We know the rain and the mud was a hardship for the soldiers of the 33rd, 7th Maine, and so many others, but there were many other “road blocks” and problems that kept them busy. War is a dreadful event and no one enjoys it. However, to keep spirits up in the unbearable conditions, the 33rd Regiment did not lose their sense of humor. For that matter neither did the Rebels. The bantering continued between both sides some being playful and some angry and hostile. The brigade was under 54 hours of fire. It isn’t easy to get used to the pop of the bullets and their zing as they go by, but after two days of this bullet bantering it became the norm and hardly phased the troops. Company C and Palmyra’s Company B under Lt. Col. Joseph Corning, lay in position while the Rebels pummeled them with bullets. General Davidson’s brigade suffered extreme losses.
Amidst the fighting, eating took a back seat; but to keep up the moral and strength of these soldiers it was necessary to find food. The supply wagons were buried in mud with no hope of moving them to the front. A detail of volunteers from Company A and Company C from the 33rd set out to scout the enemy’s locations. Under the leadership of Lt. Colonel Joseph Corning they were to find rations from the supply wagon. Getting to the wagon and back took far more time than anyone expected; but when the men finally returned, they had beef stuck to their bayonets. A drill was held to “shoulder beef” and “present beef “fondly giving these soldiers the title of “Beef Brigade:”
About 2 days later the 33rd had moved no more than a mile and a half nearer to Yorktown. Marching, skirmishing, and dodging bullets were not all the regiment was required to do. They had to make roads to travel on and a fort to protect them. Imagine, this was all done on a march toward Yorktown. The roads they made consisted of logs placed on a path filling in the cracks with sticks and mud. These crude roads held well and had the name of corduroy roads. Ditches were dug similar to the trenches where the men could hide and not be such an open target. This was all done under the volley of bullets by Rebels attempting to halt their progress. The Rebels were not the only enemy experienced on this trek to Yorktown. With this area covered in swamps and the constant showers of April, it became a haven for insects, blood sucking insects. These nasty bugs attacked men and beast. They were ticks that burrow into the skin and have to be removed. They also bring with them many diseases as well as being painful.
Now, the Union troops have come to Warwick Creek attempting to root out the Rebels and determine how many and what arms they have. The enemy fort was discovered by Lt. Noyes, and working his way close to the fort he witnessed a number of troops, wagons, and artillery. Regrouping with this insight into the enemy camp, the 3rd Vermont, known as the “Green Mountain Boys” began crossing the Warwick Creek. This was the beginning of a number of errors that would be the death of the 3rd Vermont. With their guns and ammunitions wet and unable to fire, they were like sitting ducks. The 33rd watching from the other side of the creek was waiting for orders which did not come. Thanks again to the Path of Blood, by George Contant.
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