from The Worcester Spy, September 18, 1861, (Volume 90 # 37), 
Poolesville, Md. Sept. 3,1861

There has been some little movement across the river, and last evening Gen, Stone ordered two more companies from our regiment to act as a reserve force. The colonel went as guide to the expedition , and to post them in fine position. I accompanied the colonel, taking advantage of the darkness to make some slight observations. A battery of two field pieces belonging to the New York ninth, went down in advance of us, and took up their position about a mile this side of Conrad’s Ferry. in a piece of woods sweeping the approach from the ferry. Here we left company I , Capt. Watson, as a re enforcement for the battery and reserve. We then proceeded with company B, Capt. Simonds, to the headquarters of our picket line, on the banks of the canal, and left them in a central position for any demand.

We left camp about 9 ˝ P. M., marched about nine miles and a half, arriving there a little past midnight, made arrangements for the men, and found ourselves ready to lie down at about one and a half o’clock, were up and ready for the saddle a little after five A. M.. Everything had been quiet during the latter part of the day, and during our presence there were not more than two or three shots fired. We retired on the banks of the canal within reach of their rifles, our sleeping place being some two or three miles of Leesburg. We passed one or two dwellings that had been pretty hardly used by their field pieces, which shows how closely they are watched, and how nicely we prepare to receive them. The news of Butler’s victory has thrown new life and energy into our movements. Two or three more such achievements will effectually awaken them to a realizing sense of our purpose. Four companies of our regiment, A, B, C, and G, are out on picket duty in the town, and one on guard. GRAFTON.

A private letter from a member of the regiment, dated Sept. 3d, says: “There is squad of fifteen of us on an island in the Potomac river, some fifty yards from the Maryland shore and two hundred from the Virginia shore. The banks of the river and the island are thickly studded with large cottonwood trees, some of them from three to five feet through, which afford us shelter from the shots from the other side of the river. We lay back of the cottonwood trees and watch for a shadow or the real substance of a picket on the other side, and as soon as seen, bang go two or three musket balls at the object.. No sooner than they get across whirr comes a rifle bullet or two whizzing round your head. 

The first day one came within a few inch's of the head of one of he boys, and thud went the ball in the tree behind him. The ferry house some two hundred yards above us has been completely shelled to pieces by one Capt. Boyle of an artillery company, in revenge for some depredations of the Tammany New York regiment. No one was seriously injured, though two were struck by pieces of shells. Several of the shells have been dug out of the trees and the ground which had not exploded. They were about four inches in diameter. The fuse had either been blown out by being discharged from the gun, or it had been knocked out by striking the ground; there was no fuse in the shells.

The ?erry house was completely riddled. There was another house a little above, occupied by a “secessh,” which was shelled at the same time, while the occupants were at dinner. The first shot cleared the table of the dishes, and at the same time the occupants cleared out. Some eight shots passed through the house. Every night we see signals in the air, very much resembling bright stars. They are small balloons with lanterns or candles attached, and seem to remain stationary. Our camp at Poolesville is a signal station.

H. G.


15th Massachusetts VI