Index slip entry for April 15, 1862
Additional information about this event:
The following excerpt was provided by Civil War Re-enactor Eileen Campos, 26th PVI.
Initially, the 26th PA could not be verified as being at Point Lookout in April of 1862. There is no Regimental history of the 26th PA, so finding information about just where they were on specific dates was a slow process. An entry exists in a book entitled the "History of the 2nd Regiment New Hampshire Volunteers" by Martin A. Hayes that probably explains Pamelia's report. The 2nd NH was in the same Brigade as the 26th PA. A number of the Regiment departed on several steamers from Budd's Ferry on April 7, 1862, and when they hit rough weather, they anchored in St. Mary's Bay to wait out the storm. However, for some of the 26th PA companies, the 2nd NH History indicates that 3 companies of the 26th PA along with the 2nd NH were actually dropped off at Point Lookout when the steamer captain refused to go out in the river due to the rough weather. The soldiers spent 3 days stranded at Point Lookout with little rations & apparently used the lighthouse garden fence for firewood. They also scavenged "a few hundred pounds of bacon which were discovered in the vicinity". Whether this was from the lighthouse stores is not known. It is interesting that only the 3 companies of the 26th PA were written up in the report, when there were also 10 companies from the 2nd NH apparently involved. It is unfortunate that we don't have Pamelia's actual report to see whether the theft of the garden fence was the only 'depredation' she encountered.
The excerpt of interest is from the "History of the Second Regiment New Hampshire Volunteers", Martin Alonzo Haynes,1865, p. 38:
"On the fifth of April the Division broke camp and embarked upon steamers with orders to report at Fortress Monroe. The Second, with three companies of the Twenty-sixth Pennsylvania, was crowded upon the crazy old steamer "South America." Owing to some mismanagement the boats carrying our brigade did not get under way down the river until the morning of the seventh. Arriving at the mouth of the Potomac, Chesapeake was found to be so rough that the captain of the South America would not venture out of the river with her, and he accordingly ran in shore and landed his passengers upon " Point Lookout," afterwards rated as the great general depot for prisoners. We found good quarters here in the little tenements which had been erected a few years previous for the accommodation of those who might wish to patronize a Southern watering-place, and by a free use for firewood of the rail fence which surrounded the light-keeper's little garden, we managed to keep ourselves quite comfortable. Most of us were by this time entirely out of rations, and we learned to bear hunger patiently before more came. A raid was made upon a few hundred pounds of bacon which were discovered in the vicinity, but that was hardly a morsel in the mouths of our famishing horde. Crumbs of crackers were carefully gleaned from the bottoms of our haversacks, and tea and coffee grounds were boiled over and over again. For three days we subsisted thus before a boat arrived from Washington with provisions, when we again embarked, glad enough to leave the inhospitable shores of " Point Starvation," as it had been well named.”
The entire book can be found online at Google Books:
History of the Second Regiment New Hampshire Volunteers, Martin Alonzo Haynes,1865:
Special thanks to Eileen Campos for sharing her research on this matter!