We found him dictating an Army document to
his Adjutant who was writing it on a desk. On
entering I saluted the General, when he said
"Glad to see you McCarter," and taking me by the
hand, added, "Didn't expect to see you so soon _
I like promptness." Then turning to the Adjutant,
who was staring at me with mouth and eyes, he said,
"Adjutant, this is one of Colonel Heenan's men of
the 116th, the best penman in the Brigade." Here,
he concluded, as he opened his portfolio, "here is
some of his writing, just look at it and see if
you can beat it." The Adjutant scrutinized it very
closely, and asked me how I did it, if with a
plain pen and ink. I replied Yes. Well, said he,

I have been among some of the best penmen in
Boston, for the last 7 years, but I'll be hanged
General if any of them could touch that. I
don't wonder (addressing me) that the General
wants you here, but instead of being my assistant
I think I must become yours. Genl. [General?]
Meagher smiled _ I told you so, said he, but come,
let us finish up the work now in hands, Mac will
copy it afterwards in this style, pointing to the
portfolio, it will tickle Hancock, he wants to
forward it to Washington to-night. The Genl. [General?]
then requested me to take a seat at the fire till the
paper would be ready, which I did and taking out
my old and faithful army pipe, double charged it
with real Virginia weed handed me just then by the
General, and very soon I was enjoying a pipe that
seemed to be going by steam.

Adjutants and their duties

The Adjutant General was the official dispenser of
all military orders, and the receiver of every
species of military report, document, suggestion, etc.,
Assistant Adjutants General of equal or proportionate
rank were assigned to every Corps, Division and Brigade.
All of these formed an independent roll in the lists of the
Army, having its fixed duties, as well as its system
of promotion. Every document intended for the perusal,
or approval of the Commander had to ascend regularly from
its starting point through the line of Adjutants, and be
first read or approved by each General to whom one of
these Adjutants was assigned. If any of them disapproved
of it, its upward course was not always stopped,
but the hopes of its final approval were not very
flattering. Every military paper was, or should have
been signed "By order of General, so and so, Assistant
Adjutant General."
The "Adjutants" were simply the Secretaries and Clerks
of the Army, keeping its records, accounts, etc., and
performing other duties connected therewith.
I had been sitting at the General's fire for
probbly an hour, waiting for the paper to copy, when
the cook (an old Irishman formerly in the ranks)
announced dinner ready _ most welcome news, to myself
in particular, because I hoped to be a sharer. Shall
I bring it in, General, politely inquired the man with
the apron. Certainly, Joseph, replied General Meagher,

#PAGE 10
and set an extra place for another _ Good boy, said I to
myself, that's the talk. In a few minutes the cook
returned carrying the victuals consisting of salt
broiled salmon, potatoes with their jackets on _ fresh
Army biscuit and butter _ hot coffee with condensed
milk and a pitcher of water. A small camp table covered
with a gum blanket was set in the middle of the tent
upon which the viands, together with 3 tin plates,
3 tin cups and 3 knives and forks were deposited.
The General then arose, and in his usual gentlemanly
manner and Irish hospitality, invited the
Adjutant and myself to join him in his camp fare,
saying, "Now, Boys, help yourselves to whatever
is before you." I need hardly say that there was
at least "one" who did ample justice to the
eatables, and who was made welcome to them.
After dinner, the work on the document was resumed, but
before it was completed, a message was received from
Division headquarters, asking if the paper was finished,
as it had to be mailed at 4 o'clock for Washington.
It was then after 3. Genl. [General?] Meagher replied
that it would be sent over in due time, but said to
the messenger, tell General Hancock for me, to excuse
its roughness as the time was too limited to get it up
better _ I intended to have sent him a decent paper,
but cannot now do so under the circumstances. Thus I
got out of "one" job of writing which, would have
been no easy one for me to have copied. The
document, I afterwards learned, related to charges
against a certain officer, and also to the creation
of Winter Quarters by, and for the Brigade here,
or elsewhere in the vicinity, and a few other military
matters of less importance.
After the paper was finished and sent away, Genl.
[General?] Meagher remarked, that he hoped "this day's
scribbling" was ended, as he never was a good quill
driver, and never expected to be. Now Mac, said he, I
have a private matter of my own that I would like you
to attend to, at your convenience and I want you to get
it up for me in your very best style _ something like
this, opening his portfolio, and laying his hand upon
the verses there, copied by me in Philadelphia
(alluded to in Vol. [volume?] 2 of this narrative).
It is a poem of 37 or 38 verses of my own composition
and entitled "Midnight on the Potomac." I want it
written in this book, said he, unlocking a tin box
and taking therefrom the most beautiful Scrap Book

#PAGE 11
that I have ever saw, labelled in large fancy gilt
letters, "Thomas Francis Meagher, from his friends in
Ireland, January 1st, 1862." You are relieved from all
regimental duties, and I have notified your Colonel to
that effect _ Consider yourself until otherwise notified
"my private Secretary and attached to these headquarters."
Thank you General said I. The incident at the
"Warrenton fire" now flashed upon my mind, and the
horror [honour?] that he now conferred upon me was a proof
that he had not forgotten it.
Soon after dispatching the paper to Division
headquarters, Genl. [General?] Meagher told me that
he was going away for a few hours, and would leave
his tent, etc., under my care, whilst the Guard outside
would see that no one should enter it unless properly
authorized. I was therefore soon alone, and having
no writing of an official character to do then,
I embraced the opportunity to commence copying the
Poem and had just finished the 4th verse as the General
returned. He was much pleased with my work, and
passed some compliments upon it. But General,
said I, it will appear to better advantage when it is
finished, and I would prefer you not to see it again
till then. All right said he, just as you wish. He
then unbuckled his sword, and hung it upon the centre
pole, lit a segar [cigar?], pulled off his boots
and sat down at the fire, saying to me, Now Mac,
I am here, and if you feel inclined to take a stroll
over among the Boys, you are perfectly at liberty to
do so, but be here again at 8 o'clock, Joseph will
have supper ready then. Have you the Countersign,
he added. No Sir, said I. Well you may need it, as
he whispered into my ear "Forty Four". Thank
you General, said I, then lighting my pipe, I
went out into the woods, beautifully illuminated with
our camp fires around which, in groups, the Boys
were whiling away another dark night in the
Army of the Potomac.
I returned to the General's tent at 8 o'clock
and partook of another hearty meal _ coffee, roast
potatoes, hard-tack and butter. After supper the
General and myself vacated the tent for the outside,
he with his segar [cigar?] and I with my pipe
filled at his expense, and seating ourselves at
a large fire near by, around which 12 or 15
officers and privates were resting and warming
themselves, we had an evening smoke. At 9

#PAGE 12
o'clock tattoo sounded, to retire for the night, and
soon the bustling camps of 200 regiments became as
still as a church yard, not even the tread of a
sentinel being heard owing to the softness of the
ground. The General, however, did not retire,
but beckoning to me to follow, returned to his
tent, and lighting 2 candles there placed them
upon his desk and commenced to write. Now, Mac,
said he, pointing to a couch in a corner of
his tent, you can "bunk" any time you wish. I
must stay up for several hours yet, as there is to
be a special meeting here to-night at 11 o'clock of
Army officers. It was now 1/2 past 9. All right,
General, said I, but will my presence not be
objectionable during the meeting. He replied, Oh no,
I'll fix that _ sit down, however, for a while and
keep me company. I did so, and he went on
writing. Time passed, and at 1/4 to 11 I reminded
him of the meeting and told him that with his
permission I would prefer to go outside till it
was over. Certainly, replied he when you prefer it _
one of my Orderlies is afloat yet and you can spend
the time with him _ he is a first-rate fellow. In
the meantime please go over and tell him that I wish
to see him here for a minute. I did so, and then sat
down at one of the camp fires while the Orderly
took his position at the door of the General's tent
to usher in the members of the meeting on their
arrival. At about 20 minutes past 11, they had all
assembled, but who they were I did not know, owing to
the darkness of the night, and the way in which they
were muffled up. Two of them, however, I think,
judging from their build and carriage, were Generals
Burnside and Hancock. The meeting closed at 1/2
past 12 and the members returned quietly to their
quarters. The General then invited me in to retire,
handing me a glass of brandy, and hoping to find
me ready for work in the morning, for, said he,
pointing to several papers on his desk "here's
plenty for you to do." I pulled off my boots and
cap, bade him good-night and jumped into my new bunk
where I slept soundly till 5 o'clock in the morning.

Saturday, November 29th, 1862
he morning of the 29th indicated rain or snow and
our camp presented a very gloomy appearance. At
8 o'clock the regiment again started for the picket

#PAGE 13
line which still more increased the dismal look
of the the grounds. The only occupants of the camp
during that day and night were myself, General
Meagher, occasionally, and his visitors, and 8 or 10
camp guards. I commenced writing at 8 1/2 o'clock
[half past eight?] and about 2 I had the documents
finished and on their way to Hancock's headquarters
for signature, etc., after which I again took up the
General's private work _ the copying of the Poem. The
following 5 days were spent by me in pretty much the same
routine of duty, and on the night of Thursday,
December 4th, 1862, I had the Poem all copied. I got
it up in my best style, determined, if possible,
to please the General. On the same night after
finishing the Poem (but the Genl. [General?] did not
know it was done) he informed me that my work on
the official document had, in every instance passed
inspection, and had given universal satisfaction,
and indeed, said he, it is much admired for its
clearness, and the ease of being read. And now Mac
continued he, I take pleasure in telling you that
your name is on the list for promotion to "Adjutant".
I felt proud of the honor conferred upon me, and
thanked the General for his kindness.

Friday, December 5th, 1862

As none of the regiments of the Brigade were on picket
to-day, inspection and drill was made the order of
the morning for 2 hours from 9 o'clock. All the
officers of the Command were present, including
the chief inspector Genl. [General?] Hancock.
At about 1/2 past 11, after inspection, seeing a
good chance to present the Poem to Genl. [General?]
Meagher, I did so. He was standing carelessly
at a camp fire talking to the Colonel of the 69th
New York at the time. I took the Scrap Book to him,
and said "General, here it is, finished at last, and
then left returning to my writing duties in his tent.
In 5 minutes after, I looked out to see what he
was doing. He was surrounded by some 10 or 11
officers, all intently looking at the copied poem
in the Scrap Book in his hands. I then returned to
my desk, and in a few minutes the Orderly appeared at
the tent door, saying that General Meagher
wished to see me outside. In 2 minutes I was with
him, when he said to me, in presence of all the

#PAGE 14
other officers, "McCarter, I am really proud of
this poem, and still prouder that the man who copied
it is a member of my Command. I shall forward it to
Ireland for exhibit there for a short time." He
then introduced me to all the officers present and
invited the entire party into his tent to take a
"Smile". In 10 minutes after, they separated. Genl.
[General?] Meagher with the book under his arm going
towards headquarters, and the officers to their
various Commands, while I re-seated myself at the
desk for another hour's work which would finish my duties
for the day. It was now 1/2 past 12 o'clock.
At 1 o'clock Joseph (the cook) came in and commenced
setting the table for dinner. Joe, said I, I guess
the General is dining with Genl. [General?] Hancock
to-day, he went over there a while ago. Oh, yes, he
replied, he told me so, but bid me get dinner here
for you. Joseph soon came in again bringing to
me a big apple dumpling, two potatoes and a corn
cake. Now, my boy said he, in his broad Irish dialect
"Ate your fill."
Genl. [General?] Meagher returned at 3 o'clock,
while I was talking with some of my comrades at a camp
fire. He called me, and following him into his tent, he
put his hand into his pocket, and drew out an old
fashioned steel-bead purse, and taking therefrom a
"folded up" greenback of what seemed to me to be of
the denomination of "Five Dollars," he handed it to me
saying "Mac, here's a slight acknowledgement for your
beautiful work _ perhaps you need some things from the
Sutler, and this will be useful to you." I thanked
him as I took the money and said that it certainly
would be of much use to me at that time, but that I
did not expect anything of the kind for simply copying
his poem, as I had only done it out of respect for and
admiration of the Commander of the Irish Brigade. He
smiled and said, thank you Mac. I soon went over to the
Sutler's (about 200 yards off) and purchased from him
the following:
1 pair common suspenders $1.75
1 pair wool socks 75
2 red pocket hdkfs [handkerchiefs?] (very thin) 60
1 muffler (cotton) $1.00
Total $4.10
I drew out my little memorandum book in which I had
placed the greenback without opening it, just as

#PAGE 15
I had received it from the General, and handing it
to the Sutler to pay for the articles bought, he
went back to the rear of his shop (or tent) to get
me the change. He counted out 19 one dollar notes (very
much to my surprise) and then stopping short held the
bill that I had given him up in his hand saying,
My friend, I can't make your change _ have you
nothing smaller. Hiding my astonishment as much
as possible, I replied, No _ nothing less _ just
hand me the bill again and I will get it changed. He
did so, and then, for the first time I discovered
it to be a "Fifty Dollar' ($50) greenback.
Thinking that Genl. [General?] Meagher had