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title: 'The Soldiers' journal. (Rendevous of Distribution, Va.) 1864-1865, June 15, 1864, Image 2',
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Image provided by: Library of Virginia; Richmond, VA
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Irwin's eyes filled now, and her woman's heart
.trembled in her voice.
"1 shall be in His hands just the same, moth
" I know it, dear John ; and if death comos to
Mrs. Irwin broke down. She could not finish
the set tence.
"It will be through his permission. Are not
even the sparrows in his keeping?" said John,
calmly. " How much ir.ore human souls."
They parted. Very pale, for all that day and
the next, was Mrs. Irwin. But her bearing was
firm. If her heart was troubled, it was not weak.
She was a wonder to herself.
" Truly it is so," she would repeat over and
over again in her thought; "as our day is so
shall our strength be."
To an intimate friend she said—
" I sometimes ask myself if I am not dream
ing? Cau it bo possible that my boy is a soldier,
and in the face of the enemy; and that he is
there with my consent?"
"Would you have him back?" asked the
A quick change of surprise was seen for a mo
ment in the face of Mrs. Irwin ; then she an
"No, I yield him to his country."
"He looked so brave and manly," said the
"And seemed," was added, "to comprehend
clearly the issues at stako. It was no murder
ous thirst for blood ; no love of excitement and
change that filled his heart; but that true pa
triotism which is the inspiration of an honora
ble mind, and gives it the courage to meet death
in defence of Country and Right. I honor you,
my friend, in being the mother of such a son."
How strangely pleasureable were the pulses
that leaped away from the heart of Mrs. Irwin. I
This praise of her son was very sweet.
Weeks passed. With what an absorbing in
terest did Mrs. Irwin watch the progress of
Once she turned with an instinctive repug
nance from all accounts of military movements
and battles; but now she had no taste for any
thing else. The whole country was spread out,
like a map, in her mind, and every strategic
point, with its camps and soldiers, strongly
marked. The marshalling of troops; their
movements, strength and positions, were now
familiar things; and her heart beat high with
pleasure at every trifling success, or veiled itself
with shadows when even the smallest reverse
was sustained. With what an irrepressible im
patience did she look for the regularly coming
letters from her son ; and with what a proud sat
isfaction did she read every detail of his new life
that showed courage, endurance, and self-denial.
She felt that he was a true soldier, and therefore
very, very proud of him.
The news came that the regiment in which her
son was serving, had made an advance upon the
enemy's lines ; that some severe skirmishing had
taken place, and that an engagement was immi
nent. A sudden fear shook the nerves of Mrs.
Irwin. Even as she read of the advance, abloody
battle might be going on, and her son be among
the dead or dying. The hours of sleepless sus
pense that went by until the news of a victory
was flash ed over the country, we will not ven
ture to describe. Many were killed and many
wounded. With breathless eagerness she de
voured their names as with white lips and start
ing eyes, she bent over tho brief dispatches.—
What is this? Her son's name! The paper
over her eyes ; she -do'el Iftt make out the words.
Killed or wounded.
" Oh, God ! give me strength!"
The dimness passes as she reads —
" Among the brave men who distinguished
themselves, private John Irwin deserves honor
able mention. In a desperate assault of the
rebels, the captain of his company received a se
vere wound, and fell upon the ground. He was
a few paces in advance of his men, and as he fell
two of the enemy sprang forward to bayonet
him. Irwin, sooing this flung himself before his
I prostrate captain, shot one of the men and in a
hand-to-hand encounter disabled the other. He
then bore the wounded officer from the field.—
During the whole fight, this young man, who is
not twenty-one years of age, conducted himself
with the coolest courage, and in more than one
instance rallied his falling comrades. He has
the stuff of which officers are made, and the
Department should send him a commission."
Mrs. Irwin bowed down, with her face upon
the table trembling in every nerve; weak—in
glad bewilderment—tearful. Then dropping
upon her knees, with clasped hands and eyes up
lifted she said faintly—
" O, Lord, is he not Thine."
A deep peace fell upon her spirit, and she re
mained for some time kneeling. But prayer
formed itself in no other words.
" I could not stay away from you after reading
the news this morning."
A friend said this as she came in, a little while
afterwards. " Are you not a proud woman to
day, Mrs. Irwin?"
" I feel glad and humble," was the subdued
" But did he not act nobly ? Who would have
thought that in your quiet, retiring boy, there
| was such a daring spirit?"
" It does not seem as if it were my son who has
been so brave," said the mother. "The act has
apparently removed him to a distance, and set
itself up as a question of right against me. He
is not mine in the sense I have hitherto regarded
him. Higher duties than those of a son are laid
upon him; and I must give him to his country
in a degree not understood when he went forth at
his country's call. I pray, now, that God will
make him equal to his duty under all circum
stances. To lose him would bo a fearful thing ;
but, to find him a weak coward in the day of
battle, would be more fearful still."
"To hear such words from your lips ! From
whence has come this new spirit?—this new
"As our day is, so shall our strength be," re
plied Mrs. Irwin. " God gives the spirit of en
durance and sey-reliance when we have need of
it; and this is our time oi need. Ido not flatter
myself with the hope that my heart and home
will be spared—that my boy will pass unscathed
in the ordeal of battle. But come what will, I
will trust in God ; and he will lay no sorrow
upon my heart too heavy to bear. If I had ten
sons, feeling as I do now, I would give them all
for this contest, and send them forth in God's
And to thousands of mother's hearts strength
and a spirit of self-sacrifice have come in this
time of trial, as it came to the heart of Mrs. Ir
win. Like her their souls are in the cause, and
their brave hearts giving out courage and endu
rance to tens of thousands of brave sons now
battling for right and their country. It is the old
! spirit of the Revolution, and by virtue of its
sacrod fires our armies prevail.
Rendezvous of Distribution, Va.
Headquarters, 2nd Division, ")
Rendezvous of Distribution, Va., >
June Ist, 1864. J
JR. P. Crawford, Capt. &A. A. Gertl— Sir :—1
have the honor to submit the following report.on
the management of the Second Division, Ren
dezvous of Distribution, Va., comprising all en
listed men returned from hospital and otherwise,
belonging to organizations outside of the Army
of the Potomac.
Men are received from the Receiving Office of
this camp, and their names (in full), company
and regiment taken by tho Receiving Clerk, and
by him recorded in the Register of Arrivals, and
verilied by official lists of names received from
the Receiving Office. Each arrival is numbered
from the first day of the month.
-:!s * * I * * *
After receiving, men are assigned to quarters
in barracks assigned to their several depart
ments, when their names are again taken by the
Aside from the Register of Arrivals, we have
an Alphabetical Register, which enables us to
refer to a name at a moment's notice.
* * i * i • #
At reveille all men are formed in line and an
swer roll call, and details made for the day, win
dows are opened, blankets and bed-sacks well
shaken and hung'out in the air two hours, and
then replaced with blankets neatly folded. —
Floors are swept three times daily, and bunks
well dusted. The grounds are thorougly policed
every morning at 9 o'clock. Convenient wash
stands are placed at the rear of the barracks,
with bountiful supply of soap and water. Sinks
for the use of the men are placed in tho rear and
at proper distance from the barracks, and are
The following are the rules and regulations for
the guidance of the men quartered in the bar
racks, and are rigidly enforced. A copy of the
following is posted in a conspicuous place in each
RULES AND REGULATIONS,
To be observed by all persons quartered in this
1st —Smoking in the wards and spitting on the
floor, strictly prohibited.
2nd—Dirt and all rubbish must be thrown into
the barrel at the rear of the ward.
3d —Commit no nuisance in or around the
ward, day or night.
4th—Lounging in the bunks, with boots or
shoes on, will not be permitted.
sth—Haversacks and canteens to be hung up
by the side of the bunks. Dippers and plates to
be kept clean, and inside the haversacks.
6th—No cooking on the stove.
7th —No boards taken from the bunks under
Bth—All men detailed for duty must be present
when their names are called.
9th—Cutting, or defacing the bunks or wards
with pencils, matches, or in any manner, strictly
10th—Lights out at taps, after which all talking
and unnecessary noise strictly prohibited.
Ward masters will be held responsible for the *
strict observance of the above rules and regula
By order of SAM'L McKELVY,
Lieut. Col. Commanding.
Lieut. Com. 2nd Division.
The morning report of the ensuing day is sub
mitted to Lieut. Col. Sam'l McKelvy, command
ing camp, at 5 o'clock, P. M.