73 HISTORY OF THE SEVENTY-EIGHTH REGIMENT O.V.V.I.
THE REGIMENT LEAVING DOVER AND LANDING NEAR FORT HENRY.
THENCE TO PITTSBURG LANDING, AND BATTLE OF SHILOH.
The regiment left Dover, March 7th, 1862, and encamped that night at Bell's Iron Furnace. The hills around were rich with iron ore, which were a source of great wealth to the owner. The land is poor and unsuitable for agricultural purposes, consequently few improvements were seen on the march. The furnace was a very extensive establishment and turned out immense quantities of iron, which was then being appropriated as material of war; it was therefore destroyed, being burned down by command of General Grant.
The regiment bivouaced in the valley, and slept comfortably under the frosty canopy; any place was regarded as better than the miasmatic camping grounds of the Cumberland. The next morning was clear and beautiful, and soon the frost disappeared from the blankets, before the extensive fires built of the many negro huts, around the furnace; these huts had been deserted a few days before, by their occupants, some taking refuge in the army and many having been driven away to other, but more secure places. That day after a tedious march over hills and bad roads, and swampy valleys, we encamped at Metal Landing, about four miles above Fort Henry on the Tennessee; here the regiment, with General Lew. Wallace's Division, remained for several days, which time was spent in almost constant drill. The regiment here experienced much disagreeable weather, one day was balmy warmth, another rain, another snow storms and freezing cold. Here occurred the first death in the regiment, George Ritchey of A Company, a young man of much promise and highly esteemed by all. Previously he had been sent to the hospital, where he so far recovered as to be able to go to his home a few weeks, where he could recover his health more rapidly, but instead of embracing the privilege of a furlough, he return to his regiment, where in a few days he died. Here the first loyal seeds was sown in rebel soil by the regiment, the first sacrifice to liberty made, and hereafter in almost every encampment throughout the South some one was left, as a testimony to devoted patriotism, and against the purposes of wicked rebellion.
At this time the seeds of disease and debility planted at Dover, and by hardships and unaccustomed exposure, began to tell upon the regiment. Men were not inured to the hardships and exposures of field and camp life; transition from civil to military life had been too great and sudden; the climate and the season were unhealthy; and cold, constant rains prevailed, which circumstances produced much sickness.
On the 16th day of March the Division left Metal Landing for Pittsburg Landing, arriving at the latter place the night of the 17th. The regiment did not disembark from the boats, but on the morning of the 18th went to Crumpt's Landing, six miles below, where it disembarked and encamped in the woods, about one mile from the Landing. It will be remembered that the regiment was now and will hereafter be connected with the Third Division, under General Lew. Wallace. Here the regiment spent its time in drill and reviews. Some men became so reduced from camp disease (which defied all the efforts and skill of our Surgeons) that it became necessary to make application for their discharge from the service, which was favorably considered, but not returned till many of the men had received their final discharge, and had gone to their last resting place; and many, we have reason to hope, "to that rest which remaineth for the
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