96th Pennsylvania in the Overland Campaign: May 13, 1864

From Corporal Henry Keiser’s Diary: 

Friday, May 13, 1864.  It again rained last night and wet us to the skin.  We dried our clothes this morning.  Wrote a few lines to my wife and sent the letter off.  At one o’clock today we left the woods and halted, Where we had made the charge and gathered some of our dead, who were swollen and bloated so that they could scarcely be recognized.   

We succeeded in finding the bodies of J. M. FerreeFrank and Joshua Workman of our company, and a young man of Company I.  We buried them in one trench, first placing a blanket underneath and one on top, placing a board of a cracker box at the head of each, with name, Company and Regiment, marked there on. 

J. M.Ferree was shot through his left thigh and crosswise through the breast, Frank Workman was shot through the breast with a grape shot, and Joshua Workman through the side. There was quite a dispute between Col. Lessig and our Lieutenant (Fesig) as to the identity of J. M. Ferree, the Colonel contending that it was Ferree, while the Lieutenant as strongly contending that it was not, saying that he had seen Ferree shot in the thigh and get behind a stump.  The Colonel then directed me to examine his pocket which I did.  In the right hand pocket I found an old knife with the blade broken, when I went to reach in the left hand pocket I got the full length of my fingers into a pile of maggots which had filled the pocket, when an examination showed that he had been shot through the thigh, so the Lieutenant said, but the rains had washed away the blood on the outside, while the maggots gathered in the pocket where the blood was not washed away.  It was the cross-fire that had killed him while sitting behind the stump. Of course the Lieutenant then gave in.   

At 2 o’clock p.m. we marched a little farther to the left and formed in line of battle.  It rained all afternoon.  All quiet with the exception of the skirmishes and an occasional cannon shot.

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