“Saturday [May 24, 1862]. Warm and showery. Heavy Skirmishing all day [on the Chickahominy battle line]. Our regiment left at sunset to go on picket.”
Quartermaster clerk William H. Hill’s diary entry (the day the Federals seized Mechanicsville, 5 miles north of Richmond) marks the 13th’s shift, along with the rest of Griffith’s Brigade, to a spot farther south of the Chickahominy River.
“We took our blankets [one] a piece and went back about 3 miles,” recorded Winston Guards Private Thomas David Wallace.
Minutemen of Attala Private Mike Hubbert added in his diary:
“We camp tonight on Garnett’s farm 8 miles below Richmond. We were compelled to cut brush and make piles on which to sleep to keep out the water.”
“…our Brigade was ordered to relieve the pickets on the outposts. Here we could plainly see the enemy’s infantry and cavalry moving up and down the river. Their camp fires were plainly visible and the music of their bands distinctly audible. We continued on picket for two weeks during which the weather was remarkably wet and cold for the season [and] our proximity to the enemy denied us the luxury of fires.”
Commanding Gen. Joseph Johnston, “to be governed by circumstances,” as he told his frustrated commander-in-chief Jefferson Davis, according to independent historian Shelby Foote, was but a few days away from a counterattack on the besieging Yankees.