The Leesburg assignment was supposed to help the 13th recover from its outbreaks of measles, pneumonia and typhoid fever.
Instead, the crowding of men unused to crowding and with low immunity meant the outbreaks of contagious disease continued as August wore on—especially the typhoid fever, caused by feces-contaminated drinking water, which they didn’t understand then.
Two more men died the day after the regiment arrived at Carter’s Mill on Goose Creek on the Oatlands Plantation southwest of Leesburg, on Aug. 10 11. Another one died the next day, and another the day after that. Private Thomas David Wallace lost a friend, Private Henry Peterson, of the Winston Guards:
“Oh, how I hated to part with him. He seemed like a brother to me. He died 15 of August 1861, a day that will not be forgotten by me soon. He went to the battlefield on the 21 [First Manassas]. He stood up to [it] like a soldier – a man. I hated to part with him as bad as if he had been my brother. He was sick 22 days with the typhoid fever.”
Rain and a cold front didn’t help. “It’s so cold we are obliged to wear winter clothes,” Quartermaster Clerk Hill recorded on Aug. 17, also adding two more dead to the list. Then another one the next day, and another one the day after that.
On the 19th, Hill “sent three wagon loads of sick to Leesburg this morning.”
Wallace, who was off-and-on sick himself felt well enough to attend drill on the 22nd: “…8 men answered for duty. There is more sickness in [The Winston Guards] than I ever saw in my life and has been for the last 2 weeks.”
By Aug. 24, with three more dead, Hill was buying “300-feet of plank to make coffins.” He would buy more plank before the month was out.