96th Pennsylvania in the Overland Campaign: May 17-20, 1864

From Corporal Henry Keiser’s Diary:

Tuesday, May 17, 1864.  Had a good night’s rest, still we nee more, having been completely played out. It has been quiet all along the line today.  Cloudy but no rain.  At 9 .m. we started up toward our right, where the Rebels were trying to flank Burnside’s 9th Corps.

Wednesday, May 18, 1864.  Were on the road all night but did not make much headway.  At daylight we went into battle line, strengthening General Burnside.  When we first got into line the Rebels shelled us quite lively, but our batteries soon silenced them.  At twelve a.m. we started back toward the place we started from last night, and arrived at 5 p.m. all played out.  Received a letter from Brother William, one from Sister Elizabeth and one from my wife.  Was the first mail since leaving winter quarters.  It was cloudy all day. 

Thursday, May 19, 1864.  At daylight this morning we advanced our line about one mile to Bleak Hill, where we threw up rifle pits.  Wrote a letter to my wife and sent all my old letter.  Wrote one to Surtis ? Mane? And Elizabeth, and one to Sen Workman, also one to Brother William.  Had a small shower this morning.  Heard cannonading and musketry at 5 p.m. toward Spotsylvania, caused by the Rebels making a dash for our supply train.  At 11, we were routed up and marched up toward where we heard the firing early this evening.

971.  Friday, May 20, 1864.  At one time this morning we arrived at the —- where the Rebs had made a dash on our supply train, where we halted.  After daylight about 350 prisoner (who were captured early this morning when the Johnnies were repulsed) were marched by our camp.  About 11 a.m. we marched about one mile to the front and extreme right, where we took up a position in the woods.  Returned one of Edwin Moyer’s letters to his father, telling him that his son is missing. 

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