The regiment didn’t stay near Richmond long. The men were soon set in motion for other duties, though of just what kind was not explained to them. It turned out to be a lot of hurry up and wait on the muddy roads under the intermittent spring rains on the sandy soil east of the new capital.
Private Thomas David Wallace of the Winston Guards recorded on May 10, 1862, a Saturday:
“We marched back toward [West Point] about 3 miles. We left our old camp about 12 o’clock and marched 5 miles, stayed there about 1/2 hour by [the] sun, then marched up the road about 1 mile and then we right about and marched back and then turned across the fields north about 1 mile and camped.”
They stayed there until Monday the 12th when we “are ordered to march in the morning,” wrote Minutemen of Attala Private Mike Hubbert. But they didn’t leave, after all.
Wallace again: “On 13 we could hear some cannons a far distance off, but we heard of no fight.”
It was cloudy and raining on Wednesday, May 14, Hubbert recorded, when the regiment was “ordered to march this morning in the direction of the York River R.R. to prevent a flank movement.
“We marched about 4 miles down the R.R., formed a line of battle and stood there some 4 hours after which we were ordered to march in the direction of Richmond. We crossed the Chickahominy at Bottoms Bridge and marched to the R.R. about ten miles below the city where we pitched camp for the night after a march of 18 miles.”
At 3 the next morning, Thursday, they were roused for yet another march. Wallace concluded:
“It was still raining. We started our march about day. We marched about 2 miles west, 3 miles north and 1 mile east. We stayed there until about 12 o’clock, then marched back to Richmond. After marching 16 miles that day through mud and rain. We camped about 1 mile west of [the] Chickahominy.”
On Friday. May 16, they observed the day of fasting and prayer set aside by proclamation of Confederate President Jefferson Davis. By Sunday, they had moved yet again, but this time it was closer to the capital. By now, they did not expect to stay put for long and they would not be disappointed.