August 5, 1862. “Tuesday. Clear and warm,” quartermaster clerk William H. Hill of the Spartan Band wrote in his diary.
“A brigade review took place in the fields where it is usually held. We have orders to cook one days rations and be ready to march.”
The weather was warmer on Wednesday when the regiment left its camp near the Yorktown railroad at 10 a.m. They marched south all day for Malvern Hill where the enemy was reported to be gathering again.
“We went in two miles of there and camped to the left of the Charles City Road,” Minutemen of Attala Private Mike Hubbert recorded.
At daybreak Thursday, they started for Malvern Hill. It wasn’t long before their pickets learned that the enemy had retreated once more to the James River. So they returned to their camp, tired, dirty and thirsty.
“The heat and dust are almost suffocating,” Hubbert wrote. “Water is very scarce.”