A Day in the Life

Little of substance has been written about Lt. Col. Sanford Perkins. Sgt. Hirst blamed every misfortune and discomfort on his commanding officers, and he particularly didn”t like Perkins. Soldiers were always concerned with the smallest creature comforts, and it was common for a soldier to trim off the end of his belt so it fit just right. Immediately after the battle of Antietam, Lt. Col. Perkins ordered every man who had shortened his belt should to pay the price of a new belt.

Lt. Col. Perkins was certainly a strict disciplinarian, and discipline was something the Fourteenth Connecticut would need if the men were to fight well and survive. That Perkins was also a man of courage there can be no doubt. He would lead from the front, and he would pay a heavy price in the regiment’s next battle.

While at Bolivar the daily routine for the men was similar to the one below, as Charles Page recorded it in his History:

  • 5:30 – A five minute drum roll awakened the men. Any not standing properly attired for roll call when the drum roll ended would be placed on report for discipline.
  • 5:45-7:30 – Breakfast. The men had to fetch their own firewood and water to cook their meals.
  • 7:30 – Sick call. It was typical for the surgeon to perform a cursory examination of each man, and then return him to duty. Only the seriously ill would be sent to the hospital, and by then it was often too late.
  • 8:00 – Mounting of the guard. Thirty men would be selected from the ten companies of the regiment, and while the band played martial music, the guard detail would march outside the works to man the picket line for the next twenty-four hours.
  • 8:30-11:00 – Company or battalion drill. This was their basic training and it would have included marching and formation drills as well as the much needed manual of arms drill.
  • 11:00-3:00 – Down time for the men during which they would fix dinner, write letters, and see to maintaining and perhaps improving their daily existence.
  • 3:00-5:30 – More drill ending in dress parade, when the men were dismissed for the evening. After supper the men would gather in small groups to talk, play cards, or sing camp songs. It was also common for the regimental band to play evening concerts.
  • 8:00 – Roll call.
  • 9:00 – Lights out.

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