The Spartan Band diarist Albert Wymer Henley on Wednesday, April 9:
“About 4 p.m. we landed at ‘Kings Mills’ on the James River when under a drenching rain and in places nearly knee deep, we proceeded to march about 8 miles to Lebanon Church [near Lee’s Mill on the Warwick River] which we reached cold, wet and hungry at about 10 o’clock that night.”
Winston Guards diarist Thomas D. Wallace described the terrain as “low slash flat pine quicksand country…it sleeted and rained most of the night.”
Henley wrote the next day, Thursday:
“…many who were unable to keep up…did not reach here till [this] day. We built fires on our arrival but being in such uncomfortable condition we neither slept or rested.”
It was a far cry from what they had become used to in the green fields and warm cabins near Leesburg. Gart Johnson, a captain in the brigade’s 21st Mississippi Regiment recalled years later in Confederate Veteran magazine:
“….huddled on a steamer like cattle [we] took our way to the Peninsula. From the beautiful hills and fertile valleys, the crystal springs and clear, running streams, the fresh baker’s bread and clover fed beef, and the milk and honey of old Louden [sic], to the marshes and lagoons and brackish water of the Warwick! These, with the rancid bacon, the musty corn meal and rice, and the cool, damp atmosphere, made us realize what war was.”
Actually, the full realization hadn’t quite arrived, but it was on the way.