Israel P. Spencer
Residence was not listed; 18 years old. Enlisted on 8/6/1862 at Genoa, NY as a Private. On 9/26/1862 he mustered into "A" Co. NY 136th Infantry He was Mustered Out on 6/13/1865 at Washington, DC He was listed as: Wounded 3/19/1865 Bentonville, NC died in 1922 in Columbia County, OR Buried: Vernonia Pioneer Cemetery, Vernonia, OR
My oldest brother, Morton L. Spencer, enlisted in Co. B. 23 N. Y. Infantry for two years. In August, 1862, M. M. Loyden, who had been a Lieutenant in Co. B., 23 and had resigned was recruiting for the next company that he could be a commissioned officer in and that happened to be Co. A, 136 N. Y. V. Fred enlisted and I enlisted on the 6th day of August, 1862, I being 18 years, 2 months old, and were assigned to Co. A. In the organization of the regiment, A. T. Cole was Captain, M. M. Loyden, 1st Lieutenant, Webster, 2nd Lieutenant, A. S. Cole, Orderly Sergeant.
In the latter part of September we went in to Camp of Instruction at Portage Falls, N.Y. We were here learning the drill tactics and manual of arms not to exceed two months. It was a beautiful place situated on the banks of the Genesee River just above the falls, in fact, two of them. A high trestle rail road bridge, said at the time to be the highest in the world, was located here. It was regular lattice work, any piece in it could be taken out and another part put in its place. The 130th N. Y. V. were here at the same time, but left for the front some time before we did. Our board at this place was furnished by contractors and was the poorest quality, the worst get - bread, meat and coffee-that I ever attempted to swallow.
Some time, I think it was the sixth day of September, we drew uniforms and arms and started for the seat of war. Arriving at Washington, D. C., we were marched to the Soldiers Retreat for grub, such slush as they gave us was enough to make a good soldier retreat, but we thought it was all right and soon got out of that place.
We crossed the Potomac River on the famous Chain Bridge and went into camp on Arlington Heights amongst fleas and grayback. We probably were here about two weeks when we were started on the march out in to the interior of Old Virginia.
We were assigned to the Second Brigade, Second Division, Eleventh Corps. The Brigade was composed of the 33 Mass., 55 Ohio, 73 Ohio and the 136th N.Y. We were marched through the historic Fairfax Court House, Centerville, Manassas Junction, Bull run, and out to Thoroughfare Gap. At this point we stayed for perhaps ten days-dome of the time company roll call came every hour. The cause of this, at that time being young in the business, we did not understand, but a year later we would say, "Look out for the Johneys." Thoroughfare Gap is one of the passes through the Blue Ridge Mountains and one side or the other might slip through and the other not know of it. Consequently, it was guarded. How long we played around this part I don't know, but in a short time we took the back track.
Burnside was having his fight at Frederickburg. This was in December, 1862, and I suppose we were on the road to reinforce him. We got within hearing of the cannon but the battle was over and we not in it. In going across the old battlefield of Bull Run past the Stone House, we saw a good many corpse that had been buried partially washed out by the rain. At one place there was an arm sticking out straight. I and the rest th ought that it was horrible, of course, but before our time was up, we could look on such things and think nothing of it. Brother Mort was hit in the arm at Fredericksburg. I have seen the minie ball that was cut out of his arm.
How many places we went to and where I do not remember. I recall that for quite awhile we were engaged in building corduroy road somewhere between Fairfax and some other place, but there was not very much hard labor done by the most of us. We were, the most of us, unfit for any sort of work. Not being used to the climate and the rations we go not agreeing with our digestive organs, we were the most of us badly afflicted with the usual disease, diarrhea.
We finally settled down at a place called Banksford on the Rappahannock River. At this place we were called on to do very arduous duties-on picket duty every other day, and drill, drill, drill all the time when not otherwise engaged. Carry your gun at a shoulder arms until you would think your arm would come out of its socket, and curse under your hat, but it did no good, we had it to do just the same. Here is where I first saw the rail and knapsack drill. It consists of a rail about all a man can carry. He has to shoulder it and march on a beat with a guard on the watch to see that he does not put it down, and by the time he is through, he thinks he will not shirt duty nor steal anymore. The knapsack is filled with stones and the punishment is about the same. I never got any of it.
I remember one night, while on duty as picket on the river, rations being short, of having some corn and putting it in a tin can with ashes, boiling it and washing it, and then eating the corn and thought it was mighty good. While here, the boys used to trade with the Confederates-coffee or tobacco. The Captain we had at this time was name Buell. He had a brother on the other side, and it was suggested, and I think it was true, that by some arrangement the brother came across and they met and had a talk. It got out and Mr. Buell resigned. Some time previous all of our commissioned officers had got tired of war and gone home. The regiment did guard duty at this place until Burnside's famous Wind Campaign ended, (see history) and he was relieved from command of the Army of the Potomac, and General Joe Hooker was appointed when we went into winter quarters at Stafford Court House.
One of the first duties of a soldier is to provide as good a house to live in as he can. four, and sometimes six, mess together and live through the winter in the same hut built out of split logs or round poles, whichever were easiest to get. This winters camp was mostly of round poles, built up with four foot walls covered with our shelter tents. If the gang were industrious enough, they would build a mud fire place at one end. If not, have the fire out in front of the company street.
Battalion and company drills and march duty took up the most of the time. But the most arduous duty was the job of getting wood. It was all of the pine specimen and of a young growth. We had to cut it and carry it on our shoulders to camp, and the longer we stayed in the one place, the farther away the wood was. No small job to supply the camp and I have no doubt many a man broke his back doing so.
The 23 N. Y. at this time was encamped at Bell Plains and Fred and I got a pass. You see, you had to have a pass to go most anywhere. We went down to see Brother Mort, but he happened to be off on some detail, so did not meet him until the war was over. Some of the boys in his company we were aquatinted with and had a good visit. I don't know how Virginia is for sun and cold generally, but that winter was bad enough to suit us Northern boys. Francis Barlow, a regular officer now in command of the brigade, was regular martinet in everything pertaining to the soldiers duties. He won great distinction afterwards in another command.
Things move along until 27 April 1863, when order came to draw ten-days rations. Think of carrying ten-days group, sixty rounds of ammunition, bag and baggage, strike camp, and be prepared for a hard campaign. Away they go, the Commanding General alone know where. The first day the road was literally covered with overcoats, blankets, shirts , pants and everything that would lighten the loads, and some things besides. We crossed the Rappahannock River at Kelly's Ford, the Rapidan at Ealys Ford.
After crossing this last ford, while marching along in column without any thought of danger, a rebel battery away off on our right began to throw some shells at the column. This was our first experience under fire. Of all the ducking and dodging and rushing ahead I ever saw, it was then, but never afterwards. They were shooting way over and did not hurt anyone in our regiment, and don't think they did in the brigade. We were now near Chancellorsville, where there was a heavy battle, but so far as I know, we, that is our brigade, did not fire a shot during the whole fight. We were ordered out of the place in line of the Eleventh Corps just before Jackson made h is charge on the left flank of that corps, and where I went, I don't know, but wherever find find on the maps, Barlow's Brigade, there we were! And ten days grub was ll gone and eating raw beef. History tells how Hooker was defeated and fell back to his old camping ground, and the Eleventh Corps was made to bear the blame, but if you'll read impartial testimony, General O. O. Howard, the Eleventh Corps Commander, was at fault.
In June the Gettysburg Campaign began. We were then somewhere near Catletts Station, Virginia, from which place we moved leisurely through Centerville to Goose Creek, Virginia, thence across the Potomac River to Frederick City, Maryland, through Boonesboro, Emmetsburg, and arrived at Gettysburg July first at about one o'clock. Our line ws formed along the stone wall of what is called the Tauneytown Road. This position we held throughout the three days fight. Cemetery Ridge, just at our backs, was covered with artillery and when the and the rebel artillery were playing on each other, they fairly lifted us off the ground. On the second day, when out on the skirmish line I got h it in the left shoulder, I did not know how bad it was, but helped another badly wounded man back to the general field hospital which was situated back of the cemetery in a sort of a hollow. Having arrived at the hospital grounds, I took off my jacket and took a look at that rebel scratch. It did not look very serious so I slid into that jacket, picked up this enfield, and way I went to where Company A, 136 N. Y. was. I found them in the same old position.
None of the heavy fighting came in our immediate front, but we could away to our left where it was gong on. The height of the third day after the battle was over, the most heartrending cries, groans, and curses from the wounded men out on the battlefield filled he air, and I was glad to get out of its hearing. History will tell all who wish to read about what took place here in three days fight.
From Gettysburg we followed the Rebel Army up through Maryland to Hagerstown and across some of the old Antietam battlefield, Boonsboro Gap and other places, the names I have forgotten. We then recrossed the Potomac River back into the state of Virginia.
In September, 1863, the Eleventh and Twelfth Corps were loaded onto the cars somewhere in Virginia. I don't know the place now, and we started on a five day and six night ride down through Ohio, Indian to Jefferson City, Indiana. Here we crossed the Ohio River to Louisville, Kentucky and thence to Nashville, Tennessee, and from this place to Bridgeport, Alabama. The smoke of a magazine which had exploded had not cleared away and they were picking up the dead and wounded when we got off the train. This was - I guess, the longest rid, the most of it on top of the cars-and cattle cars at that - I ever had. We were treated right royally and had lots of good things to eat while going through Ohio and Indiana.
We did not stay very long at Bridgeport. We shouldered our packs and struck over the mountains to Stephenson, Alabama, and were strung out a company at a place to do guard duty along the rail road. Our company was station at a bridge at a creek called Crow Creek. We perhaps were here two weeks and not much to do. Here I learned to make corn bred in an old Dutch oven. We would take the corn to an overshot grist mill of ancient order, and let the old miller take out his toll. The inhabitants living in this vicinity were of the low Corn-Cracker order. I don't remember of but one young man, and he did not have good sense. The women were of the low character.
We returned to Bridgeport and crossed the Tennessee River on pontoon boats, the railroad bridge being burned, on the twenty sixty of October, 1863. At this time I saw the boys and myself as well, so something out of the usual order. It was choice between hardtack and cartridges, and of course we must have something to eat, and we knew that where we were going they did not have but a mightily little, but we loaded ourselves with eighty rounds of cartridges at the expense of hardtack. We were pushed through Whiteside on to Wanhatchee Station. Close to the foot of Lookout Mountain and near Raccoon Mountain, I believe, we went into camp. Before we did, while marching along, the Rebs on top of Old Lookout tried to shell us, but they could not depress the muzzles of their guns enough to do any harm to us.
Now get Greeley's History of the Civil War and turn to page 434, and read three pages and you'll find out what we did that night at about midnight. This will give you a better idea than I can, though I'll say it is not conducive to good health to be climbing a steep hill with someone shooting towards you. This action gave us fellows from the Army of the Potomac-Paper Collars, White Gloves, etc., as we had been styled, a pretty good fellowship with the Army of the Cumberland. We put up works and held this position until about the twenty-first of November 1863, when we were taken across the Tennessee River to Chattanooga. We did not have very much fighting but a good deal of skirmishing.
As the Battle of Chattanooga was over, we were sent out to a station on some railroad called Red Clay Station which we burned and tore the track up. My, but how it did rain that night. I took two rails, laid he down on one end higher that the other so the water would run off, covered myself with a rubber blanket and went to sleep.
I think the next day we, along with a host of others, were put under the command of Sherman and marched to the relief of General Burnside who was besieged at Knoxville, Tennessee. We were started without any overcoats or blankets, and so far as our regiment was concerned we did not have scarcely anything but guns and extra cartridge boxes. It had begun to grow cold, and being without the necessary covering at night there was a good deal of grumbling. All the same, we made very good time. The troops crossed the Tennessee River at London on a bridge made of wagons. There were pushed in and planks put across from one to another. I do not remember how far it was across, but the water was not very deep. We passed through several small towns, and arrived at a place, I think, called Marysville, said to be some ten miles from Knoxville.
Here news came the Longstreet had attacked and had been repulsed, so we were turned on the back track for home, or Chattanooga. Nothing to eat but what we could find in this part of the country, and there was but a mightily little to find. It had been the home of the forager of both armies too long. Flour and sorghum was the most we got and the flour did not stay on the stomach much longer than it took to swallow the pancakes it was made into. Cold? Well, yes, and a fire had to be kept burning all night, turning first one side then the other to keep from freezing. One night, I remember very well, the ice was fully one inch thick. We were dirty and each one carried a thousand or more graybacks. It was simply impossible to get rid of them. I have seen the boys on the tramp, when the sun came out and we would stop to rest, yank off their shirts and kill what they could but hey did not h ardly make a beginning. But, as all things have a beginning, so they must have an end and we arrived at Chattanooga on Christmas, 1863. I myself was in the barefoot squad and with pants gone up to the knees, I suppose I was rather pretty to look at.
We were marched around under the point of Old Lookout and went into camp at or near Wanhatchee and put up winter quarters where we stayed until about the first of May, 1864. During our stay in these quarters we had a very good time, camp and picket duties were not very hard and wood was quite handy to get during the winter. I was one of a lot of the boys who climbed to the summit of Lookout Mountain and went to the village of Summerville, but there ws not much to the place. Standing from the top of the mountain one of the most splendid views can be seen into four different states.
At this place and time the 73rd and 55th Ohio veterened, that is reenlisted. Two of the boys did not and they were assigned to the mess. I was in until the regiment returned from its furlough.
The only time I was every punished during my service was here. While out on battalion drill, the Lieutenant Colonel, Faulkner who was drilling us gave the command, right dress and by some hook or crook, he happened to get his eyes on me. He rode up to the captain and told him to send me to the Guard House under arrest. We always thought he had it in for our company anyway because we were at the head of the regiment and the company from his own home was B., on the extreme left. Well or course when we arrived at quarters, Jen Wycoff, a sergeant from A Company and also Sergeant of the Guard escorted me to the Guard House. "Gee, Id, what's the matter", say he. I told him.
"Oh well, you'll not stay here very long," and I did not-about twenty minutes, I guess. The Lieutenant Colonel was a good drill master, but he liked commissary whiskey and was overbearing. "Peace to his ashes" if he left any.
One of the incidents that happened to a squad or rather a patrol one day was this: There were about a dozen of us from the picket reserve ordered to patrol the railroad out to a "Stockade". At least that was the way the sergeant in charge understood it. The railroad was one that ran to Trenton from Chattanooga. Well, we hit the ties in the forenoon and traveled until quite late and found no such thing as a stockade. So we started back. When within some three miles of the infantry picket, stumbling along in the dark, "Halt, Halt" rang out in front and away to our left. Did we scatter or lay down? You bet we did something of that sort. After answering the challenge it turned out to an advance cavalry picket post. They had see us go out, but we had not seen them. We arrived in camp sometime in the night. They had given us up as gobbled by the enemy, but we saw none. It was a trestle we were to go to.
Well, we lived pretty well that winter-not very cold, but at one time there was fifteen inches of snow, and I believe the peach trees were in bloom at the same time. I had a picture-ambrotype- taken while at this camp, the same on I have now.
On May seventh, 1864, we started on the Atlanta Campaign. The first move was out through Chattanooga, Missionary Ridge, past the Chickamuga battlefield, and found a stopping place at Braggard's Roost. Yes, the Johneys from here held the front line and although they invariably had to drop back to some other entrenched positions, they held on here a while. But it was not long until we reached Dalton. From Dalton to Resaca on the fifteenth of May, we had it hot and heavy, that is our brigade. Remember, one does not know much about what transpires on in ones own sight.
We were ordered to charge and when we stopped, part of Company A was out in a cleared field on quite a hill with some rebel skirmish pits in and around. In front of us was quite a steep slope to come up to reach us, and the Gray boys tried twice to drive us back, but without success. Here I had a lock of hair clipped from over my left ear. I thought that was close enough.
It was up to the Johneys to get out and they did. Carrville, Burnt Hickory, Big Shanty, Kennesaw Mountains, Marietta and other places have a name in history. Chattahouchee River was crossed and the Battle of Peach Tree Creek was fought on July twentieth, 1864 and on the first of September we marched into the city of Atlanta. Remember that from the start in May until we had possession of Atlanta we were either directly under fire or within hearing of it, moving from one point to another or building breast works through rain and wind, sunshine and dust. It was a continuous job. We had got the necessary things that we had to carry own to the fine point, the whole consisting of one piece of shelter ten, gun blanket, sometimes two pieces of ten, shirt, socks, etc. All were rolled up and the ends tied together and c arried over the neck. When two or more camped together, some of the others would have a woolen blanket. The haversack was the main thing to look out for and see that it contained something to eat at all times. I don't believe we put up any tents only when it rained or when we were not on the move.
Anything thing I should have put in this narrative is that when we started on this campaign, we were known as the Twentieth Corps. Our Third Brigade, Third Division corps badge was a five pointed star. The day before we entered Atlanta, tobacco was very scarce among us privates. Even if we had money tobacco could not be found. I remember asking Dave Root for a chew. He said, "I'd rather give you ten cents." But, as we were a part of the advance in the city, the tobacco problem was solved for some time, at least for everybody that had anything to put a caddy or two of it in, did so, and boys that did not use it all took it to sell to them who did.
Our brigade was composed of the 20th Connecticut, 26th Wisconsin, 33rd Massachusetts, 73rd and 55th Ohio and 136 N.Y. We had had this organization from Chattanooga. Colonel James Wood, Jr., our colonel, was in command of the brigade most of the time. WE lay in camp at and around Atlanta building forts and doing guard duty, and sometimes going out with foraging trains On one of these expeditions I was taken with cramps in my legs, could not get them in any shape but what they would cramp. I got into one of the wagons and rode back to camp. That night I think I must have got delirious. It seems as though I was trying to stand on my head, and to this day I don't really know what I did do. I was reported to the doctors and the next morning got some quinine and dover powders. This was kept up for about two weeks but did not seem to get any stronger. Had some appetite but the rations did not taste good. I asked Bradley, hospital steward, "What's the matter?"
He said, "You had a tight squeeze from a run of fever, and you had better take your medicine."
I took one dose and burned up the other two. One day I thought I could stand it, so I went on guard, but I could not bear to have the waist belt on at all. This finished the guard business so far as I was concerned.
On November 15, 1864, we broke camp and started for Savannah, as it turns out, but of course privates did not know it. I put my outfit in a ambulance and rode part of the time, but the next day I got them out joined the company and was on of them from that time on. The first place of any note that we reached was Milledgeville, the capital of Georgia. Here I went into a house to get some flour to make pancakes out of. You see we had to live off the country and as a general thing we lived fairly good. Bacon, sugar, flour, hogs, chickens, sweet potatoes, sorghum all fell in the hands of the foragers. It was not a very hard trip and when there was enough to eat and no rain it really was a picnic. Nothing but skirmishing was going on in the advance. On the 10th of December, 1864 we closed in on the city of Savannah and formed line of battle and began to advance on the works. I remember one day going out on the front line as skirmisher under a newly commissioned lieutenant. He made us keep closed up and we were in plain view of one of the Rebel forts. Of course they let drive a dose of grape at us. One of them hit Dave Root, that is it spoiled his rubber blanket. He had it in his belt folded up and buckled around his waist. No one was hurt but Dave turned around quicker than he ever did in his life. No more closed-up column for us and we where our post was and got there in short order. Rations there were none, but of course the most of us had coffee saved up. Beef cattle were not beef anymore but just beef bones. There was or seemed to be plenty of rice, so it was soup and most of the time until the river could be opened and transports could come up with rations.
November 20 (December ?) we went into Savannah with a hurrah, went out and put up quarters and supposed we would stay there at least until spring. Our camp was amongst oak trees and they were covered with a live moss hanging in long strings, some of the strings being twenty feet long. Along towards Charleston it got cold with hail, snow and sleet weather. I suppose that was not very much seen at that latitude.
Sometime, I think in January, 1865 we crossed the Savannah River on the steamer Planter. While waiting to get aboard of her, we could see alligators sticking their snouts up out of the water. Not a very healthy place for a man should he fall in the water, I should judge. We landed on the South Carolina side and went into camp amongst the rice fields with the rice out and bound in bundles and set up in shocks. The place was called Hardee-Ville. All we had to do here was to thresh out what rice we could eat, clean it by putting in willow baskets and letting the wind blow the chaff out. Slow work but we managed to have enough to live on and since then I have not had much hankering for rice.
There were here the outlines of breastworks built to protect Savannah during the War of 182 with the English. There were large trees growing on them. There were thousands of acres of rice and canal cut running through the land-canals built so the land could be covered with water in order to grow the rice. The river rose to a great big flood and came very nearly drowning a lot of men and carrying away the pontoon bridges. These bridges were of a skeleton sort, covered with heavy canvas. They could be taken all to pieces and put together again in a very short time.
In February we were again on the move, going through the state of South Carolina-marching day and night through mud-mud, fording rivers and swamps, sometimes breaking the ice and we had to pull off shoes, roll up pants, hurry as fast as possible to get through, tearing up railroads and living off the country as we went. There was no fighting to stop this column, some skirmishing but nothing serious.
Arriving at the capital of South Carolina, Columbia, our corps crossed the Saluda River and did not enter the city but think we passed through Cheran. Before we arrived at this place we passed through several places, some I do not know, but Aken and Edesto I remember.
After passing Columbia, we passed through Winnsboro crossing the Catawba and PeDee Rivers, moving steadily along until we arrived at Fayettville, North Carolina, on the Cape Fear River. Crossing this river we pushed forward and on the fifteenth of March, 1865 we ran into a line of battle well entrenched. Sharp fighting occurred here.
The next night after the enemy fell back, I was one of a detail to go on picket. We were in sight of the camp fires of our troops. I and some other built fires on the line which was strictly against orders. There was quite a row about it when the officer of the day made his rounds. The result of it was that those of us concerned went and reported ourselves at brigade headquarters. Some staff officer took our names, regiment and company. We expected to catch the devil as at this time we had a Massachusetts man commanding the brigade by the name of Cogswell, but we never heard any more about it.
Here I was as well relate the way I lost my gun, the only one I ever lost, way back in the mud, and we had lots of it. Marching one night we had been trudging along sometimes on the run, then again just moving. We lay dow to get what rest we could. I went to sleep-don't know how long-but the first thing I knew we were marching along and some one said, "Spencer where is your gun?"
I says, "Back there in the corner of the fence." Probably it's there yet. I got one of the boys to steal one for me and I was too honest a boy at that time to do anything of that kind.
Read up on Sherman's march and you will find this part of it was no picnic. When we went into line of Battle at Averysboro, I carried a five-quart pail of cooked beans, and I think that was all we had, that is, Fred and I. Charles Graves was killed here.
From here we went through pine trees, pitch pine, soil of yellow sand and at the camp fires we all got smoked so we looked like darkeys. No soap to wash with, so it stuck for sometime. We passed close to a large rosin factory on fire. It was reported there were hundreds of barrels in there. We could hear the roar of it for a mile. A dense black column of smoke went straight up and once in a while the flames would burst through the top a hundred feet high-such things happen in war.
We move along, and on the nineteenth of March, 1865, the army again ran up against the Rebels. Under General Joe Johnson at a place called Bentonville, the fighting began late in the afternoon. Our regiment finally brought up in a swamp, how far the Rebel breastworks I don't know but not very far as we could hear them talk. There the firing slacked up a little. It wa a hot lace to be in. After awhile my cartridges gave out, I turned to Dave Root and said, "What will I do I am out of cartridges?". I don't know what he said or whether he said anything for a bullet just then hit my left forearm. "Good God." say I and away I went to the rear-gun left behind. The same bullet hit another of our boys, Will Gardner, this wound was through the elbow. We found our way back to the field hospital. Although it was after dark yet it was very light on account of the number of fires. Arriving at the hospital I did not see anything more of Garner for he had to have his arm take care of. They took about four inches of the bone out of his elbow while my wound proved to be only a good flesh wound and by bathing it in water I got along well enough.
The next day the army moved forward again and I was put in a wagon with a lot more. This was called the ambulance train. There were two in a wagon. I was in and one with a leg off and one with an arm gone and when the mules went on a trot over the corduroy road the language some of those boys used would shook a preacher.
I don't remember how long we were going but we pulled into the town of Goldsboro and were divided around in the different buildings used for hospital purposes the slightly wounded by themselves and take care of themselves. My arm was black and blue to the should and all I had to do was to keep the wound bathed in cold water. We were quartered in an old building that had been used as a hospital before. There were probably a dozen of us in our part. There was a Negro soldier there, badly wounded belonging to some of the troops that arrived at Goldsboro before we did. There was no surgeon to see to him and he died one night and I helped to carry him out. There was also a woman in one of the rooms who could not talk only sort of mumble and there was a lot of fat meat on a desk left for her as we supposed by the Rebels. Some of the boys notified the doctors and they came down and took her away on a stretcher. We were here maybe a week when one day the came down and examined us and set all of us to our different regiments. At which place I arrived in good time but as my arm was still lame I had to go to the doctor and get excused from duty.
I don't know how long we stayed here, it was but a short time however. We were on the march the first day, I guess, when I saw a second cousin, Israel Lewis a member of the 85th N. Y. who was at Goldsboro. A short talk and we separated to meet in after years as private citizens.
Our route lay direct for Raleigh, the capital of North Carolina, and we out towards the Confederate Army, a day's march when the news came that Lee had surrendered to Grant.
I think we probably stayed here in Raleigh a couple of days when the whole of Sherman's army turned the head of the column towards Richmond, Virginia. I have no idea what places we passed through nor how long we were going that distance. But I do know and at that every one that had a foot it said that was the hardest marching we ever had. My feet were both blistered and everyone else was in the same condition I guess. If there was water handy at every rest off came shoes an socks and in the water went the feet. We passed through some of the battlefields around Richmond but did not stop here any length of time.
Leaving Richmond we headed for Washington passing through some of the hardest fought battlefields. Our camp one night was on the old Chancellorville battleground. Using a grave for a pillow I slept as soundly as anyone could. Of course I did not know it was a grave when we camped here as it was dark. No tents were ever put up at night unless it was raining.
We arrived at the Capital and took part in the Grand Review of the Armies after which we were marched out of the city and went into camp. Here Captain Cole joined the company. He had been captured by the Johneys while coming through the Carolinas out foraging. The Hon. A. A. Lewis, mother's brother came into camp one day. He was at Washington on a pleasure trip and to see the sights. There also came C. Lerner, E. Cowles, E. Newton and C. Davie, boys from our town who belonged to a band stationed at the Capital. We had a pleasant time here, running around and seeing the sights. I went in to the city-Washington-twice but did not go to the Capital nor White House. I did not at that time think much about seeing them. In fact as I look at it now I wish I had but at that time did not.
We were mustered out and discharged here on the 13th day of June, 1865. From here we were put on the cars and our next stopping place was Rochester, N. Y. where we went into camp on the fair grounds and were paid off, received our discharge papers and were once more foot loose or free men. From Rochester, Company A once more took the cars and they soon began dropping off at different stations, a good many stopped at Wellsville, N.Y. The Bolivar squad got of at Scio and here we hired a team to take us to Boliver. Arriving at the Newton House about dusk. We stacked arms in the bar room, saw a few old friends, took a drink, and I shouldered my outfit and started for home on and one half miles away south.
Some time during 78 or 79 through the instrumentality or some thing else of Phineus Peck who lived on Sauvies Island I began to correspond with a widow by the name of S. A. Gillihan at Vancouver Washington. Then after a correspondence of some time I don't know just how long, perhaps she can tell, I went over on the island to see her. Some people would call it sparking. The weather was terrible cold and I believe the Columbia River froze over that winter. Well to cut this short, "The rats and the mice they made such a strife, I went to Vancouver to get me a wife." Or rather the landing at Gillihans was called Potato Hole, some three miles below Vancouver. She was willing and so was I. We were married on the third day of June, 1880 in the parlor of the National Hotel, Portland, Oregon. Whether we have made a success of married life, I'll leave the readers of this journal to judge.
We moved in on the homestead the 13th of July, 1880. One hundred dollars was the capital stock of the corporation. This served to get household goods and some grub to eat, one cow and some hens. What we have got, it took hard work to accumulate.
NOTE: The history of the Spencer family in and around Vernonia, Oregon are numerous. Sarah and Israel had 4 children: Omar C. born 1881 in Vernonia, Oregon d: 1964, Oral G. born 1882 in Vernonia, Margaret E. born 1887 in Vernonia and Robert Lloyd born 1890, died 28 Jan 1993 in Vernonia.