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Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1883, 

In the office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington. 

Stereotyped, Printed and Bound 

by the 
Chicago Legal News Company. 







ARMY 100 













1 "2758 



XVIII. VICKSBURG . . . * . .. . . 229 



















Books are merely word pictures. The true artist 
makes the scene upon the canvas appear life-like and 

It has been truly said, that if the biography of 
any man, however humble his station, were written 
so truthful and complete as to display his whole inner 
and outer life, from the cradle to the grave, it would 
be immortal. To write such a biography is impossi- 
ble. The writer, like the painter, only produces a 
likeness; neither creates the real. 

Many histories of the late war have been written, a 
perusal of which calls to mind my own soldier life; 
and in reading of the brave deeds of many officers, as 
recorded, the thought has often occurred to me, that 
the simple story of the private soldier's actual army 
life would not be devoid of interest. 

Turning occasionally to my army journal, after 
these many years, the sketches written from time to 
time by the light of the evening camp fires, appear to 
me, deeply interesting. They may, perhaps, be en- 
tertaining to otl.ers. 

The preservation of the little memorandum books 
in which my army journal was written is al- 



most miraculous. The knapsack in which they were 
carried, was often left behind on some forced march, 
or just before a battle. Other knapsacks were lost. 
But through all the varied changes, dangers and vicis- 
situdes of three years of a soldier's life at the front, 
on the march, in bivouac and battle, this knapsack 
was never so mislaid or lost as not to bring along its 
little army journal. These memoranda are simply 
jottings, made rather as a pastime than with any 
thought of future use, or of their being of sufficient 
value to send home for safe keeping; an army blanket 
was then more highly prized and carefully guarded; 
yet with all the neglect and hazard attending its jour- 
ney, this journal always returned and was at the mus- 
ter out, or these pages could not have been presented. 

No published histories nor public records have been 
consulted in compiling this volume. It con tains only 
such matters as were, at the time, deemed of sufficient 
interest to be noted in my army journal. 

In reviewing this army journal, I discover that 
many things written at the age of twenty appear crude 
and incomplete, twenty years thereafter. At this time 
I have sometimes felt inclined to erase the words of 
youthful enthusiasm, wild extravagance, or, perhaps, 
boyish foolishness, found therein. Such correction 
would, however, leave the picture less vivid, distinct 
and real. Hence, with but little change, or even ver- 
bal alterations, and omitting only such peculiar per- 
sonal matters as no one need- ask nor expect to see, 
the pages are presented as they were written twenty 
years ago. 

When it is remembered that a majority of the pri- 


vate soldiers were, at enlistment, between the ages of 
sixteen and twenty- three, it will he realized that a 
true picture of their soldier life must, of necessity, 
portray a youthful and immature one. 

If my comrades of the great Union army, when 
reading these reminiscences are carried back, in mem- 
ory, to the old camp fires and army scenes if their 
friends in reading the story can, in imagination, see 
what the soldiers endured and what they accomplished, 
my object is attained. I have made no attempt to 
write a war, nor even a regimental history; but this 
little book is submitted for simply what it claims to 


A. O. M. 
JOLTET, ILL., 1883. 





THE eleventh day of September, during the event- 
ful year of 1861, found me riding at railroad speed 
down the Chicago and Alton road, on ray way from 
my Will'county home, to Camp Butler at Spring- 
field, Illinois, where I was to join the army, shoulder 
a musket, and go forth to the bloody fields of battle 
to fight for the grand cause of Country and Liberty. 

I will not attempt to portray the varied emotions I 
felt upon this, to me, long to be remembered day. 
Such emotions as any young man must feel when 
leaving the dearest of home associations, the kindest 
of friendly relations, the most cherished and valued 
school privileges; leaving all of these for the first 
time, and that, too, not as fond anticipation had often 
promised, to mingle in the common contests of active 
life, but for the uncertain, desperate battle field, by 
and by to return, perhaps perhaps not. Attempt- 
ing to throw the veil of forgetfulness over these 
memories I will let this journal recount other thoughts 
and scenes. 



The day was bright and beautiful; one of the fair- 
est of early Autumn. The journey passed swiftly 
and pleasantly. 


I had decided to join the Thirty-third Illinois (Nor- 
mal) Regiment. At Bloomington two intelligent and 
accomplished ladies joined the passengers for Spring- 
field. I was much pleased to learn that they were 
acquainted with the Normal Regiment, to which, in 
fact, they were on the way to make a visit. One was 
the wife of Colonel Hovey of the Thirty-third and the 
other a sister of a young man, lately from the Nor- 
mal school, and now orderly sergeant of the company 
I intended to join. With one exception they were 
the first members of the Normal Regiment which 
they were in spirit and interest, if not in fact I had 
ever met. 

If the regiment sustains even a small part of the 
good impression created in its favor by this first 
meeting with any of its members, it will prove to be 
one of the best regiments that Illinois or any State 
can send to the field. 

We arrived at Springfield at sundown. Jumping 
into a carriage I was soon in Camp Butler and the 
camp of the Thirty-third- shown to me. I then found 
Company A and was furnished with soldier quarters 
for the night. 


I lay dosvn with the soldiers, but sleep was out of 


the question. Of all the strange and queer racket and 
sound ever heard, none could exceed the unearthly 
clamor made by a large number of young volunteers 
during the first few nights they are in camp. One 
soldier near my tent kept up a continual yell, of, as I 
thought, " corporal-of-the-guard-want-something-to- 
eat." This early evidence of starvation in camp raised 
ratherdubious suggestions when I thought of our future 
prospects. As he continued to yell louder and louder, 
instead of ceasing, at last I became vexed, as I sup- 
posed he was only yelling for fun, and was about 
ready to go out and try the virtue of throwing a brick 
at his head, merely as a gentle hint for him to cease 
such unreasonable midnight howling, when one of the 
boys in our tent, Charley Huston, an old soldier he 
had been in the army three full weeks informed me 
that the soldier was on guard and was only trying to 
utter the simple call of, "corporal of the guard No. 
17," which meant that he wanted such officer to come 
to his post for some reason or other. Thus it appeared 
that the soldier was only doing his duty and not 
merely yelling nonsense as I had supposed. How he 
had been able to give such a plain call the sound I 
first heard I am unable to understand. 

Although the commotion appeared to subside a 
little as night advanced, yet it seemed to be only so 
that it could become more dismal and hideous. Thus 
the night's confusion continued with all tlte wild and 
weird variations possible until the early reveille of 
the next morning called up those thousands of enthu- 
siastic young soldiers, who soon transformed the 
hideous, fantastic scene of a dark, foggy night camp, 

3.4: AEMY LIFE, 

into a grand and bewildering sea of life, action and 
labor. Thus passed my first night in camp. 


The original idea of having the Normal Regiment 
contain only young men of literary aspirations and hab- 
its, had not been insisted upon as strictly as at first liad 
been intended. And yet, the regiment contained many 
who had left schools and colleges to join the army; 
many who well deserved the name of "Student sol- 
diers of Illinois." Taken altogether, the regiment 
appears to well deserve the honor of carrying through 
the war the name, Normal Regiment, and being thus 
identified with that favorite school of the Prairie 
State, the Normal University. 

My first acquaintances were among Company A. 
Of course, I was more interested in them than in 
others, as they were to be my immediate associates 
and comrades for the next three years. Among them 
were quite a number of students from the Normal 
University and a noble class of } r oung men they 
were some from other colleges, others were school 
teachers, and quite a large number had come from the 
best class of farmer boys, who were, many of them, 
equal, if not superior, in intelligence and all soldierly 
qualities, to their college comrades. 

Many good people would regret to see so many 
bright and promising young men rushing to meet 
the deadly exposure of camp life and the battle field. 
It is indeed, a sad, a terrible thought. Still if it 
proves to be the will of Heaven that they should fall, 


why should friends at home monrn? If they were 
to live for ages, when could they again have an op- 
portunity to give their lives to support and uphold a 
nobler, a better cause? In these trying days how 
often has the thought been repeated in thousands of 
earnest hearts: If I have not my loved country to 
live in, I have nothing to live for. If this is to be 
its end, let it also be mine. Such a cause thus sup- 
ported, thus maintained, must be right and in the end 
must surely win. 


I was sworn into the service on the fourteenth day 
of September. Only four others were sworn in at the 
same time. The medical examination was skipped in 
my case. The doctor simply bowed to me pleasantly 
and said: "I guess you will make a good soldier." 
The company had been mustered and fully organized 
before I joined it. All the officers had been elected, 
commissioned and appointed, and every thing was in 
working order. 

I was somewhat amused to see the reluctance with 
which our officers, at my direction, inserted the word 
" farmer " instead of " student " in the column of the 
muster-rolls headed " occupation." They were anx- 
ious to have all who had left universities to join the 
army entered on the rolls as "students." But being 
a farmer boy I preferred to enlist as one. 


Sunday, the fifteenth, was my n'rst Sabbath in camp. 


There was not any religious services in our regiment, 
so I sought relief from the long, dull hours by visiting, 
reading and writing letters home. As if to remind 
us of the holiness of the day, which seemed to have 
been almost forgotten, one of our regiment was called 
from among us to meet his Maker. This was the 
second death in the regiment. 


On Monday I drew my uniform and soon was in full 
soldier trim. Got a very good, well fitting suit of 
clothes. Felt quite soldier-like. From what prouder 
position could a young man of this noble country 
desire to commence active life, than that of a free 
American soldier? And should he die in this cause, 
every good Christian will admit that he ought to go 
right straight to Heaven. 


On Tuesday, September seventeenth, in answer to the 
sudden call, "Fall in," our company was immediately 
assembled together. We were then informed that we 
were likely to soon move to the front, and ordered to 
be ready to march at an hour's notice. " Hurrah! Hur- 
rah, boys ! ! Hurrah ! ! !" "What a yell rang and echoed 
and re-echoed through the camp and woods, until the 
Btaunch old oaks themselves seemed to have caught 
the inspiration and vibrated with the wild enthusi- 
asm. The boys threw their hats high in the air, ran, 
jumped, tumbled, hallooed and yelled until they were 
hoarse and exhausted. In fact I never saw boys or 


men so wild, so enthusiastic, so delighted as those of 
the Thirty -third were when the order came for them 
to leave Camp Butler and start for the seat of war. 
All the afternoon every thing and every one was in 
the greatest commotion. The strange excitement and 
enthusiasm continued at the highest pitch. And such 
excitement, such enthusiasm! It seemed in fact as 
though each and everyone was a powerful electric bat- 
tery charged to the full and overflowing with the 
electricity, created by the wild enthusiasm of that 
hour. It appeared as though they thought that the 
greatest events of a thousand eventful years had been 
combined and condensed into one brief moment of 
time, and the victory of them all given to the boys of 
the Thirty-third in those brief commands: "To the 
front," " Prepare for active service." 


Our knapsacks, haversacks and canteens were is- 
sued to us at once. Many funny scenes occurred as 
the young soldier boys were trying to understand the 
new, and to them, curious soldier trappings. Each 
commenced trying to solve the unknown mystery at 
once. Most of the soldiers could, at first sight, un- 
derstand the use for which the different articles were 
designed, but the more awkward ones made some 
laughable blunders. The canteens being simply a 
round tin water flask with flat sides and a strap at- 
tached to carry it by, so plainly showed for what it 
was intended that all could understand its use at once, 
except a few of those odd fellows who never under- 
stand anything, and who were laughed at for the way 


in which they explained their supposed powder-horns. 
This was the only mistake made with the canteens, 
unless the enthusiastic indorsement of one soldier 
could be called a mistake, who, when he received his 
canteen, earnestly embraced it and spontaneously ex- 
claimed, " What a neat and convenient thing to carry 
a drop of whisky in to have in case of accident." 

The knapsacks with their different parts, pockets, 
and straps, puzzled them more. The haversacks 
being simply a canvas bag with a strap attached 
long enough to go over the shoulders, were so plain 
and simple that they could, as they erroneously sup- 
posed, understand its use at once. By the time a single 
blanket was crowded into it, the haversack, never in- 
tended for such purpose, was full and running over, and 
the perplexed and bewildered soldier would look with 
blank astonishment and comical dismay at the large 
pile of necessary blankets and clothing for which he 
had no room. By this time the more dexterous ones 
had solved the mystery of their knapsacks and with 
them fully packed were trying them in position on 
their backs. Upon looking at the more ingenious 
ones, the unhappy and confused soldiers began to see 
where they were wrong, and soon understood that the 
Jiayersacks they. had been trying to use as a bag for 
jtheir blankets and clothing was only designed for a 
dinner bag. With the help of their more efficient 
comrades the awkward soldiers learned how to pack 
their knapsacks. In this way even the dullest volun- 
teer was set right as to the different and proper uses 
of the knapsack, haversack and canteen, and we were 
soon pronounced to be all in marching order. 



Although we have received orders to be ready to 
march at an hour's notice, we do not know when we 
will start nor whither we are to go. Some try to 
guess, but it is no use. Already every place from 
Washington to Texas has been mentioned. The only 
thing we seem to be certain about is, that we are go- 
ing somewhere. 

The next day we completed our arrangements for 
leaving Camp Butler. Many of the soldiers had 
clothing, books, etc., which they could not take with 
them. Such things were disposed of in different ways; 
some were given or thrown away; some, Yankee like, 
traded off; and others sent to friends at home. Every 
thing being ready we impatiently waited for marching 

At five o'clock in the afternoon the welcome, 
anxiously-waited- for order came: " Strike tents." ~No 
sooner said than done. Even now the laugh went 
round at the expense of two or three wildly enthusi- 
astic, awkward ones who, this being the first time 
they had heard this command, had taken the order 
exactly as given and with the nearest clubs at hand 
were hastening to vigorously perform their share of 
" striking tents." Our zealous friends soon learned 
that to "strike tents" did not mean, like " whipping 
carpets," to vigorously pound them with a stick, but 
to take them down. A thousand willing hands seized 
the tents, took them down, rolled them up and loaded 
them on the wagons and we were ready to start. 

It was now generally understood that we had been 


ordered to "Washington. "We marched out to our last 
parade at Camp Butler. Colonel Hovey was absent 
from camp. He was in the city of Springfield arrang- 
ing for our departure. Major Roe on horseback 
was in command of the regiment. He made a few 
happy remarks which were enthusiastically cheered 
by the command. We marched from the camp to the 
public road, and supposed that we were now fairly on 
the way; but just as we were starting for the railroad 
depot we were ordered to stop a few minutes. The 
few minutes ran into hours. It turned out that we 
had to stay waiting on the roadside all night expect- 
ing every moment to start forward. "Waiting for 
what? "Waiting, as we afterward learned, for TJncle 
Sam to make up his mind where he wished to send us. 
Colonel Hovey and our other officers, so it was under- 
stood, were anxious to cast their fortunes and the 
future of the regiment with the "Western army and 
not with that of the East. Finally the order for us to 
go to Washington, in response to much telegraphing, 
was countermanded and we were sent to Missouri. 


After lying upon the roadside all night we got 
up at an early hour and returned to our old camp, 
where we took an early breakfast and then marched 
to Jimtown, the nearest railroad station. 

Our first march, although a short one, only two and 
a half miles, was to us a hard one. Lying as we did 
by, the roadside all night, expecting every moment to 
be called into line to go to the snpposed waiting rail- 


road train, with little chan.ce to sleep or keep warm 
during all the long hours of a chilly September night, 
did not have a tendency to put us in an extra good 
marching trim. Besides this, we were all heavily 
overloaded. Each was carrying about as heavy a load 
as he could lift. And then our knapsacks, the awk- 
ward things, would not set right; or rather perhaps 
we did not know how to make them do so; something 
was wrong. Going in this condition, by the time our 
little inarch was ended, many of the young and un- 
seasoned soldiers were completely exhausted. This, 
it must be confessed, was rather a poor beginning for 
soldiers who had such high expectations of the great 
wonders they were to accomplish when opportunity 


We took the cars at Jimtown; such at least was 
given as the name of the place where we took the 
cars when leaving Camp Butler. The city if it is 
ever to be one at the time we were there consisted, 
according to my recollection, of quite a number of 
substantial, erect and well preserved white oak stumps, 
one corn crib and a small house upon the side of one 
of the hills. 


The train was waiting for us. Embarking took 
but a short time. The sight of the snorting railroad 
engine waiting to start us on our journey to some 
more war-like lands, seemed to bring back the enthu- 


slasm of the previous day. Every one was revived 
as if by magic and at once forgot the weariness 
caused by our first march. All were soon on the cars, 
the tents and everything loaded, all ready, and away 
we went. 

"We had a very pleasant ride over the grand prai- 
ries of Illinois, down to Alton and thence along the 
river to St. Louis. The sympathy and earnest good 
will extended to us by the noble-hearted, loyal and 
true people of Illinois, whose free arid happy homes 
we were so rapidly passing, was unbounded. At 
every city, village and farm house the citizens and 
inmates, men, women and children, all would come 
out to cheer us on our way and bid us an earnest, 
heartfelt " God bless you." From Springfield to St. 
Louis our route was lined with flying flags and wav- 
ing handkerchiefs. It seemed as though all the peo- 
ple were our own, well known neighbors and friends. 

The neatest, best, part, was to see the pretty girls, 
the blooming maidens, the farmer's daughters as they 
came tripping across the fields to wish us many of 
us hoped that it might not prove to be the last timid 
yet earnest "good-by." Perhaps there is more truth 
than would at first appear in the spontaneous words 
of one soldier, who could not help exclaiming: " If 
every man in the United States was a farmer's daugh- 
ter, there would not be any rebels for us to fight." 
Most certain it is that, if all hearts were as loyal and 
true as those that bsat within the breasts of the kind 
and noble daughters of our Illinois farmers, there 
would not be any bloody, treason-stained hands in the 


At Alton we stopped a short time. This delay gave 
the soldiers an opportunity to buy a fresh supply of 
fruit, cakes, pies, etc. It was strongly suspected that 
a few had something stronger than "cold coffee" in 
their canteens, which they insisted was what they had 
purchased. A peculiar kind of cold coffee no doubt. 
One which, the colder it was, the hotter it became. 
Its use was not general. One intoxicated man was all 
I saw in our entire regiment. (This was, please re- 
member, before we had learned to be old soldiers. At 
that time it was thought to be very wrong for a sol- 
dier to get drunk.) 

When we first arrived at Alton we expected to take 
a steamboat and sail down the river to St. Louis. As 
the boat which was to take us would not be ready to 
start for several hours, it having part of a cargo to un- 
load, it was decided that we should continue by rail. 
This was quite a disappointment to the soldiers, es- 
pecially those, of whom there were many, who had 
never had a steamboat ride. We were soon under way 
again and arrived at Illinoistown on the Mississippi 
river, opposite St. Louis, at night. As it was now too 
late to cross over the river, we took up quarters in the 
railroad station houses, where we passed the night 
quite comfortably. 

The next morning we went aboard the steamboat 
Louisiana and crossed over to St. Louis. This little 
trip somewhat reconciled the boys to the loss of yes- 
terday's anticipated ride. Although it was a short 
one, not quite two miles in length, still it will bear 
the name of a steamboat ride, and by many of us will 
long be remembered, not only as our first steamboat 


ride, bnt also as the first time we were ever upon tlie 
waters of the grand old Mississippi river. 


We stopped in St. Louis only long enough to unload 
from the steamboat and re-load on the railroad cars. 
As our freight consisted only of camp equipage and a 
small supply of rations, the work of transferring was 
soon done and we were ready to start forward. The 
sharp railroad whistles sounded, Colonel Hovey acting 
as railroad conductor for our train, cried, "All aboard," 
and we were on our way for Pilot Knob. 

Through that part of Missouri which we passed the 
people seemed to be loyal at heart and cheered us with 
nearly the same hearty enthusiasm as that which 
greeted us in Illinois. If we had not known the fact, 
we would not, from what we saw, have believed that 
we were traveling in a slave State. 



IT was late at night when we arrived at Pilot Knob, 
too late to pitch tents, so we spread them on the 
ground for a bed and slept upon them with nothing 
over us except the starry sky during our first nigh^ 
in Missouri. " Pitch tents," does not, like " pitching 
quoits," mean to throw them as far as you can but, to 


erect them. In the army the order is, " pitch tents," 
when they are to be put up, and " strike tents " when 
they are to be taken down. 

We found the Seventh Nebraska, the Twenty-first 
Illinois Infantry and part of the Seventh Indiana 
Cavalry at Pilot Knob. They talked mysteriously of 
unknown bands of rebels being in force at various 
surrounding points and in threatening proximity. 
They appeared anxious upon one point at least, that 
it should be understood that they were doing very im- 
portant duty in a military point of view. 

To judge by the talk of volunteers who have for the 
first time found themselves within fifty miles of an 
armed enemy, one would think that all the great 
issues of the entire war depended upon their valor. 
Of course we soon learned to do our part in this line. 
But a few weeks had passed before every circle in 
camp was nightly enlivened by the recital of the im- 
portant and eventful exploits that some of our young 
heroes had performed. Every scouting expedition of 
even two miles distance multiplied the numbers of 
wondrous deeds accomplished. He was a poor sol- 
dier, indeed, who could not at least add his one little 
story to the countless number nightly recounted. It 
was estimated by the more prudent and wise ones, that 
our regiment had, to say the least, already done enough 
to make its name historic. 

The Twenty-first Illinois put on airs because their 
first colonel, an officer by the name of Grant, was acting 
as a brigadier-general and in command of a small 
force at Cairo. 



We arrived at Pilot Knob at a late hour on Friday, 
September twentieth. As we were not to move on Sat- 
urday, the noted mountain of iron, Pilot Knob, from 
which the village received its name, claimed our first at- 
tention. Every one was anxious to climb over its iron 
sides and surmount its highest point. Permission 
was granted and we started forward in high glee. In 
a short time that gigantic mountain of iron was a 
grand sight to behold. It was completely covered 
with curious and impetuous soldiers. Upon everypoint 
and crag they could be seen, clambering, laughing and 
racing until they swarmed upon the topmost peaks. 
As they gathered at the top they could be seen swing- 
ing their hats high in the air as they gave eheer after 
cheer for the Union, for the flag and for the country 
we all love so well, until the stern old iron mountain 
seemed itself to reply with redoubled echoes. To see 
those earnest young men thus faithfully remember- 
ing their country and their country's flag in the 
midst of the enjoyment caused by their first visit to 
a place they had so often read about in their school- 
boy days, was enough to warm the coldest heart to the 
highest enthusiasm. 


The time granted for us to visit the mountain ex- 
pired, and we returned to our camp at the village. 
Upon arriving there we were called into line and 
marched to the quartermaster's quarters and he issued 
our guns to us. Colonel Hovey had procured them at 


the arsenal in St. Louis when we came through. There 
was no time to issue them to us then, so they were 
brought down on the cars in the same trains with us 


in the boxes as received. It seems strange soldiering 
this. A lot of green country boys, nndrilled, undis- 
ciplined' and without a single weapon in their hands, 
with no training as to how to use them if they had, going 
as it were into the very face of an armed enemy in 
such a destitute and helpless condition. Thus it was 
our war commenced. 

The guns we drew were muskets of a European 
make, said to be some of those purchased for our 
Government by General Fremont. The boys were 
very much disappointed. They had expected to get 
some of the best rifles in use. They had enlisted with 
the understanding that this regiment was to be armed 
with the Enfield rifles, or better, if better were to be 
had. It was to be the crack regiment of the State, you 
know. Every regiment organized was formed upon 
the idea that it was without fail to be number one, 
the especial favorite and pride of the Union army. 

Expecting to get the best rifles and then to get a 
musket and such a musket! Phew! A musket that 
needed the services of a skillful engineer to run it suc- 
cessfull} 7 . To load one of them: commence by taking 
a cartridge out of the cartridge-box, tear off the end 
of it and pour the powder down in the gun, then place 
the ball in after the powder; now go for the long iron 
ramrod, which must be pulled out of its pocket, in- 
serted in the mouth of the gun, and with it drive 
the ball down upon the powder; then take out the 
ramrod and return it to its own pocket. At this stage 


of the proceeding, with a decent gun, a percussion cap 
would be taken from its box, the hammer of the gun 
raised, and the cap placed upon the gun tube, but 
these guns do not go off with a simple little percussion 
cap such as we are acquainted with. No, indeed. 
First, the hammer must be raised and then a little 
trap door must be opened, then a funny little primer 
about two thirds of an inch in length with a pretty 
little wire string attached, must be taken from its box 
and inserted "just so" in a cunning little pocket, and 
then the amusing little trap door must be carefully 
closed down over it, and thus go through all of this 
elaborate ceremony before the gun can be loaded. 
/These guns must bo intended for soldiers who go out 
and fire one shot and then return leisurely to camp and 
go back the next day to fire the second volley. But they 
are so cunning. Yes, just as cunning as a little red 
wagon and probably about as dangerous. They are a 
smooth bore gun and the charge contains one ball and 
three buck shot. The} 7 are good for nothing except at 
'short range, and even at that but little better than a 
common shot gun and much more complicated and 
unhandy. In every respect except for use as a club, 
where their weight would be available, a double bar- 
relled shot gun would be far more desirable. These 
guns were a poor apology for those the members of our 
regiment had expected; the promised rifles with 
which they could pick offa rebel with perfect ease at a 
distance of nine hundred yards. 


This morning, Saturday, a serious accident occurred 


in the Seventh Nebraska. A lieutenant was carelessly 
handling his revolver when it went off and wounded 
two men, one quite badly through the leg and the 
other mortally. The latter died during the day and was 
buried this evening. Such carelessness as this ought 
to be severely punished. 


Our chaplain not having arrived, our first Sabbath 
in Missouri was passed without any religious services 
being held in our regiment. 

On Monday we moved and established a permanent 
camp. Our new camp lay between Ironton and Ar- 
cadia, two little villages near Pilot Knob. It was 
named Camp Hovey. It was upon dry ground, 
shaded with some fine old oaks, and upon the whole a 
very pleasant place. Just beyond our camp was a 
commanding hill upon which the trees were being cut 
preparatory to building a fort. The boys went to work 
earnestly, and soon had made a fine army camp. 

It would surprise any one not acquainted with the 
inexhaustible resources and utility of Yankee ingenu- 
ity, to see how soon apparently useless pieces of boards 
and planks and even the broken remains of deserted 
secesh buildings were transformed into articles of con- 
venience and utility. Tent floors, bunks, tables, writ- 
ing desks, seats, etc., were made with surprising ra- 
pidity and skill. Three hours after our tents were 
pitched our camp presented the appearance and con- 
tained all of the conveniences of an old and well 
arranged camp. The easy-going people of Missouri 


were surprised and astonished. ""Why," they ex- 
claimed, " if these men stay here six months they could 
build a big city." They had never before seen men 
work in earnest. 


One of the best things of this country is the qual- 
ity and abundance of good water. Flowing springs 
pour forth their streams of cool and clear water from 
every mountain side. The springs are unnumbered 
and their supply of good water is inexhaustible. Good 
water is necessary to preserve the health of an army. 
The bad water of Camp Butler no doubt did much 
to impair the health of the soldiers camped there. 
Unhealthy water frequently destroys more soldiers 
than the enemy's bullets. A commander who would 
allow his soldiers to use bad water when good can be 
had without fighting too hard, ought to be drummed 
out of the service. 


Shortly after we were established in our new quar- 
ters at Camp Hovey, fourteen men came from Illi- 
nois and joined our company. Some of them were 
new members who had lately enlisted, and others those 
who could not come with us when we left Camp But- 
ler. They brought us the sad news that Henry John- 
son, a fine, intelligent young man who had been left 
in the hospital at Camp Butler, had. committed sui- 
cide by drowning himself in the small lake at that 
place. This sad information seemed too incredible 


for belief. I saw and had a talk with him just before 
we came away and he appeared to be in good spirits. 
lie said that he was gaining nicely and would be with 
us in a few days. When I expressed my regret that 
he could not go with us he replied in a happy, IVely 
manner and laughingly anticipated the pleasant vime 
he would have going down to Missouri in a nice, com- 
fortable passenger coach, while we would have to 
go in crowded freight cars. In these rushing times 
passenger cars for the transportation of soldiers had 
to be extemporized out of freight cars. Some new, 
discouraging memories and thoughts must have oc- 
curred to the young soldier after we came away or he 
would never have sacrificed his life so vainly. With 
a big war on hand and his command going to the 
front, it would seem that a soldier would know that he 
could have lots of good chances of being killed and 
to die in an honorable and useful way, and that he 
need not commit suicide. Young Johnson left a short 
note bidding his friends good-bye and telling them 
that he was " going to the happy land above." Poor 
b'oy! Let us pity although we may not understand 


The early building of a fort upon the hill near our 
camp was deemed a pressing and important matter. 
The work was placed in charge of Colonel Hovey, 
who took hold of it in earnest. He examined the 
plans and estimated the work to be done. He then 
appealed to the members of his regiment; mentioned 
the importance of the work, the desire and necessity 


that it should be done immediately; explained that it 
must be done either voluntarily or by regular detail. 
He would prefer to work with us as volunteers rather 
than otherwise; would the Thirty-third volunteer 
to do the work and have the honor of building the 
fort, instead of assisting others to build it as detailed 
soldiers? The boys of the regiment most willingly 
assented, and to work we went. An additional in- 
ducement was given by a promise of twenty-five cents 
per day in addition to our regular pay as soldiers. 
Those who worked as mechanics to have forty cents per 
day. All of us who could use an ax, saw or hammer, 
were put down on the list as mechanics. Eight 
hours to be credited a day's work. Every hour more 
than that to be credited as double time. Thus twelve 
hours' work in one day would be credited as two days' 
work. "We usually put in the full twelve hours. 
Thus many of us were earning eighty cents per day 
extra. Trustworthy sergeants were appointed to keep 
these important time tables with strict impartiality 
and military exactness. The boys jokingly called this 
promised extra pay " boat money," a name derived 
from the case of the always insolvent man who was 
continually bargaining for the purchase of a farm 
\vhich he would pay for " when his boat came in." 
(Of course nothing was ever paid upon these carefully 
kept accounts.) 

The work was pushed forward with the utmost ra- 
pidity. Officers and men all worked together. In 
this work all rank is ignored. The best workmen 
were our recognized leaders. The timber in the woods 
near at hand was freely used. Large trees were cut 


and the logs hauled to the fort and placed in the 

By the time the week ended the walls of the fort 
were so well established and the work in such a state 
of progress, that the chaplain of our regiment who 
had now arrived, thought that the fort ought to have 
some sort of a dedication, so he obtained permission 
and held religious services in it on Sunday. 

As seemed proper and appropriate the fort was 
named after the colonel of our regiment and called 
Fort Hovey. 


One day while the work on the fort was being carried 
on with its accustomed vigor, Colonel Hovey, as was 
usual with him, was around among the boys to see 
how the work progressed, lending a helping hand 
now and then as he saw occasion. Among others, he 
came across a man who was working with consider- 
able difficulty by reason of not having the proper tools 
to use. The man did not recognize the Colonel, who 
was dressed in a plain way, and looked, it must be 
confessed; more like a common soldier than like 
what we would expect to see in the person of the com- 
mander of the famous Normal Regiment. Colonel 
Hovey noticed this workman a moment and then 
asked: "Could yon not do that work better if you 
had a good hand-saw to use?" "Why, yes," said the 
man; " I believe that I could.. Say, old chap, won't 
you go over to the tool house and get one for me?" 
The Colonel trudged off to the tool house, nearly a 
quarter of a mile distant, and promptly returned .with 


a hand -saw. The workman praised him for his 
promptness and continued his work. The Colonel 
stood looking on and soon again suggested: "I should 
think that you could do that better if you had a good 
ax to use." "Yes, I never thought of that; won't 
you run over to the other side of the fort and see if 
you can find one' for me?" Colonel Hovey went as 
before and soon returned with the desired tool. His 
apt suggestions and willingness had completely won 
the workingman's good will. "Well, old hoss," 
said he, in his warmest, friendliest manner, "yon are 
a mighty handy chap, and if you will come around 
and see me this evening I will go with you to head- 
quarters and have you assigned to help me as a car- 
penter, and you will then get better wages than you 
do now as a common laborer." 

At this time, seeing that some of those who knew 
him were beginning to notice the interesting inter- 
view, Colonel Hovey passed to some other part of the 
work. The honest workman's astonishment, when in- 
formed who his "handy chap" actually was, can be 
well imagined. 


One evening after our work for the day was done, 
our jovial little comrade, Elisha Burrows, was seen 
walking down toward the officers' quarters. His face, 
always the picture of rnirth and fun, was now 
covered with sadness. He had just come from his 
tent, Corporal Lewis was one of his tent mates. 
Lewis, one of our best soldiers, was a general favor- 
ite, and especially so with Lieutenant Burnham, 


one of the warmest hearted and most sympathetic 
men in the army. 

As Burrows came near Lieutenant Burnhain his 
face grew more sad and in mournful tones he asked: 
"Lieutenant, did you hear about Corporal Lewis?" 
In his quick, impulsive way the Lieutenant answered: 
"No, what is the matter with him? " With a voice 
trembling with emotion Burrows slowly replied: 
" He is now in his tent dyeing" With tears of heart- 
felt sorrow and sympathy coursing down his cheeks, 
Burn ham rushed to the soldier's tent, exclaiming: 
"Poor Lewis!" "Poor Lewis! " and found him 
sitting before a glass dyeing his new-grown mustache. 


Although we were quite well supplied with provis- 
ions by the Government, some of the boys would per- 
sist in having a relish for the many little nicknacks 
which the farms and larders of Missouri furnished 
and not included in the army rations. No doubt 
they were in error in their belief, yet some of the 
boys were actually foolish enough to affirm, and the 
extreme ones even to go so far as to really believe, 
that fat chickens and plump pigs were good to eat 
even in the army. Whether or not any of them ever 
attempted actual proof is another question. As a 
general thing our soldiers were, in those early days 
of the war, very generous and exact in respecting the 
Union citizen's right of property, but woe to him who 
was known to be a secesh sympathizer. Although 
military rules and orders would not allow anything 


to be disturbed unless properly and formally con- 
fiscated, yet the soldiers' ingenuity enabled them in 
many ways to show their respect to rebel sympa- 

One of the wealthiest men living in the vicinity 
of Arcadia was of this stripe. One day this rebel 
sympathizer when passing through the woods near 
camp saw one of his fattest shoats fall down not far 
from him, it having met with a severe accident in the 
shape of a ball from an unseen gun. The Missourians 
allow their hogs to run at large in the woods, and he 
was no doubt slipping slyly around to see that noth- 
ing happened to his pigs. There being no hunter in 
sight to claim the game, and being unable to find 
from what part of the thick brush the shot was fired, 
the owner picked up his pig, a good sized one, and 
started home. 

He was soon met by a soldier without any gun. 
"Goodness, "the soldier said, "are you foolish enough to 
tire yourself out carrying that fat pig home when all 
3 T ouhave to do is to go to Colonel Ilovey who will not 
^only make the rascals who shot it carry it home and 
dress it nicely for you, but also punish them severely 
in the bargain?" "Yes," he replied, "but how will 
he know who shot the pig?" "Oh, that is easy 
enough. He keeps a list of all the boys out of camp. 
He can spot the lads for you." This plan tickled 
old secesh hugely. The idea that he could go to 
camp and then come back marching proudly at the 
head of the despised Yankee soldiers, who would have 
to do the drudgery of lugging the pig to his house 
and perform the dirty work of scraping and cleaning 


it, with him in command to see the work well and 
thoroughly done, and then to send them back to 
camp to remain with ball and chain in the guard- 
house, while he, old importance himself, was at home 
eating his fresh meat, was too great a temptation for 
him to withstand. He quickly assented to the plan. 
The friendly soldier kindly helped him to place tho 
pig in a nice shady place where it would safely re- 
main until the owner's anticipated, victorious return. 
The old cove then went briskly into camp to find 
Colonel Hovey. 

The sequel can be easily imagined when we add 
that the pig was soon transferred and keeping com- 
pany with an unloaded gun. which the kind soldier 
had hid before volunteering his unselfish and valuable 

Suffice it to say that Colonel Hovey impatiently 
listened to the complaint, more than half intimated 
that he doubted its truth, and then sent some men to 

When the owner got to the place and looked for 
the dead pig, to his great astonishment there was no 
pig there, and the officers returned and reported old 
secesh to Colonel Hovey as an old fraud. 

That day at supper a fine piece of fresh pork steak 
was furnished the Colonel. As he finished it with 
much relish he said to his cook: "How did you get 
this, Sam ? " " Selled eggs and byed it," said Sam. As 
it was not dignified for a great man like the com- 
mander of the Thirty-third to have an extended con- 
fab with his cook the Colonel finished his supper in 
peace. But it is said he shortly afterward sent to the 


owner of the lost pig and bought two of his best the 
value was not large and forgot to ever send for one 
of them; in this way paying for the confiscated pig. 


While the work on the fort was being pushed for- 
ward with the utmost rapidity, many other things 
claimed our attention. We were in many ways made 
to appreciate the fact that armed forces of the enemy 
were within threatening distance of us. Countless 
wild and exaggerated rumors were circulated day and 
night. Among them were some stubborn facts. 

A squad of men went to Arcadia and took two pris- 
oners and 22,000 secesh gun-caps. The men protested 
that they were true Union men and that the rebel who 
was trying to take the ammunition through our lines to 
the enemy was another fellow who could not be found. 
They were given the benefit of the doubt and discharged 
and the gun-caps confiscated. 

Two negroes were brought in by onr picket guard. 
They claimed to have been connected wit'i the rebel 
army as servants, from which they had escaped and 
come to the Union army. They were taken to head- 
quarters and freely gave all the information of the en- 
emy they could. 

Three companies of our regiment, E, B and K, 
were, as soon as they had received their guns, after 
our arrival at Pilot Knob, sent back toward St. Louis 
to guard the railroad bridges. They were the first 
of our command to get into trouble. Quite a large 
force of the enemy had been hovering around us. 
Not being bold enough to attack the Union troops 


in the vicinity of Pilot Knob they had passed up be- 
tween us and the Mississippi River and then thrown 
a force around in our rear to destroy the bridges on 
the railroad and thus cut us off from communication 
with St. Louis. 

They were too strong for the small force we had at 
those places and our soldiers were soon driven away 
and the bridges burned. Those of our troops nearest 
to us made their way back to Pilot Knob; those near- 
est to St. Louis fell back toward that city, and Cap- 
tain Elliott and his company (E) were captured. 

Captain Lippincott had command of those that fell 
back to Pilot Knob. When he and the men of Com- 
pany K came in and we were told of the fighting they 
had seen, we began to appreciate what it was to be in a 
warlike country. Captain Lippincott received much 
credit for the able manner in which he saved his little 
force from being captured by the large band of rebels 
by which they were surrounded. 

Two men of Company C went outside our lines to 
hunt in the woods and were captured by some strag- 
gling band of the enemy. 

Our cavalry now began to get in their work in feel- 
ing of the enemy. They were sent out in every direc- 
tion and met roving bands of rebels almost every day. 
These small forces when found were easily driven by 
our men. "When the neighborhood of the main rebel 
army was reached, our cavalry would have to skip back. 
Our cavalry scouts soon learned so that they could tell as 
soon as they saw a rebel picket whether or not it was 
supported by a large force. If it was, the rebels would 
only fall back on their supporting guard and show 


iiglit. If it was only a part of a detached force they 
would go pell-mell over the hills and out of reach, and 
it would be as impossible to get a second sight of 
them as it would be to get a second shot at a flock of 
wild turkeys. 


It will be remembered that we did not get our guns 
until the twenty -second of September. The next day 
we moved and established a new camp, and then went 
to work building the fort. Soon threatening move- 
ments of the enemy near us admonished our officers 
that the new soldiers needed some training in the use 
of their guns. On the twenty-eighth we commenced 
drilling in the manual of arms. From this time, 
all of the leisure moments that could be taken from 
other duties were spent in drilling. With building 
forts, drilling and watching rebels, the last of Septem- 
ber and first of October, 1861, were very busy times 
with us. 

Toward the last of October all of our available 
force was called into line and we started out fully ex- 
pecting to meet the enemy near at hand. After go- 
ing a short distance a halt was called, and in a short 
time a march back to camp ordered. Two or three 
days afterward the same movements with the same 
expectations of a battle were repeated. 

On the fifteenth of October it seemed that the so 
often expected engagement would certainly take place. 
News from our cavalry told us that they were being 
driven back toward camp. It was believed that the 
enemy were moving upon us with their entire force. 


At four o'clock we started out on the Fredericktown 
road to meet them. We did not expect to go more 
than one or at most two miles before being obliged 
to select a battle ground. Instead of this we went 
seven miles without seeing any rebels, but we met 
our returning cavalry. Tiiey had met some of Jeff 
Thompson's forces with whom they had quite a severe 
brush. Our men were repulsed but they succeeded 
in bringing off their wounded. From the cavalry it 
was learned that the enemy were in force at or near 
Fredericktown. We now halted and a council of 
war was held bv our commanding: officers. After a 

/ o 

session of two or three hours it was decided that we 
should return to our quarters at Pilot Knob and Iron- 
ton and wait for future arrangements. So we turned 
and marched back again. 

It was upon this march that Lieutenant Burnham, 
who for a short time had command of our company, 
gave the order which afforded considerable amusement 
and came near making him famous. While we were 
descending a steep hill, for some reason the front of 
the column stopped which made it necessary for us to 
halt. Burnham, like the rest of us, was new in 
military life, and in the confusion of the moment the 
proper command "Halt! "escaped his memory, and thus 
in its place in thundering tones upon the night air 
came the command: " Mark time!" The idea of stop- 
ping upon a sharp march to a supposed battle field, 
with the enemy perhaps within hearing distance, to 
go through the idle ceremony of " marking time," 
which is to take up one foot after the other in succes- 
sion and replace it in the same place was so absurd that 


the entire company caught the spirit of the joke and 
obeyed the command. Arid there stood Company A, 
in battle array, upon a steep hill in sight of their com- 
rades and the enemy near, vigorously "marking time" 
until one of his brother officers suggested the right 
word, when Burnham stopped the interesting cere- 
mony by the command "Halt." 

Other troops had followed us to Pilot Knob so that 
we now had quite a respectable force at this point. 
Among the new arrivals was the Thirty-eighth Illi- 
nois, Colonel Carlin commanding. By some means 
his commission had been issued so that it bore a prior 
date to the one held by Colonel Hovey, which made 
him the senior and commanding officer of the army 
at. this point. This led to considerable unpleasant 
feeling, but nothing serious grew out of it. The 
Thirty-third having been organized &o as to take the 
earliest number, it did not seem just right that it 
should be outranked by the Thirty-eighth. Our 
soldiers being volunteers took a deep interest in these 
matters. For a time excitement ran high. At one 
time Colonel Carlin for some trifling reason put 
Colonel Hovey under arrest. That is he went so far 
as to order Hovey to consider himself under arrest. 
This continued for a few days. The lively times the 
surrounding rebels were now giving us claimed our 
undivided attention, and other reasons served to 
smooth over the misunderstanding for the time being, 
but it can be safely said that Carlin and Hovey never 
became very loving to each other so long as they re- 
mained in the same command. 



It now became known that Jeff Thompson was fast 
concentrating an army of considerable force in the 
neighborhood of Fredericktown, and between us and 
the Mississippi River. This large force of the enemy 
and its position made an attack upon us more than 
probable. It seemed certain. All military rules de- 
manded it. The bridges between us and St. Louis 
had been burned. The enemy had successfully thrown 
himself between us and the only Union troops within 
supporting distance. The situation of affairs de- 
manded that General Thompson should attack us, 
and do it at once. We expected it. Orders were 
given for us to'keep our guns loaded and ready for 
use. We " slept on arms " every night. We were 
frequently called out expecting an immediate battle. 

At last, however, it became certain that Thompson 
would not attack us in the strong position we held. 
His movements were strange, indeed. To occupy the 
position he did required great bravery, if not abso- 
lute recklessness. To remain where he was inactive, 
was at once both dangerous and silly. He should 
have immediately come on and made an attack upon 
the forces at Pilot Knob bsfore reinforcement could 
have reached them, or else have promptly retired to a 
safe position. His delay gave time for communica- 
tion to be made with the Union forces upon the Mis- 
sissippi River. A force large enough to compete with 
Thompson, under command of Colonel Plummer, had 
crossed the river from Illinois, and coming north- 
west from Cape Giardue were within easy striking 
distance of the rebels. Another force from Cairo-had 


crossed to Bird's Point. It was easy to be seen that 
Thompson's entire force could easily be captured. 
The boys were now in high spirits. Soldiers in the 
ranks talk of and study military points almost as 
much as the officers in command. By going to the 
southeast from Pilot Knob and having the force from 
Bird's Point move to the northeast and then let the 
Union troops from Cape Giardue come up and strike 
him from the east, Jeff Thompson would not only 
have been defeated but would also have been cut off 
from all chance of escape. 

Such was the condition of affairs when the forces at 
Pilot Knob, with Colonel Carlin in command, started 
out to join in the attack upon the enemy under Gen- 
eral Thompson, who had now concentrated his entire 
force at Fredericktown. We were aware of the fact 
that the Union troops under Colonel Plummer were on 
the way and within striking distance of the rebel army. 

On the twenty-first of October the troops came up 
and a sharp brisk battle was fought in which Thomp- 
son was quickly and severely defeated. Most of the 
fighting on the Union side was done by the soldiers 
under Colonel Plummer. As he outranked Colonel 
Carlin he was the ranking officer 'of the united com- 
mand. PI u miner's own soldiers did most of the- 
fighting. Most of the Pilot Knob forces, however, par- 
ticipated in the battle; some of them in the thickest 
of it. Company A was on the skirmish line. The 
balance of the Thirty-third was held in reserve at 
first, but they were so anxious to go in that they were 
permitted to do sa The fight was, however, so soon 
over that they only came up in time to fire one volley 


at the retreating rebels. It was a short, sharp and deci- 
sive contest. As I was confined in the camp hospital 
at Ironton, during this time, with a severe attack of 
typhoid fever, I will not attempt to give incidents of 
the contest. 

Instead of falling to the south of the enemy as they 
conld easily and safely have done, the troops from 
Pilot Knob had kept to the north so as to form a junc- 
tion with the troops under Colonel Plummer. This 
left an open road for Thompson to the south, and with 
his defeated army he retreated in hot haste toward the 
Arkansas state line. In war if you are sure to defeat 
the enemy strike so as to cut off his retreat and make 
the victory complete. 

Although the enemy's entire force was not captured 
as it ought to have been, still the battle of Frederick- 
town was in many respects a very important one. It 
gave us undisputed possession of all of Southeastern 
Missouri and was the first battle of the war that 
could be claimed as a decided Union victory. 

The loss upon the Union side was small. That of 
the rebels comparatively large. It is claimed that 
our soldiers buried over 200 of the rebel dead, left 
by them upon the field. The enemy's severest loss 
was that of Colonel Lowe, who was second to General 
Thompson in command of the rebel forces. He was 
one of the most promising young officers in the rebel 
army. He was killed in the early part of the battle. 
His death had a very depressing effect upon the rebels 
of Southern Missouri and Northern Arkansas, where 
before the war, he was well known as a brilliant, 
promising and popular young lawyer. 


The beginning of the contest shows that Thompson 
attempted to lead the Union army into an ambush. 
When Colonel Plummer arrived at Fredericktown, he 
found that Colonel Carlin had preceded him and 
been near the town since morning. It was believed 
by Carlin that the enemy had beat a hasty retreat. 
Colonel Plummer desired to advance and see what 
had become of the confederates. As arrangements 
were being made for this movement, Colonel Plum- 
mer directed Captain Stewart, the captain of an inde- 
pendent cavalry company, and A. J. Sanger, a soldier 
of the Twentieth Illinois, to go forward and take obser- 
vations. The two rode forward and from the brow 
of a hfll saw some smoke arising from the distant 
woods. Stewart used his field glass but could discover 
no evidences of a large force. They now passed on 
down the road, which was narrow and inclosed on 
both sides by a high old-fashioned rail fence. The 
high and thick weeds and grass growing along the 
fence were not easy to be seen through. As they 
passed down in this narrow road the Captain, in a 
clear, distinct voice, discussed the strength of the force 
in the woods beyond, giving it as his opinion that it 
was nothing more than a detached band of rebel 
scouts. Just at this moment Sanger's keen eyes peered 
through the fence and weeds, and there discovered the 
rebels in full army line lying still as mice upon the 
ground. At the same moment the thought flashed 
through his mind that the rebels had planned an 
ambush and were waiting for the Union troops to 
come in solid column down this road, when they 
would raise up and slaughter them. Rightly guess- 


ing that they were waiting for larger game and would 
not care to discover themselves by firing upon two 
men, Sanger assumed not to see them and coolly 
continued the talk with the Captain, in a tone easily 
heard by the rebels within a rod of them ; agreeing 
that there were no rebels worth noticing near, and 
that our soldiers could come down without being 
disturbed. " Yes," said the Captain, " I guess that 
we will not see any more secesh in these parts." 
" That is so. Suppose we cross into that field, go up 
over that hill, and tell our boys to come on," sug- 
gested Sanger. " All right," was the reply. They 
had by this time passed quite a distance along by the 
heavy ranks of rebels lying upon the other side of the 
fence. They were near enough to almost have reached 
our scouts with their sabers and heard every word 
spoken. Sanger dismounted, let down the fence to 
the field opposite, let their horses through and slowly 
put the fence up again, all the time chatting about 
the situation as though there was not a rebel within 
a hundred miles of them. Re-mounting, both rode 
up the hill on a slow walk and as they passed over and 
out of sight of the rebels, Sanger for the first time 
spoke of what he had seen and. asked the Captain if he 
saw the rebels by the fence. " No, did you see any? " 
The situation was explained in a few words, a brisk trot 
under cover of the hill was made back to the Union 
lines, Colonel Plummer informed of the situation and 
the rebels themselves were soon surprised by a sudden 
and destructive fire, which told them that their well 
laid plans to get the Union troops into a pocket and 
slaughter them had failed. 




AFTER returning from Fredericktown our regiment 
remained in Camp Hovej until the middle of No- 
vember and then took up winter quarters, in which we 
remained until the first day of March. 
! : We took possession of the vacant houses in Arca- 
dia, of which there were quite a number and they 
made us very good and pleasant quarters. 

Three companies, A, C and D, went into the sem- 
inary building. Schoolhouses, colleges, churches and 
all kinds of public buildings are vacant and un- 
used in this part of the country during these war 
times. The seminary was a large and roomy frame 

Our company had a number of small rooms. 
"When we were divided into squads, there were from 
eight to twelve men in a room, according to its size. 

In each room there was either a stove or a fire- 
place. The one I was in had a good large fire-place. 
These old-fashioned fire-places, relics of the past in 
more civilized lands, are yet in quite general use in 
Missouri. These are, as all pioneer people will well 
remember, simply an open fire-place at the end of 
the room, built of brick or stone and connected with 
a chimney running to the top of the house for the 
smoke to escape. Filled with large pieces of wood 
and a rousing fire well under way, there is a degree 
of sociability in the glowing coals and the sparkling 
fire of these old-fashioned open fire-places that the 
modern invention of iron stoves can not approximate. 

AT ARCADIA, Nov., 18H1. 49 

During along winter evening a bright, sparkling fire 
in an old-fashioned, open fire-place would be far 
more pleasant company than a smoking stove and a 
scolding wife. One can sit before such a fire and 
easily imagine that it talks. 

We built bunks three tiers high in one end of the 
room to sleep on. This left us considerable room for 
other purposes. Seats, writing desks, etc., we made 
to suit our taste and convenience. That is, my com- 
rades did this. Having myself just left the camp 
hospital and the typhoid fever, both of which I was 
right glad to get away from, I was not in a condition 
to take much part in heavy work. When fairly 
settled we had as good winter quarters as soldiers 
could wish for, the best in the army. 

Our conveniences and means for entertainment and 
amusement were varied and ample. Here we re- 
mained having jolly, good times until the first of 
March. .In fact the only tiling we had to grumble 
about was the easy, inactive times we were having, 
and to envy those who were suffering untold hardships 
elsewhere. Many were fearful that the rebels would 
all be whipped and the war ended by others, while we 
remained here and simply performed garrison duty... 
It seems to be a natural desire to be. at the work to- 
be done. Even the well-fed, thorough-bred race horse 
will jump and pull and bruise himself in his frantie- 
attempts to escape from the well supplied stall,, where 
he could eat and sleep and take his comfort, to- join 
his mates when he sees them hard at work in a con- 
tested race. And so with soldiers enlisted, for the 


war, they are never contented except when trying to 
.accomplish something. 


During' the first part of our soldier life a steady, 
deep and increasing religions interest was maintained. 
Each new camp we established usually made it neces- 
sary to form new squads.' At Camp Butler, Camp 
Hovey, and at this place, I was connected with three 
different squads in all of which it was customary each 
evening before retiring for the night to observe some 
short religious exercise such as reading a chapter in 
the Bible and acknowledging our accountability to 
our Maker. In the seminary our squad continued 
this during the winter. All were nominally Chris- 
tians, .although not all professors of religion. All 
creeds were ignored. Even church members rarely if 
ever knew to what church or denomination others 
belonged. Each one of our members would in turn 
lead in these evening services by reading his own 
selection from Scripture and end with a short prayer. 
Whenever this duty fell to one of us common sinners 
who was not a member of any church, he would do 
the reading and then turn to some one of our pro- 
fessed Christians with the request: "Brother 

will please lead us in prayer." 

It may be added that with a few noble exceptions 
but little assistance was derived from the army chap- 
lains in maintaining this or any other religious inter- 
.est in the army. The fault was probably more in 
the want of adaptation to the work before them than 
in the lack of inclination to perform it. 


The field was a large one. A deep religious feeling 
prevailed. It could not have been otherwise. The 
religious sentiment of a country will, during, a war, 
always be strongly represented by its soldiers. A 
great war never was, and never will be, fought by 
those who do not believe in anything. 'Those who do 
not believe in a future existence can not believe any 
reward sufficient for the loss of this life. Unbelief 
doth make cowards of all. He that hath no hope in 
his soul hath no bravery in his heart. 


During the winter some of the disloyal owners 
came to claim rent for the buildings occupied by the 
Union soldiers. Colonel Carlin, who had joined the 
army as a strong Democrat in politics, had at this 
time much faith in the effect of kind and liberal treat- 
ment to the erring Southern brothers, and freely 
listened to them upon all occasions. (He became 
radical enough before the war ended.) Thinking 
that it was right to pay rent, he directed Captain 
George R. Dyer, the post quartermaster, to investi- 
gate and make out proper vouchers. Captain Dyer 
looked the buildings over and made out vouchers for 
such rent as they would have commanded before the 
war. At this time there was no demand for them at 
any price. Colonel Carlin approved the vouchers and 
sent them forward. Soon the owners of the buildings 


learned the amount and loudly insisted that it should 
be increased. They wanted to rob the Government. 
Captain Dyer would not change the figures, having 
already allowed liberally for the use of buildings 


which would have been vacant if we had not occupied 
them. To Carlin the owners went, talked sweet to 
him. and soon got him to order Captain Dyer to make 
out new vouchers for an increased amount. 
' Remembering that he was post quartermaster and 
not fully accountable to Colonel Carlin, he at once 
wrote a statement of the case to General Allen, then 
department commander. Promptly the answer came 
back ordering Captain Dyer not to make any vouchers 
for an increase of rent but to allow the owners to 
apply to the department at Washington if they felt 
aggrieved. Soon in came the secesh owners. "We 
want our new vouchers," they demanded. "We have 
concluded not to make any," said the Captain. In hot 
haste they went to Colonel Carlin and reported that 
his orders had not been obeyed. Threatening to place 
the quartermaster under arrest he sent for him. He 
came. "Do you. intend to obey my orders?" he 
fiercely demanded. "All proper orders," meekly an- 
swered the Captain. "Sir, I want you to understand 
that as commander of this post I am the judge of 
what are proper orders. Have you made the vouchers 
I ordered for these men? " "I have received other di- 
rections upon that matter," said the quartermaster, 
handing the Colonel the order from General Allen. 
Colonel Carlin read the order and then simply said: 
"You may return to your quarters." He never referred 
to the matter again. The grasping owners did not 
dare to send their fraudulent claims to Washington, 
and thus a large sum \vas saved to the Government. 



During the winter we spent in Arcadia Seminary 
we were well supplied with reading matter. A nice 
little library had been selected and sent to us by kind 
friends, mainly by the good people of Bloomington 
and Normal, Illinois. It contained good and inter- 
esting books which were well adapted to our use. In 
addition to the hooks of larger size a neat box came 
full of Harper's and other good and instructive 
magazines. The latter were sent to us by the 
fair inmates of the Rockford Female Seminary. 
Those good girls had thoughtfully re-covered ttie 
magazines with their own hands and expressly for the 
soldier boys. Such true, unassuming kindness as 
this, and from personal strangers, will always be re- 
membered. The soldier's motto is, Hurrah for the 
flag God bless the ladies! And it is hard to say to 
which the simple fellows can be the most faithful. A 
brave soldier will be a true lover. Added to the books 
and magazines we received the daily papers promptly 
each day. 


The ever fruitful source of improvement, pleasure 
and happiness, letter writing, filled an important place 
with us. Our conveniences for writing were so good; 
the leisure time we had at hand; the anxiety to hear 
from absent friends and the desire to tell them of our- 
selves; the force of example and the inclination to do 
as we see others doing; all these things combined, 
served at one time to make letter writing almost a 


panic with us. If one could get a copy of all the 
letters written during this time he would have a volu- 
minous if not interesting collection. It was no 
uncommon thing for some of the boys to write as 
many as from live to ten letters per day. Weekly 
correspondence home was changed to semi and tri- 
weekly, and often, especially if there was a girl in the 
case, to daily. Many new correspondences were com- 
menced. Common kind of friends at home were 
no doubt annoyed with the ceaseless flow of letters. 
The amount of soft sentiment that was sent to the 
fair ones was truly amazing. Letters were written 

V O 

and sent upon the smallest pretext. No doubt many 
of Illinois' fair daughters were surprised to receive an 
unexpected letter from some soldier in Missouri. 
Those who had left a girl at home pushed their suit 
with all the ardor and impetuosity of a soldier lover. 
And then, in those cases where there was actually a 

confessed sweetheart mercy save us! Turn the 

pages down ; do not let even imagination attempt to 
uncover those sacred secrets. Let no ruthless hand 
ever dare to break the seal of a soldier's letter to his 
own true sweetheart. 


Our means for and sources of amusement were vari- 
ous and sufficient. We indulged in all of the differ- 
ent games of chess, checkers, backgammon, dominos 
and card playing. Cards as usual in the army being 
the most patronized; while chess with us, as else- 
where, was recognized as a game of art and skill, re- 


quiring thought and good judgment to play success- 

Nothing in the nature of actual gambling was per- 
mitted in our company. In fact the vice of gambling 
was soon and effectually driven out of our army. No 
officer should ever allow gambling to gain a foothold 
in his command. 

A little contest, " for the treats," was not consid- 
ered actual gambling. One day the officers of our 
company concluded that the boys were entitled to a 
treat of a box of cigars. After the cigars were or- 
dered, Lieutenant Norton, who was a very good player, 
proposed to Captain Potter who was not, that they 
should play checkers to decide who should pay for 
the cigars^ the one first getting five games to win. 
The Captain assented and they commenced. After 
easily winning four games, seeing that he could decide 
the contest at his pleasure, Norton allowed Potter to 
take two games. In the next he played still more 
carelessly, so that Potter not only won but was also 
able to prevent Norton from making a king. The 
Captain now claimed that a "skunk" always counted 
as three games, which made him five, and the winner, 
and declared the contest ended. Norton paid for the 
cigars and tried to get satisfaction with another con- 
test, but Potter insisted that his record as the cham- 
pion checker player was established, and from that 
time ceased to indulge in the game. 

In front of the seminary was a fine lawn upon 
which, in fine weather, we had rousing times playing 
ball and other athletic school-boy games. 

Among other things we sent to St. Louis and pro- 


cured a set of boxing gloves. They were well pat- 
ronized by the company and gave the boys much 
amusement and healthy exercise in learning the man- 
ly (?) art of self-defense. 

When we wanted a real huge time we tried the 
blanket game. This consisted of taking two large, 
strong blankets spread together to give them the 
needed strength, and surrounded by a lot of soldiers 
all taking hold of the sides and ends of the blankets, 
and then capture some victim, throw him into the 
center of the blanket and commence lively throw- 
ing him up into the open air, carefully catching him 
as he came dow.n. The height to which a person 
can be thrown in this manner and safely caught as 
he comes down is truly surprising. We first com- 
menced by taking the smaller men and throwing 
them up but a little distance. In time we freely 
threw them higher and became indifferent as to the 
size of the one thrown. Sergeant Ed Pike, one of the 
heaviest men in the company, and as big hearted as 
he is large, was often a leader in this game of throw- 
ing up the boys. One day as he had hold of the 
blanket, having just finished with one and waiting to 
toss up the next, before he knew what was coming, 
some others had come up behind him and Pike him- 
self was tumbled into the center, two stout lads had 
taken hold of the blanket in his place, and to his 
great surprise he was immediately flying sky-wards. 
His look of dismay as he went into the air the first 
time WHS comical enough. He expected, of course, 
that his heavy weight would, in the fall, carry 
him through the blanket as easy as though so much 


paper and that his neck was liable to be broken 
upon the hard ground below. He came out all right 
and after a few flights twenty feet or more high, be- 
gan to like it and was willing to give the boys all the 
exercise they wanted in throwing him up. In fact 
this is the way it always worked. After being thrown 
up a few times they all seemed to enjoy it, so that 
when we wanted to send up some one who would look 
wild as he went into the air, we had to pick out a new 
chap, one who had never been sent up. 

Another source of rare amusement was what we 
called "stag dances" soldiers filling th place of 
both ladies and gentlemen. The smaller, best look- 
ing lads taking the women's part of the dance. The 
part each assumed was designated by the gentfemen 
appearing on the floor bare-headed, while those who 
represented the ladies wore their caps with the front 
piece behind. At best the prettiest boy, in place of 
a girl, is a sorry partner for a dance. These dances 
were, of course, delightful I never dance. 

Sometimes, to change the programme, we would 
get some limber-toed negro to come in and dance a 
lively old-fashioned Southern break-down. If a col- 
ored man is strong in any part it is in his legs. Why 
in thunder they did not, long ago, all run away and 
save us from this fearful war upon the slavery ques- 
tion, lean not understand. At this time Company A 
gloried in the possession of two violins and half a doz- 
en fiddlers, so that we could indulge in these dancing 
amusements whenever we chose. 

Add to all of these the endless number of camp 
jokes and never-ending plans of play and fun that 


soldiers are always, day and night, inventing, and it 
will be readily conceded that we had no reason to 
complain for lack of amusements during the winter 
we spent in Arcadia. 


"We had a convenient cook and dining room in 
which the rations for the whole company were pre- 
pared and served. The supply furnished by the Gov- 
ernment was liberal and excellent, that is, for army 

We were supplied with good bread, a liberal quan- 
tity of beef, pork, beans, rice, coffee, tea and sugar, and 
occasionally with potatoes and other vegetables. The 
cooking was not the best in the world, but as good as 
could be expected by our soldier-boy cooks. Audible 
complaints about the cooking were not often made. 
The prompt and decisive answer to such complaints 
always was: "If you do not like this cooking come 
and do it yourself." Improperly cooked food is one 
of the greatest evils of a volunteer army. A lot 
of young boys who never had the least experience in 
cooking, are brought from their homes and given a 
supply of raw provisions to cook or eat raw as best 
they can. .N"o doubt the fearful amount of sickness 
and loss of life by disease in the army during these 
early days could be justly traced to this cause. It 
became an oft-quoted maxim, that: more soldiers are 
killed by raw beans than by bullets. 

If another war ever calls such a mass of the raw 
and inexperienced youth of our land into the soldiers' 
ranks, let it be seen to that competent cooks are at 


hand to give them assistance and instruction in the 
beginning of their army life. If nothing else can 
be done, let some of the mothers go to their first 
camp and show their boys how to cook. !No officer 
should ever venture to lead a thousand young men 
from their homes to the army who is not alive to the 
importance of preventing improperly cooked food 
from killing more of his soldiers than do the ene- 
my's bullets. 

This part of Missouri is a good fruit country and 
the surrounding farms were well supplied with apples 
of an excellent quality. The farmers were right glad 
to trade fruit for our extra pork, coffee and sugar, so 
that we had good apples nearly all winter. The women 
folks wanted to trade for tea while their husbands 
were trading for pork and coffee, so they commenced 
making pies to sell us. They gent the pies into 
camp by their children. In a short time the little 
folks could every day be seen around camp with their 
basket of pies and such pies goodness save the 
mark! If the women of Missouri know how to cook, 
making pies certainly is not their strong point. It 
would be a tough man who could eat one of their pies 
and live. Well cooked leather would be a luxury in 
comparison. One day Captain Potter felt a hankering 
for something extra to eat. Seeing a boy with a bas- 
ket of pies the Captain's mouth began to water for 
one. A pie was soon bought, a round one of common 
size, about a foot in diameter. "When in his hands 
the Captain thought that the pie looked suspicious and 
he commenced to pull it. The tough, half cooked 
crust stretched like rubber. As his pie extended in his 


hands a cloud spread over his face. " What do you 
call this?" he asked the boy. "It's pie." "Who 
made it?" "Mother." Growing more fierce as his 
pie extended, which was now all of two feet in length, 
in fierce tones he exclaimed: "Does she want to 
kill our soldiers with such stuff as this?" The bare- 
headed boy's hair was by this time standing straight 
np, and as the last word was said he turned and 
scampered away as for dear life. The story he told 
his mother was no doubt a confused if not an exag- 
gerated one. It at least was effective. In a short 
time it was reported among all the women folks 
around, that the Union officers believed that some 
of the Missouri women were trying to kill the 
Yankee soldiers with poisoned pies, and fearing that 
it might be true, not knowing what some of their ex- 
treme rebel sisters might attempt, and not wishing, to 
be themselves under suspicion if it was so, they quit 
the business and the pie trade was ended. 

Being in easy railroad communication by way of 
St. Louis with our Illinois homes, we were often re- 
membered by something good to eat, cooked by our 
own kind of folks. The cakes, fruits, preserves and 
nicknacks of all kinds they sent us were delicious. 
Every few days a well filled box would come to some 
one of our boys. Each would of course share with 
his comrades. Thus we had good things nearly all the 
time. Every thing sent was excellent, but after all 
nothing else was quite as nice or tasted as good as 
those which came in a big box, crowded full, sent 
to me by my mother. No one else can cook quite as 
well as she. But this I found the same with all the 


boys. When a boy is away from home he can never 
find anything that is as nice as those his own mother 
used to make for him. 


In these days standing picket was considered a de- 
sirable and pleasant, instead of being a tiresome and 
unpleasant duty. Among the mountains that sur- 
rounded us it was found necessary to have picket guards 
posted only upon the few different roads that led ont 
into the country. A picket guard is that which is 
sent to the farthest outpost to give the alarm in case 
of the approach of the enemy. The high mountains 
around us rendered all directions of approach, except 
the roads through the valleys, impracticable. The 
necessity for picket duty was limited. A guard 
was sent out upon each road to perform this duty, re- 
maining out a week at a time. The reason was dis- 
covered why the boys were partial to this kind of 

A Missourian was chided for charging such exorbi- 
tant prices for his produce. ""Wall," said he, " 'pears 
like you oughten to complain, seeing as we have to 
pay such big taxes." As all civil government was 
completely disorganized in this .part of the country 
and no one in office or authority to collect taxes or do 
anything else, this reply was a surprise. " Taxes, 
what kind of taxes do you pay?" " Why, every time 
we come in we have to give your soldiers out on the 
road, part of our chickens, butter and apples for taxes." 
As he did not have any other taxes to pay, this burden, 


waiving the mode of its collection, was not a very 
heavy one. 

One day a practical joke of this kind was carried 
almost beyond pardonable limits. A countryman, 
from the backwoods was corning in with a wa^on box 

C3 O 

full of apples. As he was ascending a steep hill near 
the picket guard, a mischievous trick was played upon 
him. The rear end-board of his wagon fell out, acci- 
dentally, of course, and the whole load of apples came 
pouring down to the foot of the hill. The man came 
back and commenced securing his load. At this mo- 
ment one of the boys claimed his attention, and in an 
earnest, solemn manner took a piece of writing paper 
from his pocket and proceeded to read a supposed 
order, stating that all property of whatever kind fall- 
ing from a wagon to the ground within the army lines 
should be forfeited to the Government. The man 
could not read a word and supposed that what he had 
heard was actually true. He then sorrowfully started 
homewards to muse by the way upon the beauty of a 
decisive Government and cogitate upon the profit of 
attempting to drive a load of loose apples up a steep 
hill with a loose end-board in his wagon box. 

Before going he promised to return soon. The boys 
set to work and saved the apples. In a few days the 
same man, ignorant and good-natured, returned with 
another load of produce. After he had treated the 
boys to some of his new load of apples they produced 
and gave him a lot of coffee, sugar, etc., for which they 
had traded the apples he had lost on the former occa- 
sion. They had run a temporary store with his load 
of apples and had lots of fun. lie was greatly sur- 


prised and went his way the happiest man in Mis- 


It must be confessed that the Normal Regiment did 
not at first have the best opinion of its comrades in 
other regiments, as to its soldierly qualities. Its 
fame as a school-boy organization had preceded it and 
created an unfavorable opinion. The heavy work 
done by the regiment in building Fort Hovey and its 
known anxiety to be in the light at Fredericktown had 
in a measure dispelled this feeling, but our cosy winter 
quarters and jolly times in Arcadia revived it. Dur- 
ing the winter, however, the prompt and willing way 
in which the Thirty-third boys performed their share 
of every duty that fell to the lot of our army, re-es- 
tablished on a firm basis the more favorable feeling. 
The men of the different regiments were also becom- 
ing personally acquainted with each other. Our boys 
made many warm personal friends in the other regi- 
ments. These things all helped to increase the grow- 
ing good will in favor of the Thirty-third. Still many 
a little joke was cracked at the expense of the Normal 
Regiment. "Pretty school-boys," "nice ladies' men," 
"school-master's regiment," and like expressions were 
often used. Each good story told of us was taken 
good-naturedly and often repeated by our own boys 
in a more graphic shape than when first invented. 


The story of our dress parade was one of those that 


did not lose any thing in the telling. The foundation 
for it was small, at the same time I do not think that 
any military man having had experience with young 
volunteers would discredit it as improbable. I will 
give the story as our own boys learned to repeat it: 

Soon after we had gone into Camp Hovey as we 
had drawn our guns, our ambitions adjutant, Crandall, 
who was the only West Point officer our regiment 
could boast, and who was the general director and 
manager in all little military points, thought that we 
ought to have a dress parade. Of course we should. 
What could a regiment do without a dress parade? 

He proceeded. First calling the officers together, 
Crandall instructed them in the part they and their 
men were to perform. The time appointed was four 
o'clock p. M., our regular supper hour. The time 
came and we formed upon the parade ground. As 
we went from our quarters we could see and smell 
our supper steaming hot and waiting. 

Dress parade is not as elaborate an affair as a high- 
toned dress party. The companies simply form in line 
with their guns in hand and march to the parade 
ground where the entire regiment forms in line. The 
first part of the parade is performed by the entire 
regiment performing some simple movements, mainly 
going through the manual of arms. 

The parade went on bravely, each part was properly 
performed, until the adjutant gave the command, 
" Parade dismissed," which means that the officers 
shall all leave the men standing in line and at rest 
while they march up in front of the center of the regi- 
ment and then forward to the commanding officer, 

AT ARCADIA, DEC., 1861. 65 

who stands quite a distance in front, to receive from 
him such instructions as he has to give, or perhaps a 
"curtain" lecture if he has anything to scold about, 
after which the officers return each to his own com- 
pany, which is then to be marched back to quarters. 
The men had not yet learned all of this and when the 
adjutant in his full, sounding voice said: " Parade dis- 
missed," they took him at his word and promptly dis- 
missed themselves and broke for quarters and supper 
like a lot of wild school-boys just let loose. The ad- 
jutant wisely concluded not to make matters worse 
by attempting to recall the fleeting soldiers; but at 
our next dress parade the men were informed that 
they were not to " break ranks" until such command 
was given, and that "Parade dismissed" did not mean 
the same as " school dismissed." 


Many of our noblest boys sickened and died during 
our sojourn in Missouri. A quiet, pleasant, dry piece 
of ground was selected for our army burial place. Ere 
the winter had passed, the rows of little mounds of 
earth covering our dead increasing day by day, be- 
came long in length and many in number. Often 
were we called upon to make our sad march to the 
hallowed place to add to the number sleeping there; 
with guns reversed, keeping step to the sad dirge of 
the funeral march, we would slowly, sadly follow the 
remains of our dead comrade to his last resting place, 
stand with uncovered head as the body was lowered 
into its lonely grave, tenderly cover it with mother 

earth, listen to the last prayer for the departed one, 


fire a farewell shot over the grave, and then return to 
our quarters wondering whose turn would come next. 
Of those who died, A. M. Brookfield was my most 
intimate friend. He was in the same squad and room 
with me. His death was almost as sudden to us as 
though he had fallen in battle. He had been quite 
sick but it was thought had fully recovered, and he 
had returned to quarters from the hospital rejoicing 
in being again at home, as it were, with us. Pie was 
taken with a relapse and died in a few short hours. It 
was a sad event to our little number, his room-mates. 
Living he was loved by all who knew him, dying, 
mourned by them as a brother. He was buried on 
the twenty-second of December. On the twelfth of 
January his sad, gray -haired father came, and we, the 
special friends of his dead boy, went with him to per- 
form the sad, pleasant duty of taking up the remains 
so that the sadly stricken father could remove them 
to his Illinois home. Although a sad duty, still 
it was one we were glad to do, so that the last 
sleep of our dead comrade conld be at his own home 
and beneath the grass that will grow, and the flowers 
that will bloom oyer his grave in our own Prairie 


During the winter numerous reports came in of an 
advancing enemy. We became so familiar with such 
reports that but little attention was given to them, ex- 
cept the strife to see who could make the most exag- 
gerated additions to them. One can imagine the ter- 
rific heights to which these reports would in this 

WAR HUMORS, JAN., 1862 67 

manner sometimes reach in passing through the 
The well-known fact that a large rebel force was win- 
tering near the Arkansas state line immediately south 
of us, and occasionally made some demonstrations, was 
sufficient to cause us to keep well on guard, and was 
an ample foundation for all the war rumors that it was 
found necessary to invent and circulate. About the 
middle of January the rebels became more aggressive 
and began to push their scouts up toward our lines. 
Things began to look quite warlike. On the twenty- 
sixth affairs appeared so pressing that orders we,- 
issued for us to " sleep on arms " which means to 
sleep with our clothes on and a loaded gun by our 
side. We did so for three or four nights. The work 
of finishing Fort Hovey was also pushed forward with 
renewed vigor. It would have taken a large force to 
have dislodged us from the strong arid well fortified 
position we held. In a few days the threatenings of 
the enemy were over and we were not troubled with 
any more war alarms. 


On the twenty-ninth day of January, 1862, the 
Twenty-first Illinois Infantry started south for Green- 
ville. It was decidedly one of the worst times ever 
known for soldiers to march. It had been raining for 
nearly all of the preceding week, filling the roads 
with mud and water. The weather now suddenly 
turned freezing cold and a heavy coat of snow was 
thrown upon the deep mixture of mud and water. This 
made the surface look fair enough, like a body of in- 


nocent snow, but woe to the luckless one who trusted to 
appearances and risked himself upon the covered but 
not less dangerous swamp of slush. This was the con- 
dition of the roads when the Twenty-first started. As 
they went by our quarters a new and terrific snow 
storm had burst upon them. For two or three days in 
this freezing cold weather with a fierce storm pelting 
them they marched through the cold, soft, wet snow six 
inches deep beneath which lay the much worse mixture 
of almost unfathomable mud. Surely a worse time 
for marching was never known. Some of the men 
died in the attempt to go through, but the regiment 
reached its destination. It was a march almost un- 
equalled in the hardships under which it was under- 
taken and one which well deserved the place it filled 
by being the subject of an historic picture of the war 
in one of the leading New York illustrated papers. 


About the middle of February we exchanged our 
old muskets for good rifles. Our regiment got guns 
of three or four kinds, and part were supposed to be 
better than others. Our colonel decided to arm 
Companies A and K, the right and left flank of the 
regiment, with the best ones. Of the best there were 
two kinds. Hovey concluded to have a shooting 
match by A and K for first choice. The contest was 
arranged, twenty men of each company to participate. 
Two large, pine board targets were erected, one for 
each company. The boys went out and fired away, 
one after the other, until the entire twenty of both 


sides had shot. The result was then decided by tak- 
ing the two targets and measuring from the center to 
the place where each ball hit. If twenty holes were 
not found the missing shot was measured to the out- 
side of the target. Company K had one or two of 
tliis kind of shots and Company A three or 'four. 
After considerable time the referees had figured it up, 
and decided that Company K had won by about three 
inches in the aggregate distance of the shots from the 
center of the target. Thus a side with five plump 
center shots and one miss could be defeated by others 
who had not made a single center shot out of six; a 
manner of determining such contests that would 
not be countenanced by any well advised authority. 
The shots found upon the targets showed the best for 
Company A, bnt the larger number of outside shots 
made the case against them. Another blunder was 
discovered. As none of the bullet holes had been 
closed it occurred to some that perhaps the missed 
shots might have sent a ball through a hole previously 
made. Upon looking at the target evidence of this 
was found. Had it been so counted the decision 
would have been for Company A. But as the referees 
had decided, and there not in reality being any first 
choice so far fts the quality of the new guns was con- 
cerned, the targets were split up for kindling wood. 

We got the Dresden rifles. They were a very good 
gun and the boys were much pleased with them. 
They were a great improvement upon the old worn- 
out lumber wagons in the shape of muskets we had 
been carrying for the preceding four months. 




ON the twenty-seventh day of February we received 
marching orders. These orders were received with 
glad enthusiasm. It is not necessary to describe the 
wild scene. It was almost an exact repetition of the 
scene at Camp Bntler on a like occasion. All were 
anxious wildly so to go forward. To attempt to 
interest and satisfy soldiers who enlist only for war, 
with dull, idle camp duties, while others are doing the 
real soldiering in the active field, is as useless as it 
would be to attempt to satisfy a hungry, growing boy 
with thin porridge while his brother upon the other 
side of the table is devouring ham and eggs. And 
it is well known that if there is any one who does get 
hungry clear down to his boots it is a growing boy. 

On the first day of March, 1862, the order to start 
was given. Our company with arms, knapsacks, etc., 
formed in front of the seminary building. 

Among the cheers that we then gave, such 
cheers as only soldiers can give, none were given with 
a more Irearty good will than the one proposed by 
Captain Potter: " Three cheers for the seminary and 
the good old times we have had here." 

We then formed with the regiment, Major Hoe, 
strangely enough, as at the time when we started from 
Camp Butler on horseback, was again in command 
of the regiment. "VVe of course expected the last and 
best speech from him. He had given us a rousing 
one upon the former occasion. He was at this time 


the recognized orator of the Normal Regiment. "We 
were not disappointed. The speech he made upon 
this occasion Was one of the shortest, best and most 
eloquent ever made. I will give it in full. In tones 
that rang down the entire line and up over the hills, 
as clear and sharp as the bright steel sword he waved 
in his hand, he made the farewell speech and gave the 
last command in Arcadia in these words: "Forward, 
to Dixie, march!" 

The speech itself consisted of only two words. The 
other two were a military command. How much 
these words suggested. They meant everything. 
The entire object of our existence as soldiers; the 
object and aim of the entire Union army was ex- 
pressed in them*. Forward to all of Dixie's land 
meant that the Union army was to successfully march 
from Northern borders to Southern gulf, from West- 
ern land to Eastern sea; that every force of armed 
rebellion was to be crushed ; thatour glorious Union was 
to be preserved uniti. paired; that every star upon our 
banner waving above us was aarain to shine with its 

o o 

old-time luster and glory ; that victory, complete victory 
was to be ours, and that we were to help win and 
share in it. The soldiers were satisfied, more than 
satisfied. The speech they had expected, and far 
better than they had hoped for, had been made. A 
multiplicity of words, the most eloquent, words of 
mortal tongue at this time on this occasion, would 
have been tame in comparison. A few words fitly 
spoken will live a thousand years. Had the historian 
been there to have recorded the words they would 
long have lived; yea, have become immortal in the 


world's poetry, song and history. As it was, upon 
many a hard and tedious march, through many a 
cane-brake wild, across many a dark and dismal 
swamp, during many hungry and weary hours, 
through many long, sad days and upon many crimson 
and bitter battle fields, they were carried in soldier 
memory. With a rousing cheer oft repeated, as 
over the hills and through the valleys we went with 
the brightest hopes and lively step, we indorsed the 
words and obeyed the command: "Forward, to Dixie, 

Thus 'we left Arcadia Seminary. 


As already stated, we commenced our march south- 
ward on March first. We started with light hearts, 
banners flying, boys hurrahing and high hopes for the 
future. We had become so tired of the dull monot- 
ony and sameness of soldierlife in winter quarters that 
almost any hardship elsewhere would be welcomed as a 
relief. Besides this the men of our command thought 
that we were hardly doing our duty by remaining in- 
active while our brothers in arms were doing all the 
fighting. It became a common expression and com- 
plaint that " the war will be over before we have a 
chance to see an armed rebel." Thus when inarch- 
ing orders finally came, they were gladly received and 
promptly obeyed by the soldiers of the Thirty-third. 
We willingly started out to participate in the most 
tedious duty of soldier life foot marching. 

We started at three o'clock p. M. and marched five 


miles the first day. At night we camped in the woods 
upon the banks of a small stream of clear water. As 
soon as we stop for the night lively work commences. 
Tents have to be unloaded from the wagons and 
pitched; fuel must be found, fires built and sup- 
per prepared and eaten. All the cooking we do 
while on a march is to make some coffee and fry 
some bacon. 

The tents we brought with us were a new kind, 
known by the name of " Sibley tents." Their form is 
circular. A strong center pole standing in the mid- 
dle of the tent supports its top. The bottom is 
stretched out in equal distance all around from the 
center, and fastened to the ground. Thus the tent 
when standing presented the appearance of a perfect 
cone. The bottom of the center pole is supported 
upon a set of iron legs which unites at the top and 
spreads apart at the bottom. This gave room in the 
center between the legs for a small sheet iron stove 
also in the shape of a cone which had been furnished 
us. A hole at the top of the tent permitted the 
smoke to escape. 

To sleep we lay with our feet toward the middle 
of the tent and near the fire. This made a complete 
circle of soldiers with their feet all toward the center 
and heads toward the outside. We were very crowded. 
There were from eighteen to twenty men in each tent. 
In the morning the bovs of one of the most crowded 


tents claimed that they had commenced sleeping all 
lying upon their right side closely packed togetlter, 
and that during the night becoming tired and wis! - 
ing to rest by changing to the left side, it was found 


necessary for the soldier nearest the door to get up 
and go outside in order to give the others room to 
turn over. 

This story was probably as nearly true as the 
other one afterward repeated in camp as having oc- 
curred upon this inarch, and which I will give here. 
It runs thus: One morning as the Colonel was 
about to give the order, " Forward, march," he was 
chagrined to see one tent belonging to his regiment 
still standing. Without ceremony he ordered it 
pulled down, which was promptly done, whereupon all 
were greatly surprised to see the whole squad of its 
occupants lying there upon tlieir backs in a complete 
circle. Upon lying down each one had, unwittingly, 
extended his arms under his comrades on each side, 
making a complete net-work of the entire circle, 
and they were so crowded that not one could move 
enough to break the chain holding them together. 
Comprehending the situation the Colonel directed his 
soldiers to surround the helpless squad and take each 
one by the shoulders and pull them outward, which 
of course enlarged the circle and released the un- 
happy members who formed it. 


Sunday, March second, we started at 8:30 A. M. 
and marched ten miles. The roads were very bad. The 
late heavy rains had rendered them almost impassa- 
ble. The mud was fearful. Mud reigned supreme here. 
The little rivulets coursing down the hillsides were 
changed into mountain streams; while streams usually 


of moderate width were now raging, sweeping rivers. 
Crossing them was very difficult and sometimes dan- 
gerous. Through the valleys which we were obliged 
to follow, as the mountains are impassable, the number 
of swift and rapid streams seemed unlimited. At one 
time, after we had with much difficulty crossed five 
large streams in going four miles, our wonder was 
turned into vexation by learning that each was only 
a different crossing of the same stream. "When we 
came to other like streams we attempted to evade some 
of the crossings by going around, but the rough hills 
and stubborn mountains made it impracticable. The 
only safe way in a mountainous country is to follow 
the road others have traveled, no matter how much it 
may, seemingly, take you out of the course you wish 
to go. 

The next day we started at eight o'clock and made 
a good day's march. Profiting by our previous diffi- 
cnltie?, men were sent in advance to fell trees across the 
streams. By means of these temporary foot bridges 
we had but little difficulty in crossing. Wet logs, 
however, do not make the safest kind of a footbridge. 
Every now and then, as the soldiers were running over 
them, some luckless chap would lose his footing and 
go into the swiftly running water. All of these were 
fished out and placed upon dry land and no lives lost. 
A gun now and then and some other small property 
was all the tribute the raging streams succeeded in 
requiring our army to pay for the privilege of crossing 
over their mad waters. Only three days out and yet 
the boys begin to complain of short rations. 

After we had started on Tuesday morning, we were 


surprised to learn that a force of one hundred and fifty 
rebel cavalry had been within sight of our camp fires 
during the night. They captured a lieutenant who 
was carrying dispatches to some of the Union troops. 
But, as luck would have it, they did not get the dis- 
patches. He took the chance, the only one left, and 
slyly placed the papers in the hands of a citizen of 
Missouri standing near. It proved that he had trust- 
ed the right man. The citizen concealed the dispatch- 
es and gave them to Colonel Hovey thenextmorriingas 
we came up. This proves that some true Union men 
live in this part of Missouri. He ought to be remem- 
bered. Am sorry that I did not learn his name. 

Full and reliable information was given us of this 
rebel force. Most of it by two young ladies, whose 
home we passed. The rebels had made a lengthy halt 
at their home. This gave the girls an opportunity to 
become well posted as to the numbers and doings of 
the rebel troops. A few months previous to this 
time these two young ladies had become quite noted 
by making, raising and protecting a Union flag and 
that, too, in the midst of a large number of despera- 
does who wished and threatened to tear it down. It 
was believed, probably was true, that the plucky Mis- 
souri girls would shoot the first one who touched their 
flag, and it was not disturbed. We made a halt of 
some length at their home, and as they were delight- 
ed to talk with the Union soldiers, most of us 
exchanged a few words with them. They were act- 
ual heroines in the eyes of our soldiers. Woman 
never received a more earnest and respectful ovation 
than our soldiers gave these two true, loyal girle. 


Had they wished it every soldier in tlie command 
would have sworn to come back when the war was 
over to marry either of them. And they might do 
worse than to have kept such a pledge had it been 
made. Each will make some one a splendid wife. A 
woman who is loyal and true to the land of her birth 
will be faithful and loving to the husband of her 
heart. One who is willing to risk her life for the flag 
she reveres, will, if necessary, die for the husband she 
loves. None but brave soldiers are fit to wed such 

The bravery of these two young girls was wonder- 
ful. For two farmer's daughters, living in the moun- 
tain wilds of Missouri, with no one near to help them, 
to stand and protect the flag of our country and bid 
defiance to a large band of desperate rebels who swear 
they will tear it down, shows a degree of bravery that 
may well claim the admiration of all. It was an 
event rarely, if ever, equalled, and never excelled in the 
world's history. All honor to these brave daughters 
of Missouri. 


We reached Greenville at sundown Tuesday, March 
fourth, and camped there for five days. During the first 
day of our camp at Greenville we were reminded of 
an almost forgotten fact, namely: that we have had a 
lieutenant-colonel. In organizing our regiment the 
office of lieutenant-colonel was the one reserved to 
be filled by executive appointment. The other offi- 
cers had been chosen by members of the regiment. 
Of course all commissioned officers had to be appointed 


by the Governor of the State, but the custom was to 
allow the members of volunteer regiments to desig- 
nate their choice for officers, usually leaving one for the 
executive to fill by his own selection. In our case 
our good Governor made an unfortunate selec- 
tion. After some delay in making the appointment, 
Lockwood was sent to us as lieutenant-colonel. 
His brief stay with us was not the most pleas- 
ant. He did not have the faculty to correctly learn 
military commands. When attempting to drill us 
he was sure to make some blunder, run one com- 
pany into another, get one company started away 
from the rest and lose it, not knowing what command 
to give to get it back in place. Undoubtedly much 
of his perplexity arose from the propensity of the of- 
ficers and men to increase instead of helping him out 
of his difficulties. One day he was in command at a 
dress parade. He had brought the command to "pre- 
sent arms." According to our tactics, when a battal- 
ion is at " present arms " the only command that can 
properly be given is to " carry arms." Lockwood 
gave the improper command, " Right shoulder, shift, 
arms!" Not a gun w'as moved. .The entire command 
etood in line still presenting arms. With more care 
as to clear pronunciation he repeated the command. 
No one moved. Turning to the adjutant he said: "It 
don't fetch them yet, does it?" At another time, 
while we were at Arcadia, in attempting to drill the 
regiment he ran the command into a heavy rail fence. 
The boys were watching and as they struck it, all 
pushed together and the entire fence was thrown flat 
before them, much to his disgust. The only com- 


mind he could think of was: "What in h 

did yon go through that fence for?" He was said to 
be a man of ability. If so, the Normal Regiment 
gave him no chance to show it. He soon became dis- 
gusted. He asserted that: "Unless a command is 
spoken grammatically, punctuated correctly and each 
word emphasized properly, the Normal Regiment will 
not pay any attention to it, and as I did not come to 
the army to teacli grammar or rhetoric, I do not want 

a d thing more to do with it." And he kept his 

word good by promptly resigning. 

Having virtually crowded Lieutenant-Colonel Lock- 
wood out of the regiment, it was thought as a vote had 
never been taken for that office, that the men of the 
regiment had the right to take a vote for his successor 
and ignore all questions of regular promotion. A 
vote was taken on March fifth. The candidates voted 
for were: Major Roe, Captains Potter, Lippincott and 
Elliott, and Adjutant Crandall. To the surprise of 
all, especially the officers, Captain Elliott received a 
maj'ority of the entire vote cast. Two or three causes 
helped to give Captain Elliott his unexpected large 
vote. Among them were his supposed military ex- 
perience, he having had a fight with, been whipped 
and taken prisoner by Jeff Thompson and afterward 
been exchanged, his very pleasant and social way 
among the soldiers, he having in a short time formed 
the personal acquaintance of every member of the 
regiment, and last, but not least, his good looks, he 
being the handsomest officer in the Normal Regiment. 

One of the strangest votes was that of Company A, 
which gave its own captain, Potter, only six votes out 


of about seventy cast. And stranger still, the six votes 
were cast by the six men in the company the least 
friendly to him. The majority voted against him be- 
cause they wanted him to remain in command of their 
own company. 

Major Roe got a light vote because he was, you 
know, the orator of the regiment. The only proper 
office for a regimental orator to hold is that of major 
of the regiment or a second lieutenant of a company 
those with the least duties attached. 

Captain Lippincott could well claim to at least 
equal Captain Elliott in military experience. He had 
safely brought his men to camp when surrounded and 
threatened with capture by Jeff Thompson's troops, 
and had been at the battle of Fredericktown. 

The result of the vote was sent off to the Governor 
of Illinois. It was of course of no binding force, but 
w r as supposed to be a recommendation that would be 
complied with. 



During the afternoon some of us visited Jeff 


Thompson's drill and camp ground. This is the 
place where his army went into camp after being 
driven from Fredericktown. Judging from the lines, 
or rather all absence of lines, the rebel troops did not 
take much pride in the order or regularity of their 
camp. After attempting to trace the lines our boys 
declared that it was impossible to find where more 
than two tents had stood in a line. The rule with the 
rebels seemed to have been for each to pitch his tent 
where he chose. The only interest connected with 


the ground was the uninteresting fact that it had been, 
for a time, a rebel camp ground. 

At Greenville our company was divided into small 
messes, each mess to do its own. cooking. Until this 
time the rations for the entire company had been 
cooked together. 


Sunday, March ninth, we left Greenville to go 
farther south. Found the roads much improved. 
Marched nine miles. 

The next day we started at eight o'clock and reached 
Black River by noon. It was quite a good sized stream. 
The water was high, caused by the late heavy rain-fall. 
We had to cross on a slow ferry boat and it took until 
a late hour for the regiment and its wagon train to 
pass over. 

Tuesday we lay still. Wednesday we moved up the 
river and camped at Reaves Station. The Thirty- 
eighth Illinois and one company of artillery had pre- 
ceded us. 

This ended what might be called our first real 
march. It told a little upon some of the boys, but 
upon the whole was a very easy march. Our regiment 
came the entire way alone. Oar wagons were always 
with us and we generally stopped at noon, each day 
and made some warm coifee for dinner. 


Our camp at Black River was known as Reaves Sta- 
tion Camp. Our regiment pitched their tents about 


half a mile from the river. Simple camp duties 
such as standing guard, drilling, etc.. occupied our 

F. M. Gasthman, of our company, died on March 
twenty-second. He was a talented, good hearted 
young man, one of the Normal University students. 
Even when it became certain that he must die and that, 
too, in this inhospitable land, his pleasant, buo} T ant 
spirits sustained him. One day he said: "It does 
seem rather hard to have to die so early and in this 
lonely land." Except this no word of regret ever 
passed his lips. He simply joins the many that have 
gone before. The entire regiment went to his funeral 
and followed him to his grave. It is very unusual 
for the entire regiment to follow a soldier to his bu- 
rial; doing so showed the high esteem all had for our 
lamented young friend. 

The Eleventh Wisconsin Infantry arrived on March 
twenty-seventh. It was to be in the same brigade with 
the Thirty-third. The entire command was to be put 
into more army shape. Brigades were to be formed 
and the division was to be commanded by a brigadier- 
general. His name was General Steele. 

Friday, March twenty-eighth, General Steele ar- 
rived, lie was a fine-looking officer. He did not put 
on extra fine airs like some of our fancy generals. 
The soldiers seemed well pleased with their new com- 
jnander. He had at least their good will to commence 

The next day after the arrival of General Steele 
the assignment of troops to brigades was announced. 
This division under the command of General Steele 
was divided as follows: First Brigade, Twenty -first 


and Twenty-eighth Illinois, Colonel Carlin command- 
ing; Second Brigade, Thirty-third Illinois and 
Eleventh "Wisconsin, Colonel Hovey commanding; 
Third Brigade, Fifth and Eighth Indiana and First 
Indiana Cavalry, Colonel Baker commanding. 

Our vote at Greenville was ignored and Captain Lip- 
pincott appointed lieutenant-colonel. With Colonel 
Hovey in command of the brigade, Lippincott will 
be in command of our regiment. 

March thirty -first the First Brigade of this division 
started forward. The army telegraph was completed 
to this place. One of the first dispatches was: " Islaud 
No. 10 is ours." 

On April first, a drove of pack mules arrived from 
Pilot Knob. This was a new feature in the transporta- 
tion of army supplies with us. The mules were wild 
and hard to manage. Three of them ran away and 
were lost, packs and all. Upon the whole the experi- 
ment was claimed to be a tolerable success. 

On the third of April a company of our cavalry came 
in with some rebel prisoners. Our advance guard 
was attacked by a band of bushwhackers. None of 
our soldiers were hurt. Some of the enemy were 
killed and others taken prisoners and brought in. 

Considerable excitement was created on the ninth of 
April by the drumming of a man out of camp be- 
cause he was found to be guilty of stealing. He be- 
longed to the cavalry that was acting as the Gen- 
eral's body-guard. "With one side of his head shaved 
clean with a sharp razor, his coat turned wrong side 
out, the word " thief" in large letters upon his back, 
with the guards close behind him, with the sharp 


points right close up to his rear, making him take 
quick steps or get pricked; with the drum and fife 
playing the rogue's march, he was marched all through 
camp amidst the hoots and jeers of the entire army, 
then out of camp to the top of a hill in sight, and then 
with a vigorous kick from the butt of a heavy gun in 
the hands of a stout soldier, he was sent over the hill 
and out of sight and never again seen by his army 

While at Heaves Station Captain Potter appointed 
some non-commissioned officers. Our big, jolly ser- 
geant, Ed Pike, was promoted to orderly sergeant in 
place of Baker, who had been discharged on account 
of failing health. Pike would get good rations for us 
if any one could. "Willis was appointed fifth sergeant, 
and Riggs and Harris corporals. 

On the twenty-first we came near having a serious ac- 
cident in our company. Whited was handling Riggs' 
revolver when it was accidentally discharged and hit 
Bovee. But as good fortune would have it, Bovee's 
substantial foot was in front of him, so that the ball 
struck the bottom of his solid army boot. The boot 
got well. ISTo one else was hurt. Some more cavalry 
joined us at Reaves Station, so that we now have the 
most of frur cavalry regiments with our division. 


"We started forward again on the twenty-second of 
April. Marched twelve miles and camped for the night 
upon the banks of the Little Black River. "We found 
a grist mill there which some of our men had taken 
possession of and were running. It is easy enough 
to find men in our army who can run a grist mill. 


The roads are very bad. The backwoodsman with 
liis ox team, pressed in for the occasion, bringing our 
tents, was all night in getting through the deep mud, 
so we had to pass the night without any tents. 

Our transportation being so much delayed by the 
condition of the almost impassable roads, we had to 
wait and only went six mites the second day. 

On the third day we went through to Pitman's 
Ferry. During the day I had charge of and ran an 
independent command. It was a unanimous com- 
mand and was not troubled by any differences of opin- 
ion as to where the best walking was to be found in 
truth there was no best, each side of the road was the 
worst nor when a halt was to be made, nor how fast 
to push forward. All were agreed. Th6 "command" 
consisted of myself only. Three different detach- 
ments of the army were upon the road, but I made 
the march alone, selecting such paths through the 
woods as suited me best. I had delayed when the regi- 
ment advanced to give Seybold, one of our mess, his 
breakfast and rations for the day. He had been on the 
rear picket guard during the night, and according to 
the rule of this time, was to be part of the rear guard 
during our day's march. After I rejoined the com- 
pany at night, as the usual day's adventures, real and 
imaginary, were being recounted around our evening 
camp fires, my comrades insisted that, having been on 
a separate inarch, I ought to have some incident of 
the day to rebate. After telling the many little inci- 
dents of the day, which were numerous for the reason 
that "the natives" took more liberty to stop my "com- 
mand" with curious questions than they would a 


larger force, the boys insisted that it should end 
with a romance. The one given was in substance as 
follows; adding two short sentences to the beginning 
to make it readable should it ever be found alone. 
Perhaps it is true. As to that, no confession is re- 
quired. Let the story be repeated as then told. 


One day I stopped to give one of the boys of our 
rness his breakfast. He had been on rear picket the 
night before and consequently would be with the rear 
guard of the army that day. Our regiment having 
the advance, made an early start and I did not expect 
to rejoin it until a late hour at night. After find- 
ing our comrade arid giving him his morning coffee, 
I pushed forward. In course of the day, wishing to 
rest a short time, I ventured to call at a dwelling by 
the roadside. The house was simply a log hut like 
all others in the backwoods of that part of Missouri. 
Entering I found it had but one room and that fur- 
nished in the plain, rough style common to such lo- 

In one part of the room sat what shall I call her? 
How shall I describe the charming creature who sat 
before me? A woman; an angel beautiful as day; 
fairer thau the fairest; in age just passed beyond 
charming, sweet sixteen to lovely womanhood. No, 
I will not attempt to describe this most beautiful one. 
Let it suffice that my highest ideal of angelic per- 
fection was more than realized in the person of the 
lovely being before me. Being a young and enthu- 
siastic volunteer, such a feast of beauty completely 


captivated me. Numerous remembrances of stories 
where I had read of princesses of beauty being 
fonnd elsewhere by some singularly fortune-favored 
knight flashed through my brain. All my faith in 
love at first sight returned with redoubled force. Al- 
though en rapt I had not yet heard her speak; had not 
heard the enchanting tones of her sweet voice. 

Her mother could it be? Was it possible that this 
plain, coarse woman was the mother of one so divine? 
No! I would not believe it. I would believe that 
she was the child of love a being of heavenly, not of 
earthly origin, and I almost trembled for fear she 
would suddenly vanish from my sight and soar to 
her far-off home above. Her mother went to the door 
and called: "William, come hero; your sister wants to 
see you." Her brother would come, she would speak 
to him. Then, oh, then! I should hear the delicious 
music from that sweet angel's tongue. The bare an- 
ticipation intoxicated me. What, then, would the 
sweet reality be? Would it then be possible for me 
to control myself? Could I then refrain from throw- 
ing myself at her feet and praying to be her slave for- 
ever? She rises to speak to her brother. Oh! sweet 
anticipation! One moment now is an age of bliss. 
She opens her mouth. Oh! sweet, charming, delight 

what? The words she spoke were: "Bill, you 

little cuss, give me a chew of tobacco." Thrusting 
his dirty hand down into his greasy pocket he brought 
forth a filthy piece of the vile weed, and words are 
worthless the roinanca was bursted. 



On Friday, April twenty-fifth, we remained at 
Pitman's Ferry. On Saturday we crossed the river. 
General Steele and his staff came up during the day. 

Captain Potter got "on his ear" because, as he 
thought, the boys did not obey his orders as fully as 
he thought they should and ordered a company roll- 
call every two hours. Not a very severe punish- 

The rebel General Hardee was in command of a 
force of rebels at this place for some time. Visited 
his drilling and camp ground. All that remains here 
now to mark the stay of the rebel army is their bury- 
ing ground. Its size plainly shows that they, as well 
as we, suffer much by sickness and death in the army. 


On Sunday the regiment was ordered into line and 
marched out under military orders to a convenient 
place to attend religious services. When soldiers are 
lying quietly in camp a regiment never can be ordered 
into line, it matters little what the occasion may be, 
unless for a fight, but that there are sure to be some of 
the men who would prefer to do something else rather 
than to " fall in." As we were marching to the preach- 
ing ground one soldier was heard to impatiently say 
in a side remark that he " wished that the chaplain 
was in h ," or words to that effect. In some strange 
way the words happened to strike Major Hoe's quick 
ear. As soon as we were assembled in preaching 
array the Major commenced the services by referring 


to the remark that had been made by the thoughtless 
soldier, refraining, however, from calling him by name. 
The Major regretted to hear such remarks, and re- 
minded the soldiers that the Chaplain held a position 
above insult, given him by the Government; referred 
to the importance of religion to those who, like us, go 
forth every day with our lives in our hands, and after 
a proper amount of scolding with his pleasant voice 
and eloquent words, even talked himself into a happy 
frame of mind and finally ended with the suggestion 
that probably he had misunderstood the words used, 
and that the soldier meant "to wish the Chaplain in 
heaven instead of h ." 

Dr. Eddy, our very able and conscientious chaplain, 
was evidently much affected by this unexpected cir- 
cumstance. He was sorry to think that any mem- 
ber of the regiment held such feelings against him. 
Did not believe that any in reality did. Assured 
us "that he had none but the kindest feelings toward 
each and every one of the Normal Regiment." Of 
course he did, we all knew that without his mention- 
ing it. And finally the Doctor freely gave his permis- 
sion for those who did not wish to hear him preach, to 
leave the meeting. Of course no one accepted the 
offer. The Chaplain, you see, had got the wrong 
idea. He did not well understand soldiers. Getting 
up out of his tent, where he was lying upon his back 
and reading some story, and taking his ease in true 
soldier style, to fall into line and march out to the 
meeting place was what disgusted the most indolent 
soldier and not the Chaplain's preaching, for he was 
in fact one of the most pleasant clergy men to listen to. 


Now that they were sitting upon the green grass 
and ready, all, even the soldier who made the em- 
phatic remark if it actually was made would rather 
stay and hear Dr. Eddy preach a good sermon, which 
he was sure to do, than get up and walk back to camp 

None wishing to leave, the Chaplain, as the Major 
had done, got into a happy frame of mind and gave 
us a splendid sermon. 

In time our good Chaplain, no doubt, learned 
to better understand soldiers. They all respected him 
and his calling. Brave soldiers are naturally relig- 
ious. Some religions belief is necessary to create 
good soldiers. Faith and hope always are a soldier's 
steadfast friends, while infidelity and ignorance are 
but sorry comrades in a battle. 


On the twenty-ninth of April we resumed our 
march, went fifteen miles and camped on Focia Creek. 
Here we found Company C of our regiment. They 
had been sent in advance to fix up the roads. 

The next morning we started at eight o'clock and 
marched five miles, to Pocahontas. 

Received news of the capture of New Orleans. 
The soldiers gave three cheers for General Butler and 
three times three for the success of the Union cause. 

We laid over in Poca, as the people here call the 
place, one day. 

On Friday, May second, marched down the river 
twelve miles and camped at the ferry. Found the 
first good ferry-boat we have yet met upon our travels 


and as for bridges, they are absolutely out of the 
question in this indolent, heathen country. 


On Saturday we crossed the river and marched 
through a cypress swamp. 

A cypress swamp is quite a curiosity. The cypress 
is, like the pine and cedar, an evergreen tree. They 
seemto thrive best in a swamp upon which the water 
stands most of the year. From the roots, "knees' 
grow up without number. The knees have a smooth, 
round top without any limbs or other projections. 
In fact they are like small stumps running up a foot 
or two out of the water, over the round top of which 
the smooth bark has grown, and are from a few inches 
to half a foot or more in diameter. They annoyed us 
fearfully. In taking our wagons through, the wheels 
would sink down in the soft mud and the cypress 
knees would catch the axletree and hold the wagon 
fast. We had to tarn in and cut them off. As they 
had to be cut off from one to three feet under water it 
was a very difficult and unpleasant task. Fortu- 
nately we were well supplied with saws. Axes are no 
good to chop a log under three feet of water. By 
wading oat into the water, often waist deep, and run- 
ning the saws under water we were able to cut open 
the necessary passageway for our wagons. For a few 
men the undertaking would have been an hopeless 
task, but we had a thousand willing soldiers and the 
tedious and difficult work went on merrily. 

On Sunday we marched twelve miles, part of the 
way through cypress swamps, but the bottom being 


formed of a firmer substance than the soft muck over 
which we passed the day before, it did not break through 
as much and we did not have to stop so often to 
cut roads for our wagons and artillery. 

It was during this Arkansas march that one of the 
Union officers decorated some of his soldiers. In 
riding up he suddenly came upon five or six of his 
men who in passing the garden of a rebel sympathizer 
had each pulled a handful of onions and turnips. "With 
the tell-tale evidence in their hands there was no doubt 
of their having been trespassing, which was against 
orders. Feeling that lie must punish them in some 
manner he at once ordered that a label with the word 
"onion" should be pinned to each cap. It was done. 
But the result was contrary to expectation. Instead 
of being a disgrace, the men of the regiment construed 
the labels to be a decoration of honor. The word was 
willfully misread and wherever the "onion" boys ap- 
peared, the men cheered and praised them as "Union " 
boys. This pla}^ upon the word took so well, and the 
boys of the army not believing that it was actually any 
great harm to pull an onion or two from a secesh gar- 
den, it was soon seen that the attempted punishment had 
miscarried, and a request was quietly sent asking the 
boys to remove their "onion " labels. This was done, 
but the badges were preserved as an interesting tro- 
phy of army life. 


By marching fifteen miles, on the fifth of May, we 

reached Jefferson City, or Bird's Point, as it is called. 

We have now entered upon lands which will, no 


doubt, some day prove to be rich farming lands. 
Having come on foot all the way has given us a good 
opportunity to see the country. From Pilot Knob 
down, to Arkansas the country is very rough and 
broken, the high hills often running up into small 
mountains. Through this section the valleys generally 
have a deep, rich soil and appear to be specially adapted 
to the growth of all kinds of fruit and rich bine grass. 
A field of the latter left uncut will keep hardy stock 
in fair condition all winter without any other feed. 
Corn and other kinds of grain will, no doubt, also 
do well. 

As we strike the lands of Northern Arkansas, it is 
not so broken nor to such an extent entirely worthless, 
but the soil is not as rich as the Missouri valleys. 
As we near Jeiferson City it greatly improves. Here 
the land is. nearly all fit for tilling and the soil 
very good. With an enterprising, willing-to-work 
class of people, like our Northern farmers, these 
rich valleys would soon be the paradise of the world. 
As it is we find but little that is desirable except the 
land, timber, springs and water-courses, often with a' 
fine water power, and these are so only when seen as 
nature left them, with none of the natives or their 
habitations in sight. The indolent, go-easy, do-noth- 
ing squatters who incumber mucli of this land would, 
if they were upon it, make the fairest, sunniest land 
in the world look dark and gloomy. 


Most of the people in this vicinity are bitter seces- 
sionists, but there are among them a few true Union 


folks. As we were coming into Jefferson, City, we 
passed the humble home of an old couple, an old man 
and his wife who had remained true to the flag they 
had learned to love in the good old days of the past. 
She stood at her humble door as we marched by, with 
a glad welcome for us all, waving in her hand the cher- 
ished and loved Union flag she had herself made, 
in her long since passed girlhood days, and which she 
and her husband had brought with them when in early 
life they had come to this wild land to make them- 
selves a home. During these many long years she 
had kept the little flag, but little larger than a stout 
man's broad hand, and then this fierce, dark storm of 
treason came on when this aged couple, as if putting 
their firstborn in his cold grave, had been obliged to 
hide away the little flag where it could riot be found 
by their rebel neighbors, and thus it had remained 
'during the days when fierce rebellion swept every thing 
before it. But now the Union troops have come, and 
the little flag can again in triumph wave. There she 
stood at her own door as the afternoon sun was going 
down, her white hair like a wreath of silver loosely 
floating in the wild wind and like a crown of glory 
shining in the golden sun, while her aged hand 
proudly waved her own Union flag above her devoted 
head. By her side stood her husband, old and feeble, 
and yet his arm seemed to move with the strength and 
vim of youth as round and round he swings his hat to 
cheer on their way those who were bearing aloft the 
flag he himself had once fought for and helped to 
maintain. As each regiment passed and as each large, 
beautiful and proud regimental flag was waved in 


salute to her and her little flag, tears of joy would 
start afresh and course down the old woman's cheeks. 
The two happiest people in the State on tin's day was 
this loyal old man and his Union loving wife. Many 
a rousing cheer was given to them by our soldier boys 
as they passed by. 


We laid over at Jefferson City a few days. These 
delays became necessary to let our supplies be brought 
up. The roads are so bad that our wagon trains have 
hard work to get through. 

The rebels had made arrangements to raise a grand 
liberty pole at this place. The pole, an elegant piece 
of timber, had been selected and dressed with much 
care, and was on the ground ready to be erected. But 
the approach of the Union troops had alarmed the 
rebels so that they had skipped away, leaving their 
liberty pole lying like a stick of common timber on 
the ground. Finding it thus we concluded to proceed 
with the good work. Our soldiers promptly and 
merrily erected the flag-staff, and with a brass bai.d 
playing a loyal national tune, dedicate! the lib- 
erty pole for our secesh brethren by running to its top 
a good Union flag, where it waved for the balance of 
the day, high over their heads and in sight of all the 
people of the town. 

The Johnny Rebs had not only run away, leaving 
their flag-staff in the dust, but had gone in such hot 
haste that the Confederate flag which was to wave upon 
it, a large one already made and at hand, had also been 
left behind. This fact soon became known to our sol- 


diers. ~Now for the flag. There is nothing soldiers will 
attempt with a more lively zeal than to capture an en- 
emy's flag. To tell them where one is to be found is 
like putting a zealous hunter upon a fresh deer track. 
The location of the flag was soon learned too well 
learned. Its location made its capture impossible 
that is, impossible to gallant soldiers like those of 
our army. The house containing the flag was soon 
known. As the search for it was being made, a little 
colored girl, a little pickaninny, so small that she ran 
around among the men without attracting any at- 
tention, and who probably thought that it would be 
huge fun to see the rebel flag captured, privately gave 
information where it was, by slyly lifting up the cor- 
ner of 'the dress of a young ladj' of the house. It 
was at once seen that the young woman had extempo- 
rized the rebel flag into an undergarment and was 
wearing it as part of her underclothing. The loca- 
tion of the flag was soon whispered around and the 
soldiers promptly came away, leaving the flag in tri- 
umph to wave around the brave but disloyal maid. 

Had the flag been guarded by a thousand armed 
men it would have been brought away. As it was, I 
do not believe there was one soldier in our army who 
desired to have it taken. If the young woman had 
known that the Yankee soldiers had discovered 
its hiding place, knowing as she did how anxious 
they were to capture a rebel flag, she \vould un- 
doubtedly have fainted on the spot. As it was our 
soldiers came away so quietly that she flattered her- 
self with the idea that the flag had been hidden so 
cunningly that it could not be found. 


The nearest approach to a desire to have the flag capt- 
ured after its location had been discovered, was the 
suggestion of one who, had not been there: "She 
could have been requested to retire to a private room 
and disrobe." "Yes," was the fully indorsed answer, 
" but who in thunder would ever want to show a flag, 
which when captured, was only apiece of cloth in use 
as a woman's petticoat?" 

When doing duty as part of a woman's undercloth- 
ing a rebel flag can remain undisturbed; but when 
waving as an emblem of rebellion it must come down. 


At the hour of six o'clock in the morning on May 
tenth, we started forward again and marched to Jack- 
sonport. This place is at the junction of Black and 
White Rivers. We remained in the place four days. 
The soldiers consider it the meanest secesh place we 
have yet found. And they have to guard the stores 
and property of the miserable rebels. They would 
much prefer to guard the disloj'al owners as prisoners 
of war. But that we can not do because they never 
have courage enough to fight. Brave Southern sol- 
diers command our respect for their bravery, but these 
sneaking, cowardly, stay-at-home rebels are contempt- 
ible in every respect. 

On Tuesday, the thirteenth, much excitement was 
created in camp by a rebel slave owner. Some of his 
slaves had attempted to run away. He found one 
within the lines and tied him to his wagon and led 
him away. This was bad enough and he ought, in 


all conscience, to have gone away in peace, but lie was 
one of the domineering kind and conld not go away 
without throwing back vile names at the soldiers, call- 
ing them "nigger dogs," and the like. The story 
passed swiftly through the entire command. Soon 
another active young negro told some of the soldiers 
that he belonged to the same owner. He was not sent 
away. His absence was soon discovered and in came 
the lordly slaveowner. The army officers had felt the 
rising storm and wisely declined to attempt to find any 
soldiers who would go through camp to find the run- 
away. No matter who might have been detailed for 
this purpose no military commands would have been 
obeyed. The soldiers could have been placed under 
arrest; in such case the entire army would soon have 
been in disgrace, as all would have refused to act as sen- 
tries to such a guard-house. Not a step would have 
been taken for the slave owner who wished to use the 
soldiers as " dogs" to catch his slaves. As property in 
slaves was yet acknowledged, the army rules required 
it to be protected. This our officers could not well ig- 
nore. -They could not kick the slaveownerout of camp. 
Their only course was evasion. By some means know- 
ing the feeling prevailing in the ranks, the officers to 
whom the slaveowner applied informsd him that they 
knew of no runaway slaves, that they would not look 
for them, and that if he had lost any lie would have 
to hunt them up himself. Having two or three of 
ibis low, contemptible lackeys with him, some of those 
indigent "poor white trash" who never own eo much 
.as a dead chicken's feather, but who do all the fight- 
ing for their masters, the slave owners; this slave 


owner thought that a trip and search' through the 
' soldiers' quarters was just what he most desired. lie 
started. By this time the soldiers became aware of 
his presence and its object. In a brief moment a fierce 
commotion was raging. The slave owner did not 
search a single tent; but was hooted and driven out 
of camp in hot haste. The last seen of him, with 
all of his boasted bravery oozing out at his finger ends, 
white as a sheet and trembling, like the coward that he 
was, he was running for dear rife to escape the threat- 
ened hanging he so well deserved and feared he would 
get. Even after he was safely away from our lines, 
it is said that he was still so badly scared that he 
traded his high-toned coat and hat with a poorly 
dressed negro he met upon the road so as to be in dis- 
guise if by chance any Union soldier should meet 
him. He never again returned to our camp. 

Tliis is the first real excitement or interest that has 
been awakened in our army on the slavery question ; 
on all other occasions, when any. slaves have strayed 
around camp the owners have come in a quiet, manly 
way, treated the soldiers respectfully, and generally, 
by pleasant talk with the runaway himself, got him 
to go back without difficulty. One case happened in 
Missouri where an uncommonly intelligent slave had 
run away. His owner having found him, they sat 
down and. talked the matter over together. The negro 
argued that Missouri would soon be a free State and 
said that he was afraid of being sold and sent South. 
The owner settled this by promising that the negro 
should not be taken out of the State. He was known 
to be a man who would keep his word, and the slave 


-trusted him fully and went back and took charge of 
his master's stock and farm as before. 

Considering the existing condition of affairs, this 
'Jacksonport incident plainly shows what a fierce storm 
a very small thing can start. The right of an owner 
to take his slaves away was not questioned. It fre- 
quently occurred without attracting the least atten- 
tion. Now a quick-tempered slave owner, in the heat 
of the moment, had termed the soldiers " nigger dogs." 
His words had been reported in camp. From this 
small matter such a fierce storm arose that an entire 
army of the most loyal and obedient soldiers the 
world ever produced would have refused to obey their 
own officers and incurred the severest penalty, rather 
than to allow that particular slave owner to take one 
of his slaves out of the army lines. Men are strange 
beings. Things that move the feelings of men strike 
a deeper cord than those that only reach their reason. 
During the world's history, mere sentiment has led 
to more wars, than matters of substance. 



DURING the afternoon of May fourteenth we crossed 
Black River. 

General Curtis, who had come down from South- 
western Missouri, through Northwestern Arkansas 

AT BATESVILLE, ARK., MAY, 1862. 10] 

is near us and we have crossed to the north side of 
Black River on the way to join him. 

We made two easy marches and camped near Bates- 
ville on the evening of the sixteenth. Our division is 
now .with and actually a part of General Curtis' army. 

A curious incident happened on Sunday. By in- 
vitation, some of our soldiers met with and joined in 
a prayer meeting at the residence of a widow who 
lived near our camp. The widow, a very zealous, re- 
ligious old lady was there and participated with the 
Union soldiers. In fact it was her prayer meeting. 
The soldiers were there by her invitation. At this 
very time iicr own son was away from home and serv- 
ing in the rebel army. This old lady's religion is so 
strong that she is much more anxious about the sol- 
diers' souls than she is as to which side they fight 
upon. Probably she is right. All good people will, 
no doubt, agree with her. But, nevertheless, it ap- 
pears to me that she is rather over-zealous. For a 
woman to entertain a number of Union soldiers as 
her invited guests, even though it be to a Sabbath 
evening prayer meeting, while her own son, with all 
his hopes for the future, is in the rebel army, and fight- 
ing for a cause she is in sympathy with, seems strange 
to me. I did not go to her prayer meeting. 

On the twenty-first of May the members of our 
regiment voted upon the adoption of the proposed new 
Constitution for the State of Illinois. The vote of our 
regiment was nearly solid against it. There were 
only six votes for it in the entire regiment. This 
was undoubtedly the first vote many of our soldiers 
ever cast. A very large share of our number were 
not old enough to vote at the last election in 1860. 


Our first camp at Batesville was upon very low and 
wet ground. By general consent it was called " Mud 

Owing to the uncertainty of our future movements 
we lay at Mud Camp nearly two weeks before looking 
for a better camp ground. As it began to appear that 
our stay was to be a protracted one, a high, dry piece 
of ground was selected for a new^camp. The only 
desirable place we could find was in the woods thickly 
covered with hazel brush and small trees. We went 
to work and cleared it off and soon had a first-class 
camp ground. 


A few miles from our camp there were some natural 
caves. Many of the boys being anxious to visit them, 
it was arranged that the soldiers should go in compa- 
nies, so as to avoid all danger of being captured by 
roving bands of rebels, of which there were many in 
the surrounding country. 

Companies A and B went together. Only those who 
wished to do so, made the march. The first cave we 
came to was a small one; the second a more interest- 
ing one, known as the "bone cave." The third and 
last one we visited was the somewhat celebrated " wind 
cave." It is so named from the fact that a strong wind 
is always blowing out of its mouth. We stopped at it 
mouth to rest and then explored it to our satisfaction. 
It proved to be much more interesting than we had 

(Even at this late day I am tempted to interpose a 

THE AGUE. 103 

line to say: confound that wind cave. It was there 
I got the ague. The exposure to the unhealthy 
swamps we had marched through had probably 
planted the seed, but this wind cave certainly sprouted 
it into action. When we reached the cave at the end 
of a warm march I thought it refreshing to sit in 
the cold, damp wind coming from its month. In 
a short time I commenced to realize that I was very 
chilly and began to feel some queer little fellows 
running 'over me; sometimes they appeared like a 
drove of frisky mice playing a game of ball, then like 
lively crickets going with a hop, skip and jump; at 
times like a more active leap-frog going from knee to 
elbow, from head to foot with a single jump; and 
again sometimes, worse -than all, like some vile viper 
slowly winding up and down my bones, the entire 
crowd of which I found to consist of only one the 
ague. Soon such entries as this began to appear in 
my journal: "Sick with the ague this week." For a 
year and more thereafter I was a liberal patron of 
Uncle Sam's quinine box. Although it was no doubt 
the swamps that laid the eggs, I always believed that 
this wind cave, with its unhealthy breath, was the 
old hen that hatched them into a full grown ague 


"We now began to see hard times. The distance 
between us and Pilot Knob was so great that roving 
bands of rebels fell in our rear and effectually cut off 
all communications by that route. It would take a 


large force to guard a wagon train through. To at- 
tempt to capture these bands of the enemy was use- 
less. At the approach of a large force they would 
scatter and disappear from sight and hide among the 
heavily timbered hills and mountains, and thus be 
ready to come out and again assemble to capture and 
burn any of our supply trains that might unhappily 
be on the road. The still longer and more difficult 
route by which General Curtis had come, had long 
since, by the same causes, and by reason of its length, 
been rendered impracticable, an^l was totally aban- 
doned. The fearful condition of the roads and the 
long distance to be traveled would well-nigh have 
rendered it impossible to supply an army by over 
land even if the enemy had let our supply trains 

The supply trains that our army had brought from 
Pilot Knob, when we came, were virtually the last 
that came through. These supplies were quite large 
when we started, but our long march had seriously re- 
duced them. General Curtis' army was nearly desti- 
tute when our division reached him. The surrounding 
country is poor and destitute. The most successful 
foraging expedition can barely find enough to last 
themselves back into camp. As for clothing, we had 
not drawn any to speak of since we left Pilot Knob, 
on March first. Thus we found ourselves in Bates- 
ville, ragged and hungry, with no supplies within 
reach, to draw from. 

'All communications being cut off we know noth- 
ing of what is going on elsewhere. Conjecture is all 
that is left us. Has McCellan's grand army inarched 


on to Richmond and even now virtually ended the 
rebellion, as was promised when last we heard from 
the East? Or has another Bull Run disaster over- 
taken our army and again placed Washington in 
danger, as the enemy were equally confident of doing? 
Between the two our hope is, for fear that it may be 
worse, that both sides have remained facing each other 
and are still as when last we heard from them, stand- 
ing like two baci boys with a good wide road between 
them, each vigorously telling the other that if he will 
" come over I will knock your eyes out." 

No letters from home can reach us. We have no 
tidings of our individual friends and relatives in other 
armies. How are they? How are our own folks at 
home? What do they think has become of us? 

In the midst of all of this we while away many a 
tedious hour with some pleasant game, and at times 
become almost gay over some jolly army jest. It 
was during these days that Company A's claim to 
superiority in one respect was acknowledged. In 
bringing in good, fat chickens, our march through 
Missouri and Arkansas had established the fact that 
Peverly, of Company A, and Hayes, of Company I, 
had no equals. These two surpassed everything and 
swept the board clean. Between them it was hard to 
decide. Either of them could start out after a hun- 
dred soldiers had returned, certain that there was not 
a chicken within twenty miles of camp, and in less 
than an hour return with a sack full. One day a 
plump but badly frightened chicken was seen running 
and flying through carnp. Where it came from or to 
whom it belonged no one cared. The question was 


who would own the chicken by catching it. Twenty 
boys or more were after it. It was wild and active and 
led the boys a livelj r race. Peverly lay under his tent, 
the side of which was slightly raised, reading. He 
would not get up for one little chicken. As it was 
flying past he reached out one arm and took it in, 
without losing his place in the book he held in the 
other hand, and still continued to read. His mess had 
the chicken for dinner and the entire regiment con- 
ceded that Company A's man was entitled to the 
belt until Company I's man could publicly show 
that chickens would also voluntarily run to him to be 


All communication overland' being cut off, and our 
provisions being about exhausted, it was fast becoming 
necessary for us to act and to act prompt^. To re- 
turn within reach of supplies by way of the Missouri 
railroads was out of the question. The railroad on]y 
came to Pilot Knob. We had nothing to live upon 
while making that long march, and the produce of the 
country would not avail toward feeding so large a 
force. A like want of supplies would prevent us from 
inarching on to Little Rock and the Arkansas River 
valley country. The success of the Union forces in 
clearing the upper part of the Mississippi River of all 
formidable obstructions led us to hope that the Union 
boats would soon be able to reach the mouths of the 
White and Arkansas Rivers and come up them so 
that we could establish a base of supplies upon one or 
both of these streams. 

ON THE MAKCII, JUNE, 1862. 107 

On the fourteenth of June we heard that Memphis 
had been captured, and soon thereafter that our gun- 
boats had cleared the way as far as the mouth of 
White River. This river is not, as we understand it, 
obstructed by any strong rebel works, and the water 
is high enough for boats of light draft to reach Jack- 

At last it is decided that we must move. March- 
ing orders are issued on June twenty-first. By night 
ever}' thing was ready. There was not much to do 
except to look np conveyances for our sick soldiers. 
This being done we went to sleep as usual. Less in- 
terest was felt in this preparation for a march than 
ever before. But for the anxiety felt to be once more 
where we could hear from home and friends and get 
some food to eat and clothes to wear, there was nothing 
in our expected march to excite attention. We sim- 
ply expected that by easy marches we would go down 
the river and meet our boats at or a little below Jack- 
sonport; get an abundance of supplies; receive letters 
and newspapers from home; go into camp, rest and 
recruit and then strike out and capture Little Rock 
and all of Arkansas. We felt sure that we would 
meet our boats. News that they were well up the 
river had been received. Such were the prospects with 
which we left Batesville. 


Sunday morning, June twenty-second, the reveille 
Deat at two o'clock. We got up. When the reveille 
drum beats, that means soldiers wake up. We had a 


lively time getting breakfast, packing knapsacks, fill- 
ing canteens our lean haversacks did not require 
much attention and striking tents at this early 
morning hour. It is truly an interesting scene to see 
an army packing up and starting. on a march at night. 

At half-past three we started and marched until 
ten o'clock, and then camped for the day. The reason 
why we start and then stop so early is to avoid trav- 
eling in the heat of the day. This is the plan we will 
have to adopt if we do mu-ch inarching during the 
summer in this Southern climate. To march in the 
hot summer dust at mid-day would be next to im* 

The secesh, the lazy fellows, who never work and 
can hardly endure the hot summer weather of their 
own climate, have said and fully believe that the 
Northern soldiers could not live through the summer 
season in this hot and sultry climate. As for march- 
ing, it was the height of absurdity to think of such a 
thing. When this hot weather struck us at Bates- 
ville they believed that we were as effectually penned 
as though enclosed within impassable walls. That all 
they had to do now was to prevent supplies from reach- 
ing us and then all whom the heat did not kill would 
die of starvation. Thus they have been looking upon 
us as virtually prisoners of war and for this reason are 
making such desperate efforts to prevent us from get- 
ting any provisions. They will no doubt be much 
surprised to see how well we enjoy starting out at 
two or three o'clock for an early morning walk. 

To make these early morning walks more pleasant we 
do not have to carry our knapsacks. Plenty room in 


the wagons now. All the supplies they have to carry 
is a few boxes of hard-tack. This is all the provisions 
we have left and not much of that. Hard-tack is the 
soldier name for army crackers. It is simply flour 
and water baked into hard crackers. So we use the 
provision wagons to carry our sick men and knapsacks 
and every thing except our guns and accoutrements, 
canteens and lean haversacks. We think it mighty 
lucky if we can find a hard-tack or two to put with 
our drinking water for one day's lunch. We put 
only a small load in each so as not to overload the 
wagons as the army mules are not in prime condi- 
tion. We begin to look them over now and then as 
they are driven by to see what chance there is for a 
mule steak for breakfast, but the prospect is not prom- 
ising. Hide and bones are about all there is of the 
mules. The hot weather has dried up the roads so that 
they are as dry and hard as a barn floor, and as long as 
the mules can walk six of them run a lightly loaded 
wagon without much effort. 

Monday we started at four o'clock and marched 
eight miles to Black River near to Jacksonport. We 
then threw our pontoon bridge over the river and the 
next two days were spent in crossing over to Jackson- 
port. Our rations are hard-tack and water. 


Our division started forward on June twenty-sixth, 
and marched down the river and camped at a small 
stream called Village Creek. 

We are obliged to send out forage trains in every 


direction to gather up enough provender to keep our 
mules alive, and of course we take every thing we find 
for men to eat. We do not find much in this country 
for man or beast. 

On the twenty-seventh we sent out a forage train 
with a strong guard. It was attacked by a band of 
four hundred rebels. Onr men stood their ground, 
whipped the rebels and brought their forage into camp. 
We lost four killed and thirty wounded. The rebels 
left eight of their dead upon the field. How many 
dead and wounded they took aw T ay is unknown. Our 
men returned to camp at night. 

The next day General Ben ton took the Thirty- third 
Illinois and Eighth Indiana, one battery and part of 
the Seventh Indiana cavalry, and went in pursuit of 
the rebels. We went over the battle ground of yes- 
terday's fight, and after marching twelve rniles found 
that the rebels had passed out ot reach. As we re- 
turned to camp the night became fearfully dark and we 
had much difficulty in finding our way through the 
dark woods. 

On Sunday our forage train, out in another direc- 
tion, was attacked by a small band of rebols. The 
Eleventh Wisconsin went out to assist our men but 
found the train and guard corning in all right. A few 
shots had driven the enemy away. It is thought that 
some of them were hit. None of our men were hurt. 

Monday, June thirtieth, Company A went out as 
guard to a forage train. We kept our eyes open for reb- 
els but did not see any. Had good luck. We got some 
corn fodder, rye in the straw, etc., for the mules, and 
some bacon, molasses, lard and potatoes for the men. 


Our officers settled with the owners for every thing 
taken. It seems strange to pay for what we get 
first and then fight for it afterward. The rebel sol- 
diers and rebel citizens seem to well understand each 
other so well that there is not usually much danger 
until the owner has been settled with and passed out 
of sight then look out. Every piece of woods is 
then liable to prove to be rilled with a band of hid- 
ing rebels ready to fire upon us. 

Having waited at Village Creek until all of Gen- 
eral Curtis' army had crossed Black River, we started 
forward again on July first and marched twelve miles 
beforenoon, our advance driving therebels before them. 
At four o'clock six companies of our regiment went 
ahead to reconnoiter. Two miles from camp we found 
that the rebels had blockaded the road by felling a 
large number of trees across it. We supposed that 
the rebels were in force upon the other side and 
crawled through the fallen timbers to see what they 
were about. We soon came to their picket guards 
which we drove in and then chased the rebels until dark 
but could not catch them. We then slowly picked our 
way through the dark woods back to camp. Rather 
risky business this. The enemy had force enough 
to have easily captured us. We did not fire through 
this blockade as they expected but were upon their 
side and right upon them when they first saw us. They 
probably thought that none but a very strong force 
would thus venture into their very teeth, and left 
the field, one in which they had a capital position for 
a good fight, without firing a gun. Where our six lit- 
tle companies would have been if they had turned 


upon us is hard to tell. Probably swept off at the 
first fire. How disgusted that rebel army would have 
been if they had learned that they had been driven 
from their chosen field by a little band of less than 
three hundred men. In war, as in love, audacity often 
wins, while superiority is asleep. 

The next day onr soldiers went to work and soon cut 
a road through the woods. The alarmed rebels did 
not return to annoy us. We made a new road and will 
leave the one the rebels have blockaded with so much 
jtrouble for them to repair when they get ready. With 
dry, hard ground and no bridges to make, it was easy 
work to cut a new road through the woods, and it was 
soon done. The First Indiana cavalry went ahead and 
had a sharp brush with some of the enemy. Xone of 
our men were lost, but a number of the rebels were 
killed by our cannon. 

We made an early start on the morning of the third 
of July and went through to Augusta. We expected 
a tilt with the rebels here as they had loudly threat- 
ened that we should not enter the town. Some heavily 
timbered hills that we had to pass through before 
reaching the city gave them the choice of many cap- 
ital places for a battle. Our company was on the skir- 
mish line and we made our rapid advance with much in- 
terest, but as we jipproached the nimble rebels skipped 
out so lively that we could not catch any of them. We 
-got in at noon . Other troops continued to come in 
during all of the afternoon. 


We celebrated the fourth of July in good style in 

To CACHE KIVER JULY 1862. 113 

Augusta. A salute was fired, speeches were made, 
and this place treated to the first good, honest fourth 
of July celebration it ever had. The Declaration of 
Independence is always indorsed with mental reserva- 
tions by the people of the South. The declaration 
that " all men are created free and equal " never was 
popular with slaveholders. Why should it be? 

During the day an advance guard was sent ahead 
and they had a sharp skirmish with the enemy. The 
rebels were severely punished with our " little bull- 
dogs " (steel guns) and it is reported that about sixty 
of them were killed. 

As it was known that the enemy was gathering a 
large force in front of us, to block our advance, it \vas 
deemed prudent for the army to move in a more com- 
pact form, so we remained in Augusta on July fifth. 
This gave all of General Curtis' army time to come in 
or at least to reach within supporting distance of ns. 

Considerable interest was created by the arrival of 
the First Arkansas Regiment, one raised by General 
Curtis since he came to Batesville. It was the tirst 
time they had met our division. 

July sixth we started at four o'clock and marched 
fifteen miles to Cache River. The advance came upon a 
force of the enemy who had commenced to blockade the 
road. If they expect to seriously annoy ns, why do not 
the lazy fellows do their mischief before we get to them? 
After a short, sharp skirmish they skipped across the 
river. At night they commenced to annoy us by fir- 
ing into our camp from their side of the river. Our 
artillery opened and soon cleared those woods and we 
slept in peace the rest of the night. Our army is sup- 

114: AKMY LIFE. 

plied with much the best artillery, and whenever we 
can get two or three good batteries into play upon 
them the rebels always skip out of reach. Rebels do 
not like cannon balls. 



THE early morn of a summer day, as the light began 
to break in the eastern sky on Monday morning, July 
7, 1862, found us camped on the west side of Cache 
River. Work was commenced at an early hour and 
our pontoon bridge was soon thrown over the river. 
The army immediately commenced crossing. Our 
guards had been- thrown some little distance ahead, 
but we were not troubled by the enemy. Our effect- 
ive artillery work of the previous night had taught 
them to keep at a safe distance. 

At eleven o'clock four companies of the Thirty- 
third Illinois and four of the Eleventh Wisconsin, 
with one piece of light artillery, belonging to a cavalry 
rsgiment, all under command of Colonel Ilovey, went 
forward to see what the enemy in front of us were doing. 

With a skirmish line in advance, we went forward 
on a rapid walk. Nothing occurred until we had 
marched about seven miles. Here we came upon a 
rebel picket so suddenly that they were obliged to take 
to the woods, leaving their guns and other traps upon 


the ground. At the point where this picket guard 
had been posted another road crossed the one we were 
upon at right angles. This picket post was to onr 
left as we advanced or upon the north side of our 
road. They disappeared in the woods in front of us, 
keeping to our left. Believing that they had gone to 
join the command to which they belonged, we were 
confident that the main force of the enemy was in the 
woods directly in our front. 

Upon the south side of our road and just beyond 
the cross road was an old frame house. It was 
un plastered and the side boards were so loose and 
cracked that a person inside could easily look out 
upon the road in front. Some of our men made a 
hasty search of this house, but failed to find any 
rebels. It afterward proved that a rebel officer was 
at the time secreted in one of the rooms up 
stairs. He had been aided by the good, honest 
woman of the house who earnestly assured our men, 
" upon the word of a pious Christian woman," that 
there had not been any rebels at her house and none 
in sisrht. In reply to a question she asserted that the 
men who had run into the woods, as we came up, 
were only a small hunting party who had stopped by 
the road to make some coffee. While no reliance was 
placed upon her earnest statements it was not thought 
worth while to leave any guard to watch the house or 
her. As soon as our men withdrew, she of course 
promptly notified the rebel officer up stairs. 

About three quarters of a mile in front of us were 
very heavy woods, thick with underbrush. "VVe 
were sure the rebels were in these woods waiting for 


us. "We would go and see them. Without a mo- 
ment's delay we pushed forward, our entire force 
passing in front of the frame house. The rebel officer 
in one of the upper rooms, with the woman below act- 
ing as his sentinel, peeked through a convenient hole 
and saw and counted our entire force. "We had by act- 
ual count three hundred and eighty-two men all told. 
It is understood that the observing rebel's report to 
his commanding officer was " not quite four hundred 
men." This shows that he was reasonably accurate. 

Passing rapidly by the house and the partly cleared 
field we soon reached the heavy woods where we ex- 
pected to find the rebels. We did not find them. 
We did, however, find two negroes who had been hid- 
ing in the thick brush. They were frightened almost 
to death. As soon as we came near enough so that 
they were sure we were Yankee soldiers, they ran 
toward us exclaiming: "Lord a-golly, massy! Big 
Lord bless you'uns ! We's mighty glad to seeyou'uns! 
Don't shoot ! Oh! Lord a-massy; look out! I'se 
afeared of dem big guns. Don't, don't let 'em big 
mouths come dis way. Swallow up dis darkey sure." 
They were quieted with the assurance that they should 
not be harmed and their excited exclamations cut 
short with the questions: "Are there any rebel 
soldiers near here." "Oh, Lord-a-mighty, bless you, 
lots of 'em. Woods chuck full of 'em. More dan 
hundred thousand. Oh, d'ey eat you all up sure, sure 
as you live d'ey will, massy! All the woods full of 
'em." "Are they in these woods?" Jumping five 
feet high in terror at the bare thought. "In dese 
woods ! Lord a save you, no; dese darkies nebber 


in dese woods if de rebs be here Dead darkey 
sure Woods fall of 'em, eatyou'uns all up sure, sure 
as you live a minute, you'uns all dead men sure. Sure 
as you live you is ! Dis darkey dead, too ! Oh, golly 
save us; let dis darkey take to the woods! Dey be 
here mortal rninuts sure! Dis darkey must go !" Of 
course all this took place in much less time than it 
can be written. By a few questions we learned that 
the rebel force, whatever it was, was not far from us. 
By looking in the direction their hands most elo- 
quently pointed, we could easily see the deep woods 
in which the rebels were undoubtedly covered. That' 
these poor frightened negroes, who all their lives had 
been the slaves of their rebel masters, told us the 
truth, we did not for a moment doubt. We can al- 
ways depend upon the colored folks to tell us the 
truth about the rebels. 

It was now plain that if we wanted to find the en- 
emy the place to go was to retrace our steps nearly a 
mile to the frame house we had passed, then take the 
cross-road leading into the woods lying off to the south 
of the road by which we had come. 

In the meantime the rebel officer secreted in the 
house when we passed it had not been idle. Having 
carefully noted our strength as we passed, he hastened 
to rejoin the rebels massed in heavy force in the woods 
near at hand. Here was a glorious opportunity for 
them. A force of Union troops of less than four 
hundred men had gone past and left off to their right a 
rebel force of more than as many thousand nicely hid 
in the thick woods and not two miles distant from the 
road the Union troops had taken. No more of the 

1.18 ARMY LIFE. 

Union army was within hearing distance. A. cavalry 
guard could easily be thrown in that direction to give 
warning if danger arose. All they had to do was to 
come up rapidly, turn in our rear, and slaughter our 
little force. Of course they at once resolved to do it. 
A band of rebel cavalry was sent through the woods 
toward the road by which we had advanced to watch 
and give warning if reinforcements should be coming 
to us. Their main force was put in shape to march up 
and capture us. 

By this time unknown to them, we were rapidly 
upon our way to meet them. The rebels had not cal- 
culated upon our finding some negroes in the woods, 
and thus becoming posted as to their position. They 
expected to give us a complete surprise by coming up 
in our rear. They calculated, and with good reason, 
that by coming up in our rear we would believe that 
it was some of our own troops and that they could 
fall upon and slaughter us with a single volley. We 
had been -warned in time, but none too soon. With a 
rapid march we had hastened back to the road cross- 
ing. Here we left two companies of the Eleventh 
Wisconsin as a reserve guard. The rest of our little 
force started south to enter the woods where we knew 
the rebels were. The two other companies of the Wis- 
consin regiment were placed in front as skirmishers. 
The four little companies of the T^hirty-third followed 
in solid column. What an army column, hardly two 
hundred strong! With this force we went into the 
thick woods to maet an enemy of unknown strength. 
Of course it was not for a moni3nt supposed that 
we would meet an enemy that would stand and make 


a stubborn contest. Our daily experience in the past 
bad been that when found, the enemy would fire only 
one voile}' and then seek safety by rapid flight into 
the depths of the wild woods. Colonel Hovey, al- 
ways ready and ever anxious for a fight, had so little 
Hopes of anything but a deserted rebel camp being 
found that he started leisurely to ride back toward 
the main army at Cache River to give the informa- 
tion that the road was open. Ere he had gone far his 
quick ear caught the first sound of clashing arms, 
and dashing the spurs into his steed with headlong 
speed he returned to his little command and joined 
in the wild conflict that was then raging, as we shall 
presently see. 

Our rapid march had brought us back so that we 
turned toward them by the time the rebels had fairly 
started for us. Discovering our approach they quick- 
ly adopted another plan. Their strong advance in 
solid line of battle was hid by lying close upon the 
ground well covered by fallen logs and thick under- 
brush. In this way they expected to lie concealed 
until we were within reach when they would rise up 
and sweep us off at the first fire. Back of them, fur- 
ther out of sight, was a heavy body of mounted men 
who were to rush in at the proper time and complete 
the slaughter. That a slaughter was their design was 
plainly shown. Had they simply wished to capture 
us, able as they were to surround us with such an 
overwhelming force, they could, and by all rules of 
civilized war ought to at once have sent in a flaar of 
truce, informed us of their large force, advised us of 
our real condition and demanded our immediate sur- 


render. Their action showed that it was not a capt- 
ure but a slaughter they desired. But their last 
well laid plan, like the first, was doomed to fail. 

We advanced in column and without any line of 
battle, having in front only aline of skirmishers. Our 
keen-eyed skirmishers, many of whom had been suc- 
cessful hunters in the wild woods of "Wisconsin, were 
too quick for the hiding rebels. Profiting by our re- 
peated experience in the woods of Arkansas with the 
rebels who at first sight would shoot and run away, 
our established rule had become to fire at the enemy 
as soon as we got near enough. Some of our skir- 
mishers soon saw the heads of the prostrated and hid- 
den rebels and commenced firing at them. Now the 
wild music commenced. Seeing that they were dis- 
covered the entire rebel line rose up and fired a ter- 
rific volley at our skirmishers. The distance was so 
great that their poor guns did no serious damage, while 
the powerful rifles in the hands of our men told with 
deadly effect upon the enemy. But it was only our 
skirmish line of a few men engaged. They had no 
time to re-load their guns and fire a second shot. 
Many of the rebels had double-barreled shotguns 
and thus each had a charge still in reserve. Their 
heavy support on horseback had started rapidly for- 
ward at the first shot. Now the entire rebel force, 
cavalry and infantry, came forward upon a fierce run. 
Wisconsin's little band of skirmishers had to skip 
back at a lively rate. They were now out of the 
fight. Our time had come. Company A was in the 
advance. The ground upon which we stood was 
some higher than that over which the rebels were 


advancing. Standing at the brow of the hill our one 
little steel gun had commenced a lively play upon 
the advancing rebels. As onr skirmishers came back 
on the run we barely had time for part of the company 
to turn into line in support of the cannon and face 
the enemy when they were upon us. They came 
upon a fearful charge and with but little attention 
to military order. The heavy lines of the enemy's 
infantry breaking up to let through a more dense 
mass on horseback. In this way they were right 
upon us before they saw our line. Now a terrih'c 
clash of arms followed. Here we were but a few 
yards apart. Into the dense throng our trusty rifles 
were fired with fearful effect. They replied with a 
voile} 7 that made the timber roar and the ground 
tremble. Lead enough went screeching over our 
heads to have swept oiF an entire army. In front 
of our few guns, horses, horsemen and footmen 
were falling to the ground. In front of theirs our 
men stood unharmed. Hardly a man upon our side 
was hit by this first volley. "We were standing 
waiting for them. They were surprised to meet us 
face to face when they supposed that our entire line 
was upon the run to the rear. In the thick woods 
numbers could not be accurately estimated, and our 
little line of skirmishers had given the advancing 
enemy such a warm reception that they believed 
our entire force was in the advance line and had 
been driven back, and the rebels rushed madly on, 
never dreaming of the stubborn resistance they were 
yet to meet. In surprised confusion they fired 
wildly. Standing as we did upon higher ground also 


helped to save us. In firing they aimed too high. 
A few feet above our heads the trees were almost 
swept clean by the leaden balls fired above us. 
Leaves and twigs and limbs severed from the trees 
by the leaden storm dropped upon us like hail. Had 
the rebel guns been aimed so as to have sent the bul- 
lets five or ten feet lower none of us would have been 
left alive to tell the tale of our defeat. Their lines 
wavered and trembled at the fearful punishment they 
received, but the force of the heavy mass coming so 
swiftly impelled them on, on into our very midst. 
Fortunately their guns, like ours, had been fired and 
were now unloaded. But close at hand fast rushing 
upon us, were still other heavy forces of the enemy 
with lead in their guns. 

Let no one suppose that Company A, a mere hand- 
ful of men, stood there in formal army line, with these 
hosts of fresh rebels coming up to shoot at us, while we 
went through allot' the motions of reloading our empty 
guns. No, indeed! Plenty of good trees to get behind 
were too near at hand. But ere we fell back there 
was a little work to do. As soon as it became certain 
that we must fall back, the first thought was to save 
the little steel cannon. The driver swung his team 
into place, the gun was hooked on the caisson, the 
gunners scampered back under cover of the woods, and 
yet, oh, misery! there stood our little cannon. The 
soldier heart always bleeds to see a flag or apiece of 
artillery fall into the enemy's hands. At the first 
jump of the team, the quick start had thrown the can- 
non from its fastenings. The bold driver was wound- 


ed and could not at once bring his horses to a stand. 
In the midst of the fierce storm raging about us, Cap- 


tain Potter coolly said: "Steady, boys; save the gun." 
Sergeant Ed Pike, of our company, ran up and 
grabbed hold of the cannon with one hand, his own 
rifle in the other, and with the strength of a giant and 
the assistance of one comrade ran the cannon down the 
road, hooked it on the caisson, and the team galloped 
to the rear and saved the gun. The rebels were all 
around. The nearest horseman was almost close 
enough to have struck Pike with his saber. The rebels 
were, however, completely dashed by the supreme 
audacity of the movement. Half a dozen of us, the 
tallest members of the company, and thus thrown near 
to Pike, our orderly sergeant, were all that were near 
enough to witness the strange scene. A strange scene, 
indeed! "With one false step, or the loss of a single 
second of time, it would have been a tragedy. With 
our heavy guns in hand we were ready to aid our 
brave comrade, if we could, had the rebels raised their 
sabers to strike, but, it may be confessed, we had no 
desire to enter into a clubbing tight with unloaded guns 
unless compelled to do so. As soon as the cannon 
was hitched to the caisson and saved by the galloping 
team, we made lively time to join our comrades in find- 
ing good places an4 friendly trees behind which we 
could stop and reload our rifles. As I dodged under 
a limb it caught my cap and it fell to the ground 
behind me. Pike had saved a cannon. A pretty 
story it would be if I could not save a little army 
cap. Without scarcely any thought other than the 
appearance of coming out of the fight bare-headed I 
turned back for the cap. The faces of the rebels who 
had witnessed our audacious actions in taking the steel 


gun from their very teeth were covered with amaze- 
ment. They looked as though they were in doubt 
whether we were really fighting or only engaged as 
t\vo parties in some huge play. As I looked up with 
the recovered cap in hand, and the real situation began 
to appear to me, while overwhelmed with astonish- 
ment, I could not help returning the surprised smiles 
of the nearest rebels and then scampered back right 
lively to find my tree. It was more thoughtlessness 
than any thing else that caused me to save my cap from 
suchaplace. As I was reloading behind a good, stout 
tree, and began to fully realize the situation, a thousand 
miserable army caps could have lain there at their lei- 
sure and I would have gone bare-headed twenty years 
before I would have run into the teeth of that rebel 
host to get one of them. 

All of this had hardly taken more than a second 
of time. Upon occasions like this, actions and events 
are swifter than passing time. The terrific rebel vol- 
ley had answered our fire; almost at a single jump 
Pike had taken the gun to its place; and into the 
woods we went hardly a pace behind the rest of our 
company. At this point the woods were, fortunately, 
so thick with underbrush that two rods distance com- 
pletely hid us from our foes. 

And still on came the crowding mass of anxious 
rebels who had not yet fired a gun. We had not 
been a moment too soon. Company A had barely time 
to scamper into the thick woods to our left, when this 
seething, rushing horde of fresh rebels came up, passed 
the ground where we had stood, and fell upon the three 
other companies of the Thirty-third. Each had! turned 
partly into line. There had been no time to change 


from column into line by battalion. The scene our 
company met a moment before was now re-enacted. 
Steadily, coolly and with deadly aim the large rifle balls 
were sent into the dense rebel ranks. The effect was 
too terrible. Flesh and blood could not stand it. 
Brave men though they were, the rebel lines wavered, 
halted and then rushed back in wild dismay. 

By the time this desperate charge was over we had 
ceased to pay any great .attention to mere company 
lines. Officers and men all fought together. About 
the only indication of rank was the fact that wher- 
ever our lines were the thickest an officer would gen- 
erally be seen in the midst of them. Scattered 
through the deep woods, only watching that we kept 
in the general line of the Union soldiers, we sought 
such shelter as we could, and rapidly loaded our rifles 
and fired at the best mark we could see. Thus the 
rebels withdrew, suffering at every step until they 
were out of reach of our long range rifles. 

Do not think that this retreat of the enemy was the 
end of the battle of Cache River. We thought so for 
a brief moment. Colonel llovey, who had now reached 
the front, said to his orderly : " Report to camp that one 
officer and two men are severely wounded and that we 
want a surgeon immediately." He was standing near 
me when he said this and evidently had as little 
thought of a renewal of the attack as any of us. 
More from a soldierly spirit, than from any thought 
of necessity, our lines had been somewhat re-forrned 
by the soldiers changing places and getting nearer to 
their own officers and company comrades. But a brief 
moment was, however, allowed for this. Before formal 


lines could be planned, much less made, we were clearly 
advised of our error in believing the battle ended. 
So soon that it seemed but an echo of the departing 
cry we had so lately and with so much satisfaction 
heard, the returning rebel yell, rapidly coming nearer 
and nearer, told us that all was not yet over. Their 
cavalry guard had informed the rebels that no rein- 
forcements were yet at hand to rescue the little band 
of Union soldiers. For a large army, thousands in 
number, to be baffled by a few hundred, and that, too, 
out in the open woods with no protecting works, was 
something the hot Southern blood could not endure. 
Hushing among them, with information of how con- 
temptible we were in numbers, appealing to the pride 
of boasted Southern chivalry, sneering in words of 
contempt at the plow boys of the North, the rebel offi- 
cers at once rallied their men for another charge. 
On they came more fierce than before, blowing mon- 
strous horns, pounding kettles, beating drums, screech- 
ing the harsh, shrill rebel yell. What possessed them ? 
Did they think to scare the soldiers by whom they had 
been so severely punished a few minutes before by 
mere noise? So it seemed. With the most dismal 
racket that all of these thirigs could make, added to by 
the less weird but more dangerous flash of rebel guns, 
the furious, overwhelming force was thrown upon us 
with all the insane zeal of maddened fury. This 
second charge took a more deadly and continued 
form than the first. As they came, in this headlong 
career, our trusty rifles were emptied into the dense 
mass with fearful results. Our deadly fire broke the 
rebel charge but they could not themselves fully stay 


the force of the onward rush. The fierce advance of 
the enemy carried many of them far beyond where 
our soldiers stood. 

Now our guns as fast as loaded could be used upon 
rebels in our rear as well as in front. Kebels before 
us, rebels behind us, rebels each side of us, rebels, reb- 
els everywhere. The enormous mass of rebels w r as 
strong enough to crush our ranks; to pass through and 
trample them down and to have captured or slaugh- 
tered us if they could have found our army lines but 
we had none. Wherever the enemy \vere too thick to 
be driven back we would run in both directions and 
thus open a way for them to pass through while we 
looked for the protecting side of other trees. Noble 
trees they were. Many of them had firmly stood there 
loyal and sound to the core, since "Washington's day. 
In a battle a good tree is often a soldier's bosom 
friend. Perhaps instead of recording that over five 
thousand Confederates fiercely fought less than four 
hundred Yankee boys we should count five or ten thou- 
sand trees as in line upon the Union side and thus in 
numbers make the contest equal. True it is that 
those staunch Arkansas trees right royally gave the 
strength of their side to the cause of loyalty upon that 
day, and in after years far, far away after this story 
is all forgotten, when those trees become brown and 
leafless with age and decay, and the woodman's ax 
lays them low, in the hearts of those old oak trees 
that stood for the grand old Union flag when mis- 
guided sons of the South would tear it down, will be 
found many a leaden ball which has rested there 
Bince that eventful day, when they stood within the 
fierce contest of July 7, 1862. 


The fierce, unequal contest was raging still. Each 
of us was now virtually fighting upon his own hook. 
Each selected the best protection he could while load- 
ing his rifle and then sought for the largest band of 
rebels he could see to fire into. All of our officers did 
well their part, but all they could do was by example, 
and each officer was fighting side by side with the 
soldiers. Colonel Hovey went in on foot with the rest. 
During the most desperate part of the contest, as 
they were reloading their rifles, some of our soldiers 
raised a shout and laugh on seeing Colonel Hovey 
popping away toward the enemy with a little pocket 
revolver. A pop-gun would have been fully as dan- 
gerous at the distance he was attempting to shoot. 
" Boys," said he, "shooting is all that will do any 
good in this fight, you are doing better work than T." 
Soon, however, he borrowed a rifle from a wounded 
soldier, who was crawling to the rear, and from that 
time on he went right in with the soldiers wherever 
the fight was thickest, now and then borrowing a 
handful of cartridges from the cartridge box of the 
nearest soldier, and thus continued until the last gun 
was fired. All of our officers did the same, and long 
before the battle ended every officer in those woods, 
who was not himself wounded, had the rifle of some 
disabled soldier. 

A charge of nearly spent small balls from a shot- 
gun or musket struck Colonel Hovey in the breast. 
He stopped a moment, examined the wounds, picked 
out some of the balls that were buried in his flesh; 
said: "This does not amount to much," and paid no 
further attention to his wounds until the fight was 


A round bullet hole, as it was supposed, was no- 
ticed in Colonel Lippincott's felt hat. "A pretty 
close call, Colonel," some one remarked. " Oh, no," 
said Lippincott, with cool indifference, as the rebel bul- 
lets were whistling past his head, "I cut these holes 
this morning for the purpose of ventilation in this 
hot weather." He was too brave a man to be willing 
to accept any undue credit. 

This second charge was soon broken by our accu- 
rate, telling fire. In a spasmodic form it continued. 
The fight became continuous. Heavy forces of the 
enemy were in front of us; some upon our flank, and 
often many were, by their fierce ride, carried through 
to our rear. It was fighting all around. Every few 
minutes a desperate band of rebel cavalry would rush 
upon us. During one of these fierce charges a power- 
ful rebel, upon a superb horse, came dashing through 
our lines at the head of his band. The first man he 
reached was Sergeant Dutton of our company. Dut- 
ton had just fired and was reloading his rifle. Seeing 
his advantage the "athletic rebel drew his heavy saber 
and with a cry of desperate rage went fiercely on to 
strike and ride the Union soldier clown. None of 
our boys within reach had at that critical moment a 
loaded ijun so as to fire and save Dutton from his 


threatened doom, and besides, just about this time 
each of us had about a dozen rebels of his own to 
attend to and was kept mighty busy dodging out of 
reach of rebel balls while putting each fresh load in 
our rifles. Being just then near a fence which blocked 
his retreat, with an open space of ground in front of 
him, giving the rider an unobstructed way, no escape 


seemed possible and Dutton's doom seemed at hand. 
Just as the fatal blow was about to fall, the little ser- 
geant whipped a revolver from his belt, without moving 
a single step, and tired. The uplifted hand fell help- 
less, the bold rider dropped dead to the ground, and the 
riderless horse passed on through our lines and out 
of sight to our rear. Had Dutton's wonderful nerve 
for a second wavered, had he even given a single 
glance to look for a way of escape he would have been 
a dead man, and perhaps the result of the battle 
changed. Like incidents could be told of each soldier 
who stood in those woods at that hour. "With the 
fearful odds against us the part of each was important, 
and had one failed, disaster to all would have been 
the result. Dismayed at the loss of their impetuous 
leader and terrified by seeing so many of their num- 
ber fall from their saddles by the certain aim of the 
Union rifles, this band of rebel horsemen, like others, 
disappeared, only to be followed by others as desperate 
and reckless as those who had gone before. 

The only military command I heard during that 
long contest after the battle was underway, was given 
by Captain Potter. A number of us were near him. 
He had been wounded, and with a handkerchief tied 
around his bleeding leg to stop the rapid flow of blood, 
as a little lull in the tierce storm occurred, he gave 
what was probably the only command given during 
those two desperate hours, in these words: " Boys, I 
believe that we can get some good shots over there," 
pointing to a clump of trees nearer to the rebels who 
were tiring upon us. We advanced, and with the rifle 
he had been using for a cane, he came hobbling along 
.after us. 


Thus for two long hours this fearful contest contin- 
ued. And only four small companies of the Thirty- 
third Regiment, with hardly fifty men each to meet 
the desperate oivslanght. True, a like number of the 
Eleventh Wisconsin were with us, and right useful 
they were. Two companies, it will be remembered, 
were left at the road crossing. The other two compa- 
nies upon the skirmish line, at the beginning of the 
battle, had been so hotly pressed that each man had all 
he could do to save himself. The companies upon the 
road formed in line. As the skirmishers came back 
they joined them. Our little cannon, after being saved 
from the enemy, had also gone back and taken place 
in the line. There was not much opportunity to use 
the cannon, but now and then, when our boys were 
clear from the road, a solid shot or shell would be sent 
through to greet the rebel hosts. Now .and then some 
of the Illinois boys being entirely cut off from their 
comrades would run through the wood or field to the 
rear and form in line with the Wisconsin boys. 
Thus when the enemy came with such fierce force that 
we could not stay their headlong course but were 
compelled to fall to the right or left and let the heav- 
iest columns through, as they passed by and looked 
down the road and saw the solid line still in front, 
raked as they were by the ceaseless side fire we were 
pouring upon them, they would in dismay rapidly 
pass off in the open woods to our right leaving us at 
liberty to turn and give our undivided attention to 
other rebels still advancing in our front. Standing 
there without a wavering man in their lines, that little 
band of "Wisconsin men was of untold help to us. If 

133- ARMY LIFE. 

Colonel Hovey left them there during all tins time 
by design, it was a happy thought. If the fighting 
was so hot that he had no chance to send an order for 
them to advance, it was a most fortunate accident. 
Had the many rebels who, at different times, passed 
our lines in their mad career, been permitted unmo- 
lested to reform and reload and open fire in our rear, 
no protecting trees could have caught all of the rebel 
bullets, and we would have been swept off in a few 
brief moments. 

A plan of the battle field would show the advantages 
which aided us in this desperate contest. Supposing 
that the main road we had advanced upon in the 
morning, was running east, that upon which the bat- 
tle was fought would be running south. At the cross- 
ing of the two roads our reserve had been stationed. 
On the left of the cross road going south toward the 
enemy was a field connected with the frame farm 
house referred to, and all enclosed by a strong rail 
fence. This fence ran south along the road, about 
three quarters of a mile. The fence then turned east 
running in that direction until the heavy and almost 
inpenetrable woods east of us were reached. The first 
part of the field near the farm house was quite free 
of trees, but the lower part ran into and included con- 
siderable of the woods in which we found the enemy. 
On the right of the cross road, which would be look- 
ing in the direction of our main army on Cache River, 
was a long stretch of ground thinly covered with large 
trees but free of underbrush. This, of course, ran 
back to and connected with the heavier woods where 
the enemy had made his rendezvous. For a 


short distance on the right side of the cross road 
there had formerly been an enclosure, and about a 
quarter of a mile from the main road the remains of 
a rail fence, running some little distance west, was 
still standing. When we first met the enem} 7 we had 
passed beyond the farthest fence, but as the battle pro- 
gressed we had fallen back to it, and many of our men 
were in the woods of the enclosure. Thus' it will be 
Seen that when the enemy's cavalry charged upon 
Us, with the highway for his center, his right wing 
would strike the heavy fence and thus be thrown 
into confusion with his center upon the road, 
and this would naturally carry many of them into the 
woods to his left, our right, and those still advancing 
would soon strike the remains of the fence on that 
side causing many more to turn off into the open 
woods. Those who had kept in the open road would 
now suddenly come in sight of our reserve line; if 
near enough receive a leaden salute, and they, too, 
would then turn into the woods and disappear. Re- 
membering that these desperate charges were mainly 
made by men on horseback in a mad headlong gallop; 
that they were first thrown into confusion by a fence 
on one side and then broken by the remains of one 
on the other side; that at every step and from each 
side they were severely suffering from the rifles of 
our sharpshooters, it will readily be seen that great ad- 
vantages were open to us and that we improved them 
to the utmost. 

The fight still goes on. The enemy became at last 
most desperately enraged. Their unobstructed access 
to the road between us and the rest of the Union 


army still gave them full knowledge that no aid had 
yet come to ns. Why don't they come? We have 
been fighting on, on, expecting each moment to hear 
the dash of the Union cavalry coming to onr aid. 
And then our own comrades of the Thirty-third and 
the brothers of the Wisconsin boys, why do they not 
come? Only four companies of each regiment are 
here. Six of each are there. Why do they dally in 
the woods? Are they playing by the wayside and 
we struggling here? Why don't they come? If all 
others become indifferent to our fate they can not. 
No, indeed! Too oft have they and we divided our 
scant rations with each other; suffered together; 
mourned at the same graves; mingled in the same 
joys and shared the same trials. A faintly whispered, 
dread suspicion passes among us. Can it be that the 
heavy rebe armies have come from east of the Missis- 
sippi or other fields in overwhelming force t3 destroy 
the Union army in these Arkansas wilds? Let it be 
remembered that we have long been cut off from com- 
munication with the outside world. We have no 
definite information from other fields. At the North 
it is reported that Curtis' army is lost in Arkansas. 
So little have we known of what has occurred in 
Kentucky and Tennessee and in the far East during 
the past months, that only wild imagination is our 
guide. Are the heavy forces so hotly pressing ns, 
part of a monstrous, gigantic rebel army that has, 
unknown to us, crossed the Mississippi and come up 
the Arkansas and White Rivers? Has a still heavier 
force thrown itself between us and our army? Is the 
Union army we so lately left even now cut off from 


aiding us? "With our eyes steadily fixed upon the 
enemy in front, our ears are turned anxiously toward 
our own army to hear if the murderous air shall 
bring to us the sound of their booming guns. But 
it matters little to us what the fate of others may be. 
It is now too late. Too well we know that the en- 
raged rebels have already suffered too severely and that 
now no terms will be asked or given. It is now a 
fight to the death. The thought that life can be saved 
by a surrender is banished from every mind. To 
steal our .way through the dark woods and deep 
swamps to our Northern homes is impossible. We 
begin to gather in more compact form. There is a 
feeling that in a few moments our last cartridge will 
be fired and then all that will be left is to fix bayonets 
and with the cold steel do all we can as we rush to 
our doom. 

It is afterward learned that the Union troops have 
been so busily engaged and- created such a continual 
racket in crossing Cache JRiver that they did not hear 
anything of our fierce fight. It was supposed that we 
would only advance some two or at most three miles 
at which distance a stubborn contest could be easily 
traced by the sound of the firing guns. Thus it was 
supposed that we were quietly lying in the woods, 
waiting for the advance of the army. Instead of that 
we had gone some seven or eight miles and were so 
far away that the guns they now and then heard were 
thought to be only idle shots fired at random into the 
woods to see if any strolling bands of rebels were try- 
ing to creep upon us. The first information the 
Union army had of our hot engagement was given by 


one of our soldiers who had become completely 
demoralized at the first fire and ran back reporting us 
all killed. In quick time a force of Union cavalry 
was galloping to our rescue. Of this we were not 

Thus no reinforcements had reached us and the 
desperate rebels, chagrined, mortified, raving mad for 
the third time, with a fully organized force, came 
up on a desperate, sweeping, reckless charge. On 
they come with unbridled fury. We break into little 
bands among each thick cluster of trees and keep up 
a continued fire into the dense mass of advancing foes. 
All of the former scenes are re-enacted now with re- 
doubled force. We turn and fire at rebels in our rear 
as often as we do at those in front. Upon each occa- 
sion we had been obliged to fall further back. We 


were now so near that the rebel charge through our 
line carried some of them within range of the guns of 
the Wisconsin boys, who well and promptly improved 
their opportunity. Pressed by fire in front together 
with the shot we gave them in the rear those rebels 
who had passed our line rushed with headlong speed 
into the woods on our right as those who came before 
had done. Grand confusion now reigns. The woods 
are full of riderless horses, running here and there, 
racing and tearing, hardly more reckless or aimless 
than those yet guided by their rebel riders. Our 
ammunition is now nearly exhausted. Those entirely 
out borrow two or three cartridges of others, but none 
have much. The store of our wounded has been 
greedily taken by those who still can use their guns. 
Straining every nerve, firing with the utmost care we 


watch the result with vivid interest. Too well we 
know the fatal result that threatens us. A few sec- 
onds of this vital anxiety and then the rebel lines be- 
gin to tremble, waver and then break, and those alive 
hasten away leaving the groni.d, even where we stand, 
strewn with their dead. Thus for the third time, a 
rebel charge in mass, has been repulsed and driven 
back. We now have to fire at long range, careful to 
do so only when we have a good shot. If they come 
on us again, in solid mass, we are helpless. Every 
movement is quickly noticed. The rebels who have 
crossed our' lines in their headlong career and been 
driven into the woods on our right, toward our main 
army, are now seen to increase their hot speed .toward 
the rear. Farther off, glimpses of the rebel cavalry, 
who have been watching upon the road, can be seen 
goir** fiercely toward their main command. Beyond 
these, still farther off, a cloud of dust is seen swelling 
up through and over the trees, and a moment more, 
the glorious music of the rattling sabers of the 
Union cavalry is heard and then we see their foaming 
horses as they come to our aid. Closely following 
the cavalry, as they come to our relief, we soon see; 
the gleaming guns and hear the glad hurrah of our 
infantry boys. The soldiers of the Thirty-third Illi- 
nois and Eleventh Wisconsin had run those seven long- 
miles on a hot Southern July day to relieve ;us, their 
own comrades, and the battle is over. 




THE Union loss in the battle of Cache River was 
seven killed and forty wounded. Company A had 
three wounded: Captain Potter, Sergeant Fyffe and 
Corporal Bigger. Seeing how lame Captain Potter 
was, one of the boys ran out as the battle ended, and 
captured a ridedess horse which the Captain rode the 
balance of our journey to the Mississippi. 

The loss of the enemy was large. How great is un- 
known. As we were continually obliged to fall back 
it gave the enemy an opportunity to remove his 
wounded, which was zealously done. It is believed 
that the rebels also took away many of their dead. 
The Union soldiers were obliged to bury those left 
upon the field of whom they found over two hundred. 
This probably covered only a small fraction of thuir 
actual loss. But even that was fearfully large. For 
a small force that numbered all told three hundred and 
eighty-two men to come out of a long contested fight in 
the open woods with only seven of their number killed 
and over two hundred of the enemy left dead upon 
the field is victory enough. 

As to how many of the enemy were engaged is also 
unknown. By the best information we derived, gained 
from the rebel prisoners who fell into our hands, and 
from other sources, it is believed that there Avcre at 
least ten thousand armed rebels in, those woods and 
that nearly all of them were at one time or another in 


the fight before it ended. Large forces of both cavalry 
and infantry were certainly brought against us. The 
first heavy onslaught was led by heavy lines of in- 
fantry. The effective force of their charge was prob- 
ably retarded instead. of aided by the heavy columns of 
rebel cavalry that followed so close as to run upon 
them by the time they reached our first line after driv- 
ing in our skirmishers. The following charges upon 
us were mainly by mounted cavalry. To this we were, 
undoubtedly, much indebted for the success we 
achieved. Mounted cavalry, in thick woods, can 
not successfully contend with well armed infantry. 
Another advantage we had was in our guns. We had 
trusty, far-reaching rifles that told with deadly effect 
at a distance the inferior rebel guns could not reach. 

When our cavalry reinforcements first came up, 
believing that it must be an insignificant force that 
our little band could hold at bay so long, they at once 
decided to go in and take those who were left prison- 
ers. On they went. They soon came up to the re- 
treating rebels but found the enemy so strong 
they were exceedingly glad to come back to us on a 
right lively run. 

Did we go over the battle field? No, indeed, I did 
not! Those who wished to do so, did. But few of 
those who had been in the fight cared to review that 
gory field. Many a time our individual aim had been 
too distinct. By passing over the battle ground evi- 
dences could "be found to tell whether the rebel aimed 
at had dropped to the ground only to escape from the 
whistling bullet or for a more fatal reason. Soldiers, 
even in the hottest tight, do not often care to know 


that their individual shot has proven fatal. ' For this 
reason most of us carefully kept from that bloody 
field, and the duty of gathering and burying the rebel 
dead was left to those who had not been in the battle. 


After the battle of Cache River or Cotton Plant, as 
it was sometimes called, was ended, our troops came 
up rapidly and we were soon ready to push forward 
again. Our little force was highly complimented for 
its gallant action in the severe contest it had passed 
through and as a mark of honor we were to have the 
advance during the rest of our march. We went for- 
ward rapidly hoping that the entire force of the enemy 
would remain in our front and that we would be able 
to overtake them. A strong part of our army now 
kept near enough to our advance to be able to partici- 
pate, and we would have made quick and thorough 
work of it if we could have caught the rebels. This 
we were not able to do. They took good care to keep 
out of our reach. What an ending of their great pre- 
tensions. They had been gathering a large force and 
loudly boasted that the Union army should never get 
out of the Arkansas woods. All of their available 
troops had been thrown in front of us to obstruct our 
advance. After a two-hours' fight with our little de- 
tached band, the grand rebel army that intended to 
capture the entire Union army that had come from 
Southwest Missouri under General Curtis and from 
Southeast Missouri under General Steele, was so com- 
pletely demoralized that the smallest scouting party 
we could send out could hardly get sight of them be- 

To CLAJKONDON, JULY, 1862. 141 

fore they would scamper away. They bad not courage 
enough left to fire a single gun. 

At Bayou DeView we found a good bridge. "We 
came up so suddenly that the enemy had not time to 
burn it as they designed doing. The force left there 
by them for that purpose had hardly time to cross and 
save themselves before we were upon them and had 
possession of the bridge. It was now becoming quite 
dark and they had not expected us until the next 
morning. It was very important to save the bridge, 
and we at once charged across it, expecting a sharp 
contest with the enemy upon the other side, but they 
did not stop to trouble us. Throwing a sufficient force 
across the stream to guard the bridge we waited for 
our main army to come up. 

At night on July eighth our army commenced cross- 
ing Bayou JJeView, and with the Thirty-third on tie 
advance, started forward. We expected to make an all- 
night march of it, but the swamps we had now reached 
were so bad and the army mules so feeble for want of 
feed, that it took all night for the wagon train to be 
brought up. 

The next morning we started at eight o'clock and 
pushed forward as rapidly as possible. The Southern 
July heat was terrific. The soldiers were faint and 
hungry. A lonely hard-tack and some miserable 
slough water was all we had for dinner. In this con- 


dition we marched over thirty miles before we found 
a resting place. 

We reached Clarondon at ten o'clock A. M. on July 
tenth. After arriving there we went up the river two 
miles and selected a pretty camp ground. We did 

14:2 AKMY LIFE. - 

not know how long we should stay there. In truth, 
\ve were sadly disappointed. The Union steamboats 
with supplies had safely reached this place. We had 
been able to hear of them, but they could not learn 
anything about us. We had made a forced march in 
this hot July weather so as to reach the boats. Some 
of our men fell upon the road with sunstroke. Ar- 
riving there we found that the Union fleet, despairing 
of reaching us and fearing capture by the rebels, l:a 1 
sailed back down the river. Our artillery were firing 
signal shots to advise them of our arrival, but we failed 
to hear the anxiously listened for reply of the gun- 
boat cannon. Our condition was becoming critical, 
indeed. Our rations were exhausted. There was no 
supply in that forsaken, inhospitable land either to 
buy or confiscate. All the enemy needed to do to 
destroy this army was to block ns in and prevent sup- 
plies from reaching us for a few days. Our con- 
dition was serious. What next? 


On July eleventh it became certain that the Union 
boats had left for good. Our cavalry scouts had pushed 
down the river as far as the worn-out condition of 
their horses would permit and returned with the in- 
formation that the fleet had gone down the river with 
its utmost speed. The strength of the threatening 
enemy assured our sailors that departing speed was the 
only course of safety. Only the smallest kind of river 
steamers can navigate the treacherous water of this 
small river. They could not safely contend with land 
artillery. Had they only known that we were in reach 


their safest harbor would have been under the protec- 
tion of our guns. 

The boats had gone. There we were with nothing 
to eat. Only one thing was left for us to do. That 
was to attempt to reach the Mississippi River. We 
started and inarched fifteen miles, most of the way 
through a pelting rain storm. But this was a luxury- 
compared with the scorching sun and hot dust we 
had lately been marching through. Our wagons did 
not come up. 

The next day we marched twenty-one miles. Our 
wagons were upon another road. They would not 
have been of much use if with us. There \vere no pro- 
visions on board. All the good they would have done 
would have been to bring our blankets for us to sleep 
on. As it was we had no blankets for the night, no 
food for the day, no decent water to drink. During 
the entire day the only water we could get was from 
one swamp we passed. In that, the thick green scum, 
from an eighth to a quarter of an inch thick, had to 
be pushed away before we could get to the filthy, poi- 
sonous water beneath. We were tired and worn out, 
foot-sore, sick and hungry. That was soldiering in 

On Sunday, July thirteenth, by marching, or rather 
crawling, twenty -five miles, we reached Helena, on the 
Mississippi Hiver. Only a few were able to go in 
with us. Company A only had twenty-four men in 
line. The others still less. Some companies of our 
regiment did not have over half a dozen men to stack 
arms when our journey ended. Back for miles the 
sides of the road were strewn with our sick and ex- 


hausted soldiers. Full three fourths, if not more, of 
the entire command were thus lying upon the road- 
side. The teams are bringing in the most exhausted. 
But now, thank Heaven, we had reached the shores 
of the Mississippi, which was in loyal hands, and 
we could rest and get something to eat. 

Early the next morning the steamboat Acacia ar- 
rived with provisions for us. Never was a vessel more 
thankfully received than this one bringing relief to us 
in our destitute and starving condition. It took two ; 
or three days after we arrived to bring in our worn- 
out and sick soldiers. The first thing being, of course, 
to send back food to distribute to them along the road. 
All were brought in and all were soon all right again. 
A few full meals of hard-tack, coffee and bacon soon 
put us in prime condition and we commenced to~ glee- 
fully recount the incidents of our hard march out of 
the woods of Arkansas. 



WE remained at Helena two weeks resting and eat- 
ing; both of which we took to, as only tired out and 
starved soldiers can. 

Friday, July twenty-fifth, we received orders "to be 
ready to march by land or water at an hour's notice." 

The next day the Government paymaster arrived, 


the first paymaster we had seen for a long time, and 
onr regiment was paid. Soldiers look with consider- 
able interest for the army paymaster. The pay the 
soldiers receive, small as it is, thirteen to sixteen dol- 
lars per month, is to them quite an important matter. 
A little money to buy things not furnished by the Gov- 
ernment, is at times much needed. Again, many of the 
soldiers have at home aged parents, a widowed mother, 
young sisters, or perhaps a wife and infant children 
to whom the small pittance of five or ten dollars a 
month is a matter of great importance. These things 
make the paymasters visits of much interest to the 
soldiers. Of course there are sure to be some who put 
their money to such bad use that it would be better for 
them not to have any. This class of people will be 
found everywhere. Their number, however, is small 
with us. As a rule, the soldiers of the Thirty-third 
are men of good habits. 

After we had been paid we went on board of a 
steamboat and sailed twenty-five miles down the Mis- 
sissippi River. "We then landed and camped on an 
old field a mile 01; so below "Old Town landing." 

Sunday, July twenty-seventh, we moved up and 
camped at Old Town. The " town " is so " old " that 
it has disappeared. All that is noAV left of it is part 
of an old log house. Yile and unhealthy swamps lay 
all around us except on the river side. The object to 
be gained by occupying this place,, in any military 
point of view, is not apparent. 

Tuesday afternoon our mission at this point .be- 
came manifest. We are to guard the bringing in of 
the cotton that is confiscated by our Government. 


We went down the river a few miles and got some 
cotton on the Arkansas side. We then crossed over 
and landed in Mississippi. This is the first time I 
was ever in the State. We went out one and a half 
miles to look around and then returned, and the 
steamer soon landed us at camp. 

Just at dark Thursday night, our company received 
orders from Colonel Hovey, who was over in Missis- 
sippi after cotton, to join him. It took us until 
eleven o'clock to get our teams and wagons together 
and load them on the steamboat. We then went 
down and stopped at Wilkinson's landing. Reaching 
that place we disembarked and remained upon the 
river bank until morning. 

At daybreak, Friday morning, we went forward 
six miles and found Colonel Hovey and his force. 
They were all ready to start, so we at once went five 
miles farther out into the country. Onr destination, 
this time, was MeNeal's plantation. He had a large 
farm and we found over two hundred bales of cotton. 
The teams made two trips during the day, taking the 
cotton to the river. 


During the afternoon we were awakened to the fact 
that we were in the enemy's country, by a lively fir- 
ing from the heavy woods upon our picket guards. 
It lasted but a moment, The rebels fired upon our 
-men and then ran away. One of onr picket guard, a 
member of Company C, of our regiment, was badly 

Saturday morning we took the balance of the cotton 
at. McNeal's to the river and loaded it on the steamer. 
After dinner we went out on another road. The rebels 


had preceded ns. We found the cotton burning. 
The enemy was not far off and a sharp skirmish fight 
soon commenced. "We chased the rebels until dark. 
Two men of the Eleventh Wisconsin were wounded. 
How many of the rebels were hit we did not learn. 
As it became too dark to chase rebels any farther we 
stopped for the night. What a field for imagination 
to build upon. Here we were, a little handful of men, 
far out Jn the enemy's country. He could easily throw 
a large force upon us. Would he not do so before 
morning? Our situation suggested many desperate 
possibilities. But these things did not trouble n6 
much. Soldier life has now become too real for us to 
waste much time fighting imaginary battles. Except 
those whose duty it was to stand on guard, the soldiers 
in those dark woods, with such an unknown destiny 
hanging over them, quietly wrapped their blankets 
around their tired bodies, and with the warm ground 
beneath and the snmimr sky above them, they slept 
as soundly as children in their mothers' arms. 

The next morning we started back toward the river. 
We did not know but that the rebels had cut us off. 
We approached each dark piece of woods with caution, 
holding our trusty rifles in our hands, not knowing at 
what moment we might run into a fatal ambush laid 
for us by the rebels. Relying greatly upon Company 
A Colonel Hovey gave us the advance as skirmishers. 
We proceeded forward rapidly but found none of the 
enemy who would tarry long enough for us to get 
within gun shot of them. 

The rebels in that vicinity appeared to be well 
mounted on good Mississippi horses so that it was idle 


for us to try to catch them when they wish to run 
away. We reached the river in safety and remained 
upon its banks all night. 

The following morning, Monday, August fourth, 
our company went down the river one and a half miles 
to a place where there was a small amount of cotton. 
While it was being loaded into our army wagons, we 
were suddenly attacked by a band of one hundred and 
fifty bushwhackers. After a sharp skirmish we drove 
them off. When our quick victory was complete, and 
we looked over the field, every heart of our little band 
was crushed with grief. Alvin T. Lewis, one of our 
best and bravest boys, was dead. Sadly we placed his 
body in an army wagon and brought it back with us. 

J. W. Straight was badly wounded. Bovee, Mont- 
gomery and Farwell were taken prisoners and car- 
ried away by the retreating rebels. 

During the afternoon the steamboat took us back to 
Old Town. It was after dark before we could per- 
form our last duty to our dead comrade. Lewis, the 
noble boy, was the first of Company A to fall before 
a rebel bullet. We went out in the dark evening 
hours, selected the prettiest piece of ground we could 
find, dug his grave in Arkansas soil, repeated the last 
prayer and fired the farewell shot over his grave as we 
thus in sorrow laid him away. The darkness of the 
hour, the deep gloom of the surrounding scene, the 
love of all for our dead comrade, the manner of his 
death, all of these combined, impressed us as nothing 
we had before passed through had done. As his spirit, 
during that dark and sacred hour, soared to its heav- 
enly home, it carried above the renewed pledge of each 

A SAD SKIKMISH, AUG., 1862. liO 

stricken comrade heart, that those still left would 
always be true to the cause for which Lewis fought 
and died. 

We lay in camp Tuesday. The three members' of 
our company taken prisoners are with us. They were 
paroled and sent back. It turns out that Bovee and 
Montgomery were both badly wounded before they 
were taken by the rebels. 

On the eleventh of August we went down the river 
on another cotton expedition. We went nearly to the 
mouth of White River. Landed on the Arkansas side. 
Found some cotton. Our company did not leave the 
boat. Started back after dark. Reached camp at Old 
Town at nine o'clock the next morning. 

Thursday, the fourteenth, went down the river five 
miles. We then landed in Mississippi and inarched 
eeven miles into the country. Got one hundred and 
thirty bales of cotton and returned to the river. At 
one o'clock p. M. the steamboat started and returned 
us to camp. 

On Sunday another expedition went down the river 
after cotton. I had an interview with the ague and 
could not go. 

Thursday, the twenty-first, we moved our camp 
nearly a mile up the river, attempting to find a better 
camp ground. It is all bad enough here. Our new 
camp is right upon the river bank. Shaking with the 
ague so that I had to be moved in the ambulance. 

By the time we had been in our new camp a week 
the river bank commenced caving in. By the last of 
August it was caving in so fast that we were obliged 
to move farther back. The bauk which is now about 


twenty feet above the river water, will suddenly com- 
mence settling down, and then we have to up and get 
or else swirn for it. The water of the mighty river, to 
judge by appearances, first washes out the soft and 
yielding sand underneath and when a sufficient amount 

V O 

is undermined the more compact clay and soil above 
will suddenly, and with but little warning, drop down 
into the deep waters underneath. By this time the 
sand is gone so as to create a large and deep under- 
ground lake. The only warning given that the 
ground upon which we stand is going down is that 
cracks begin to appear in the surface. When these 
cracks appear it is notice for all to at once hasten back 
beyond where the last crack appears. I do not know 
to what extent the same conditions existing elsewhere 
produce the same result. If the same results are 
usual elsewhere upon the banks of this river, the 
Mississippi is a dangerous stream for those who ven- 
ture to build upon its banks. 

We commenced the month of September by send- 
ing a boat load of our sick up the river on September 
1, 1862. A steamboat came down from Helena after 
them. One of our sick men who went away was 
Lieutenant Burnham who was down with the typhoid 
fever. Our wounded boys, Straight, Bovee and Mont- 
gomery, went with the rest. 

At seven o'clock p. M., on September sixth, a force 
consisting of six companies of our regiment and six 
of the Eleventh Wisconsin, started down the river on 
another cotton trip. 

On Sunday, the seventh, a large number of rebel 
prisoners, part of those taken at Donaldson, passed 


down the river on their way to be delivered to the en- 
emy at Vicksburg. They have been exchanged, it is 
understood, and now they will have to be taken in 
another fight. 

Various expeditions after cotton were sent out from 
time to time. One returned to camp on Saturday, 
September twentieth, that had an interesting trip to 
report. They went down the river some considerable 
distance. On the way down they were fired into by 
rebels upon the banks of the river. For a time it was 
lively work for our boys. They returned the fire as 
well as they could and the steamer soon carried them- 
out of reach of the enemy. Two of our men were 
killed. On the return trip they passed through a still 
more severe fire. Four of our men were killed. 

Captain Potter, of our company, had returned from 
the North, where he had been sent to recover, on the 
thirteenth of September, nearly well from the wound 
he got at Cache River. On Saturday, September 
twenty-seventh, our company and some other troops 
went to guard a train of wagons to Colonel Lippin- 
cott who had sent back word that he had taken lots of 
cotton. When five miles from the river the rebels 
made a fierce attack upon our guard and Captain Potter 
was again wounded the only one of our company 
injured. One man of Company D was killed and four 
others wounded. 

The next day Colonel Lippincott and his entire com- 
mand returned back to our camp on the west side of 
the river. He brought in a largo amount of cotton 
marked " C. S. A." which shows that it belonged to 
the Confederate Government. 


Wehad,on Septernbertwenty-first, moved still nearer 
to Helena and were now camped at a place that at the 
time bore the name of "Cockle Burr.*' 

By the last of September our force was much re- 
duced. Many had been sent North too sick to longer 
walk, and many of those remaining were not in much 
better condition. The Old Town swamps had got in 
their work and as the result general sickness prevailed. 

All we have or could hope to accomplish at this 
point is to pick np a few boat loads of cotton. Ail 
we have got is not worthy of a moment's consideration 
in comparison with the lives our stay here has cost us. 
Achange is mostearnestly desired. The soldiers think 
that they should be sent into an active field where they 
can have a fighting chance with the rebels or else that a 
healthier camp should at once be found. To attempt to 
contend against these fever breeding swamps is useless. 



SUNDAY, October fifth, the good news, marching or- 
ders, came. A\ T e are ordered up the river. During 
the day we took a boat ride to Helena where we are 
to take a larger steamer for our northward trip. 

On the sixth, at the hour of five p. M., the good 
steamboat, Des Moines, started with us on board from 
Helena and we were on our wav northward. During 


the night \ve passed the mouth of St. Francis Hiver 
and readied Memphis at seven o'clock the next morn- 
ing. The boat lay at Memphis some hours which gave 
us an opportunity to see some of the city, which we 

At four P. M. we started north again. Passed Fort 
Pillow during the night. During Wednesday night 
we passed New Madrid and Island No. 10. Too dark 
to see much of them. 

Thursday morning at ten o'clock we reached Cairo. 
Hurrah for our noble prairie State. We gave Illinois 
three rousing cheers. A sight of even the least part 
of "God's country " is refreshing to our soldier boys. 
The name " God's country " became one in daily use 
in the army. There was no thought of profanity in 
its familiar use. It was the one name that clearly 
showed how the soldiers looked upon the land of their 
Northern homes compared with the Southern country 
in which their active soldiering was done. In their 
opinion a name having absolutely the opposite mean- 
ing would be the only one to describe the rebel countiy. 
Of course the feeling of dislike related more to the 
people of the South than to nature's handiwork. In 
the soldier's dictionary the name of " God's country " 
moans the land of our Northern homes. 

We took on a new supply of rations at Cairo and 
then proceeded up the river. 

During Friday we passed Cape Giardue and St. 
Genevieve. Arrived at Sulphur Springs on Saturday, 
October eleventh. Unloaded, pitched tents and slept 
in Missouri. 

Thus we have returned from our first march to 


Dixie. It has been to us soldiers an eventful cam- 
paign. We have passed through many hard marches 
and although not participated in any extensive bat- 
tles, have often had to meet the whistling rebel bul- 
lets. One thing is remarkable; although we have 
always been in near communication with and part of 
a large army, through some strange combination of 
circumstances the fighting has nearly all fallen to our 
lot. From the time we joined General Curtis at 
Batesville in May last, up to the end of our Southern 
campaign, a large share of his command have not 
been called upon to fire a single gun. But .the Thir- 
ty-third seemed destined to have a hand in every 
fight. A reason for this can be found in. the fact that 
we were usually the advance of the army, where all 
the fighting was done. Another thing can also be 
said: It mattered not how small our numbers were, 
we never left the field of contest. In every case, 
when the battle was over,* the flag of the Thirty- 
third was waving over the field. 

Corning North now is undoubtedly a wise move for 
us. The broken health of the command dema ided it. 
With restored health we will be ready for any active 
work. With the Mississippi River in the control of 
the Union forces so far south, we can, at short notice, 
be landed in the heart of the rebel country. What 
our part is to be we will wait and see. 


Sunday, October twelfth, we remained camped at 
Sulphur Springs. 

On Monday we struck tents, got on the railroad 


cars and went to Pilot Knob. From there we went 
into camp at Arcadia. It was nine o'clock at night 
when we reached our destination. 

October thirteenth we pitched tents for a perma- 
nent ca np. Here we remained during the b.ilanca 
of the month. On the last day of October we re- 
ceived orders " to be ready to inarch with two days' 


On November first our regiment started for Pat- 
terson. Two large tents of each company were left 
for our sick soldiers. About two hundred men of our 
regiment remained here. This includes those who 
are still too unwell to march but not sick enough to 
be sent to the hospital. I was one of them. 

On Monday, November third, our sick squad 
moved into Ironton and camped near the hospital. 

On the twelfth those who had become strong enough 
started for Patterson under the command of Potter, 
who is now major of the regiment. Hovey has been 
appointed origadier-general, Lippincott, colonel, and 
Roe, lieutenant-colonel of the Thirty-third. 

Before they started those of Company A present 
took a vote for second lieutenant; the promotion of 
our captain, first and second lieutenants, creating the 
vacancy. There were twenty-four present, twenty 
voted for Dutton and four for Pike. It is understood 
that the main body of the company now with the 
regiment are taking a vote on the same matter at the 
same time. 

On the twenty-third some more of our boys with 
Dr. Rex started to join the regiment. 



December 1, 1862, the balance of the Thirty-third 
boys who had been left at Ironton on account of 
sickness started to join the regiment. There were 
about eighty of us with Captain Morgan in com- 
mand. We go with and as guard to an army train 
of seventy-five wagons. We inarched seven miles. 

The next morning we started at six o'clock and 
marched fifteen miles. Found the roads in good con- 

Wednesday, December third, started at half past 
six and marched through to Patterson. After a short 
stop at this place we started forward for Black River 
where our regiment is now camped. 

We started at half past six Thursday and reached 
Our regimental camp at noon. We found the boys 
well and enjoying themselves finely. 


We were now comfortably camped on the banks of 
Black River. . 

Drilling was now resumed. December seventh we 
had a battalion drill, the first since we left Reaves 
Station in April last. 

On December tenth a report came in that the rebel 
guerrilla, Tim Reaves, with his band of thieves and 
murderers was within a short distance of us. The rep- 
utation of this Reaves, as it comes to us is that before 
the war he was some sort of a preacher in Southern 
Missouri and Northern Arkansas. He is said to be a 

AT BLACK KIVER, Mo., DEC. 1862. 15 T 

membsr of the family from which Rsaves Station 
took its name, they being landowners in that vicinity. 
After the war commenced the Rev. Timothy Reaves 
developed into one of the meanest leaders of an 
irregular band of thieves and pretended rebels that 
the mountains of Missouri and Arkansas harbored. 

These guerrilla bands are thieves and murderers by 
occupation, rebels by pretense, soldiers only in name, 
and cowards by nature. They terrorize over those 
they pretend to befriend and run from acknowledged 
enemies. They are hated by the rebel citizens of 
their own country and despised by the soldiers of the 
North and disowned by those of the South. 

It being reported that Tim Reaves was near, a force 
consisting of our little cavalry force and some mounted 
infantry, was sent out to look for him. A few men 
were taken from each company. Win. Pierce and 
John Wood, of Company A, went. After being gone 
two days the expedition returned, not having suc- 
ceeded in catching the nimble-footed bush-whackers. 

Those who were camped with us on Black River, 
in December, 1862, will never forget what it is to see 
a mountain stream on the rampage. 

A heavy rain storm came up on Saturday, the thir- 
teenth, continuing all of that and most of the next day. 
Our camp was on a reasonably high piece of ground. 
The river at this point runs through a valley lying be- 
tween the high hills and mountains on each side. On 
our side of the river they were some little distance 
back of us. The ground upon which we were camped 
was some feet higher than the rest of the valley be- 
tween us and the high hills to our rear. By Sunday 


nio-bt the rain bad ceased. The river had been rising 

O O 

rapidly and during the evening we bad watched it with 
considerable interest. The rain storm being over, the 
river ceased to increase. Our camp being upon such 
high ground it was thought that we were above possi- 
ble high water-mark. The " oldest inhabitants " of the 
neighborhood had assured us that such was the fact. 
By looking at the lay of the ground we could see that 
the volume of an entire river could pass between us 
and the high hills, and our camp ground still remain 
untouched. The river itself would have to rise many 
feet more before its waters would overrun its deep 
banks to take this course. "We went to sleep appre- 
hending no danger. We were not at the time fully 
advised as to the actual force of the fierce mad winter 
storm. It proved that the rain storm we had seen was 
only the slight outcropping of a most terrific one that 
was gathering and was to burst in its greatest fury on 
the mountains miles above us, and in which Black River 
has its source. Those of us whose lives have been 
passed in a level prairie country can not, until we 
once see it, comprehend the rapidity and fury with which 
water will rush down from the mountain sides. No 
matter how heavy the rain- fall, it is all at once, by hun- 
dreds of little mountain streams, thrown into the river 
outlet by which it is carried to the sea. Thus any river 
fed bj mountain ranges will always be liable to sudden 
and severe overflows. We had contentedly gone to sleep 
Sunday night. At the hour of three o'clock in the 
morning, the attention of the guards was called to a 
fearful roar from up the river. The camp was at once 
aroused. What a fierce commotion met our ears! 


The mad, rushing waters, the sharp snap of breaking 
timbers, a continuous sound of roaring thunder could 
not excel it. The guards far up the river, loudly cry- 
ing one to the other, passed the alarm down: Look out 
for the river! Instantaneously all comprehended the 
situation. "Without ceremony or the loss of a moment 
of time, we at once started for the high hills. True 
to the soldier's instinct, each was sure to grab his gun 
and cartridge box before he ran. And yet with all 
this haste, before we could run that short distance, the 
water in its mad career was waist-deep as we waded 
through. In a brief moment more the swift and deep 
current between the hills upon which we had taken 
refuge and our deserted camp ground was impassable. 
Strong horses in attempting to swim it, were, by the 
swift current, thrown back to the side from which they 
started. A few of those soldiers who had been a mo- 
ment too late found it impossible to escape. They 
were compelled to seek safety by climbing the trees 
that stood upon our high camp ground. For a wonder, 
no lives were lost. 

High upon the side of a friendly hill we sat during 
those early morning hours and viewed the rushing 
fury of that mighty mountain stream. Strong tim- 
bers were broken as though they were but a mere 
twig. Deep rooted trees were torn up as though they 
were but a weed upon the road side. The effect may 
be seen, but none can fully comprehend the full 
power of the rushing waters of a mad mountain 

In the midst of all this, army plays and soldiers' 
jokes went on. Each, as usual, following the bent of 


his own mind. Here would be a circle telling stories; 
there others playing euchre. Daniels, the company 
student, instead of reading from the big book of nat- 
ure open before him, was conning over the mass of 
wise maxims he had selected and was continually add- 
ing to. Weed, the flighty romancer, was mourning 
over the loss of the ten page letter he had finished 
writing the day before, to his imaginary sweetheart. 

By noon, Monday, the waters commenced falling 
rapidly. Our camp ground was soon uncovered and 
yet when we returned at night, the water was still so 
deep over the lower part of the valley that we had to 
return over a pontoon bridge. 

"Without him being advised :>f our intention, our 
Company had sent to St. Louis and procured a splen- 
did sword and belt to present to our old cap- 
tain, now Major Potter. At the close of the day on 
Thursday, December eighteenth, our company called 
him out and surprised him with the present. The 
presentation speech w r as made by Corporal 8. M. 
Dnrflinger. Considering that it was prepared and 
delivered in the wild woods of Missouri by a soldier in 
the ranks, without any of the aid that a well-filled 
library would give, Durflinger's speech is worthy of 
record. He said: 

MAJOTI POTTEU: For the past fifteen months you have been 
connected with us in one ot the most endearing relations arising 1 
from the intercourse of men. That relation has been disturbed, 
yet we can not permit a separation without some expression of es- 
teem, some testimonial of gratitude. United in this relation, we 
have mutually shsu-ed danger and adversity, health and prosperity. 
We have traversed together the mountains and fastnesses of Mis- 
souri, the long lanes and shady aisles of Arkansas, and the jungles 
of Mississippi darkened with all the wild untrained luxuriance of 
the primitive forest. We have drank at the same springs, crossed 
the same streams, climbed the same hills, sustained each other in 


the same perils and rejoiced in the sam3 triumphs. Though we 
have not been called to stand on the trophied field of Marathon 
and Arbela, of Austerlitz and Ulm, of Yorktown and Shiloh, yei 
the events of the past year furnish many circumstances of sad and 
pleasing memory many incidents of " bitter and sweet" recollec- 

It is a sad thought that traitors would despoil the land we love. 

We love to visit the tomb of Washington, to linger around the 
shades of Ashland, and to think the Hermitage our own. It is an 
unpleasing thought that treason would shut us out from these sa- 
cred retreats. 

We love our homes, the oases in the desert of life, with all their 
tender associations and sweet influences. It is a sad recollection 
that we have gone from them, perhaps forever. It is a sorrowful 
thought that some of our companions are tenants of the "narrow 
house," sleeping in a stranger's land, with no marble to mark their 
last resting place. Their memories are cherished by many a fond 
mother whose sighs are not loud but deep; whose tears are not 
many but consuming "heart's tears." 

Let us, as we pass along, render the poor tribute of a sigh to the 
living, and mingle a tear, with the dust of the dead. 

It has been our lot to happen upon a momentous era. and to com- 
bat in the great contest of the ages. To our hands are entrusted 
the destiny of our country, and with us rest the highest hopes of 
a great republic. 

Our pilgrim fathers are slumbering among the hills and pines 
of New England; the pioneers of our country are reposing in the 
valleys of the West in many an unmarked resting place. Wash- 
ington has fallen and sunk uncensured to a peaceful tomb by 
which the traveler will pass remembering his many virtues and 
noble deeds; and as he drops a silent tear upon the sod that hides 
his noble form, he lifts his accents of praise to the God of freedom 
for the gifts of such a boon mingling a suppliant petition that 
Heaven would spare another such a man; Warren sleeps at the 
base of Bunker Hill, and upon the present age devolves the duty 
of perfecting what they had begun. Proud as were their achieve- 
ments, prouder yet will be our place on the escutcheon of fame if 
we preserve the rich heritage they have bequeathed us. The in- 
terests of centuries are suspended on the efforts ot moments. Let 
us act in view of these great responsibilities. 

Two parallels of civilization, the Atlantic and the Pacific, laden^ 
with all the rich results of art and invention, of science and indus- 
try, of learning and religion, are fast pushing their approaches to- 
ward the center ot a mighty continent. When, like the tides in. 
conjunction, these advancing waves shall roll over each other, let 
them close forever over the last vestige of despotism. 

Let the happy millions of toiling freemen, who shall yet dwell 
along these streams, learn to chant the requiem of slavery and sing 
the high poeon of truth and freedom. Let these high hills and 



voiceless solitudes, now the strongholds of treason, become the 
paradise of liberty. 

The despots of Europe are looking on this struggle with jealous 
apprehension or scornful de ight as the tide of success goes up or 
down. Every victory we win, every cannon we place in position, 
every trench we dig, we are pushing our lines nearer the sinking, 
wavering walls of European despotism, and sending a new ray of 
hope to the downtrodden sons of Gaul and Erin, of Athens and 
Rome. Let us not disappoint the hopes of expectant humanity. 

Thus united with us by a common cause, bound together by 
kindred ties, sufferings and sympathies, you have shared with us 
whatever of "bitter and sweet " the past has afforded. That 
invisible tie uniting heart to heart and friend to friend, has, we 
little know where or when, sprung up between us. Though these 
pre-existing relations have been disturbed, we trust this bond of 
union may never be sundered. Though the events of the past 
year and the proceedings of this d;iy may have no place on the 
historian's page, by ourselves they will be fondly cherished while 
memory holds her place, and when hoary age comes on, it will de- 
light us to remember these things. 

In remembrance of past associations, in view of your many 
merits, and with feelings of sincerest regard, we offer you this token 
of our esteem, this memorial of our gratitude, knowing that it 
will never be dishonored; knowing that it will never be drawn but 
in the cause of justice and humanity; knowing that it will never 
be sheathed till the wrongs of our country are redressed- Accept 
it in the kindly spirit in which it is offered. (Uncovering and 
handing the sword to him.) And whenever in coming time you 
may chance to see it, either in the din of battle or the peaceful 
quietude of home^ bestow a hasty thought on those who now stand 
about you, breathing a petition to the GoJ of Heaven that your 
lite may be spared and your arm nerved to strike long and val- 
iantly in the battles of freedom. 

The chaplain of our regiment, who happened to be 
present, reported the Major's acceptance thus: " Major 
Potter, who was taken entirely bj surprise, made a 
brief reply in which he warmly referred to their pleas- 
ant relations which had been unbroken from the 
first; how while he had been their Captain they had 
never failed hiin in battle or the faithful performance 
of duty in any of the trying scenes through which 
they had passed; and that should they again go into 
battle, he would hope to lead them still. He believed 


they would follow him wherever they should see tlte 
gleam of their elegant present. He thanked them for 
that beautiful token of their esteem and confidence." 
" Major Potter has been twice wounded in battle, 
once at the Cache and once in one of the raids into 
the State of Mississippi. ' Boys,' said he, 'yon know 
that I am lame; don't run till you see me run.' ' 


On the twentieth of December we received march- 
ing orders. The next morning we started and marched 
nine miles. We camped in a pretty little valley 
among the pines. Most of the country around here 
is very broken and worthless for cultivation. In the 
small valleys there is a limited amount of good 
land. We found the roads very bad. Our teams did 
not get in until the next morning. This compelled 
us to lay over one day. 

Tuesday, the twenty-third, we started at six o'clock 
and marched ten miles through to Current River and 
camped near to Yan Buren. 

At four o'clock the next morning our company 
were called up and ordered to prepare for an imme- 
diate march. We are to go to Patterson, or perhaps 
farther, as guard to a supply train. Marched ten 
miles and camped in the same pine grove we left yes- 
terday morning. 

During our day's march we were informed of a 
band of rebels who were lurking in the vicinity wait- 
ing for an opportunity to capture some of our supply 

164 , ARMY LIFE. 

trains. Captain Burnham sent back for reinforce^ 
ments to strengthen our guard. Two more companies 
reached us Thursday morning and M-e pushed for- 
ward, going fifteen miles before we stopped for night, 
crossing Black River during the day. 
. We went forward and reached Patterson at three 
o'clock Friday. The late hard rains have made the 
roads very heavy, so that our teams can only make 
slow progress. 

Saturday we remained at Patterson. A small fort 
and block house have been built here. It is decided 
that we will go on to guard a supply train to Pilot 

"We started the next morning at eight o'clock and 
marched seventeen miles, half way from Patterson 
to Pilot Knob; camped for the night near a mill. A 
few of us took possession of a deserted log house and 
converted it into soldiers' quarters for the night. 

Monday, December twenty-ninth, we started ateight 
o'clock and reached Ironton at sundown. Came on 
and camped at Pilot Knob. Every thing looks natural 
here. Our boys are all well and in good spirits and 
having good times. This active life suits them. 

On Tuesday we unloaded the ordnance stores our 
train had brought back from Patterson. 

Wednesday, the last day of the year, we passed in 
camp at Pilot Knob. At night we celebrated New 
Year's Eve in Ironton and Arcadia, and welcomed in 
the new year with oysters, apples, cider, Homan 
dandles, music, singing, etc. Ending the old and 
commencing the new year in a jolly, happy manner. 



Thursday, January 1, 1863. New Year's day. A 
liappy New Year to all. We part with, the old, and 
welcome the new year. 

The year of 1862 the memorial year is no more. 
It is now to be known only in the history of the past. 
We part with it sorrowfully, and yet are glad that it 
is past. It has brought us many, many sorrows, 
given us much to mourn over, and at the same time 
lias taught us much and improved us much. It has 
been a year of stern, unrelenting reality to our coun- 
try, to us as a nation and to us as individuals. All 
have felt the harsh, iron hand of the past year. 

Our country has been involved in all of the horrors 
of one of the most gigantic and desperate civil wars 
that has ever been waged upon the face of our 

The year commenced; we then thought that surely 
we are in the midst of the war; that it had even then 
reached the highest point of its fury, and would soon 
subside; that at the end of the year 1862 at farthest^ 
happy peace would look down upon a contented and 
re-united people. 

The year ends and we are bewildered; instead of 
looked-for peace we find the war and strife hardly yet 
fairly commenced; the mighty hosts are still marshal- 
ing, preparing for battle for the bloody field. 

We mourn the loss of many, many of the bravest, 
noblest ones who have died a willing sacrifice for their 
country's cause. Some fall by the enemy's hand ; 
others pnslron, bravely bearing aloft their country's 


banner until camp fevers and army exposures sap their 
life's blood then they die. 

Others now come to fill the ranks of " brothers gone 
before." Time passes swiftly and their places are in 
turn left vacant for others to fill. This is war; war 
in reality. Such has been the history of the past year 
and such promises to be the history of the new. Pa- 
rents, brothers, sisters, children and lovers mourn the 
untimely death of departed ones. 

Thus closes the year. A year of momentous, event- 
ful history. The most eventful in the history of our 
country. It is riot strange that it should be so. Long 
have the elements of fierce strife been gathering. 
The mighty powers of freedom and slavery which for 
years and ages have been contending in desperate, 
savage strife often overturning empires, crushing 
kingdoms, destroying and desolating countries, and 
even shaking the whole world to its very center by 
their tremendous and deadly conflicts, have at last con- 
centrated them all all the tierce hordes of slavery, 
all the mighty hosts of freedom all concentrated in 
a final, last death struggle. 

One year of desperate warfare and still the awful 
contest has hardly yet commenced. Some grow im- 
patient and ask, when is the war to end ? But why 
do they look thus early for the end? Who can rea- 
sonably expect a might} 7 , fierce contest like this, which 
has been growing for ages a contest for life or death 
between freedom and slavery to be ended in one 
short year? No, we need not, can not expect the end 
for a long, long time to come. No man can tell 
when or how loved peace will return to us. We must 


accept what comes to ns. Let us not quarrel with our 
destiny, but quietly submit, knowing that we are but 
as mere instruments in the hands of a just God, who is 
working out his own will on earth. Let us willingly 
submit to Him, hoping, believing, praying and know- 
ing that all will yet be well. 

During the past j r ear the armies of our country 
have gained many victories and suffered numerous de- 
feats. Upon the whole we can boast of but little that 
we have gained and held, except the Mississippi 
River, and that is not yet entirely won. The rebels 
still hold Yicksburg which is so strongly fortified 
that as yet our gunboats have not been able to take it. 
Last summer our fleet exhausted its strength in the 
fruitless attempt and then withdrew. Now an army 
and fleet are moving down the river to make another 
attempt. If that does not succeed, try again. In 
the end we miist win. 

From the earlier days of the war the cry has been : 
"On to Richmond." Two splendid armies have 
made the attempt and failed. The first was under 
General McClellan, the last under General Burnside. 
McClellan was defeated; Burnside out-generaled. 

As the year closes we find the Eastern army hold- 
ing nearly the same ground that it did a year ago. 
True, Yorktown and Manassas, two strong military 
points have been evacuated by the enemy, but our 
armies are still met by armies of the enemy holding 
other positions fully as strong. 

In the West the success of the Union armies has 
been more uniform. We can claim the glory of Fort 
Dunaldson, Pittsburg Landing, Corinth, Hatche, Pea 


Ridge, Cache River and other battle fields. Why 
this striking difference between the Western and 
Eastern armies? They seem to fight as bravely, as 
earnestly: cowardice is certainly not the reason. Is 
the fault in their commanders? It can hardly be. We 
have sent them some of our best generals and still 
they fail. The reason is truly unaccountable; but 
let it pass. Perhaps the coming year now present 
- will change this, and the Eastern troops win a series 
of glorious victories. We earnestly hope that it may 
be so. 

A year ago we were quartered in the seminary here 
at Arcadia. The year passes and a few of us happen 
back here in time to serenade the seminary at the be- 
ginning of the new year, 1863. Here we are, with 
renewed health, buoyant spirits and unwavering hope, 
ready to go wherever duty calls, fully believing that 
the year 1863, like that of 1862, will fail to bring any 
enemy who can stand before us.. 



WE remained in Pilot Knob until the seventh of 
January and then started to guard a wagon train to 
our army camp. Bailey and 1 waited in Pilot Knob 
for the railroad train to arrive from St. Louis so as to- 
get the mail for our boys and some newspapers. It 


was "late before we got started. Had to wade the 
streams and were so much delayed that it became 
dark before we reached the command and were not 
able to get through. It was useless to attempt to 
proceed in those dark woods, liable at any moment 
to fall into some ditch of ice cold water. Just as we 
were looking for a dry piece of, ground to stay over 
night upon. we discovered a solitary camp fire just off 
from the road not far from us. We at once went up 
and found a Missouriftn and his wife who with their 
ox team were on their way to Iron ton to barter their 
produce for goods. This is the way the people in the 
backwoods go to town. Men and women together, 
go as far as their slow teams will take them, during 
the day, and then camp for the night in the wild 
woods. They are usually from one to three weeks 
on the road going and coming before again reaching 
their wild woodland home. Those we met were very 
socially inclined and Bailey and I had a huge evening 
visit with them. We shared rations all round. They 
seemed to like a change, and relished our hard tack, 
while we took more kindly to the corn bread the 
woman had made. Of course, with other necessaries 
they had a supply of home-made whisky which was 
offered as liberally as every thing else. It is strange, 
but it is undoubtedly a fact, that there is riot a neigh- 
borhood anywhere in the wilds of Missouri, that 
does not have some way to make whisky. A little still 
to make a little whisky seems as necessary to the pion- 
eer mountaineers of this wild country as a mill to grind 
their corn. And stranger yet, you will hardly ever 
find a drunkard among them. After the evening was 


well spent, we threw logs enough on the fire to keep 
it burning bright all night and then Bailey and I 
spread our blankets on one side and the Missonrian and 
his wife theirs on the other and all hands were soon 
fast asleep. The only guard on deck that night being 
the mountaineers two big dogs, sleeping and watch- 
ing under the wagon. Now there was no disguise of 
the fact, which we knew full well, that in their own 
home, the man, and his wife, too, for that matter, were 
fierce rebels, and they at the same time knew that we 
were members of the hated Yankee army. Yet there 
was no thought of suspicion on either side. It is 
only the cause we each believe in that is at war. In- 
dividually we have no quarrel to maintain. We met 
as would members of opposite political parties or 
members of different church organizations. In the 
early morning we bid our night-friends adieu and each 
went his own way. 

We found our army comrades early in the morning 
and the entire force started at eight o'clock and went 
through to Patterson. 

The train we came with from Pilot Knob this time 
is made up of raw mules that have never before been 
hitched to army wagons. It has been fun alive to see 
the teamsters attempt to drive the stubborn, unbroken 
animals. At first it was a continual runaway through 
the entire line. But being in the woods all the time, 
the only result would be that the ponderous army 
wagon would in a moment be caught upon a tree and 
then the mules would become tangled together and 

o o 

tumble in a heap. The thing to do now was to untan- 
gle the huge pile of mules. Let imagination picture 


the scene. Sometimes in a fierce run a small tree 
would be bent over by the force with which the mules 
would strike it and then regaining its strength would 
straighten up and thus frequently a team of the 
smaller mules would be found hanging up in a tree. 
An army team consists of six mules. The two larg- 
est ones being the wheel mules and the smallest two, 
the lead mules. The entire team is driven by a sin- 
gle line running up to the bridle of the right lead 
mule. A steady pull on the line means that the lead 
mule is to turn to the left, quick jerks tell him to 
turn to the right. It is wonderful how soon a raw 
mule can be taught to obey this awkward mode of 
indicating to him which way he is to go. With this 
single line the driver riding one of the wheel mules 
guides his team of six through many of the most diffi- 
cult and dangerous places. The army mule occupies 
a place that no other animal could so well fill. His 
life in the army shows that the mule has never been 
fully appreciated, [n reputation a mule is concen- 
trated stubbornness and obstinacy. In reality he is 
generally docile, faithful and tireless. Even when rniv- 
ning away a mule team never gets wildly crazy as 
horses often do. They never knock their own brains 
out against a tree or stone wall. Unless it is raw 
mules that have never learned to pull a wagon, like 
those we were driving on this trip, a runaway mule 
team will only go so far as it can have a safe place to 
run in. Of the hundreds of times that I have known 
of a team of six mules escaping from their drivers and 
starting on a run, I have not seen any that would run 
any farther than where they could find an open road. 


Six horses in the same condition would become so 
frightened that the wagon would be broken to pieces 
and some of the horses killed. The mule as an army 
mule is a success. 

.Our wagons were run empty to Patterson. The 
two days' drive had broken in the raw mules so that 
they knew how to draw. During the forenoon of 
Friday, the ninth, we loaded up and started for Van 
Buren. Went five miles. .At night camped by a va- 
cant schoolhouse which some of us used for our 
night's sleeping room. 

Saturday we went through to Black River, our raw 
mules drawing 'very well. 

The next day we started at eight o'clock and went 
twelve miles. We have taken a new road, one a few 
miles north of the one we took before. 

We started at eight o'clock Monday and drove 
within five miles of camp. 

Tuesday, January thirteenth, we went to Van Bn- 
ren in the forenoon, crossed the. river in the after- 
noon and rejoined .our regiment, which had crossed 
the day before. .. , 

As we were nearing camp a flock of hawks appeared 
in the high. trees near us. We promptly shot some of. 
them. Back came. Captain Burnham in haste. It 
was against orders to fire guns near camp. He ar- 
rested half a dozen of us, that is, he said: "Boj'S, con- 
sideryourselves under arrest." They laughed and some 
of them offered their guns to him. Of course it is ab- 
surd to call a soldier under arrest while he lias his gun 
in his hands. The captain turned and went forward 
to the advance of the command. We never heard any. 


more about it. He did not even discharge the " arrest."' 
Probably those soldiers are stiil under arrest. The ob- 
ject of the Captain was probably this: General David- 
son, our army commander, was a very strict military 
officer and Burnham undoubtedly wished to be able to 
say, in case he was called to task for the firing, that it 
was not with his consent and that he had ordered those 
who did it under arrest. Except that he was respon- 
sible to those above him as captain, Burnham always 
considered himself as only one of the members of the 


The army started forward on "Wednesday, January 
fourteenth, and marched only five miles. The 
weather is very bad, raining and snowing. The mud 
is Almost knee deep. The roads are so fearfully bad 
that it took two days for the teams to come up the five 
miles we had advanced. It turned still colder Thurs- 
day and by night there were four inches of snow on 
the ground. This is unusual for this climate. 

"We went forward eight miles Friday. The roads 
are much better, the ground being now frozen hard 
enough to carry the wagons. 

Marched nine miles Saturday and camped at Fall- 
ing Springs. Visited some small caves in the moun- 
tain. As in all mountainous countries springs of 
good water are numerous here. One large spring at 
this place runs a mill. It is something of a curiosity. 
One side of the mountain is, for some distance up, a 
perpendicular rock. Up some distance from the 


ground of the valley below, there is a largo opening 
right in the side of the rock from which there comes 
a large stream of water. Here a mill has been built. 
A wooden water-way from the opening in the moun- 
tain side carries the water to the wheel of the mill. 
Thus we have in effect a mill run by one spring. 

We started at seven o'clock, Sunday, and marched 
ten miles. Camped upon the banks of Eleven Points. 
For a wonder we found a wagon bridge here upon 
which we crossed the stream. 

The next day we went nine miles reaching Alton, 
the county seat of Oregon County. It is a little 
town of no importance. The surrounding country is 
covered with worthless scrub oaks. The land is poor 
and never can be very valuable or productive. 

On "Thursday, January twenty-second, we started 
back again to guard the supply train on the road, which 
it is reported the rebels design capturing. Went as Tar 
as Eleven Points and camped for the night. 

Crossed the river the next morning and camped 
near Falling Springs. 

On Saturday went twelve miles reaching within 
three miles of the supply train. Here we waited for 
the train to pass. 

The supply train having all come up we started 
back as its rear guard on Monday. 

Tuesday we passed Falling Springs and then took 
the Thomasville road. We reached Thomasville 
Wednesday night. 

We crossed the river at Thomasville Thursday 
morning and marched fourteen miles. Ed Pike's 
iincle from Illinois is with us. By some means he 

AT WEST PLAINS, Mo., JANUARY, 1863. 175 

is in possession of an ox team and wagon, and lie car- 
ries the knapsacks of onr company in the ox wagon. 
The old gentleman seems to think that he is having a 
huge time soldiering with the boys. 

Friday, January thirtieth, we reached "West Plains. 
The entire army is fast coming in from Alton. A 

f O 

large force of rebels was expected to meet us in this 
vicinity, but they do not seem inclined to wait for us 
to get near them. 

We camped a few days at West Plains. In coming 
and while here we took quite a number of prisoners. 
At one time we had nearly one hundred under guard, 
many of them belonging to the rebel army. It is not 
easy to always know whether the fellow you catch is a 
rebel soldier or not. Citizens and soldiers are all dressed 
in the same kind of home-made butternut clothing. 
When cornered the rebel soldiers throw their guns 
away and claim to be innocent citizens. General 
Davidson's plan is severe but just. At least it is the 
only one we can safely follow in this country. He 
holds every suspicious butternut that is found away 
from where he ought to be, until the prisoner can 
show that he is not a rebel soldier. 



IT being plainly evident that the enemy would not 
remain for us to get within striking distance of him, 


and the object of our winter's advance being accom- 
plished bj clearly demonstrating that the Union troops 
could at any time drive all rebel bands out of South- 
ern Missouri and Northern Arkansas, we were ordered 
to march back "nearer to supplies." 

We started at eight o'clock Sunday, February eighth, 
and marched twenty miles to Barnesville. The next 
day we went six miles. After seeing his army fairly 
under way General Davidson left us to go to Pilot 
Knob and thence to St. Louis. 

Tuesday we marched fifteen miles and camped at 
Jack's Forks. We have now left the scrub oak county 
and reached one where the soil is strong enough to 
produce fine large trees. They are oak with some very 
good pine. There is a combined carding, saw and 
grist mill at this place. It is a small affair. There 
is, however, a grand water power here which, with an 
enterprising people occupying the surrounding coun- 
try, would be very valuable. 

We lay over at Jack's Forks until the thirteenth, 
on which day we broke camp at eight in the morning 
and marched twelve miles. 

The next day our company was sent to guard the 
ammunition train. We went back two miles, met the 
train and then came forward with it six miles. 

Sunday, February fifteenth, we marched to within 
ten miles of Eminence. The rough and heavy roads 
have broken the mules up. A large number of oxen 
have been pressed into the service to help move our 
heavy wagons. 

The soldiers are in splendid health but many of them 
nearly barefooted. The rough mountain roads wear 


out shoe leather fast. A few days ago the raw hides 
of the l>eef cattle that were killed were ordered -dis- 
tributed for the soldiers to make something for them 
to walk in. But they are no good. The soldiers 
seem to succeed better in tying bark and pieces of 
wood to the bottom of their worn-out shoes. 

We reached Eminence at two o'clock Monday. 
Crossed the river and went four miles farther before 
we camped for the night. We helped to drive the 
ox teams over the mountains. Had lots of fun. 

We now learned that we are to go to Pilot Knob. 
Company A of the NinetjMiinth Illinois is detailed 
to assist us in guarding the ammunition train and to 
help drive the Missouri oxen up and down the hills. 
The next day we marched sixteen miles. 

The ammunition train being now safely out of 
reach of any strolling bands of the enemy we Hejoine4 
the regiment Wednesday morning and then marched 
twenty-one miles to Centerville. 

The next day we went twelve miles and camped 
near Lesterville. 

On Friday, February 20, 1863, we marched to our 
journey's end and camped at Belleview Yalley, near 
Pilot Knob. 

Lieutenant Norton, with his usual vim, had pushed 
ahead and when we camped he had the post commis- 
sary ready to issue us good rations including fresh 
bread instead of hard tack, so that we celebrated our 
arrival with a first-class soldier's supper which we 
were in condition to fully appreciate. 



PILOT KNOB. The greatest iron mountain in the 
world deserves a passing word. The first time I ever 
visited that mountain pile of iron ore known by the 
name of Pilot Knob was on Saturday, September 21, 
1861, the day after the arrival of our regiment at the 
village of the same name. 

Since then I have visited it, climbed to its top and 
roamed over its sides a number of times. It did not 
appear as I had expected it to. There is nothing that 
we become acquainted with by name before seeing, 
that does when met, agree with the picture that imag- 
ination had created. I do not know why, but for some 
reason I was surprised to see trees growing not only 
upon the sides but also upon top of the mountain. 
As I found it, trees were growing all over it except 
the highest peak, which is perfectly bare. I had 
not formed any definite idea of its appearance but 
from what I had read I rather expected to see a huge, 
gigantic and barren pile of iron ore. Yet, I must 
confess that it is much more interesting as it is than 
it would be otherwise. While new things when first 
seen are sure to do violence to our preconceived 
ideas, still there is a compensation in the fret that 
they will probably be found more beautiful than im- 
agination had pictured them. 

Pilot Knob might be described as resembling the 
noble bald eagle as he is sometimes seen sitting on 
the top of an old oak tree with his bald and naked head 
resting, with such marked and striking contrast, upon 
his huge body thickly covered with a heavy growth 


of feathers. Thus do3S Pilot Knob, with its huge 
body covered with growing trees and creeping vines, 
above which its bald and naked head is extended, ap- 
pear to us as we look at it from a distance. Its naked 
head is so marked, that it became customary when 
any of the soldiers were gt long distance away, and 
wished to distinguish Pilot Knob from the mountains 
in its vicinity they always looked for the " bald head." 
"Old bald head " became its popular name with our 

Pilot Knob, with the exception of Shepherd Moun- 
tain, is the highest one of the cluster of mountains 
that lay in this part of Missouri. It is truly a gigan- 
tic mountain pile of iron ore. One to simply see it, 
gets but a faint idea of its actual size. To compre- 
hend its magnitude one should pass a day or two in 
climbing over and examining it; and even then a per- 
son can hardly realize what a vast quantity of iron 
nature has here heaped into one mountain of solid ore. 
Standing on its top one can only view with amaze- 
ment the mineral wealth that lies beneath him. 

At the foot of the mountain stands a furnace for 
converting the raw ore into pig iron. The ore is taken 
from near the top of the mountain. All- the work 
that has to be done in mining, is to break the ore up 
so that it can be loaded upon the cars which deposit 
it at the mouth of the furnace. The cars that bring 
down the ore run upon a double track built for the 
purpose. The cars are drawn by a wire cable fastened 
upon pulleys at the top and which are so arranged 
that the loaded cars coming down, by their weight 
draw up the unloaded ones on the other track. Thus 


the ore desired for use, not only lies conveniently at 
hand, but also furnishes the motive power to haul it- 
self to the furnace. 

"With all of its mineral wealth, its large amount of 
fertile lands, its superior commercial advantages, the 
State of Missouri, with an enterprising people for its 
citizens, will become one of the grandest States of our 

FORT HOVEY. Almost the next thing that claims 
our attention in point of interest in the vicinity of 
Ironton, after Pilot Knob Mountain, is Fort Hovey, 
which lays between Ironton and Arcadia. 

First, as to the name of the fort. I have written it 
Fort Hovey, but that, we now find, is not the only 
name it has borne. The reasons for insisting upon its 
original name are good. In the first place, General 
Hovey, then Colonel of our regiment, did more than 
any other one man to push forward the building of it, 
and that in a time of danger. Colonel Carlin, then 
commander of the army here, though not exceedingly 
friendly to Colonel Hovey, was willing to acknowledge 
his services in the work and issued a general order in 
which he said: "The fort being built near Ironton will 
be named Fort Hovey and when finished will be 
garrisoned by the Thirty-third Regiment Illinois Yol- 
unteers." This was considered as settling the matter 
at that time, and the fort was so called by those who 
built it and by the army that was here at that time. 
But now, over a year after\vard, General Davidson, 
the present commander of the district, in a general 
order refers to the fort as Fort Curtis. For what 
reason, no one knows. It may be said that Colonel 


Ilovey did not desire his name to be given to the fort. 
The name he preferred was Fort Normal. 

When we arrived at Iron ton in September, 1861, 
the fort had hardly been built. The trees had 
been cut on the ground but none of the breastworks 
had been built. In fact the lines of the fort had 
not been fully established. At that time our con- 
dition looked dark in Southeast Missouri. The 
Union troops held Pilot Knob and a few places on the 
Mississippi River. "With this meagre exception the 
entire district was completely overrun by the rebels 
under Hardee, Thompson and Lowe. Pilot Knob was 
every hour in danger of being attacked. It was not 
safe to pass out of our army lines. Two men of 
Company C ventured out cuie day and were immedi- 
ately gobbled up. Our force was small and undisci- 
plined. Much was thought to depend upon the rapid 
building of the fort. The work was placed under 
charge of Colonel Ilovey. The Thirty-third under- 
took to do the work and commenced at once. The 
work was pushed forward early and late. Many of 
our young soldiers in their earnestness overtaxed their 
strength. I doubt not but that the cause of the death 
of many of our soldier boys could be directly traced 
to overworking themselves on Fort Hovey. 

The walls of the fort are built of heavy timbers. 
Two walls were in fact built, one inside of the other, 
of hewn logs finned together. The center between 
them was then filled with timber and earth pounded 
solid. When finished it gave a solid wall of about 
twelve feet in thickness at the bottom and eight at 
the top. 


The fort covers considerable ground, enough to ac- 
commodate quite a large force inside. Platforms are 
built around the sides for infantry to stand upon. It 
is arranged to contain four heavy cannon and so 
built that three of them can command a given point. 
In addition a number of pieces of field artillery cnn be 
used in it when necessary. It is situated upon a hill 
which seems to have been intended for the very pur- 
pose. It is almost the only high ground in Arcadia 
valley and the fort upon it commands the entire val- 
ley. It would be a very difficult place for an enemy 
to take. In case occasion should require, it may be- 
come important, but the present indications are that 
no rebel force will ever trouble this vicinity again. 

PILOT KNOB village having been our head-quarters 
and " base" of action so long, and to which we have 
returned so often, is deserving a passing notice. It is 
a quiet little village lying snugly beneath the shade 
of the high mountains which surround it It can 
never become a very large city for one good reason: 
there is not room in the little valley for a large city. 
There are only four outlets, through the mountains, 
from the place. One is occupied by the Iron Moun- 
tain Railroad which comes from St. Louis And ter- 
minates at this place. One is the Fredericktown road 
running east. One runs south through Ironton and 
on to Dixie's land. The other is a road running west 
through Belleview valley. For a military post a 
stronger natural position could not well be found. 

IRONTON is the county seat of Iron County and situ- 
ated about a mile south of Pilot Knob, and just the 
other side of the iron mountain of that name. It is 


a very pleasantly located town and contains a brick 
court house, two church buildings, a number of fair 
stores and residence houses. In prosperous times it 
must have been quite a business center. It lies at 
the foot of Shepherd Mountain and Pilot Knob and 
upon the borders of the pleasant valley of Arcadia. 
An enterprising, pleasant city will some time in the 
future, no doubt, be found here. 

ARCADIA is a pleasant little village a mile south of 
Ironton. The only building of note in the place is 
the Arcadia Seminary, where the good people of St. 
Louis used to send their children to school before the 
war and which furnished us such nice quarters during 
the winter of 1861-62. The beauties of the valley of 
Arcadia are often spoken of. Our regimental chap- 
lain was so impressed with it when we first came here, 
that he wrote a long article for publication, describing 
its many beauties and attractions. 

But for the mountains that break them into differ- 
ent parts, Pilot Knob, Ironton and Arcadia would 
probably have been in a more compact form and con- 
stituted but one city. As it is they may practically 
be considered as only different parts of the same town. 

MIDDLEBROOK is a small place about two and a half 
miles north of Pilot Knob, and is simply a small rail- 
road station. 

IRON MOUNTAIN is about three miles farther north 
and is situated near the mountain of that name. The 
place is noted for the tine quality of its iron ore that 
is found in inexhaustible quantities. It also gives 
name to the railroad that runs through the town, the 

184: ARMY LIFE. 

Iron Mountain Railroad. It contains an iron foundry 
and a number of good buildings. 

BELLEVIEW, west of Pilot Knob, is a valley of wonder- 
ful fertility, and in beauty and pleasant scenery can 
well compete with the valley of Arcadia. 

Such as these are the surroundings among which our 
lot has been so often cast during our soldier life. 
Upon the whole it has been to us a pleasant place, and 
when the war is over the memory of many soldiers 
will return to it with happy thoughts. 



ALL politics were ignored in the army. As to the 
political belief of our comrades, we cared not. It was 
a rare case when one learned his comrades' preference 
as between mere political parties. It would be a cor- 
rect statement to say the soldiers of our army have no 
politics. The election of 1862 claimed but little of 
their attention, in fact, was not thought of. Believing 
fth at all at home were true Union men, the soldiers 
were indifferent as to who was elected or defeated 
in an election. But when the Legislature of Illinois, 
elected in the fall of 1862. began in the following win- 
ter to take such action as, whether so intended or not, 
was giving sympathy and encouragement to the rebels, 
its course was closely watched by the Illinois soldiers. 
The feeling became so deep that the soldiers, in con- 


formity with the ways they had been accustomed to 
at home, concluded to hold a public meeting to give* 
an expression of their sentiments. The meeting was 
called. It was in regular public meeting style; those 
came who wished, those present called upon such as 
they desired to hear, to speak; the floor was open to 
any who asked for it. Being the only public meeting 
our soldiers ever held, a record of its proceedings may 
properly be given. As written at that time, the fol- 
lowing is the record: 


March 2, 1863. 

At a meeting 1 of the Thirty-third and Ninety-ninth Regiments 
Illinois Volunteer Infantry, held at the head-quarters of the Thir- 
ty-third Illinois, Dr. Rex, Surgeon of the Thirty-third Regiment, 
called the meeting to order and nominated Lieutenant-Colonel 
Roe, Thirty-third Illinois, who was unanimously elected Chairman; 
Captain E. R. Smith, Ninety-ninth Illinois, Secretary. Colonel 
Roe (Democrat) addressed the meet'ng as follows: 

" LADIES AND GENTLEMEN: I suppose that this is an assembly 
tha 1 has met for the purpose of announcing opinions in regard to 
the action of the assembled, I had almost- said wisdom, of the State 
of Illinois. I am glad I did not say wisdom; for wisdom and 
learning go hand in hand with loyalty. I know all Illinois sol- 
diers read, and that you are posted in regard to the action of the 
Illinois Legislature. I need not rehearse that action before you. 
We do not love war; we abhor it. But are we now, in the miilsb 
of the thickening dangers that surround our banner, to igroh'y 
dasert it? 1 never expect to find an Illinois soldier who is willing 
to say to such men as have almost made the name of Snringfiekl 
detestable, ' I agree wi.h you in sentiment and sympathize wiih 
you in your legislative treason.' No such man can be found. 

" We will spend our last drop of blood in defense of the Con- 
stitution and the Union; and oh! how willingly would we see a 
f^w of the traitors at home immolated upon freedom's allar. We 
want to send home an expre a sion of opinion; we, who have been 
for the time disfranchised an opinion that may prove, in time, 
stronger than the b:illot-box. In time W3 mean that t ho ballot-box 
at home shall tell what is now to us so apparen 1 : that mn in high 
places have fallen! fallen!! fallen!!! never again to control public 

Colonel Lippincott, of the Thirty- third Illinois (Democrat), came 


forward and announced that upon consult ition with many OiTncers 
and privates he had been induced t:> offer the following resolu- 

WHEREAS, Recent developments in our beloved State of Illinois 
eeeui to call for an expression of opinion and feeling among? lili- 
noisans who belong to the volunteer army of the United States, 

Resolved, That we took up arms in defense of the Constitution 
and the Union of these United States of America from a de"p- 
seated loyalty to the Government established by our fathers; that 
we were not and are not actuated by any sectional prejudices or 
hostilities, but only by a strong sympathy with the declaration of 
Andrew Jackson: "The Federal Union it must and shajl be 

Resolved, That the treason which has brought the existing civil 
war. with all its horrors, upon the country, owes no part of its 
enormity to the section which produced the original traitors, but 
is hateful for its own sake, and would have been equally odious had 
it originated in any other quarter of our indivisible Union. 

Resolved, That as sworn soldiers of the United States, and as 
citizens of Illinois, we owe constant and earnest allegiance to the 
Government of our country, and that we will maintain our alle- 
giance against all treason, whether coming from the armed and 
open rebels in the South, or from their abettors in Illinois, or 

Resolved, That we, volunteer citizen sildiers from Illinois, tem- 
porarily deprived of onr accustomed privileges at the ballot-box, 
esteem it a privilege to be able in this manner to express our 
scorn, abhorrence, and contempt of the display of disloyalty and 
sympathy with an armed and bolder treason recently made by a 
large part of the Illinois Legislature; and we pledge our duty as 
soldiers, and our honor as men, to free our glorious State from the 
disgrace with which it has been threatened. 

These resolutions were enthusiastically cheered. The Coloaal 
continued with characteristic and well-timed remarks: 

" Mr. President and Fellow-Soldiers: I did not purpose to mnke 
a speech on this occasion, and in offering these resolutions as the 
index to my sentiments, I suppose I hav^e s.iicl all I ought to tay 
upon this subject. But a casual remark of Colonel Roe's, as to 
the political name of our Illinois traitors, leads me to ?ay some- 
thing more. He spoke of the men who have disgraced the State 
of Illinois as Democrats. We hav > not met here for any political, 
and, least of all, partisan object. T am, ami always have been, a 
Democrat. I am proud of Democracy. I am proud of that De- 
mocracy whose principles are mude manifest in the teachings of 
Thomas Jefferson, whose hon'r found an unflinching and devoted 
advocate in the lamented Stephen A. Douglas. 

'1 repudiate the Democracy of the Illinois Legislature, which has 
repudiated all the teaching? of Stephen A. Douglas. 1 denounce 
these men as false to Democracy and false to men. 


"But it matters not whether they are Democrats or not, they 
were chosen to the Legislature by the people of Illinois, and they 
have betrayed their trust. 

" While the oaths they had pronounced were still ringing in 
their ears, they were basely contriving means for the violation of 
those oaths, and for the subversion of the Constitution they had 
sworn to support. They have done all they could to assist the 
men, in contending against whom many of our men have fallen 
into patriot graves. Our foes have received aid and comfort from 
the Legislature of Illinois. 

" i am glad you have met here with me to-day to denounce such 
men and the odious principles they represent. 1 am glad we have 
come here on an equal footing. No man came here uncl r orders. 
Every man is privileged to openly declare his opinion. If there is 
one man among you who would defend the llhno s Legislature, 
he is invited to come forward and take the place which I now oc- 

"If we stand in the position now which we occupied in the 
beginning of this war, these resolutions will be fully vindicated. 

" I went to visit the rebel officers who were in charge of the flag 
of truce which came into West Plains. I never was so humiliated 
since I was born as when one of the officers told me that the Legis- 
latures of Illinois and Indiana were with them, and passed resolu- 
tions favorable to their cause. I told them that we could take care 
of rebels at home as well as those abroad." 
. Mivjor Crandell, Ninety-ninth regiment Illinois Infantry, said: 

" Mr. Chairman and ^Fellow-Soldiers: I shall not attempt a 
speech on this occasion. Those of you who have left your homes 
and coma here to fight for your country have read the proceedings 
of the Legislature of Illinois, and know what they are. While we 
are fighting the enemy, they are aiding and abetting treason. 
We have met here to tell them that we detest rebellion, that we 
are willing to go to our hom?s, and there put down traitors, as 
well as to put down traitors In the South. I know there is no 
soldier here but who is here from motives of loyalty. I know 
that you will indorse the resolutions which havebaen offered. ' 

Dr. Rex, Surgeon 33d 111 : "Fellow-Soldiers: T cordially indorse 
every sentiment that has been read in your hearing, and I would 
that th >se words could be sent in tones of thunder to those trai- 
tors at home. We, as volunteers from the Prairie State, now say 
we a e with our country. 

"Our motto is: Our country may she always be right, but our 
country, right or wrong. Our country forever! The Illinois Leg- 
islature have shaken hands with the stink-fingers of Davis, that 
we have already branded as traitors. 

" In my opinion there never was a truer man, or a nobler pa- 
triot than Stephen A. Douglas. There is a little story of him E 
must relate. Fort Sumter was bombarded on Saturday. The 
next clay, while Douglas was walking down the streets of the cap- 
ital, he heard a friend say thut the President was about to issue 


his proclamation calling for troops. Douglas went to the While 
House, and calling upon the President, said: 'Mr. Lincoln, 1 hear 
that you have prepared your proclamation; if agreeable, I should 
like to hear it.' 'Certainly, Judge,' said the President; and 
standing before Mr. Douglas and his friends, he read the procla- 
mation. Says the man who relates this story, never hawk eyed 
a chicken more c'osely than Douglas eyed the reader. When the 
reading was ended, he grasped Lincoln's hand and said: 
'Mr. Lincoln, I indorse every sentiment in that proclamation.' 
Such patriots let us be. Let us stand by our Government, and, 
r ght or wrong, sustain it. The man who gives aid and 
comfort to our enemy is a traitor, and the man who stands by his 
country is a true patriot. 

"1 hope that these resolutions will be adopted; that those trai- 
tors at home may know that we are coming, and they h..d better 
get off the track." 

Corporal Durfl nger, 33d Illinois: " Fellow- Soldiers: We are 
here to-day to express our feelings upon questions of the highest 
moment in this hour of our country's danger and peril. As the 
mere automaton, and the unthinking agent, the private soldier 
must, in a measure, be amid the routine of camp and field. But 
as the thinking, intelligent patriot; as the disfranchised citizen of 
the State of Illinois, I but express your feelings by saying, that 
we indorse these resolutions, word by word. They are not the 
flashy rhetoric, or the empty soulless effusion of the partisan and 
politician, but the earnest, culm, unstudied expression of loyal 
men. Men who have more faith in actions than words; who are 
acting in the ft.ce of the impending storm, and we are aware of 
their danger, and are justly indignant at the authors of that dan- 

"Can loyal men talk of peace, when all that we have so nobly 
contended for must be sacrificed to gain that peace? When every 
provision of the Constitution is violated by our foe in the field? 
When all the interests of our State, our country and humanity are 
suspended in the balance, and when our financial, commercial 
and national existence is dependent upon the success of our arms ? 
Can loyal men propose peace in view of these facts, because eman- 
cipation, conscription or confiscation are contrary to our Constitu- 
tion? These are but the weak subterfuges of traitors, and traitors 
base enough to avow their malignant, though restrained treason, 
in the hall of our National Capitol. Let us s j nd home a voice of 
expostulation an:l warning. Let us bid our mothers, wives, sis- 
ters and daughters to spurn firm their presence the cowards that 
have sent us into the thickest of the contest to gain political honor, 
and now disfranchise us at home, and mock our noblest efforts in 
the field." 

Sergeant George S. Marks, Ninety-ninth Illinois: "Fellow-Sol- 
diers of the State of 11 inois: 1 feel at liberty to express my senti- 
ments on the present occasion. I feel that the soldiers of Illinois 
have been slandered by t..ose infernal traitors at home. We can 


see their mark in nearly all the press that have published tha pro- 
ceedings of the Legislature. Fellow-soldiers, I am a Douglas 
Democrat, and labored lor his election at the last Presidential elec- 
tion; but the voice of the people was against my choice, and 1 said 
when Mr. Lincoln was elected, oh, people, thy will be done! I 
am willing to sacrifice my life for the Union and the Constitution 
as my fathers made them. I trust that the Illinois soldiers may 
return home and blast the hopes of those devilish Copperheads. 
May God grant that the enemies of our country, both in the front 
and rear, shall be brought to see their error, and lay down their 
arms upon the one side; upon the other, their sympathy. Then 
will peace be restored to our distracted and divided country." 

Captain Elliott, Thirty-third Illinois " Fellow Soldiers: I in- 
dorse and believe every word of the resolutions read in your hear- 
ing. I would like to introduce one other resolution, to the effect 
that those traitors in the Illinois Legislature should be hanged 
until they are dead." 

Captain McKenzie, Thirty-third Illinois Approved of the res- 
olutions, and denounced traitors at home and abroad. 

Captain Lawton, of the Thirty-third, also approved of the reso- 
lutions, and especially denounced traitors at home for writing 
treasonable letters to his boys. 

Rev. N. Hawkins, of Perry, Illinois, made some timely remarks, 
which were well received by the soldiers. 

Chaplain Eddy, of the Thirty-third, remarked that he hated 
snakes; but of all snakes, he hated the copperhead snake the 
most. He denounced the majority of the Illinois Legislature for 
the treasonable course they pursued; but complimented the 
manly course pursued by Isaac Funk, a member of the Legislature. 

The speeches were well received and heartily cheered by the 

The Chairman arose and remarked that " it had become a one- 
sided affair," and so he put the question on the adoption of the 
resolutions, and they were unanimously adopted. 

Colonel Lippincott proposed " three cheers for the Union as it 
was, and as it will be." They were given with a will. 

Chaplain Eddy proposed " three cheers for Isaac Funk, who 
bravely branded a portion of the Illinois Legislature as traitors." 

Colonel Lippincott proposed "three cheers for Richard Yates, 
the soldiers 1 friend." These were given as only soldiers can give 

Lieutenant Lewis, Thirty-third Illinois, offered a resolution to 
the effect " that the resolutions of this meeting be published in 
the Missouri Democrat and Republican, the Chicago Times and 
Tribune, tha Springfield (Illinois) Register and Journal, and the 
Pike Counti/ Democrat." 

The meeting then adjourned. 


E. R. SMITH, CAPT. Co. F, 99th 111. 



We remained in our Belleview camp a week and 
then moved to within half a mile of Middlebrook. 
On the third of March we moved onr camp to the vil- 

General Carr, our new commander, having arrived, 
he reviewed our division at Middlebrook on Wednes- 
day, the fourth. The following Tuesday, March tenth, 
we broke camp and started for St. Genevieve, on the 
Mississippi River. Marched sixteen miles, camped 
near the lead mines and within one mile of Farming- 
ton. We made a good march on Wednesday, passing 
through Farmington in the morning and Valley Forge 
during the day. The next day our march ended at St. 

The boys were now in high spirits. We are now to 
go down the Mississippi River, join the army at Yicks- 
burg and help to remove the last rebel obstacle upon 
our great river. Vieksburg must be taken. No 
stranger's flag shall be permitted to hold sway over the 
waters that flow from our Northern fields. The Mis- 
sissippi can'not be divided, the great river never can 
be broken. It is strange that any should think other- 
wise. The great Northwest will always insist upon 
their natural right to the free navigation of this great 
river. Until the water that flows from their fields is 
mingled with that of the deep sea and becomes free to 
all the world, it belongs to them and their right must 
be maintained. The people of the South by whose 
doors through nature's course it flows, must not claim 


exclusive rights or ownership in the waters of our 
great river. They can, with us, freely use it, but no 
more. The water that flows from Eastern Alleghanies 
and Northern lakes and Western mountains must, for 
all time, be permitted to go unvexed to the sea. 

On Monday, March 16, 1863, we bid farewell to 
Missouri, broke camp, embarked on the steamship 
Illinois, and with banners waving, music playing and 
soldiers hurrahing, we started down the Mississippi 

Personally, I did not participate to any great ex- 
tent in these parting scenes. I was still just a little 
too sick to be very lively. On the last day of our 
march to St. Genevieve I gave out and had to be car- 
ried in on an army wagon. Arriving in camp it was 
found that a very severe attack of pneumonia was well 
under way. In a couple of days its severity was bro- 
ken, but I was fully aware of the fact that our army 
snrsreon had tried on me his favorite reined v of severe 

O ' 

blisters. If I had not been extra strong, I presume 
the doctor would have used me up with his harsh 
treatment, even if the pneumonia had not done so. 
Thus I was found in the regimental hospital when 
marching orders came, and remained there until after 

o * 

we had passed Memphis. A regimental hospital al- 
ways goes with the army. If a disease threatens to be 
lengthy, sick soldiers are sent to the post hospital. It 
was proposed to send some of us to a post hospital, 
but all were so anxious to go with the regiment that 
the surgeon took his sick men on the steamboat, and 
we all went together. After leaving Memphis I be- 
came strong enough to rejoin the company. 




WE left St. Genevieve on Monday and reached Cairo 
at three o'clock Tuesday afternoon. The steamboat 
started again at ten o'clock that night, reaching Mem- 
phis, Thursday, the nineteenth, where we stopped to 
take on a supply of coal. We were detained here the 
next two days. On Sunday Chaplain Eddy preached 
to us in the cabin of the boat. Shortly afterward the 
steamboat whistle sounded and in short order we were 
again under way. The result of our hasty departure 
was to leave a number of our soldiers to follow us as 
best they could on some other boat. Garrett, Ross, 
Smith, Bailey and Alderson, of our company, were 
among those left in Memphis. 

We arrived at Helena, Monday. We find that the 
ground we camped upon when here last summer is 
now completely under water. Most of the town is also 
overflowed by the very high water now in the river. 

On Tuesday afternoon we left Helena. Passed by 
where our camps at Cockle-burr and Old Town were 
last summer. It is not to be seen now. When we 
were here our camp was all of twenty feet above the 
\vater of the river. Now the water is a dozen feet or 
more above the ground. One of the largest river 
steamboats could now easily pass all over the ground 
we camped upon. During the day we passed what 
is called Yazoo Pass. Some of the steamboats were 
saving distance by taking a short cut through between 


the trees. It appears strange to see a steamboat going 
through the woods as easily as does the pioneer drive 
his ox wagon through the unbroken forest. 

Wednesday, March twenty-fifth, we passed Lake 
Providence. Logan's and McArthur's divisions are 
here. After a short stop the boat went twenty miles 
further down the river to land us at our camping 

"We landed Thursday morning, and had only got 
fairly on land when General Carr, with his boat, 
arrived, and ordered us to re-embark and go further 
down. "We went on and landed and camped at Milli- 
kin's Bend. 

"We are now part of the thirteenth army corps, Gen- 
eral McClernand commanding. 

Among the first news we hear is that part of 
Farragut's fleet has passed Port Hudson and arrived 
at the foot of the canal, just below Yicksburg. We 
also hear that two of Porter's boats attempted to run 
past Yicksburg from this side. The Lancaster is re- 
ported sunk, the Switzerland through in safety. 

We camped at Millikin's Bend a few days. During 
the night of the twenty-eighth a fierce wind storm 
overturned our tents, blew away all light articles and 
raised the mischief for us generally. 

On the thirty-first General Hovey, whose command 
is at Young's Point, called to make his old regiment a 
short visit. He did not forget to call upon Com- 
pany A. 

On the first day of April, Captain Burnham left us. 
He has resigned and is going home. His health is 
so bad in this Southern climate that he felt that he 


was becoming more of a burden than assistance to the 
company. He seemed to much regret his parting, as 
the boys surely did. His resignation had been sent 
forward before we had reached this important field. 
If it had been possible for him to have done so, he 
would to-day, no doubt, recall his commission and go 
with us until the important work that now appears to 
stand before us is completed. 

About this time I began to be aware of the fact that 
I had not yet fully recovered. Although the pneu- 
monia did not return to vex me, chills and fever did. 

On the sixth of April the regiment drew six days' 
rations and went down the river to work on the canal 
that was being made so as to let the river take a short 
cut across the bend and leave Yicksburg out in the 
cold, two miles from the river. Those of us who were 
too unwell to work were left in camp at Millikiii's 


On Tuesday, the fourteenth, we found that the reg- 
iment was to go forward. All of us who could move 


immediately went down arid joined the regiment and 
: then all started on. 

We are upon the west side of the river, and a march 
-south will take us past Vicksburg, which is upon the 
,other side of the Mississippi. 

The next day we started at five o'clock in the morn- 
ing. Crossed a bayou and then went through Rich- 
mond, camping for the night one and a half miles be- 
yond the -town. The land around .Richmond appears 
to be very productive. The plantations are large and 


nearly all have good buildings. In time of peace frliis 
was evidently a rich and prosperous country. 

Thursday, April sixteenth, we marched twelve 
miles, which brought us within five miles of Carthage, 
on the Mississippi and below Vicksburg. During the 
night we heard heavy firing toward Vicksburg, which 
we find was caused by our gunboats getting up a fight 
with the rebel forts so that some of our transport boats 
could run by under cover of the smoke of the battle. 
It is understood that they succeeded. 

On the seventeenth heavy firing was heard below ue 
all the afternoon, which was reported to us as an en- 
gagement with a force of rebels, which resulted in the 
capture of eighteen hundred prisoners. It is so far 
merely a report. We get definite news, however, that 
our tents and camp equipage have been run past Vicks- 
burg on a flatboat. A flatboat is just the thing to 
run a blockade down stream. A hole through them 
does not do any harm. The rebel cannon can fire at 
them at pleasure. All that it is necessary to do is to 
get the flatboat in the right part of the current of the 
river and then let her go. After it has passed the rebel 
works, a Union steamboat is on the watch and takes 
the flatboat in tow. That is all there is, in a flatboat 
running a blockade down stream on the Mississippi. 
For a steamboat to run by the strong rebel fort is an- 
other question. 

Tuesday, April twenty-first, we received orders to 
march immediately, and on we went. Marched down, 
the levee two and a half miles. This is the only 
ground we can find to walk on here now. Every 
thing except, the high levees is under water. At the 


end of the two and a half miles' march we had to cross 
a bayou. As we were attempting to cross, our boat 
run aground on a sand bar where the water was about 
four feet deep. It was concluded that the quickest 
way to get oft' was for some of the men to go into the 
water and pry the boat off with handspikes. A num- 
ber of them immediately volunteered to do so and 
commenced taking off their shoes, etc., so as to go into 
the water. To encourage them General Benton an- 
nounced: "Five dollars reward for the one first in." 
The clothing began to fly lively. To win was more 
of an object than the money. It promised to be a 
pretty race. The enterprise of Biggerstaff of our 
company ended it. He was standing by the side of the 
boat not having made any move toward getting ready 
to go into the water, and the moment General Ben- 
ton made the announcement Biggerstaff leaped over 
the side of the boat into the water. He was cheered 
upon his short cut to victory. Others followed his 
example and jumped into the water with their clothing 
all on. The boat was started, the boys pulled upon 
deck, and Biggerstaff called up by General Benton who 
at once gave him the promised reward in five bran 
new one dollar bills. 

After crossing the bayou we went on to Carthage 
and then marched six miles farther down the river, 
and camped on a plantation known as "Perkins' 
Place." The next clay we moved at four p. M. and 
took up our quarters on some reasonably dry ground, 
which but a few days ago was occupied by the 
rebel soldiers. During the night some of our trans- 


ports with supplies ran past Yicksburg and it kept us 
busy next day unloading them. 


On Sunday, April twenty-sixth, Governor Yates of 
our State made us a visit. He was in company with 
General McClernand. Both made short speeches to 
the soldiers. The soldier boys think there is no one to 
excel " Uncle Dick Yates." Wherever he is seen by the 
Illinois soldiers a lively time commences. They do not 
stop -for any ceremony, but at once cry out " Hurrah 
for Dick Yates." All who can get near him shake 
hands with him. Every Illinois boy knows him by 
sight. The reception he meets must be tiresome, but 
he seems to enjoy it hugely. It is plain that Gov- 
ernor Yates is popular with the soldier boys. 



DURING our advance we have met many things that 
show that the rebels are sadly at fault as to the real 
spirit and feeling of the Northern soldiers. Their 
newspapers show that they believe that the Union 
soldiers, if not in actual sympathy with them, at least 
are opposed to fighting the rebels upon Southern 
ground. As we advance we find copies of their late 


papers. They seem to fully believe that the Northern 
soldiers only enlisted to protect their own States from 
invasion. They believe that all the State troops are 
anxious and determined to return to their own States. 
This would only leave a few lonely soldiers of the reg- 
ular army for the rebels to dispose of. 

One of their late papers is a curiosity. It contains 
a strong, pleading appeal to the Northern volunteer 
soldiers to unite and demand that their officers imme- 
diately lead them back to their own States. The 
sanguine rebels evidently thought that it would create 
a wonderful effect upon the Union volunteer soldiers, 
and went to extreme lengths to be sure that copies of 
the paper should be placed in their hands. As we 
advanced, the papers containing the fatal appeal came 
to us in every conceivable way. They were upon the 
roadside cunningly placed in every place a soldier 
was apt to investigate. Even the secesh women were 
made useful. They, all at once, became extremely 
sociable, and every time an opportunity offered, they 
would slyly place some of the wonderful papers in the 
hands of our soldiers; acting as though they were 
doing such an awful act that their lives would be 
sacrificed if any of the Union officers should detect 
them. Judged from their own belief and standpoint 
these Southern women exhibited the highest bravery. 
For the Union soldiers it was huge fun. The absurd- 
ity of such oft- repeated scenes was increased by our 
soldiers falling into the spirit of it. They would, 
apparently in just as sly a manner, instantly hide the 
paper until out of sight of the fair distributors. 
Never before had they been furnished with newspa- 


pers by such pretty newsboys. It was truly a comical 
scene; the rebels using their wives and daughters, 
dressed in their prettiest gowns and smiles, to place a 
fearful engine of destruction in the way of their 
enemies. Upon one side were the Southerners in dead 
earnest, on the other, the entire Union army laughing 
at the way in which they were receiving handfuls of 
harmless Southern newspapers. While it lasted it was 
one of the highest jokes of our army life. Growing 
out of it many a jest passed through the army lines. 
Among other things it was reported, whether true 
or not no one stopped to inquire, that one timid offi- 
cer of the regular army became so alarmed that he 
went to General Grant with the suggestion that an 
order ought to be issued to prevent rebel newspapers 
from falling into the hands of our soldiers. To which 
Grant is said to have replied: "Yes, yes, I understand 
all about it, and if it becomes necessary I will ap- 
point you (stopping to light a fresh cigar) to be 
news agent to see that the Southern newspapers are 
promptly distributed to my soldiers." 


The regiment remained at Perkins'' Place a week. 
It rained much of the time. The ground and every 
thing was wet and damp. It was a fearful time for all 
of us who were on the sick list. To add to ail else, our 
supply of quinine gave out. Chills and fever in such 
a damp and unhealthj^ place and climate without any 
quinine to check them, are fearful. Then the dread 
of being left when the advance was made. It is the 
daily talk that we are now to make a move upon 

200 AKMY LIE. 

Vicksburg. None doubt its success. All anticipate 
participating in a battle that will become historical. 
One who is sick two or three days now may miss the 
opportunity of participating in the great battle of 
the war. 

Tuesday, April twenty-eighth, the regiment went 
upon a boat and went down the river nearly to Grand 
Gulf, and then landed upon the west bank of the 
Mississippi. It was a sad squad of us who were left 
in the hospital tent. As our doctor was leaving he 
called the attention of the one left in charge, to two 
of us who were lying near together, saying : " These 
two men of Company A you must treat with care or 
they will not live." My sick comrade proved the 
prediction to be well taken. Poor fellow, he never 
carried his gun again, but was buried upon the 
banks of the Mississippi. I was bound to see Vicks- 
burg, and lived. The truth probably was that the 
fearful ague shakes, without any quinine to check 
them, had made me appear much sicker than I was. 
On Thursday morning a wagon with medical sup- 
plies came to our post. At my earnest request the 
young doctor left with us went and got a liberal sup- 
ply of quinine for me. Either because he had not 
time to distribute it in doses or because he thought 
it made no great difference, he gave it to me in bulk 
to use as I wished. I commenced taking it freely 
and by afternoon called for something to eat. By 
night I could eat quite a moderate supper. 

I not only got the quinine but during the day Gen- 
eral Hovey can.e up the river and stopped at our 
camp. For some reason he leaves the army. He 


brought the information that onr troops are now be- 
low Grand Gulf and crossing the Mississippi over to 
the Yicksburg side, the Thirty-third in advance. Now 
is the time to be there. The big battle is liable to be 
fought within a week. 


Friday morning, May first, found me with sufficient 
strength to walk, and I determined to make an effort 
to go forward. A good-natured soldier who happened 
near carried my gun and knapsack on board a steam- 
boat that was getting ready to go down the river. I went 
aboard, selected a good place on deck, spread my blank- 
ets, and thus the boat was bound to take me when- 
ever it started. This was not as much an undertaking 
as people at home would suppose. If a soldier is sick 
in the army, one place is just as good as another for him. 
No worse camp ground can be found than the one I 
was leaving. As to going forward on rny own hook, 
that was all right. Every one was in the midst of the 
commotion created by a moving army. There was 
no one to issue any orders, so I issued my own and 
went as I chose. I could have gone north or any- 
where else, and no objections would have been made. 
The quinine held out and I gained strength rapidly 
all day. The boat was late in starting and did not 
reach the landing to which it was destined until night. 
As the boat was not to move again until the next day, 
I retained my quarters on board all night. 

Saturday morning I went ashore. Onr landing- 
place \vas about four miles' above Grand Gulf, and on 


the west side of the river. From here we march over- 
land so as to pass Grand Gulf, which is occupied by 
some strong rebel batteries. The rebel fort is at the 
point of the river bend. By inarching across two and 
one half miles we struck the river at a point over 
three miles below the rebel forts. Had we followed 
the course of the river the distance would have been 
some seven miles. 

We find quite a fleet at this point. The transports 
are very busy carrying the army over the river. The 
gunboats standing guard. While waiting we were en- 
tertained by looking at the gunboat Lafayette, which 
went up and exchanged a few shots with the rebel forts. 
!No apparent damage was done on either side. 

One of our transports was soon ready to start. I 
took passage upon it and went down the river about 
twelve miles, and at three p. M. landed at Bruins- 
burg, Mississippi. The first thing we saw upon land- 
ing was a lot of rebel prisoners who were taken in the 
hot fight at Magnolia Hills the day before. 

Having an independent command of my own con- 
sisting of myself alone I was not delayed by others, 
and immediately started forward. My quinine held 
out, its liberal use kept the chills off, and I was gain- 
ing strength rapidly. My gun and knapsack, how- 
ever, made a load too heavy for me to carry, so I set 
about to find some transportation. I struck a good- 
natured teamster who was driving a team and wagon 
belonging to a regiment of the regular army who 
agreed to carry my gun and knapsack. By the time 
he was ready to start forward we had become quite 
well acquainted, the result of which was that I paid 


for a ride for myself by telling army stories to the 
driver. When the wagon train reached the end of 
its day's journey, it still being earl}- in the afternoon, 
I concluded to go forward. As I had done most of 
my day's march by riding, I concluded that a little 
evening walk would be beneficial. I went forward 
as far as the battle field of the day before, and took 
up quarters for the night with some soldiers who had 
been sent back to pick up the guns, etc., that were 
strewn upon the field. 



SUNDAY morning I went forward and passed over 
much of the hard-fonght battle field of Friday. 

The battle field presented a scene both grand and 
terrible. The dead had nearly all been buried and all 
of the wounded taken to the field hospitals. Enough 
remained, however, to plainly show how fierce the 
struggle had been. Horses, mules, wagons and guns, 
both large and small, lay strewn upon the field, often 
heaped together in a huge, misshapen mass, and 
the strong forest trees, the staunch old oaks, the beau- 
tiful magnolias, were torn and scattered as though 
fierce tornadoes had swept them down. 

The ground that was fought over beggars descrip- 
tion. The huge hills and deep gnlleys running and 


counter-running in every direction created a wild and 
broken country. What a place for a battle field! 

Taking position upon the top of the high hills the 
Confederates supposed it impossible for them to be dis- 
lodged. They were certain, they thought, that a suc- 
cessful charge could not be made against them. This 
belief was a natural one. It would naturally be sup-- 
posed that a steep hill or mountain side, with an as- 
cent so steep that soldiers could only with great diffi- 
culty climb it, would be the easiest defended and the 
most dangerous ground for an attempted charge. Our 
soldiers soon learned differently. They discovered 
that whenever the enemy held the top of a high hill a 
charge could be made up its steep sides much more 
safely than upon more level ground. Even when it 
was so steep that they had to support themselves by 
catching hold of the underbrush and limbs of trees 
and even actually climbing up on their hands and feet 
they could successfully charge the enemy who was 
holding the brow of the hill. 

One reason why this is so arises from the fact that it 
is almost impossible for those on the top of a high 
elevation to fire low enough to harm those advancing 
np the elevation. In an open field fight a charge up 
the side of a high hill or mountain side is the safest 
one that can be made. 

The Confederates upon the top always fired over the 
heads of the Union boys. Our. soldiers found that 
they could safely run up hill, under the enemy's bullets 
without firing and when they reached the top they 
would, with loaded guns, meet the Confederates with 
unloaded guns in their hands. All the rebels could 


do under such circumstances was to seek safety in 
running down the other side of the hill. Thus each 
Union charge up the steep sides of Magnolia Hills 
was successful. 

When within two miles of Port Gibson, T stopped 
to eat "breakfast, and had barely finished when some 
of our soldiers came up and said that we were on dan- 
gerous ground, as an attack was expected from the 
rear. Upon reaching the open road, 1 was surprised 
to find that, while I was eating breakfast, a line 
of battle had been formed within two hundred yards 
of and fronting toward us. My companions in the re- 
C3ipt of the cheerful information were an old col- 
ored man arid his wife, living in a log cabin by the 
roadside, and at whose fire I had made some coffee. 
They were thoroughly alarmed, and without ceremony 
rushed through the Union line of battle, and sought 
safety in its rear. I went up and joined the Union 
line of battle. In a short time our scouts came back 
with the information that rebels were running away 
instead of coming up for a fight. I then bid the 
Union soldiers farewell and pushed ahead. 


I soon reached Port Gibson. Here I learned that 
Carr's division had started for Grand Gulf. I started 
forward and soon found the Thirty-third. They were 
slowly advancing with a skirmish line in front. When 
we got within four miles of Grand Gulf, information 
was received that the forts at Grand Gulf had been 
evacuated by the rebels and were now in the hands of 
our soldiers. Thus our mission in that direction was 


ended. We now returned to Port Gibson, crossed the 
bayou and . marched five miles toward Black River. 
At night we camped in line of battle, in a field of 
growing corn which the boys pulled and placed under 
their blankets to keep them out of the mud. 

We lay still most of the day Monday. Toward 
night moved forward and crossed a small stream called 
Stone River. 

On Tuesday our brigade had a sort of amass meet- 
ing. General Ben ton and other officers made speeches 
to the soldiers complimenting them upon their ac- 
tion in the late battle. 

The next day Company A went out on a foraging 
trip. All we found was a little corn meal. 


Thursday we started at three A. M. and marched 
fifteen miles, and camped near Rocky Springs. The 
advance drove the enemy as we advanced. 

General Grant informally reviewed our troops on 
Friday by passing in front of our lines in company 
with General McClernand, Logan, Carr, A. P. Hovey, 
Ben ton and others. 

We were called up at one o'clock Saturday morn- 
ing, at three we started forward and marched nine 

Sunday, May tenth, we remained in camp. We 
hear that Sherman's corps is crossing the Mississippi 
at Grand Gulf. 

The entire army will soon be on the ground and 
ready to advance on Vicksburg, which we are now 


within twenty miles of. The next day Sherman's 
men commenced coming up. 

Tuesday we marched forward to within six miles 
of the railroad running into Vicksburg from the east. 
Our advance had a sharp skirmish with the enemy. 
We learn that the Confederates are in force upon the 
railroad in front of us, and in the neighborhood of 
Edwards' Station. Indications of an approaching bat- 
tle are seen upon every hand. 

Wednesday, May fifteenth, we started forward ex- 
pecting to have a battle with the enemy in our front at 
Edwards' Station. After going two miles we turned 
toward the right and started east toward Raymond, 
at which place some of our troops were having an 
engagement with some of' the enemy.' The battle 
was over and our troops victorious before we got 

The battle of Raymond was an illustration of what 
odds a brilliant, determined effort can often over- 
come. The battle was fought by General Logan with 
a small force against an enemy three or four times as 
strong in numbers. Logan determined to hold his 
ground at all hazards until other Union troops could 
reach him. The Confederates, evidently posted as to 
the small -number of Union troops engaged, pressed 
on determined to crush the small Union force. The 
battle had continued some considerable time and 
the heavy mass of rebels was pressing down upon 
the little band of Yankee boys with increased zeaJ. 
Seeing how his soldiers were suffering Logan became 
mad and with a number of strong words (when oc- 
casion requires, Logan, like Washington, sometimes 


swears in the army) he told his soldiers to " give the 
rebels hell," and started the work by himself, leading a 
fierce charge upon the enemy's line. With aloud hur- 
rah the entire command went forward on a fierce run 
and in less than five minutes the entire Confederate 
force was on a disorganized race to the rear, and the 
battle won by the Union boys. 

Logan had learned one great secret of a battle field ; 
in all sharply contested open field battles a time is 
sure to come when each side is so much in doubt as 
to the actual condition of affairs, and so uncertain as 
to what the result is to be, that if one side will press 
forward with sufficient rapidity and determination, 
the other is sure to give way. In other words in all 
sharply contested battles both sides are at times beaten 
and tenacity and vim win the day. 

A small number of soldiers who have confidence in 
themselves, in each other, and in their officers, can any 
day take a field from thrice their number of timid 
souls. Confidence, tenacity, rapidity, determination 
and vim, with moderate skill always win upon a bat- 
tle field. 

Our entire army, it will be remembered, had turned 
to the east, leaving the main Confederate army 
at liberty to fall in our rear. Looking upon our ac- 
tion of this day with the light of later events it will 
be clearly seen that General Grant's action was one 
of the most audacious ever taken IP. the face of a strong 
enemy. The Confederates were known to be in force 
in front of us at Edwards' Station. To go on and at- 
tack them our army would be facing to the north, 
theirs to the south. In case of a repulse we could 


fall back to the protection of our gunboats on the 
Mississippi River. At the same time the enemy, if 
defeated, could fall back and then retreat to the inte- 
rior of Mississippi. By going toward Jackson we left 
the large Confederate force in position where it could 
fall into our rear. Not onlv this, but by taking that 

t/ c5 

route we would drive all of the rebels into one body 
and thus strengthen them for the great battle that was 
evidently near at hand. The course taken by Gen- 
eral Grant was to go to Jackson, throw his entire 
army between the Confederates and their only route 
for retreat, thus producing this condition of affairs: 
If defeated, the enemy could only fall back and be 
penned in at Yicksburg, and on the other hand, the 
Union army, if defeated, would be entirely destroyed, 
because there would be no possible road for retreat left 
open. All of these things were well understood by the 
army, and as We turned toward the east all were elated 
with the audacity of the movement. No one doubted 
our ability to drive the enemy when the time came 
for the fatal blow to be struck. The confidence of the 
army in itself and in its commander was unbounded. 
The ver}^ audacity of our movement in turning to the 
east and leaving the enemy to fall into our rear if he 
chose, increased the enthusiasm of every soldier in the 
ranks. Each one felt as though he had said to the 
rebels: "You are not of much account, tumble into 
our rear if you like." Grant's movement in the rear 
of Yicksburg was like that of a farmer gathering up a 
flock of sheep. A few scattering ones are not worth 
trying to drive in. The object is to surround the en- 
tire flock and drive them all into the pen together. 


On Thursday we passed through Raymond and con- 
tinued our march toward Jackson, camping at night 
within five miles of that city, the capital of Missis- 
sippi. A dispatch soon came informing us that our 
troops had taken the place and that General Grant's 
head-quarters for the night were established in the city. 

Jackson being safely in our hands, and our army 
having now got outside of all of the Confederate sol- 
diers connected with the Yicksbnrg army, we were 
ordered to "About face " and started upon our inarch 
to drive them in. On Frid;iy we went through Ray- 
mond and then three miles farther on toward Yicks- 
burg. Our advance under Osterhaus had a sharp 
skirmish with the enemy. As we camped for the 
night, every thing assured us that a stubborn battle 
was now to be fought. We were now fronting west 
toward Yicksburg. All of the scattering bands of reb- 
els had been driven in. Our cavalry scouts brought 
back word that the entire Confederate army had come 
up and were now in line of battle in our immediate 
front. On our side, we slept in line of battle with our 
guns by our sides and ready for any emergency. 



AT an early hour on Saturday morning, May 16, 
1863, our entire army was aroused, a hasty breakfast 


consisting of some coffee and hard tack eaten, and 
every thing put in readiness for the coming contest. 
The thick woods in our front covered the Confederate 
army lying there and waiting for us. The ground 
was broken and hilly as well as covered with a heavy 
growth of timber. Many capital positions could be 
selected by an army that chose to stand on the de- 
fensive. This was the course taken by the enemy. 
Between where we had camped for the night and the 
wooded hills where the rebels had taken their stand 
was some open ground. 

Our army corps, the thirteenth, was the left of the 
advancing Union army. At an early hour, between 
seven and eight o'clock, and before we were fairly un- 
der way, we heard the first guns of the day's contest. 
It was commenced by the advance of our corps and 
to our extreme left. This first firing being thus to 
the left of our army suggested the probability that 
the enemy was attempting to pass from the immedi- 
ate front of our army and probably looking for away 
to escape instead of maintaining his fighting ground. 

Our heavy infantry columns immediately went for- 
ward. As they did so the slight firing we had heard 
in front of our left passed along to our center and be- 
came somewhat heavier. It now became apparent 
that the rebels had determined to make a stubborn 
stand. . Of course all the firing yet done had been 
only that of the advance skirmishers on both sides. 
The tell-tale stubbornness with which the rebel skir- 
mishers stood their ground, in our front, plainly 
showed that heavy forces of the enemy were immedi- 
ately behind them. A soldier, by observation, will 


learn so as to know when a strong force of the en- 
emy is near at hand as plainly as an experienced sea 
captain, when upon the water, can tell when a fierce 
storm is approaching. As we neared the open woods 
in our front we formed in army line in the open 
fields and were all ready to march in and attack the 
waiting rebels. 

Now a strange- and wonderful day's experience 
opened before us. Although we were the first of the 
Union troops upon the ground, and within striking 
distance of the enemy, we lay still and made no for- 
ward move. A ten minutes' march would have 
brought us upon the main rebel line. The real bat- 
tle had not yet commenced. We formed in line and 
waited. During the day all of the varied phases of 
the fierce battle could be noted by us. 

Fleavy firing soon told us that the real battle had 
commenced. Now a fierce artillery duel would be 
fought and then succeeded by the more desperate and 
stubborn conflict of small arms. Then a seeming 
lull in the contest would be again followed by the 
fierce roar of artillerj', and this again followed by an 
infantry contest. Up and down the line the thunder 
roar of the battle would go; at one time fierce at one 
point, then to quiet there and rage with increased fury 
at another. The heavy cloud of battle smoke, as the 
dark mass arose above the trees, also told its story of. 
the fierce contest. Now and then we would plainly 
hear the \vild cheers of the Northern boys as some 
of our troops would charge upon and carry some 
point held by the enemy. During all this time we 
lay still. No order for us to go forward was given. 


As the hours passed by some of our impatient sol- 
diers would leave the ranks and go forward into the 
woods and then return with news of the battle. From 
them and other sources we had almost continual in- 
formation from the front. This was hardly necessary, 
however, for we were so near that the smoke of battle, 
the firing guns and the varied soundsof the fierce strug- 
gle plainly told us of advances and retreats made. 
The progress of the battle was ever before us. 

At last, after long waiting and much wondering 
why we were not permitted to go forward and share in 
the fierce conflict, the order to " Forward, march," was 
giv-en. In a brief moment we were on the way. As 
we started the wild and advancing cheers that rose 
above the battle roar told us that the Union troops 
were making a fierce and successful charge upon the 
rebel lines. As we went in the battle was well-nigh 
over; we went into the woods and struck the right 
wing of the rebel army. It vanished before us like 
snow beneath the summer sun. Had we struck this 
wing of the rebel army an hour earlier it would have 
been thrown upon the enemy's center and the confusion 
that would then have overwhelmed them would have 
led to the destruction of the entire rebel army. As 
it was, at the time when we struck them, the Union 
troops under McPherson had made their last charge 
and driven in the main rebel line, so that all were now 
u pon a fierce run to escape. Had we beet) soon enough 
the confusion in the rebel lines would have been so 
great that they could not have seen any open way of 
escape and they would have been obliged to throw 
down their arms and surrender en masse. 


"We drove all before us and then rushed on to the 
main road where the fiercest contest of the battle had 
been fought. The hill upon which the enemy had 
made his most desperate contest was thickly covered 
with the dead of both sides. Broken guns and ruin 
covered the field. Rebel artillery with its horses and 
men were here and there all heaped together in a 
mountain of death and ruin. Over this gory field 
we rushed, and on into the woods beyond where we 
struck all that was left of the rebel army. It was the 
last shot of the day. The frightened enemy hardly 
having courage to return our first fire. We cut the 
remains of the rebel arrny apart. The largest force 
was driven toward Vicksburg. The other part ran 
over the hills and went to the east. The Thirty-third 
had been given the advance of the reserve force as it 
went upon the field. The last guns fired in the bat- 
tle of Champion Hills was by our men and at the force 
of the enemy we drove to the rear. 

Many pieces of rebel artillery fell to our hands. 
Hosts of rebels surrendered as we advanced. These 
were left for others to guard, as we pushed on, rapidly 
following the retreating rebels. Letting those who 
had gone to the east pursue their way to escape or be 
captured by other Union forces as their fate might be, 
we pushed toward the west after the rebels who were 
retreating toward Yicksburg. Darkness soon ended 
our pursuit and we stopped for the night at Edwards' 

At night, as the full results of the battle became 
known, it was found that a great victory had been won 
by our troops. 


Having become historical, and its general results 
being open to all who choose to refer to the pages of 
written history, it is not necessary to here recount at 
large the scenes and results of the battle of Champion 



SUNDAY morning, May 17, 1863, found us ready to 
move forward as soon as it was light enough to march. 
We were now given the advance. A rapid march 
brought us within sight of the rebel works at Black 
River. The ^outside picket guards were driven in 
without difficulty. 

The conditions for a stubborn defense were ample. 
The rebel position was a strong one. At this point 
Black River is a stream of considerable size. The 
wagon road to Vicksburg, as well as the railroad, hero 
crosses the river. On the west side of Black River 
are some high bluffs. We were approaching from 
the east. Why the Confederates did not select these 
bluffs on the west side of the river as the place for 
their fortifications, it is hard to tell; they probably 
thought the position chosen preferable. It certainly 
was a mistake. Still, the place selected for their forti- 
fications was by no means a weak one. Had not the 
west bank of Black River furnished stronger natural 
positions, that selected by the rebels would have been. 


considered a wiso selection. Some little distance from 
the east side of the main river was a channel of con- 
siderable width and depth. This virtually created an 
island, which lay between the main river arid this 
channel or bayou. The island was the place selected 
by the enemy for his fortifications. The island was of 
sufficient size, and the ground being comparatively 
level and unbroken, it was probably selected by the reb- 
els as a better place for the movement of troops than 
would have been the uneven hills upon the west side 
of the river. Again, east of the bayou was a smooth 
valley varying from half a mile to a mile in width. 
As the attacking force would have to pass over this 
level ground, the rebels doubtless thought that they 
could easily destroy all who attempted to approach, 
before their works could be reached. 

A range of forts well supplied with heavy artillery 
had been built along the east side of the bayou. 
These had been connected with a complete chain of 
breastworks for the enemy's infantry. Thus an at- 
tacking force would have to first charge over a wide 
space of level ground ; then pass a deep and wide stream 
of water, and then climb the rebel fortifications upon 
the bank of the channel before they could reach the 
well fortified rebels. What possessed the enemy to 
waste so much valuable strength in fighting in the 
open woods upon Champion Hills when Black River, 
so near at hand, afforded them such superior positions 
of defense, is, indeed, a marvel. 

We were upon the skirmish line and consequently 
the first troops in sight of the enemy that morning. 
The position our company held was next to and upon 


the south side of the road running west toward Vicks- 
burg. This brought us in front of the center and 
strongest part of the enemy's works. The valley be- 
tween the rebel works and the small wood- covered 
hills was at this point a little over half of a mile in 
width. The valley at this point had been a culti- 
vated corn or cane Held. The previous year's furrows 
ran parallel with the rebel works. The small hills 
back of this field were covered with a thick growth 
of underbrush. Had the enemy been thoughtful and 
industrious enough to have cut and burned all of the 
small trees and brush upon these hills as far back as 
heavy artillery could reach, it would have been of un- 
told advantage to him. To our right the valley less- 
ened in width so that the ground covered with trees 
reached nearer to the rebel works. To our left it con- 
tinued to widen so that the rebel works upon that 
part of the line had at least a mile of level ground 
over which to fire. 

Our early morning call had evidently greatly sur- 
prised the indolent enemy. As we, upon the skir- 
mish line, came out of the woods and upon the level 
field in front of their works, we beheld wild confusion 
in the rebel lines. Evidently they ha 1 not yet all gut 
up and finished their breakfast, much less formed 
into line ready to meet us. All were aroused and 
called into line. If we had been supported by a solid 
column, at that moment, we could no doubt have 
rushed over and taken the works before the enemy 
was prepared to defend them. But just then the Un- 
ion troops at hand were only those of a small skirmish 
line of barely sufficient strength to feel of the euenry. 


From the ground we were upon, all of the move- 
ments of the enemy could be plainly noted. Officers 
mounted in hot haste and rushed among the rebel sol- 
diers to arouse and hurry them into position. Every 
movement of the enemy was plainly seen by us. We 
could note the strength of each rebel command and 
see to which part of the line it was sent. Probably 
no battle was ever before fought which was so com- 
pletely seen from its commencement to its end as was 
the battle of Black River by those of us who were 
upon the advance skirmish line. 

To get as near to the rebel works as we did upon 
such ground was wonderful. For any of us to live 
through the fight that ensued, holding the position we 
did, was a miracle. Our ability to advance so close to 
them was no doubt largelj 7 owing to the confusion in 
the enemy's ranks caused by our early approach. 
The first firing of the rebels was fearfully wild. They 
seemed only to put the muzzles of their guns over 
their breastworks and fire into the air at random. 
Such firing is more to hit those far in the rear as 
the bullets fall to the ground, than to trouble those 
who, like us, are near at hand. Now and then a gun 
in the hands of a cool-headed rebel would be fired 
with more judgment a" our line. A few were hit. I 
supposed that I was one of the unfortunate ones. A 
rifle ball passed near enough to " burn" my face. I 
then knew by experience how it was with so many 
others who for a moment supposed they were hit, 
when they were not. I plainly felt a hole cut 
through my cheek. That the passing bullet had cut 
a deep, long gash through the side of my face I did 


not doubt. I immediately put up ray hand to see 
how much of my cheek was left, and to my glad sur- 
prise found that the bullet had simply grazed and not 
cut me. Those who have experienced both, insist 
that at the first moment, a bullet that passes near 
enough to "burn" by the "hot wind" of a swift re- 
volving bullet, produces a much sharper sting than 
that caused by a direct shot. 

Our skirmish line pressed well forward, much far- 
ther than prudence would have permitted, and then 
each selected the best place he could find and lay 
upon the ground and commenced to load and fire as 
opportunity offered. Amidst thickly flying bullets it 
is surprising how small an elevation of ground a sol- 
dier can make available as breastwork. The roug-h 


plowing of the previous year's crop had left deep fur- 
rows and corresponding ridges, the best of which 
served us well during the hot fight in which we were 
engaged. The success with which a soldier can, under 
such circumstances, apparently sink into the ground 
and out of sight while loading his gun, can not be 
realized by those who have never seen it done. 

Some of our artillery were soon in place on the 
hills behind us and commenced their work upon the 
enemy. The artillery was supported by the infantry 
columns. This heavy force on the higher ground in 
our rear soon claimed the entire attention of the rebels 
in our front. They no doubt also believed that all 
who had advanced on the skirmish line had been 
killed. These things combined caused us to be neg- 
lected by the enemy so that we were at liberty to load 
and fire at pleasure and almost unmolested. While 


it, no, doubt, did far more harm in the rebel ranks, 
still the few guns on the skirmish line attracted no 
attention when mingled with the fierce firing of the two 
contending armies. And then onr nearness to the rebel 
line made it difficult for them to look over their works 
to take effective aim at us. Even when the condi- 
tions of the ground are favorable, the experience of 
war is that most of the firing done' carries the balls 
high above the effective point. Situated as we were 
it was safe to calculate that the rebel, bullets would 
pass above us. There being so much vacant space in 
the open air compared with the little space occupied 
by one individual, is the reason whyso few are killed 
compared with the amount of lead shot in battle. 
The space occupied by a man is but a mere speck 
compared with. all out doors,and there are a thousand 
chances to miss, to one to hit him with the ball of a 
random shot. 

Our artillery had a capital position. The hills 
upon which our cannon were placed were within 
easy range of the rebel works. Our gunners were 
much better marksmen than those handling the rebel 
artillery. The thick underbrush completely covered 
the movements of our men. An entire battery would 
be $ run into position under cover of the thick young 
trees, careful aim taken and then altogether com- 
mence a rapid fire upon the rebel works. As soon as 
the rebel artillery began to get their guns bearing on 
the spot our men would run their guns to another 
point and the first notice of the change the enemy 
would get was another well-aimed volley. With dif- 
ferent batteries doin^r this and a fine range of favor- 


able ground to stand upon our artillery did most ef- 
fective work. With our sharp-shooters on the skir- 
mish line so near at hand to annoy every one who 
attempted to handle a rebel cannon, and our artillery- 
men so well improving their opportunities, the result 
of the artillery duel was favorable to the Union side. 
All things coYnbined produced the strange result, 
that superior artillery protected by complete works 
was worsted by smaller guns in the open field. Dur- 
ing the tight many of the protected rebel guns were 
dismounted, while our artillery out in the open field 
escaped with but little harm. 

Thus the battle raged with our cannon in our rear, 
and the rebel guns in our front, both firing over us. 
We were fortunately low enough so that both sides 
fired their balls and shells above us. The smoke and 
confusion of the heavy contest also served to withdraw 
all attention from our skirmish line and left us free 
to use our trusty rifles to the best advantage. After 
the engagement had commenced in earnest, the great- 
est danger we were in was from imperfect shells which 
would burst on the way, and from faulty charges of 
powder or misdirected guns which now and then 
sent iron and lead to plow the ground where we lay. 

It would be useless to attempt to describe the ter- 
rific scenes of this, fierce contest as viewed from the 
position we held between the two contending forces. 
The heavy battle smoke rapidly rising continually 
opened the entire scene to our view. Even in the 
hottest of the fight every move of the enemy could be 
noted by us. One rebel officer, mounted upon a pow- 
erful white horse, attracted unusual attention. As he 


first started at the beginning of the fight lie appeared 
to be supported by a numerous staff. His daring was 
so reckless that he often became the mark our rifle- 
men aimed at. As time passed swiftly on, one by one 
of his assistants were seen to be disabled. He rode 
until the last of his staff had fallen or left the field, 
and still the rider upon the white horsfe, within range 
of our guns, continued to inspire the rebel soldiers. 
At last, as it became plain that the day was soon to 
be ours, a desire seemed to spring up to let the reck- 
less rider live, and he was permitted to ride away at 
the last unharmed. As the artillery battle reached 
its height, all incidents and individual matters were 
absorbed by the fierce grandeur of the terrific storm 
raging around and above us. Fora time the cannon in 
front of us, the cannon behind us, the cannon around 
us, thundered and roared and poured forth their fierce 
storm of fire and shot. Look to the front, look to the 
rear, look everywhere and the red-mouthed artillery 
seemed opened upon us. Above us was the black cloud 
of battle smoke, through which crashed and burst and 
screamed the murderous shell and ball. But few ever 
looked upon what we saw during that hour, and lived 
to tell the tale of the day's conflict. Imagination has 
often suggested that the grandest place from which to 
view a battle scene would be from a stationary balloon 
anchored high above the field of battle, and from 
thence to look down upon both contending forces. 
Even this would not prove equal to the position we 
held, because the rising smoke would then obscure the 
view, while with us, the dense cloud continually rose 


so that we could look beneatli it and see the entire 
fury of the fierce conflict. 

Although the gigantic grandeur of the conflict was 
created by the heavy artillery and the solid ranks of 
infantry in our rear, still the most effective work of 
the entire battle was done by the line of skirmishers, 
who, with their trusty rifles, had approached so near 
the rebel works. "We held our ground during the en- 
tire battle. In fact it was better to do so than to 
have attemped to go back while so plainly within 
range of the rebel guns. I had a little experience in 
this. Near to me was John Spradling of our com- 
pany. A piece of bursting shell struck him in the 
side or top part of his hip inflicting a fearful wound. 
He supposed that it was fatal and told us that he 
would soon die. His wound bled badly but his 
strength remained so well that he soon thought that 
if he could get medical aid there might still be a 
chance for him to live. If death is inevitable a sol- 
dier will die without a single word of complaint. 
While there is hope of life he is anxious to improve 
it. Spradling became wildly anxious to get back 
where his wound could be attended to before he bled 
to death. He desired me to help him. It was a dan- 
gerous undertaking. The artillery on both sides was 
still firing rapidly. Standing up incurred more dan- 
ger from the balls and shells swiftly flying from both 
front and rear over our heads. The worst, however, 
was to slowly walk over so much exposed ground, and 
that in plain sight and range of the solid line of rebel 
riflemen. The hope was that they would not care to 
waste any shot at a crippled soldier and his assistant, 

224: ARMY LIFE. 

to the rear. I got our wounded comrade up and 

o i 

started. With rny gun fastened upon one shoulder 
a soldier never abandons his gun I lent my other 
shoulder and arm to the wounded man. He was so 
injured that practically he could use only one 
foot to assist in the walk. Going back in this condi- 
tion was slow and tedious. The hope of magnanimity 
on the part of the rebels was misplaced. We had not 
gone far before the screeching rifle balls aimed at us 
commenced hissing by our ears. Spradling knew that 
he would die if he stayed upon the field. Another 
ball could do no more than kill him. He begged to go 
on. Asa soldier who could yet be useful in front I 
ought not to have taken the chances. But who 
could withstand the pleading of a wounded soldier. 
And then who could tell what the result would be? 
The chances were even that he would be hit as soon 
as I. Then my mission toward the rear would be 
ended. A soldier's life makes all reckless of danger. 
All places in the midst of a fierce battle are danger- 
ous. What great difference did it make, for us to go 
or stay? I told Spradling to brace up and we would 
continue until one or the other of us fell. It is not 
wild to say that, during our tedious journey, at least 
a thousand rifle balls aimed at us passed near, and, 
strange to say, neither of us was touched. There 
must have been some special Providence that protected 
us. With much difficulty I managed to get back over 
the open ground, reached the woods, dragged our 
wounded comrade up over the hill and then back until 
we met a squad with their white badges, and a 
stretcher in whose hands I placed the wounded sol- 


dier and who carried him back to the field hospital 
where his wounds could be dressed. 

Relieved of our wounded soldier I turned and 
immediately went forward to rejoin my comrades. It 
is usual in such cases to remain with the main line 
and not hazard the attempt to reach the skirmish 
line in front. Probably it would be more correct to 
state the fact that it is always usual in all battles for 
the entire skirmish line to fall back out of the way 
when the actual engagement commences. It was 
only owing to the peculiar condition of the ground 
upon which it was fought that in this battle we upon 
the skirmish line retained our advanced position and 
allowed the heavy firing to be done over our heads. 

Many indications told us that the battle would soon 
be ended. Most of the rebel cannon had been silenced. 
The rebel infantry began to exhibit evidences of 
uneasiness. I was anxious to be in at the end. To 
go forward was of course far different from what 
my retreat had been. Being alone I could skip along 
lively. There was a chance to select the ground and 
now and then dodge behind some protection. In 
short, going back was not by any manner of means a 
matter of recklessness. 

My return had been none too soon. I had hardly- 
reached our skirmish line when the last move in the 
battle of Black River was made. It was a brisk, sharp 
and successful charge upon the rebel works. This is 
how it happened: The woods to our right ran well 
down toward the rebel works. Colonel Bailey of the 
Ninety-ninth Illinois "old rough and ready num- 
ber two," General Ben ton had called him after the 


battle of Magnolia Hills was witli the advance. In 
their zeal the Union soldiers had pressed to the verge 
of the woods which brought them near to the rebel 
works. It became right hot for our boys so near to 
the enemy's lines. They had no orders to go farther; 
in fact, had already pushed on farther than orders had 
been given for them to go. The proper thing to have 
done was to have fallen back to a less exposed posi- 
tion. Colonel Bailey was one of those awkward offi- 
cers who could never learn military rules. His only 
idea of war was to pitch in and whip the enemy 
whenever and wherever he could be found. By his 
impetuosity lie became the hero of the day's battle. 
Had his unauthorized movement failed he would 
probably have been at least dismissed from the army. 
"No, he would not. Had it failed and he come out of 
it alive, he might have been tried bj 7 a court-martial, 
but that never would have happened. His rash act 
was bound to succeed or Colonel Bailey would have 
been killed in the attempt. 

Finding it disagreeable to be so near the rebel 
works and seeing the effective fire upon his soldiers, 
Colonel Bailey became fighting mad and yelled out 
in thundering tones that rang along the line: " Boys, 

it is getting too d hot here. Let us go for the 

the cussed rebels! " Before the last word was out of 
his mouth, with a. drawn sword flashing in the air, he 
was on a fierce run toward the rebel works. With a 
wild hurrah his entire command joined him in the 
wild raee. Others to the right and left, without a 
moment's delay or a single command, joined in the 
mad career, and thus with wild cheers the entire 


Union line joined in a charge upon the rebel works. 

The disheartened Confederates having already suf- 
fered so severely, and vividly remembering the fearful 
pounding they had received the day before at Cham- 
pion Hills, at once gave up all hope of further defense 
and immediately abandoned their works, and were in 
a hot race to the rear before the Union troops had 
reached their lines. Crossing the bayou was no easy 
.matter. In front of part of our line the water was only 
breast deep; through this the soldiers easily waded, 
holding their guns and cartridge boxes above the water. 
In some places the stagnant water was covered with 
drift-wood. Here some would jump from one log to 
another like rabbits. In places where the water was 
more open a soldier running up would jump on to a 
floating log and the momentum of the fierce run would 
carry both him and the log across so that he could 
jump dry shod upon the other side, before the log he 
thus used for a boat commenced to turn wrong side up. 
In front of us the water was deeper and wider, but as 
good fortune would have it, the rebels had only removed 
the planks from the bridge, leaving the narrow string- 
ers still running over. Our company immediately 
jumped upon these stringers and ran across like squir- 
rels. The rest of the skirmish line followed, and thus 
the Thirty-third was soon all inside of the rebel works, 
being the first troops inside the main part of the fort. 
Other troops came in hot haste. The rebels were gone. 
And the battle of Black River was ended. 

A fine lot of rebel cannon was taken with the fort. 
Our boys had learned a little war experience from the 
fight of the day before. As we drove the enemy from 


some of his cannon at Champion Hills, we rnshed 
forward without regard to the guns. When we after- 
ward sent back for them we found that the troops who 
had followed us had taken possession of the captured 
cannon, and were thus entitled to the credit of their 
capture. The rule is, that if a command captures ar- 
tillery it must retain possession of it, or else the next 
command coming up will have the right to claim it. 
Infantry troops can not always carry captured artil- 
lery along with them, nor stop in the midst of a fight 
to retain possession of it. To provide for these and 
other difficulties that might arise, the established rule 
has become for the troops who capture a cannon to 
have one of their men " straddle" it, that is, sit upon though on horseback. Then the command can 
go to any other work at hand, and the one soldier 
upon the gun will be recognized by the entire army 
as in full possession of it. Thus one man for each 
piece of artillery is all the regiment need leave to re- 
tain possession of captured cannon. Of course, should 
any of the enemy return, the " straddling " is ended, 
and it is again a fight for possession of the guns. We 
had profited by the Champion Hills lesson, and the 
result was that the captured rebel forts were full of 
Thirty-third boys "straddling " the captured cannon. 
Thus we were credited with the capture of cannon 
enough to supply a good sized army, and were more 
than made even for the loss of those we had neglected 


to " straddle " at Champion Hills. The captured guns 
came near being a burden to us, there were so many 
of them that they could not be disposed of at once, so 
an entire company of our regiment was detailed to 


take care of the captured guns until they could be 
properly disposed of. 

The rebels retreated across the river and went toward 
Vicksburg. One of their batteries took position upon 
the high bluffs on the west side of the river and fired 
a few rounds at us, but as soon as they saw one of our 
batteries getting into position to reply to them, they 
"limbered up" and scampered away. This was the last 
we saw of the rebels at Black River. 



WE crossed Black River Monday morning May 18, 
1863, and marched toward Vicksburg. The rebels 
carefully kept out of our way. We camped for the 
night within a short distance of the noted city. 

On Tuesday. May nineteenth, the battle of Vicks- 
burg commenced. The first day's contest was mostly 
by the artillery. We drove the enemy to the inside of 
his fortifications. 

The next day firing was kept up from morning till 
night. In many places our riflemen got near enough 
to annoy the rebel batteries. Toward night our di- 
vision moved to the right, crossed the railroad arid 
charged over a hill. Captain Kellogg of our regiment 
was killed. 

The ground here is broken into steep hills and deep 


ravines. Charging over this hill gave us possession 
of a ravine near the rebel works. In places the hills 
are very steep. In the charge, part of our line suddenly 
came to a place where there was a perpendicular fall of 
nearly twenty feet. They were going so fast that many 
fell over and a number were severely injured. 

The ravine we had taken by our charge was of con- 
siderable width and length. It was of sufficient size 
to contain quite a large force. Situated so near to 
the rebel works its possession was an important gain 
to our side. It is surprising that we were able to pass 
the exposed hill, over which we charged, with so little 
loss. Our move was so sudden and unexpected that we 
were over the hill and an possession of the ravine before 
the Confederates had sufficiently recovered from their 
surprise to fire upon us with any accuracy. 

The next day our regiment acted as sharp-shooters. 
A company would deploy as skirmishers and then 
work its way as far as possible upon the hills in our 
front and fire at the enemy. When the turn of Com- 
pany A came we relieved Company D. They had 
been having a hot time with the enemy. Two men 
of the company had been killed. We had a lively 
time ourselves, but came out of the contest more for- 
tunately. Marion Deboice of our company was 
wounded, no one else was hurt. 

To soldiers there is no need to describe our move- 
ments while acting as advance sharp-shooters. It 
may aid those who never were in the army to explain 
a little. The high hill that protected our ravine from 
the enemy's guns was within easy rifle shot of the 
rebel forts and rifle pits. As soon as we reached the 


brow of the hill we were near enough to shoot them 
or be shot eurselves. The ground between the Union 
and rebel lines was everywhere badly broken by 
ravines and hills. When up out of the ravines a few 
scattered trees, once in awhile an old stump, now and 
then a little mound of earth or stone, and other things 
here and there served to give onr sharp-shooters pro- 
tection against the enemy's bullets. Without some- 
thing to protect or some place to hide in, soldiers 
could live only a few brief moments that near to so 
many of the enemy's guns. 

We advanced under such cover as we could find. 
After reaching the top of the main hill in our front 
each would select the best route he could find to ad- 
vance. Then by dodging, running and creeping we 
would get as far forward as possible. Each of us 
would then select such cover as he could find, be it an 
old stump, a tree, or rock, or mound of earth, or best 
of all, a hole in the ground, and then lie there and 
watch and fire whenever an exposed enemy could be 

Company A had hardly got upon the ground, when 
some of our sharp-eyed boys discovered that the most 
dangerous shots did not come from the continued and 


aimless firing from the rebel forts and rifle pits, 
but from a small band of rebels who had advanced 
in front of their works, and like us were acting 
as sharp-shooters. They had a position oft' to our 
right and at a point where the Union line was not ad- 
vanced as near to the rebel works as with us. A 
small bunch of trees on high ground furnished them 
an excellent position. No doubt the shots from which 


Company D Lad suffered the most came from that 
quarter. As soon as discovered some of onr boys 
slipped along a convenient ravine, ran off to the right 
far enough to uncover the hidden rebels, and with 
their trusty rifles ended all difficulty from that source. 
After this none of the enemy were seen outside of 
their fortified lines. The death of the two men of 
Company D was fully avenged by Company A. 

Friday, May twenty-second, came to us as an ill- 
fated day. The day's early morning face was covered 
with blood. A rebel ball that had been fired high in 
air, probably an accidental discharge, in its downward 
fall, struck and killed a member of Company I while 
he was still asleep. He was lying beside his comrades 
who were awakened by the striking ball, but he who 
was struck never awoke again. As the morning sun 
cast its light over the field, our artillery, placed on 
the hill behind us, commenced a vigorous fire over 
our heads at the enemy. Through some fault in their 
manufacture or other cause, some of the shells burst 
on the way, resulting in wounding three men in our 
regiment and four in the Indiana Regiment which was 
beside us. 

At nine o'clock official information was given, that 
in one hour the entire Union army would charge upon 
the rebel works. All necessary preparations were 
soon made. Each one carefully examined his gun to 
see that it was in proper condition. As a prelimi- 
nary part of the contest the Union artillery along the 
entire line commenced firing upon the enemy's 
works. As the hour of ten came near to hand, every 
cannon upon our side was used to its utmost speed. 


The rebel forts and breastworks were torn and rid- 
dled by the tierce cannonading. The rapid firing 
created a continuous roar of the terrific battle 
thunder. The fierce commotion shook the earth un- 
der our feet. Had the enemy been enclosed with 
solid walls of brick or stone, the fierce pounding they 
received would have torn such walls down and buried 
the inmates with the scattered fragments. Nothing 
but earthworks could have withstood such terrific 
firing. Thick walls of clay and sand will stand un- 
der a pounding that would knock those built of more 
solid material out of existence. Cannon balls pene- 
trate and bury themselves in the soft walls made of 
earth, while if they strike those built of harder ma- 
terial, the parts displaced with each striking ball or 
bursting shell will be scattered far and wide. 

At ten o'clock we started. The plan of the charge 
was for us to advance in solid column. That is, to 
march upon the armed enemy in the same form that 
a large procession on a peaceful parade would march 
up the street. This is a very awkward way for a large 
force to advance upon a strong and well fortified 
enemy. There is no chance to fire on our side while 
the enemy can all along the line direct his shots at 
the solid advancing column. Upon the other hand, if 
the attacking force is formed in line facing the enemy, 
each can, as, he advances, fire at the enemy, whose 
fire must, on his side, be scattered along his entire 
front, and one ball can not hit more than one or two, 
while one properly directed into a solid column, 
might disable twenty or more. 

One reason why we advanced in solid column was 

234: ARMY LIFE. 

because of the lav of the land. From the ravine held 
by ns, an opening ran up between two hills on to the 
high ground immediately in front of one of the main 
rebel forts. The Thirty-third was given the advance. 
Company E was selected to head the regiment. Go- 
ing up the ascent between the two hills not only 
brought us upon a level with and immediately in face 
of the rebel forts in our front, but also carried us 
across the main wagon road going through the rebel 
works and into the city of Vicksburg. 

The plan of the attack is understood to have been: 
that the first troops up should cross this road and gain 
possession of the brow of the hill on the other side, 
and that the next regiment should turn to the right 
on the road and go in and take the rebel fort before 
the enemy could relond their gnns. It must be re- 
membered that the rebel works were not built upon a 
direct line, but made to conform with the crests of the 
chain of hills upon which they were built. Thus by 
going straight ahead in the direction we had taken, it 
would not only take us right past the front of the fort 
nearest to us but also bring us upon the brow of the 
same hill upon which the rebel works were built. 

We went forward on the desperate charge. Com- 
pany E nobly led the way. As the head of the col- 
umn raised upon the brow of the hill and came in 
sight of the rebel line, the i earful storm, with all of 
its unbounded fury, burst upon our ranks. The first 
of the column was virtually swept away. Of all of 
Company E only one was left unharmed. All tlie 
rest of the company, who participated, were either 
killed or wounded. Those who followed did not fare 


much better. It was. a fearful storm. The enemy 
was well prepared for us. The heavy cannon were 
charged with monstrous loads of grape and canister 
and swept our lines with fearful effect. The enemy's 
infantry used their guns with all the vim of maddening 
fury. They not only used their rifles and muskets, 
but as we passed so near to them, the extra arms, 
consisting of double barreled shot guns heavily 
charged with buckshot were caught up and the con- 
tents poured into our ranks. How a single man ever 
went through that leaden storm and lived I do not 
know. At one point we passed a piece of ground 
that lay in such shape that the balls aimed at us from 
the top of the rebel works would strike the dusty 
ground of the well-trodden road over which we passed. 
The flying dust from each striking ball plainly told of 
the thickness of the leaden storm. I have seen many 
severe hail storms, and yet never passed through one 
where the frozen hail stones seemed to strike the ground 
thicker than did this leaden hail through which we 
were compelled to pass. It would seem to be impossi- 
ble for a rabbit to run, or a bird to fly, through this 
fierce storm unharmed. Many, many noble boys fell 
upon the deadly field. On we went, unheeding those 
who fell. I do not suppose that, there was a single one 
in the advance of that fierce charge who expected to 
pass through it in safety. I did not. The only thing 
to do was to press on while we could. With others it 
was probably the same as with me. "I am not yet 
hit," was the thought that passed through my mind. 
With a fierce run, those of us who were not disabled 
reached the side of the hill to which we were ooina 1 . 


Thus tlie rebel line was upon the inside and we in pos- 
session of the outside of the same range of hills.* 

The advance had accomplished their share. We 
had passed across the road, drawn the enemy's fire, and 
gained the position which would enable us to at once 
jump over and into the rebel breastworks. Those who 
ca rue after should have turned to the right as they 
struck the road in front of the nearest fort and rushed 
into it before the Confederates had time to reload. In- 
stead of this they bore to the left, which carried them 
in our rear and away from instead of into the nearest 
part of the enemy's lines. A little farther on they, 
too, come up to another part of the enemy's fortifica- 
tions, of which they took the outside the same as we 
had done. In truth, however, it was the entire division 
that did this. By the time our charge was ended all 
company and regimental organizations were destroyed. 
All were mingled together. No attempt to reform 
was thought of. Each held the ground they had taken. 
It made no difference to which regiment the soldiers 
by our side belonged. Allrningled together. The 
Indiana and Illinois boys stood by each other like 

The following diagram will serve to give an idea of 
the situation under which the charge was made. 

*NOTE. A further description of th'is charge will be given here- 



The golden opportunity, if there was one, was lost. 
My opinion is that there was no chance for us to have 
achieved a greater success than we did. We took the 
outside of the rebel works. We could not dislodge 
them ; they could not drive us away. To make such. 
a charge as we did in solid column out of a ravine 
never could be successful. We should have formed 
in line facing the enemy and then made a direct charge 
upon his works. A charge en column is always dan- 
gerous, having to advance up out of a ravine in the 
manner in which we did, and upon ground covered 
by a large part of the rebel lines made it doubly so. 
A better position for the slaughter of our entire 


command could not have been taken. That any of us 
lived through it was owing more to good fortune than 
good management. 

This, of course, does not apply to the main part of 
the Union army. Our division, so far as I know, was 
the only one that entered the charge in such a cooped 
up manner. And still none were much better off. 
The trouble was, that the steep hills selected as the 
line of defense at Yicksburg, were, when fortified as 
they were, practically impassable. Soldiers can not 
easily climb up a perpendicular bank fifteen or twenty 
feet high. The deep and narrow valley was the only 
approach opened to the Union troops. To carry the 
fortified works was impossible. 

Having gained possession of the outside of the 
range of hills upon which the rebel works were built, 
and with the enemy in possession of the inside, an 
all day's contest ensued. The depression of the hill 
upon our side made us nearly as good rifle pits as 
those the enemy had built on his side. Under such 
circumstances neither could fire with much effect 
upon the other. Our zealous marksmen with their 
trusty rifles were able to compel the enemy to con- 
tinually seek safety by closely hiding in his works. 
While we held them thus closely, they could not 
greatly harm us. Had either side been supplied with 
hand grenades to throw over and burst in the other 
ranks the result would have been different. With 
such weapons we could, in fifteen minutes' time, 
have cleared the enemy's works. The trouble was we 
did not have any. 

With all possible advantage, such a fierce hand- to- 


hand contest could not continue without considerable 
loss of life. Both sides suffered during the entire day. 

At one time, for some unexplained reason, seem- 
ingly by mutual consent, all firing ceased in our 
immediate neighborhood. A number on each side 
rose up and looked over the dividing ground. In 
some cases words were exchanged between the oppos- 
ing troops. Upon each side there were a number 
fully exposed, had the other desired to fire. I stood 
up witlr the others. At this moment I saw one rebel 
who, disregarding the open truce his comrades were 
so plainly maintaining, cowardly rose up behind his 
more honorable and braver comrades and took delib- 
erate aim at us. He was not far away. Having been 
born in Illinois in the days when game was plenty, I 
was familiar enough with fire-arms to easily see wheie 
a gun was aimed. As I glanced over the barrel with 
a well-practiced eye I easily saw that it was correctly 
aimed at me. Quick as a flash I dropped to the 
ground, the murderous bullet passing over at the same 
time. There is no doubt but that when the bullet 
started I was directly in its path. Directly behind 
me, sitting on the ground, was Curtis of our com- 
pany, who fell over insensible by the force of the bul- 
let. Standing right behind him was a member of 
another regiment who was struck in the breast by the 
same bullet and badly wounded. Had I been the 
merest part of a second later in dropping out of its 
range the bullet, as intended, would Jiave first struck 

In a moment Curtis revived. At first he placed his 
hand on the top of his head, saying: "I guess I am 


done for." In a short time more he was all right 
and then the most disgusted man in our army was 
Curtis when lie found that he had been knocked in- 
sensible by a bullet that had not fairly touched him. 
It had passed just along the top of his head and the 
" wind jar " had struck him insensible, while the bullet 
had actually done no greater harm to him than to cut a 
few hairs off from the top of his head. But he was 
mad, nevertheless, and during the balance of the fight 
he was zealous in looking for good chances to fire at 
the enemy. 

The sound of the first gun, of course, ended the 
spontaneous truce, and the soldiers on both sides at 
once dropped to cover and the fight continued as ear- 
nestly as before. 

Colonel Lippincott, always the first to enter and 
the last to leave a fight, was beside us at this time. 
Now that there was nothing to be accomplished 
except to hold our ground, he became anxious to pre- 
serve all the soldiers possible, and exerted himself in 
having all keep under cover as much as they could. 
His wise counsel no doubt saved the lives of many of 
our soldiers. 

During the afternoon an unfortunate attempt was 
made to renew the charge with fresh troops. Mis- 
management seemed to rule the day upon our part of 
the line. At first some officers came through bring- 
ing word that some fresh troops were coming up to 
assist us in a renewed attempt to take the rebel works. 
By passing through the winding ravines the orderlies 
who brought this information had no difficulty in 
reaching the ravine at the foot of the hill we were upon. 


It will be remembered that we held a place somewhat 
to the left of where we had advanced in the morning. 
Below us was a ravine of some considerable size. Back 
of the ravine in front of it when looking toward the 
enemy was another hill with high table ground at the 
top, of considerable width, the whole of which was 
easily swept by the guns of different parts of the en- 
emy's fortified line. 

"We supposed that, of course, the new troops would 
pick their way under cover until they reached the 
valley held by us ; then form, and at once run over 
into the rebel works. "We were all readv to 20 with 

/ O 

or even lead them if desired. To our great surprise, 
the first thing to claim our attention was the rebel ar- 
tillery, which, from its different convenient forts, com- 
menced a fierce firing toward the broad topped hill in 
our rear. Looking in that direction we sa\v the new 
troops advancing on a walk in solid line of battle. 
Not only were they within range of the enemy's ar- 
tillery, but they were also within easy range of rebel 
rifles. The efforts of the officers seemed to be to keep 
the advancing troops in proper line. What they 
ought to have done, was to have come over the hill 
with a rush as soon as they came within range of the 
enemy's guns. The result can be easily imagined; 
in less time than it can be told, the Union line was 
broken to pieces and the scattered soldiers who were 
not shot, fell back to a place of safety. 

Of all the sad sights I ever beheld, none were more 
heart-rending than to see those Union soldiers de- 
stroyed in such a useless and aimless manner. Many 
of our own immediate comrades lay strewn upon the 


bloody field; ere the day's fight ends more of ns will 
probably be sleeping with them the last sleep, and yet 
in the midst of all this, many exclamations of horror 
were heard among our thin ranks at the way the re- 
serve force was brought up and shot down within our 
sight. As to who was responsible for the movement 
I did not know and have never cared to inquire. It 
is certain that there was not a private soldier with us 
who could not have gone back and more skillfully led 
up the troops that so vainly attempted to corne to our 
aid. Had they been able to charge over the fatal hill 
from which they were driven back, they would then 
only have reached the valley or ravine already held by 
our troops, The place where they should have started 
from to make the proposed charge was never reached 
by them. 

While it was difficult for us to gain this ravine in 
the first instance, still the command we had over some 
parts of the enemy's works and the possession of the 
advance ground we held gave ns such advantage, that 
by some judicious movements between the numerous 
hills, this place could have been gained by the fresh 
troops without any great inconvenience or serious 
loss. With the aid of a brigade of fresh troops, it 
was the firm belief of our men who were holding the 
outside of the rebel hill, that they could, in a brief 
moment, have surmounted and taken the enemy's 
works in our front. With one part of the Confeder- 
ate line in our possession, the whole would have at 
once fallen. 

The reserve force was destroyed and driven back 
as stated, and we saw no more of them during the day. 


This left us to continue the battle alone. We con- 
tinned, compelling the enemy to keep well under 
cover. We had no dinner during all of the long day, 
but no one thought of hunger. Many of us had been 
thoughtful enough to bring a canteen of water. This 
was valuable to moisten the parched lips of our 
wounded comrades. Those in command of soldiers 
should always see to it that their men are each pro- 
vided with a canteen of water whenever a move of any 
kind is made. A canteen of water is not much to 
carry and no one can tell how valuable it may be- 

All of our wounded who were not in a helpless con- 
dition were from time to time assisted back through 
the winding ravines. 

As night began to approach orders were passed 
along our lines for our troops to withdraw. As it 
grew dark we did so. Those in the most advanced and 
exposed conditions coming first. Sadly we wended 
our way back to the lines we had held before making 
our charge upon the rebel works of Yicksburg. 

One of our most disgusted men was Lieutenant 
Button. He had been struck upon the leg by a 
small, nearly spent ball. The ball was not going with 
force enough to break the skin, but as it happened to 
strike upon a tender cord the injured part commenced 
to swell, and by the time we withdrew he could hardly 
use his foot, and was obliged to hobble along as best 
he could. To be so lame without any wound to show 
for it he thought disgusting. 

The last one 1 was called upon to aid before leav- 
ing the bloody field, was Colonel Roe. He had been 


wounded in the earl} 7 part of the charge and found 
protection from other rebel bullets in a deep ravine. 
He had not had a drop of water during all the long, 
tedious hours. My canteen, fortunately, still con- 
tained some, which refreshed him so that he was able 
to make his way back with us. 

As the members of our little band, on our return, 
looked among its numbers no formal roll-call was 
made the strange fact appeared that after all we 
had gone through, Company A had lost only two men. 
Two of our noble boys, William Biggerstaif and Ab- 
salom Zartman, had made their last fight with us. 
That more of us did not go with them on the journey 
to eternity is a wonder. How men could go through 
what we passed through this day and leave no more of 
their number on the field is one of the unexplained 
miracles of a battle field. How some live while others 
are killed in a battle, is something which no human 
reason can -explain. 

While grateful to the Divine mercy by which our 
lives had been spared, we deeply mourned the loss of 
our noble boys who fell in the immortal charge upon 
Vicksburg on the 22d of May, 1863. 



MAT twenty-third, the day following the charge, 
we remained in support of our artillery, which kept 
up a slow fire on the rebel works. 


During all of these lively times, since crossing the 
Mississippi, I had often been reminded that the ague 
was still staying with me. By the liberal use of qui- 
nine, and the exercise of some determination, I had 
gone with the company \vhile there was so much 
active work to be done. Before the charge yesterday 
morning, two of us, as the least able to go, were desig- 
nated by our company officers to remain with and 
guard the company knapsacks and effects we were 
obliged to leave in the ravine. Before ten o'clock 
arrived another of our boys became sick and I 
exchanged places with him and went while he stayed. 
By Saturday afternoon it became apparent that no 
important move Would be made for a few days, and 
Lieutenant Duttori, in command of the company, 
ordered me to the rear and into the doctor's care. 

On Monday, May twenty-fifth, by agreement the 
firing ceased and both sides proceeded under a flag of 
truce to bury their dead who were killed during the 
assault of the twenty-second of May. The saddest 
part of all was to find some of our wounded boys still 
alive who had lain helpless upon the field since Fri- 
day noon. What thev suffered during those three 

/ / o 

long days, helpless and uncared for, with the guns of 
both sides continually firing over them, can only be 
imagined; it never can be told. 

The siege of Vicksbnrg may be said to have fairly 
commenced on Tuesday, May twenty-sixth. Our 
men commenced building rifle pits and to so fortify 
our line that the escape of the besieged enemy would 
be impossible. The day will never be forgotten by 
the members of Company A. The cooking, what lit- 

24:6 AKMY LIFE. 

tie there is is done in the rear and the food carried 
to the soldiers in the ravines held by them. When 
this day's box of cooked provisions for the company 
was brought in, Sergeant Besse went to it to takeout 
and distribute the food. Just as he was bending over 
to do so, a large piece of artillery shell struck him, 
cutting off both arms, one above, the other below, the 
elbow. This was one of the saddest things that 
ever happened in our company. He was a splendid 
young man and loved by the entire command. He 
was taken to the hospital in the rear. Every thing 
possible was done for him. lie lingered a week 
and died on Monday night and was buried, with 
soldier honors, on Tuesday, June second. 

Each day work upon our line continued amidst the 
firing guns on both sides. It was a continued battle 
from day to day. While our loss was not large, still 
not a day passed without some of the Union soldiers 
being hit. Our experience in these ravines had shown 
that all places were alike dangerous. We had seen 
soldiers hit while asleep. Besse, when shot, was in 
what was thought to be the safest part of the ground 
occupied by our troops. Awake or asleep, it made no 
difference, the fatal bullet was liable to come at any 

With proper treatment I had checked the ague so as 
to feel fit for duty and rejoined the regiment on 
Wednesday, May twenty-seventh. The next morning 
our company went into the rifle pit to act as sharp- 
shooters. While there a rifle ball struck our brave 
comrade, Abram Myers, killing him instantly. He 
was standing beside me and fell over without saying 


a single word. The only mark upon him was a small 
bullet hole in his chin. It had probably glanced up 
into his brain or passed through and broken the spinal 
cord; at all events he fell over and never breathed 
again. His body was tenderly removed and given the 
honor of a soldier's burial. 

Thursday evening I was detailed to act as provost 
guard for one week. Our duty was to guard the com- 
missary stores just back of onr army line. Those up- 
on the sick list and not able to use a spade in the hard 
clay to advantage, were selected for this duty. It be- 
came necessary for us to change quarters. In doing 
so we had to pass over a high hill on the top of which 
was the Vicksbnrg road bringing us in open view of 
the rebel fort in front and within range of their can- 
non. They opened fire upon us but did not do any 
damage. Onr teamsters fully appreciated the position 
and after the first rebel gun was fired it was interest- 
ing to see how they would make full preparations and 
as the exposed place was reached whip the team into 
a dead run and thus cross the place of danger. "With 
all their efforts the Confederates did not succeed in 
hitting a single team or wagon. Men on foot could, 
of course, skip across with even less danger. 

On the fifth of June my week as provost guard ex- 
pired. The regiment had come out of the works to 
rest and wash and I joined it before its return. In 
our works there is but little chance to wash, so that it 
becomes necessary to relieve the soldiers long enough 
at least once a week so that they can indulge in a bath. 
Much refreshed with the fresh water and a quiet rest 
under the trees, at night the regiment returned to ita 
place in the front line. 


Each succeeding day was now much like the pre- 
ceding one. Work continued day and night on the 
rifle pits and the approaches to the enemy's lines. 
The first thing was to build a strong chain of rifle pits 
along our entire line around from the river above to 
the river below the rebel works of Vicksburg. This, 
with our gunboats to guard the river side, completely 
enclosed the entire Confederate army. After the rifle 
pits were built, including, of course, numerous places 
for our artillery, the approaches to the enemy's works 
were pushed forward with the utmost speed. 

After the preliminary arrangements were completed 
our work was not seriously interrupted by the enemy. 
Our artillery, when properly placed, was too strong for 
the Confederate guns. In fact, the rebels soon learned 
to keep the artillery openings of their forts closed with 
bales of cotton. In such condition they could not 
tire at us. Now and then they would open some of 
the embrasures and commence firing. A few well- 
directed shots from our cannon would silence them. 
In the rifle pits we also had the advantage. The op- 
posing lines were within easy rifle range of each 
other. Our riflemen were so alert that it was rare for 
a rebel gun to appear above their breastworks. 

During the beginning of the siege the enemy got 
what satisfaction they could by firing during the night 
as a recompense for not being able to use their guns 
during the day. The result of this was that during 
the early part of the siege we were under fire day and 
night. Onr rifle guards in front keeping up their 
work, and the rebel artillery in front and the Union 
artillery in our rear would both fire over us. Thus 


the thunder of the artillery would continue day and 
night. Men soon became accustomed to anything. 
"With a little practice, our soldiers learned to sleep 
right under the thundering cannon and just as 
soundly as though in their peaceful Northern homes. 

As time wore on, by gradual process, without any 
formal agreement, we came to a mutual understand- 
ing with the Confederates in our front. After this, 
firing at night practically ceased on our part of the 
line. A sort of spontaneous truce would spring up 
each night. The way it worked was this: 

As the sun went down the artillery would cease 
firing; after this the rifle firing would gradually 
grow less, and by the time daylight began to pass 
away it would cease entirely. A few minutes after 
the last shot was heard some one upon one side or 
the other would rise a little above his works for a 
second and then drop back out of sight. If no gun 
was fired upon either side, some soldier on the other 
side would repeat the action. If no gun was now 
heard, a soldier upon our side or the rebel side would 
openly stand up in sight of the opposite line, and his 
action would be replied to by one of his opponents. 
These two soldiers, Union and Confederate, would look 
across at each other a moment, and then, no firing 
being heard, one after another on each side would get 
up, and then we would Lave a line of Union sharp- 
shooters sitting upon the top of their works looking 
over at a line of Confederate soldiers sitting upon 
theirs, each within easy rifle range of the other. When 
this was done it was understood that all firing was over 
for the day. As it began to grow dark, each side 


would send a line of guards over in front of their 
works to remain during the night. These lines were 
often within a short distance of each other. As we 
had much work to do upon our new lines, the enemy 
was usually first ready, and it would be on his side 
that the movement for the night's truce was made. 
Thus, the first man to rise was usually on the rebel 
side. If for any reason we were not ready, the soldier 
who exposed himself for this purpose would not be 
fired at, but a gun would be fired in the air, which was 
notice for all to again seek protection. In the morn- 
ing it was the same.. If the guards who had advanced 
upon the open ground between the two opposing lines 
tarried longer than the other side desired, a warning 
gun would be fired in the air above them, but no one 
would be fired at until ample time had been given for 
all to return to their own works. Without any formal 
agreement, all of the Confederate soldiers in our front 
and all of ours seemed to fully understand the mu- 
tual arrangement. 

One of the strangest things connected with these 
nightly truces was that they were confined to differ- 
ent parts of the line. No agreement having been 
formally made, such a cessation of hostilities could 
only occur where each side had confidence in the en- 
emy in his front. The Union troops at our imme- 
diate left and the rebel troops in their front never 
had any such understanding, and with them it was a 
continual fight, day and night. Thus, a visitor, pass- 
ing along the line in the evening, would see the 
strange contrast of Union and Confederate soldiers 
peacefully looking at each other at one point, and as 


he came to the next division, would find a fierce con- 
test still raging. 

The reason of this was found to be in the rebel 
soldiers in that part of the line. The Union soldiers 
at our left never had any confidence in the rebels in 
front of them. It was found that tl:ey were the most in- 
ferior and worthless soldiers in the rebel armj r . Only 
brave soldiers can be safely trusted. The rebel who 
fired the cowardly shot during the charge of the twen- 
ty-second of May, we learned, was one of the com- 
mand that our comrades at our left would never trust. 
They were despised by the braver men of their own 
army as well as by us. 

After the night guards of both sides returned to 
their own works each morning, firing would commence 
and continue all day. We were so well fortified that 
we suffered but little loss, but occasionally some would 
get hit. Lieutenant Higgins of Company K was shot 
through the face by a rifle bullet, while in our rifle 
pit, during the afternoon of June eighteenth, mak- 
ing an ugly wound. 

During all of this time work had gone on swim- 
mingly. The soil was most favorable for our plans. 
The clay was so firm that it could be safely mined 
through without the necessity of building any sup- 
porting walls. The deep ravines carried off all surface 
water, so that we were not troubled any from that 
source. As stated, our first work was to build a 
complete chain of forts and rifle pits. This done we 
commenced digging the approaches toward the ene- 
my's works. These were governed by the lay of the 
laud. The general plan was to run open ways as far 


toward the Confederate line as possible. These were 
run in such a direction that soldiers could pass along 
them and not be exposed to fire from the enemy's guns. 
By gradual approaches we were at last able to strike 
the foot of each hill upon which a rebel fort had been 
built. This point gained, we started straight in dig- 
ging a tunnel directly under each fort. 

A strange war incident is connected with our gain- 
ing possession of the desired ground, facing the main 
fort in front of our command. During the day, while 
the firing was going on, all of the rebels were back 
of their lines. Our men had, during the day, con- 
tinued digging in the trenches. The work to do was 
so situated that the enemy could not well reach our 
workmen, besides, our men were so low down that 
the rebels could not see them without getting up and 
looking down over their best works. If a rebel at- 
tempted this during fighting hours, he was a dead 
man. The trenches we were making were approach- 
ing the objective point diagonally from each direction, 
and in such a manner that they would meet at a sharp 
angle, directly in front of the main rebel fort; that 
is, the two trenches would meet in a V shape with 
the point resting on the rebel hill. On Monday, June 
twenty-second, toward night, firing ceased in the 
manner before described and our night guards were 
sent out. Company A had often been sent out for 
this purpose. For some reason we were selected 
again at this time. The Confederates came out of 
their works at the same time. Our approaches had 
taken up so much of the space between the two lines 
that they had but a short distance to come and had their 


line in place before we got to our ground. Of course 
our guards were always thrown out far enough to en- 
close all of our works. Now there was some trouble. 
We went up in the advance, an engineer in charge of 
building the trenches came with us, and it was found 
that -the line of rebel guards covered thegronnd upon 
which our two trenches were to unite. Their line 
cut off the point of our proposed trenches. We went 
up and formed a line right along with the rebel pick- 
ets. Still we were not advanced far enough. The 
Confederates were notified of the difficulty. The 
trenches had to be dug that night or else have a fight 
over the ground. If we could not do otherwise, each 
would return to his own lines, and then see what the 
result would be. That would, of course, mean a stub* 
born night fight. The rebels consulted over the 
matter, then called for our engineer, who went over 
the ground with them and marked the course our 
trenches would take. After this was done the Con- 
federates called in their guards and placed them in 
such positions that our work could go on. It cer- 
tainly was a strange war scene, for the opposing men 
of a desperate contest to meet and talk over the dis- 
puted ground just as though it was adjoining neigh- 
bors who had met in a friendly way to establish their 
line fence. For the Confederates to kindly withdraw 
their guards so as to give us room to build our ap- 
proaches to a vital point of their line of defense was 
indeed remarkable. It certainly is entitled to record 
in the history of the great events of which it was an 

They fell back, and as we were to keep outside of 

254: ARMY LIFE. 

our workmen we went with them. The plan of our 
guard was to form a chain by placing three men at 
each post, thus to prevent the necessity of relieving 
the guard during the night. One of the three must 
be on guard all the time so as to fully note every 
thing between him and the next post, which was 
only a short distance away. The enemy posted his 
guard the same way. There were six of us together, 
three Union and three Confederate guards. Instead 
of standing guard it was more of an evening's visit 
with them. Another amusing thing connected with 
our ditch occurred. The Confederate guard we were 
with remained near to the line marked for our trenches. 
The excavated earth had to be thrown toward them and 
us, too, as we were with them. It proved that they 
were just in the place where the loose dirt would be 
thrown. Either the Confederates and we must move 
farther over on the enemy's ground, or be buried up, 
or stop the work. "We suggested that we move back. 
" Oh, that don't make any difference. You Tanks 
will soon have the place anyway," one of them said, 
and without bothering their officers, they and we 
moved forward far enough to give the men in the 
trenches room to finish their work. 

Some of our boys who had tobacco shared with the 
rebel guards. Jackknives and such things were traded 

o o 

and the situation talked over. So far as the condition 
of the Vicksburg armies was concerned, there was not 
much chance to speculate. The Confederate soldiers 
knew as well as we, that it was only a question of 
time when they would have to surrender. Conse- 
quently there was not much ground for discussion. 


Although actually on the same ground we did not 
mix up with the rebels. Oh, no! that would not do. 
"We were soldiers of opposing armies. Both sides 
were armed. We were part of opposing armies, still 
lighting. An imaginary line passed between us. 
They kept on their side, we remained on ours. Even 
when the pickets were moved back this order was not 
changed. The imaginary dividing line was, so to 
speak, taken up and carried farther on. In other 
words, as they moved back at our request, the ground 
over which the Union flag floated was extended and 
that under the Confederate flag lessened. If at any 
time a Confederate had been seen upon our side of 
the line he would have been captured and taken in as 
a prisoner of war. Had one of our boys strayed over 
to their side the enemy would have promptly dis- 
armed and taken him inside of the rebel forts. The 
various phases of war are strange, indeed. Personally 
we had not the least feeling against the opposite 
guards with whom we were apparently simply hav- 
ing a pleasant evening visit. As representatives of 
causes at war with each other we were deadly ene- 
mies. We could smoke, and visit, and trade jack- 
knives with them to-night, and when to-morrow's sun 
arose be engaged in a deadly contest. 

When my turn came I selected a good place, 
wrapped my blanket around me, leaving my com- 
rades on guard, and thus slept soundly with the armed 
rebel guards within ten feet of where I lay and slept. 

For our guards to meet the enemy's guards on the 
picket line was a common occurrence during a part of 
the siege of Yicksburg. Toward the last, however, a 


change was made. Our approaches had been ad- 
vanced so as to cover most of the open ground be- 
tween the two fortified lines. There was no avail- 
able space between our advanced trenches and the 
rebel works for night pickets to occupy. The condi- 
tion of affairs suggested that the Confederate night 
guards should remain within their own works and 
ours within our advanced trenches. After this, there 
was no occasion for the night pickets to meet. 

The work now to be accomplished was to under- 
mine the rebel forts. 

Starting from our trenches which had been com- 
pleted to the foot of the hill, upon which the fort was 
situated, we commenced to dig directly towards the 
enemy's works. Some protection against rebel bul- 
lets was now necessary. For this purpose huge roll- 
ers of sufficient length and from twelve to fifteen 
feet in diameter were made. These were made with 
wild cane stalks, such as are shipped from the South 
and used by the Northern boys for fishing poles. 
"When the huge rollers were completed, a cannon ball 
could not pass through them. With hand spikes they 
would be slowly turned forward in advance of the 
work in the trench. After advancing a short distance 
into the hill, the thickness of the clay overhead be- 
came sufficient and then the open trench would be 
changed into a tunnel. The object was to run the 
tunnel under the enemy's fort and then when all were 
ready, a wagon load of powder could be taken in and 
the fort blown out of existence. That is the idea. 
Time will tell how it succeeds. 

While the land forces, on our part of the line, ceased 


from firing during the night, the gun-boats and mor- 
tars upon the river side were the most active during 
the darkest hours. The mortars were used to fire 
huge shells high in the air at such an angle as to drop 
within the enclosed rebel lines. Many an evening 
hour, after our day's duties were performed, we would 
pass in our protected quarters telling stories, talking 
of home and watching the course of the huge shells 
our river sailors fired up over the city. The burning 
fuse would plainly mark its course. In clear moon- 
light nights we could sometimes see the dark body of 
the shell itself. Often a brilliant flash would tell us 
that the huge shell had burst in the air, throwing its 
scattered fragments far and wide, and bound to strike 
in a hundred different places as the pieces of iron fell 
to the ground. These bursting shells created brilliant 
fire-works for us to look at. 

The firing, day after day, by the land forces became 
monotonous from its sameness. One would serve as 
descriptive of each day's proceedings. The record for 
the entire month runs about like this: Tuesday, June 
twenty-third. As soon as the night guards returned 
this morning, the enemy sent a few artillery shots at 
us. They were at once silenced! During the day our 
riflemen kept up a slow fire; the only return the 
enemy attempted was to occasionally fire a rifle in the 
air. It is not safe for them to raise up in their breast- 
works high enough to aim at us. 

The next day our artillery commenced the day's 
work by opening a heavy fire upon the enemy's works. 
He attempted a reply, but after a few feeble efforts 


At one o'clock on Thursday we were ordered to be 
ready to fall in. The occasion of this was that Logan 
was ready to blow up one of the rebel forts in his 
front, At three o'clock we fell into line to be ready 
to take advantage of any opportunity that offered. 
The fort, a small one, was blown up. The powder- 
charge had not been large enough to have much effect 
upon the ear,th fort. The real purpose of the experi- 
ment, wliicl,! was to ascertain the effect and determine 
the amount of powder needed for such a purpose in 
such ground, was accomplished. 

The next 4 a J there was some firing along the army 
line on our side. The Confederates seem to be com- 
pletely discouraged. They .can not open with a single 
gun but that half a dozen or more on our side will 
immediately reply. They keep their port-holes closed 
with bales of cotton most of the time. 

Our mines and tunnels under the rebel forts are now 
nearly completed, reaching up to and under the rebel 
forts. "We meet with but little difficulty. Why the 
enemy did not counter-mine against us by digging 
trenches and tunnels to cut us off, is a wonder. We 
expected, of course, to meet some such difficulties. 
We have not, and every thing is approaching comple- 
tion in fine shape. 

It is understood that General Grant has consented 
that the soldiers who first complete the excavations 
under an important rebel fort may try the experiment 
of blowing it up. As it is doubtful whether the be- 
sieged enemy will hold out until all are ready and the 
general blow-up occurs, the soldiers are anxious to win 
in this race tq be first. 


Sunday, June twenty-eighth, it was announced that 
Logan's boys, who were just to our right, had won 
and were ready to blow up the large rebel fort in 
their front, which we called by the name of Fort 
Hill. "We went into the rifle pits to be ready for any- 
thing that might turn up. At the appointed time 
Logan blew the large fort into the air. Being so 
near to it we had a full view of the gigantic exhibition. 
The entire hill seemed to rise in the air. The more 
compact pieces of earth and all solid bodies in the fort, 
such as magazine timbers and artillery, and even men, 
were shot up into the air like rockets. The ground be- 
neath our feet trembled as though a fierce earthquake 
was passing beneath us. As the force of the explo*- 
sion ended, the loose earth and broken fragments of 
the destroyed fort fell back, into the opening made, 
a shapeless mass. Had it been so desired our sol- 
diers could easily have gone upon the broken remains. 
Such was not the design, as other rebel works covered 
the ground of this one. The true course was to wait 
until all were ready, blow them all up and then the 
enemy would be powerless in our hands. 

The first of July found every thing almost finished. 
"We not only dug a tunnel under the rebel forts, but 
when there cut run-ways and side tunnels in every di- 
rection. This would enable us to place large quanti- 
ties of powder under all parts of the works to be blown 
up. "With pick and shovel, day and night, the work was 
pushed to completion. Every thing was to be ready 
by July fourth. It was. If our plans are consum- 
mated we will witness the grandest explosion the 
world ever knew. But 


On Friday, July third, a flag of truce came out of 
the rebel lines. It was at once understood that it was 
brought by Confederate officers who came to treat for 
terms of surrender. At night we had no definite infor- 
mation as to what the result of the rebel mission had 
been, but it was generally thought that Pemberton had 
or would agree to terms of surrender. 

A bright, pleasant and grand summer day opened to 
ns on the morning of July 4, 1863. The first infor- 
mation that passed along our lines was, that terms of 
surrender had been given to the enemy. His accept- 
ance was to be indicated by the Confederate soldiers 
coming out in front of their works, and stacking 
their arms and colors and returning unarmed to their 
own lines. They had been given until the hour often 
to do this. We were to hold our lines without firing 
until that hour. 

No formal order was issued as to what our recep- 
tion of them should be if they came out to surrender. 
But word was passed along the line to this effect: 
General Grant desires his soldiers not to make any 
loud demonstrations when the enemy surrenders. 

Between nine and ten o'clock the Confederate sol- 
diers came out, laid down their arms and colors and 
returned unarmed into their own lines as prisoners of 
war, and Vicksburg was ours. 

The w T onderful regard the Union soldiers had for 
their commander was shown in a manner never more 
vividly illustrated in the world's history. In response 
to Grant's simple request, the entire Union line 
looked on in silence, and saw the entire rebel army 
lay down its arms and surrender, without raising a 


single cheer of triumph over the famous victory they 
had achieved. 



THE charge upon Vicksbnrg was described in an 
address delivered in Lockport on July 4, 1866. As 
the journal from which this record is taken was drawn 
upon for part of that description, it can properly be 
given here: 

Some of iny friends have expressed a wish per- 
haps most of you desire that upon this occasion 1 
should, as a soldier, give a brief picture of a battle 
scene. Such request I can not well disregard, yet I 
would prefer some more pleasant theme. 

Standing here as I do to day, and remembering that 
this is not only the anniversary of our National birth, 
but also that of a later event, how can I forget that 
three years ago I saw the surrender of Vicksbnrg. 

Those of us who were there can never forget the 
time when we stood upon the immortal hills of Vicks- 
burg. We can never forget the tiding hours, the 
dreary days of that long, desperate, eventful and 
bloody conflict. And the desperate charge of the 
twenty-second of May! It can never be forgotten. 
How can it be portrayed? Words would fail to de- 
scribe the scene. One might as well try to paint on 


canvas the fearful sound of roaring thunder, as to at- 
tempt to fully describe a battle. 

Opposing armies lay confronting each other. The 
enemy was intrenched behind his seemingly invincible 
works. Nature's strongest fortifications had been im- 
proved, if improvement was possible, by the most elab- 
orate engineering skill. The high and steep hills made 
most directions of approach impossible. Through 
deep and narrow defiles converging toward the city 
were the only possible roads; and at the end of each 
of these an absolute guard seemed to have been placed 
.in the shape of some stubborn hill from the hights of 
which frowned the red-mouthed artillery of the rebel 
battlements. Where can a comparison be found? 
Could you, my friends, by soaring off on fairy wings 
to other worlds, imagine a scene where the arch fiend 
of evil having been defeated had retreated to the high 
realms of his own domains, and there, with all the skill 
of his destroying genius, had invented a castle, the 
only approach to which was through long, deep and 
narrow defiles, in which only a narrow column could 
advance; the whole length of which was swept by the 
most destroying machines that satanic ingenuity could 
invent, you will then have some impression of what 
we met on our attack upon Yicksburg. 

Such as these were the conditions opposed to us 
upon that eventful morn of the twenty-second of May, 
when word was passed along the line that in one hour 
we would charge the enemy's works. 

The emotions caused by this announcement can 
not be explained by any natural passion of the human 
heart. No fear nor dread seemed to be coursing 


tlirongli the soldier's veins. It was not false indiffer- 
ence nor wild, consuming enthusiasm; all spoke 
calmly or thought quietly of the desperate contest in 
which they were soon to mingle, perhaps to die. 
Love tokens and short messages were left with the 
simple and seemingly almost indifferent request. " If 
I do not come back, send them home." Perhaps some 
of you, my friends, have some of those last tokens 
of remembrance; and all, yes, upon every heart 
throughout the land, there is, I know, impressed the 
token of kindest remembrance for some noble soldier 
who did not come back from the war. Neither could 
vaulting ambition nor lofty patriotism, nor wild, con- 
suming religious zeal fully explain those strange 
emotions. It was as though some all-powerful spirit, 
like the ancient god of war, had come down and con- 
sumed the human hearts of those who -once were men. 
Not brutalized them no! no, indeed! All were ten- 
derly kind to each other. And yet the fiery god had 
changed them so that all would march quietly on to 
death as though it was a higher aim to contribute to 
the fame of fiery Mars than to simply live a human 
life. A clear and pretty stream, clothed by imagi- 
nation with human life and thoughts courses sweetly, 
quietly on its way; leaping down the rugged hills, 
playing across the fertile valleys, laughing over the 
blooming meadows and passing through tiie golden 
fields; running on, on toward the grand and beautiful 
lake, or boundless ocean, by which it will soon be 
swallowed up and consumed. It approaches the end 
with a quiet dread and solemn regret that its indi- 
viduality is to be lost; yet it would not stay if it 


could, because it will soon form part of that greater 
and more magnificent grandeur beyond. Is it some 
strange, undefined emotion like this, that actuates the 
soldier when he so willingly marches on to death, and 
which the world, that through ages past, carelessly 
named the soldier's love of glory? Perhaps it is so; 
yet to those who judge according to the dictates of 
reason how Grange it is. Although I once, to s .me 
extent, felt this strange spirit of war, yet as I am here 
to-day, in this pretty grove, surrounded by the cool, 
peaceful and pleasant influences of this hour, it all 
seems but as a dream, and I can understand it no mere 
than those who never saw a battle lield. 

The fated hour of ten arrived. Officers of high 
rank seemed to have forgotten the usual words of mili- 
tary command. No formal commands of " Forward, 
march" were given. With drawn swords they started 
forth, simply saying, " Buys, come on, follow me." A 
moment more, and the hurricane of ruin burst upon 
us, as' with but one stroke of a sweeping, crushing 
tornado. Within, what a rapid, seething sea of deata 
were we now mingled. Even at this late day, I barely 
dare, even in thought, to review that gory scene ; nor 
could I do so if I would, for the terrible grandeur of 
that terrific conflict so completely drowned us with 
its sweeping fury, that we were not able to appreciate 
its destructive powers. The thunder roar of ponder- 
ous artillery; the fiery flash of bursting shell and 
powder blast; the singing, screeching rifle balls ; the 
h^avy sulphurous clouds of battle smoke that envel- 
oped those murderous hills and deep valleys of the 
dead in one great, dark and mysterious sea of firj, 


and death, and ruin all this combined was a sccneof 
reality which could not be equaled except by trans- 
forming the scene of the first great battle; refonght, 
not beneath heaven's shining light, but amidst those 
clouds of darkness darkness so dense that it could 
be felt that reigns throughout the realms of eternal 
rsiglit; combine these two most graphic of human im- 
aginations; combine the fury of heaven's battle with 
the darkness of eternal death, and you will then have 
a picture of the realities of a battle scene. 

Deep ravines were filled with the bodies of fallen 
heroes, over which passed succeeding ranks. Still 
on, on pressed rank after rank until the rebel works 
were reached. Our comrades lay strewn upon the 
field behind us. Those left had not strength to 
surmount and hold the works upon which we were 
now contending. Both friend and foe were now upon 
the same range of hills, only separated by the narrow 
breastworks: and there, through all the hours of that 
livelong day, the terrible conflict continued, in a bit- 
ter hand-to-hand contest. Thus the fury raged until 
night mercifully threw its mantle of darkness over 
the gory scene and then each of the contending par- 
ties returned to the lines from which they advanced 
to commence that unparalleled conflict. 

Such as these were the scenes through which we 
passed during our desperate charge upon Vicks- 
burg. Then during those long hours of night, as I 
stood, watching upon the borders of that gory field 
from which we had returned, and where so many 
loved comrades lay; in those dark hours of night, as 
the truth passed before me in thought, I could but al- 


most doubt tlie realities of our own existence. Do we 
live in a world of truth, or within the dark realms of 
despair? Is this earth, or is it the place of eternal 
death? Were these beings before me men and broth- 
ers, or were they demons? Does God reign and are 
such things as these real? After many long and 
tedious days the glorious anniversary of our National 
birth returned, bringing with it, as it ever does, the 
glorious shout of victory. On the fourth of July, 
Vicksburg fell. Then the feeling of joy in every 
heart, could be equaled in depth only by the anguish 
of those former days. Then throughout our lines 
every soldier's heart rose up in praise to heaven in 
thanks, that the cause of justice and right had tri- 
umphed, and that we could once more believe in the 
reign of a just God. 


During the siege of Vicksburg many amusing in- 
cidents occurred. A few will be recounted: 

One of our soldiers, an Irishman, \vas on guard 
one night in the front trenches. These advanced 
trenches ran so near to the enemy's line that the 
picket guards could at night, when it was still, talk 
across from their rifle pits. Discovering that Pat 
was easily annoyed, the rebel guards commenced 
blackguarding him. After plaguing him about 
other matters they began to tease him about the 
worthlessness of the shells fired from the Union mor- 
tars on the gun-boats. As a rule it must be admit- 
ted that these shells did no great damage. Among 
other things the rebels told Pat that " the only harm 


tlie shells have yet done is to kill two mules and 
lame one old woman." Just then through some 
strange accident a shell happened to come from the 
river dropping and bursting among Pat's tormentors, 
injuring two or three and causing the balance to 
scamper for dear life. Ere the sound of the bursting 
shell had died away the shrill voice of Pat was heard 
crying: " There, ye infernal cusses, put that in ye 
haver-sack and chaw it, will ye, ye blathering black- 

Another about the mortar shells is this: When 
General Bowine, the Confederate officer, first carne 
out under a flag of truce, on the third of July, to treat 
for terms of surrender, he suggested that hostilities 
cease during the nogotiations. The Union officers 
readily acquiesced, but mentioned the difficulty of get- 
ting orders to the gun-boats in time. "Oh, well," he 
replied, " that is of no consequence; never mind the 
gun-boats; they never harm us any." 

One day toward the end of the siege, one of the 
Confederates cried out to our soldiers, saying: "We 
are going to have a new General." "Ah, indeed," 
was the reply, " and who is he? " " General Starva- 
tion," coolly replied the comical Confederate soldier. 
To appreciate this it should be remembered that the 
rebel soldier was at the time almost starved; with 
him it was an empty stomach joke. 

One of the incidents that was often repeated with 
a lively jest and caused many an evening laugh to 
ring among those stubborn hills even during the 

o o ** 

darkest, dreariest and hardest days that we passed in 
trenches during the siege of Vicksburg, ran thus: 


One night after Logan's men had worked their ap- 
proach up to the foot of the rebel works in front ct' 
them, they discovered the Confederates at work in- 
side bringing up bales of cotton to repair the damage 
our artillery had done to their works. Among the 
Union soldiers was a Yankee sailor who had been, as 
he claimed, " all over creation and the rest of the 
world," and who " could do a little of every thing, and 
a thing or two besides." He suggested the plan, 
which was quickly indorsed by his merry comrades, of 
trying to steal the cotton away from the rebels. The 
suggestion was promptly acted upon. Some grap- 
pling hooks with a long rope attached were procured. 
Placing the rope in the hands of his comrades so that 
they would be ready to give a sudden pull at the right 
time, the sailor-boy soldier gave the grappling hooks 
the proper swing and cast them over the walls of the 
rebel fort. As the hooks struck inside he cried to the 
boys who had hold of the rope to "pull like h 1!'' 
which of course they did with lively zeal. The first 
pull showed that the merry experiment had succeeded, 
a result they had hardly expected. The hook had evi- 
dently, actually caught a firm hold of a bale of cotton. 
The wild cry that arose from the bewildered and aston- 
ished rebels, and the tenacity with which they hung to 
their enol of the line, showed that they were not well 
pleased to see their cotton climb over into the Union 
lines in that manner. Those neares't at hand had 
caught hold and were doins: their best, but a band of 

O *--? s 

terror-stricken rebels made but poor show when pull- 
ing on a rope against twenty wild, enthusiastic Yan- 
kee boys. With a cry of triumph the Union soldiers 


brought the rope, grappling hooks, cotton and all 
over the walls of the rebel fort and down into the 
Union trench. Their surprise was now unbounded, to 
find that instead of a bale of cotton, as they supposed, 
they had actually caught and brought over a rebel 
lieutenant. The grappling hooks had firmly caught 
in his clothing and he was obliged to come over. He 
was hurt considerably, but with good and proper care 
at the hands of his captors soon recovered, but insists 
that he can not understand how he happens to be on 
our side of the line. This incident is insisted upon 
so strongly that we are almost compelled to believe 
that in the main it is true. There is only one matter 
of doubt: 

It is well known that Logan's soldiers are not 
only famous fighters but also capital story tellers. It 
would be hard to find boys that do more fighting and 
have more fun than they. 

They also had a little story they told about Logan 
himself. When Vicksburg surrendered Logan was 
placed in charge of the city as post commander. 
Many of the citizens were in a starving condition, and 
were supported by our Government. Among the first 
to apply for aid was one of those haughty Southern 
ladies, who had not yet discovered that any one from 
the North deserved any other treatment than such as 
she had been accustomed to extend to her negro 
slaves. When her mission was told she was directed 
to the commissary quarters as the proper place to 
apply. But no, it was beneath her dignity to talk 
with ^ny one of lower rank than a major-general. 
So she went to Greneral Logan. She commenced by 


demanding, "Are you the man Logan?" Like all 
good fighting soldiers Logan is slow to anger, espe- 
cially toward a woman, and although considerably 
surprised at the unladylike form of her question, as- 
sented. " Then, " said she, " I want you to give me 
some provisions to pay for what your dirty soldiers 
have stolen." " The h you do," the General replied. 
The sharp answer of the Northern commander seemed 
to penetrate her mind as a revelation. The new dis- 
pensation was beginning to open before her. For the 
first time in her life the idea penetrated her brain 
that all Northern men were not mud-sills to be 
treated as on a par with mere chattels. With an 
humble apology she withdrew and meekly went to 
the sergeant in charge of the commissary and received, 
as a donation, the necessary food to keep her and her 
family from starving. Logan's sharp, four word reply 
was repeated far and wide, and no doubt did more to 
educate the people hereabouts as to the respect due 
to Northern soldiers, than many more elaborate les- 
sons would have done. 

A slaveholder received his lesson at the hands of 
one of his own late slaves. The former slave had be- 
become a contraband, and had been enlisted in a 
colored regiment that had been formed since we came 
to the neighborhood of Yicksburg. He was on guard 
with orders not to let any citizen pass his line. Who 
should happen to be the first one to come up and at- 
tempt to pass but his old master. He was at the head 
of a little procession, consisting of himself and family, 
and remaining slaves. He came boldly up, walking 
as though the dignity of the entire world was upon 


his shoulders, and he feared, if a single unmeasured 
step was made, that some of it would drop off. " Halt, 
there! Halt, I say!" cried the colored soldier as his 
former master approached his beat. The haughty 
Southerner did not intend to be checked in his career 
by one of his own slaves, but continued to advance, 
and with a haughty wave of his hand, majestically 
exclaimed: " What do you mean by such impudence, 
Jim? Out of the way and let me pass." " But stop 
there," said soldier Jim. " I hab orders, massey, and 
you can no pass ober me now." The master con- 
tinued as though determined not to further notice the 
obstruction. Jim became desperate, and with fixed 
bayonet started toward and would no doubt have run 
his former proud master through had he not appre- 
ciated the real condition of affairs in time and beat a 
hasty and inglorious retreat, leaving soldier Jim 
master of the situation. The owner may well have 
been astonished at Jim's course. There is something 
in these cases that is puzzling to us all. As a mat- 
ter of fact the master is still the owner of Jim. Jirn 
is as much his property as the other slaves he has 
under his control. The only difference is this: They 
are good, Jim is bad. His other slaves were kind and 
docile and remained with their master. Jim was 
naughty, ran away and became a contraband. For a 
man to be stopped upon the road by his own property, 
with a gun in its hands, and compelled to obey the 
orders given, is strange indeed. When and where 
will all of these puzzling things end? 

While the prisoners were being paroled we fre- 
quently met and talked with some of them. I talked 


with one who was in New Orleans at the time Gen- 
eral Butler was there and in command. Knowing 
the extreme bitterness existing against Butler among 
the Southern people,- 1 suggested that it was probable 
that General Banks, who had succeeded General But- 
ler, would prove more acceptable to people of New 
Orleans. The Confederate, who belonged to the la- 
boring class, and who was a well-informed and intel- 
ligent one of their number, replied: "No, that is all a 
mistake. General Butler is the best man that ever 
ruled in New Orleans." I expressed surprise at this 
view from a Southern man. and asked: "Do not the 
people of the city complain that he ruled them with 
unnecessary severity?" He replied: "The rich com- 
plain, but the poor people do not. If he had not fed 
the poor people many of them would have starved." 
This Confederate was in New Orleans when it was 
taken by the Union troops, and left to join the South- 
ern army during the time when Butler was there. 
Said he, with much earnestness: "I wish to God, I 
was back in New Orleans, and that General Butler 
was in command of the city." In reference to the 
rich class who so loudly complained,, he said: "But- 
ler is not as harsh as they are ugly." Such views as 
these from one who had fought us through all of the 

o o 

campaign and siege of Vicksburg, and who was now 
going to the interior of the Confederacy under parole 
to be afterward exchanged and then fight against us, 
seemed peculiar. If an opportunity had been given 
to all who wished to enter into an obligation not to 
again enter the rebel army, and they allowed to go to 
some part of the country within control of the Union 


army, no doubt but that many of the rank and file 
would gladly have embraced it. It seems that this 
should have been done. 

Sometimes we meet some of the extreme class, 
those who talk of "fighting until the last dog is eaten 
and then dying in the last ditch." A squad of Con- 
federates were talking with a number of Union sol- 
diers. One of these extreme rebels became the prom- 
inent talker. The difficulty of a harmonious settle- 
ment at the end of the war was being discussed, dur- 
ing which the following dialogue occurred: 

Confederate " And what does it signify if you 
are successful and take all of our most important 
cities, what do you propose to do then?" 

Union "We simply purpose to do this; put down 
the rebellion ; defeat your armies; and conquer the 
the entire South if necessary to restore, the Union." 

Confederate "But if we will not submit what can 
you do? You may burn our cities, desolate our land, 
vet we will never submit to be ruled bv the 


Northern Yankees." Growing warmer: "No,. never; 
we will die first. I would die a thousand times first. 
Yes, sir, I tell you I will die first. Die before I will 
yield an inch." 

Union In a pleasant good-natured tone it was re- 
plied: "My good fellow, are you not a little too fast? 
You have just taken an obligation not to fight again 
until duly exchanged. Do you not know that with a 
few surrenders like Ticks burg, the entire South will 
be under our control. If you wished to die for your 
cause what better place than this do you ever expect 
to find? Why did you not die in Yicksburg instead 

274: ARMY LIFE. 

of surrendering before you were even wounded?" 
This was bringing the point a little too near home. 
For some reason his Confederate comrades commenced 
laughing loudly at his confusion, which caused him 
to beat a hasty retreat. As he departed, his Confed- 
erate comrades said: "Oh, yes, that is .the way he 
always talked when there were no bullets flying near 
him. When actual danger came he dug a hole in the 
clay bank, crawled into it and never came out only 
when he was pulled out." 

We will now bid farewell to all Yicksburg scenes 
by a brief reference to our commander. Grant is a 
wonderful man. He does not make mistakes. The 
volunteer soldiers of our army are not mere machines. 
The perceptions of the soldiers in the ranks, as to the 
correctness of military movements, are often equal if 
not superior to those of the officers in command. 
The actions of other officers are often criticised, and 
justly so. Every thing that Grant directs is right. 
His soldiers believe in him. In our private talk, 
among ourselves, I have never heard a single soldier 
.speak in doubt of Grant. 

He is one of the most modest and unpretending 
.officers we have served under. His usual course is to 
ride along the line unattended save by one or two 
.orderlies. These are necessary to carry orders if 
occasion arises. Officers of less rank often ap- 
pear in grand style attended by a full staff and 
.cavalry body-guard. By the careless way he goes 
among them, Grant evidently thinks that every 
Union soldier he meets is part of his body-guard. 
The soldiers seem to look upon him as a friendly 


partner of theirs, not as an arbitrary commander. 
As he passes by, the private soldiers feel as free to 
greet him as they would to address one of their neigh- 
bors when meeting him at home. "Good morning, 
General"; "Pleasant day, General," and like expres- 
sions are the greetings he meets everywhere. The 
soldiers when meeting him are never embarrassed by 
the thought that they are talking to a great general. 
Upon the other hand the soldiers do not become as 
wildly enthusiastic when Grant passes the lines as 
they sometimes do with others. When General 
Grant passes, the entire line is not impelled to throw 
tip their hats and greet him with thundering cheers. 
A pleasant salute to, and a good-natured nod from 
him, in return, seems more appropriate. 

General Grant evidently has a wonderful memory. 
He seems to always know merely by memory where 
every part of his entire army, even down to the 
smallest detachment or company, is or ought to be. 
He will ride along the long line of the army, appar- 
ently as an indifferent observer; yet he sees and 
notices everything. Pie seems to know and remem- 
ber every regiment, and in fact every cannon, in his 
large army. If a single gun or regiment is out of 
position or can be better placed he sees it at once. 
An expert chess-player will look over a game and at 
once detect the weakness of even a pawn out of 
proper position. Grant seems to look over and com- 
prehend all the complications of a battle field as easily 
as an expert player looks upon and comprehends a 
game of chess. But the great thing can be briefly 
told. One thing is the key to military success. It 


can be stated in a word. It is: Confidence. Grant's 
soldiers have full confidence in their commander. 



THE regiment started for Black River on Monday, 
July sixth. I was not able to keep up, but reached 
the night camp after sundown. 

At noon the next day the command started for- 
ward. Doctor Rex came along and ordered me to the 
hospital. I stayed and the regiment went on its jour- 
ney. Not caring to stay at the over-crowded hospital 
at Black River, I took passage with a wagon train go- 
ing back for supplies, and went to the convalescent 
camp at Yicksburg. "With plenty of quinine and 
proper care of myself, and avoiding the army doctors, 
I soon had the ague again broken. 

On the twenty-fourth of July the regiment returned 
and went into camp on the banks of the Mississippi 
River, two miles below the city of Yicksburg. 

On the first day of August one division of our corps 
started down the river. On Sunday the chaplain of 
our regiment preached his farewell sermon. 


"We received marching orders on August eighteenth. 
"We are to go to New Orleans and join the Army of the 

AT CARROLL-TON, AUG., 1863. 277 

Gulf. The next day we went on board the steamboat 
Gladiator, and started toward our destination. We 
readied Natchez after dark and remained there until 
the next morning. At day-break on the twentieth we 
started again and arrived at Carrollton, near New Or- 
leans, during the following night. 

Friday, the twenty-first, we landed and camped at 
Carrollton. The next day we had a review by Gen- 
eral Banks, our new commander. 

Carrollton, at this time of the year, is a pretty 
place. We had a fine camp ground. In front of our 
camp was the famous shell road, much patronized by 
the people who have a good team to drive. People 
from New Orleans often show their horses upon it. 

The orange and lemon trees, now full of fruit, are a 
pretty sight. These and other convenient trees, with 
a soft bed of grass underneath, furnish us elegant 
places to rest during the heat of the day. 

Lake Pontchartrain, a few miles back 3f us, and to 
which accommodation trains on a narrow gauge rail- 
road run, give us a splendid place for saltwater bath- 

On the twenty- fourth we commenced, what is very 
unusual with us Western soldiers, a change guard 
around the camp ground. 

Tuesday, the twenty-fifth, I went down to see the 
city of New Orleans. Looked at the St. Charles, City 
Hall, Clay's Monument, Jackson Square and monu- 
ment, and other buildings and places of interest. The 
cleanliness of the city was notable. Along the gutters 
between the sidewalk and wagon track, on many of 
the streets, there was a running stream of fresh water. 


All filth is kept well swept off the streets. It is said 
that General Butler is the one who taught the people 
here how to keep their city clean and healthy. 

On August twenty-ninth there was a general re- 
view of the Thirteenth Army Corps by General Banks 
and other officers. General Banks is one of the finest 
appearing and best looking officers in the army. 

The first of September found us again under march- 
ing orders. We are to cross the river at New Orleans 
and go west on the railroad. On the third, we com- 
menced shipping our supplies. With some others, I 
went in advance to guard the goods. We rode down 
to New Orleans and then crossed over to Algiers. 


September fourth. Grant, Banks and other officers 
had a grand review of the troops at Carrollton. After 
the morning review was over, our regiment came down 
and crossed the Mississippi and w r ent forward on the 
railroad. It took all of the next day to ship all of our 
supplies. After this was done, we who were guard- 
ing them, took the train and joined our command at 
Bayou Bouef at midnight. 

We have a disagreeable camp ground at this place. 
The ground is low, wet and marshy. The tents we 
now have are what the soldiers call " dog tents." 


They consist simply of two pieces of canvas about 
seven feet in length by five or six in width. The two 
pieces are buttoned together, thrown over a center pole 
and the bottom sides fastened to the ground. Each 
soldier has half a tent. When put together and 
erected there is jnst about room enough for the two 
soldiers to crawl into them. All they are good for is 
to sleep in, and a poor excuse for even that. 


Our mission at this place is to guard the railroad 
bridge over the bayou. It is a new bridge. The old 
one was burned by the rebels during a late raid made 
by them. 

Wednesday, September ninth. Once more we are 
in the near neighborhood of strong enemy. They 
are a large force about twenty miles from us. It is 
Dick Taylor's band and said to be about fifteen thou- 
sand strong. Some things indicate that we have a 
good prospect for an early fight. Other reports say 
that Taylor has already commenced to retreat. Yes- 
terday five deserters from the rebel army came into 
our lines. They report that Taylor's force, many of 
whom are conscripts, are discouraged and tired of the 
war. This seems to be the feeling of the Southern citi- 
zens and soldiers upon this side of the Mississippi Riv- 
er. If free to act no doubt but that a large majority of 
them would now gladly come back into the Union. 



THE enemy began to show a very threatening spirit 
toward our troops at Brashear City, nine miles further 
west. On September eleventh we started at four 
o'clock in the morning and marched to that place. 

Brashear City is a small place of no great impor- 
tance except as a military post. The river at this 


place is the dividing line between the Union and 
rebel armies. The enemy holds the west side and onr 
troops the eastern side of the river. The river itself 
may be said to be entirely in our control. The enemy 
taking good care, to keep out of range of our gun- 
boats. Two small gun-boats came up from Sabin 
Pass this morning. They bring us news of a severe 
engagement between onr boats and the rebel forts. 
Onr side was whipped. Two boats were lost and oth- 
ers disabled. 

Troops continued to arrive until quite a large force 
was assembled at Brashear City. General C. C.Wash- 
burne, who is to command, came in from New Orleans 
on September fifteenth. The prospect is good for an 
early forward movement. 

"While we were camped at Brashear City, with our 
lines on the east side of the river, and the enemy in 
possession of the country on the west side, a little 
band of five boys belonging to our brigade had an 
adventure that at the time attracted much attention. 
The five Union soldiers got possession of a skiff and 
crossed over to the enemy's side of the river. The ob- 
ject of this raid, it must be confessed, was to forage 
some chickens and pigs; everything in that line be- 
ing very scarce on our side. Of course they had no 
right to thus venture into the enemy's country. 
Considerable time had passed without success, and 
the prospect of leaving the rebel land as hungry as 
they came began staring them in the face. At last 
they discovered the smoke curling up from a fire in 
the woods near at hand. As they approached they 
were surprised to see that they had r:n upon a camp 


of some thirty Confederate cavalrymen. The rebels 
were evidently on a scouting expedition, and at the 
time when discovered by our bbys, were busily 
engaged in cooking their dinner. The discovery 
brought the Union boj<s to a halt. What to do was 
the question. Should they retreat? No. The boys 
of the Thirteenth .Army Corps never retreat. As for 
fighting that was equally out of the question. They 
only had one gun among them, and besides the odds 
were six to one against them. In this dilemma they 
decided that the only thing to do was to frighten the 
Confederates out of their position. 1 1 m nst be remem- 
bered that the little band was composed of five of the 
most reckless and daring men of our brigade. If they 
had not been so, they would not have thus ventured 
so far, merely for the chances of finding some fat 
chickens. The plan was no sooner suggested than 
acted upon. With a whoop and a yell like wild sav- 
ages they dashed through the thick brush and right 
into the midst of the astonished rebels. The alarmed 
Confederates thought that Old Nick himself had 
come, and ran for dear life, leaving guns and sabers 
and even part of their horses in the possession of the 
wild Yankee boys. The reckless Union soldiers 
grabbed up the abandoned guns and fired rapidly, 
thus completing the Confederates' delusion that they 
were being attacked by a large force, and they con- 
tinued their rapid retreat without once looking back, 
glad to escape with their lives. The dinner, consist- 
ing of some fat chickens and plump pigs about ready 
for eating, was also left by the departing rebels. 
With cool impudence the five reckless boys sat down. 


and ate the dinner. After the dinner was disposed 
of, they gathered up the things they had captured and 
returned to camp. The large amount of plunder they 
brought in was conclusive evidence that their report of 

the adventure had not been exaggerated. But from 

... x 

the fact that in crossing the river in the first instance, 
they had violated positive military orders, they would 
no doubt have been highly commended and rewarded 
for their brilliant action. 

On the twenty-first of September, recommendations 
favoring the promotion of Colonel Washbnrn of the 
Eighteenth Indiana Volunteers were circulated and 
largely signed by the men of our brigade. The boys 
signed freely saying that they "wanted to see one man 
promoted who did not get drunk." 

Our rations since we came here have been very 
poor. For dinner we had baked beans, bread and cof- 
fee. An extra good meal for these times. Most of the 
time all the bread we have had is worinv and butj^y 

v Oc- */ 

hard tack, and the meat issued to us was actually rot- 
ten. This with some coffee is all we have had for 
days at a time. The soldiers think that this is rather 
severe while we are near ample means of transporta- 

Onr knapsacks were brought to us from New 
Orleans on September twenty-second. Since we have 
left Carrollton up to this time, all I have had with me 
consisted of one woolen blanket, one rubber blanket, 
one half of dog tent, one pair of trousers, one hat, 
one shirt, one pair of shoes and stockings all in con- 
stant use my canteen, haversack, gun and accoutre- 
ments and one small memorandum book. Many of 


my comrades are worse off than I, for the reason that 
their clothing has more holes in it than mine has. 
Now my knapsack lias come, adding one coat, one 
shirt and one pair of socks to iny list of clothing. 
Although yet limited it is about as much as I wish to 
carry on a march in this warm Southern climate. 

Soldiers manage to be reasonably comfortable with 
a very limited amount of clothing to wear and bed- 
ding to sleep in. Two will join together. The moist 
ground they are often compelled to sleep upon is more 
dangerous to their health than storms from above. 
An experienced soldier will never lay down without 
first spreading his rubber blanket on the ground. At 
night two soldiers fasten their pieces of tents together, 
erect it, and then spread on the ground inside, one of 
the rubber blankets and upon this a woolen blanket 
and the bed is complete. With the other woolen and 
rubber blanket fur a cover they sleep as snug as a bug 
in a ruo> 


Thursday, September twenty-fourth. We are now 
ordered to cross to the west side of the river, there to 
be ready to start forward on a foot march. Some of the 
troops have already crossed. The transportation train, 
of our brigade was sent over to-day. 

The next morning we broke camp at six o'clock 
and crossed the river and camped upog the river bank. 

Quite a lively excitement was created in part of 
the camp during our last night in Brashear City. 
About ten o'clock, after we had gone to sleep, we 
were awakened by a lively racket in the vicinity of a 
brigade camp next to ours. A large number engaged 
in shouting, yelling, screeching, running, command- 

284: ARMY LIFE. 

ing, halting and defying, all combined, created a scene 
and commotion that can be more easily imagined than 
described. Knowing that it was some of our sol- 
diers, probably on a spree, I did not get up to see 
what the trouble was. 

This morning we learned the cause of the disturb- 
ance last night. There is, as is well known, consider- 
able jealousy between the Western and Eastern soldiers. 
.It is not deep enough to cause any serious anxiety, 
lonly extending far enough for each to wish to make 
the others the butt of any merry joke that maybe 
devised. As soldiers are apt to do, ill 3 boys often 
carry their jokes to an extreme length. Since we have 
joined General Banks' army, a month ago, is the only 
time we have had Eastern soldiers for neighbors. Get- 
ting acquainted with them and becoming accustomed 
to their ways, is almost like the beginning of new 
camp life. The boys seem to be almost as much 
given to wild pranks now as when they first met in 
camp life at Camp Butler two years ago. 

Last night a number of the wildest boys of our 
brigade determined to celebrate the last night in camp 
at this place with a spree at the "Yorkers'" expense. 
They easily ran our brigade guard as the night was 
dark and the weeds high. Each brigade has its own 
guard around its camp. Arming themselves with fire- 
brands, clods of dirt and other harmless weapons, our 
wild boys made a charge upon, and drove in the 
entire guard of the Eastern brigade camped near by. 
As was to be expected the officers of the brigade were 
much vexed at this proceeding. They soon had a 
number of companies in line and by a quiet move in 


the dark niglit had the disturbers surrounded before 
they were aware of the movement. The boys, who 
had only come out for a wild spree, did not relish the 
idea of being captured, and thus raised a wild commo- 
tion, in the confusion of which most of them made 
good their escape. This was the first racket we heard 
last night. 

Tl.e affair did not end here. The Eastern men 
were holding a few of the wild jokers under guard. 
Another plan was formed. Just as quiet was again 
restored and the Eastern soldiers retired to their night 
quarters their entire camp was thrown into the 
wildest confusion. They were alarmed in earnest 
this time. In wild dismay they broke from their 
tents, running fiercely and wildly, crying to their 
comrades to run for their lives. "They are going 
to shoot!" "There they come, run, run!" "They 
are going to fire upon us; see their cannon, run, 
run!" were the wild exclamations that came from the 
now thoroughly alarmed camp. Above the din 
could be heard, as was supposed, a battery of artillery 
as it went thundering at a fearful rate over the 
rough ground of an old cane-field. Added to this, 
a deep strong voice could be heard in the night air 
giving the commands: "To the right! " "Unlimber to 
the rear!" "Aim to the center of the camp!" all of 
which were given in quick succession and with a mas- 
ter's decision. The Eastern soldiers fully believed 
that the wild Western boys had become maddened to 
absolute recklessness and had stolen some cannon and 
come to take revenge for the capture of their com- 


The New York boys are not cowards, and as soon 
as fully awake they charged upon and captured the 
cannon. The wild raiders, as was expected, dis- 
persed without going to the extreme length of firing. 
When the Eastern boys came to look their capture 
over they were surprised and could not refrain from 
smiling at their needless alarm, when they found 
instead of deadly cannon, the boys of the First 
Brigade had only stolen the wheels of some old army 

Such wild night pranks as these ought not to be 
indulged in. It seems impossible, however, to ever 
tame some of our \vild boys. The only thing that 
will keep them within proper bounds is hard marches 
and heavy duty. 


BrashearCity is situated on the Achafalaya River and 
lies about seventy-five miles west of New Orleans, 
with which it is connected by a railroad. 

It is a city of no great pretensions save as a mili- 
tary post Such at least is its condition in these war 
times. Perhaps in times of peace it may be different. 
I think it is. To judge by its situation as connected 
with the surrounding country it ought to become, with 
prosperous times of peace, an important commercial 
town. It lies at the foot of the rich Teche Valley; is 
within easy communication with the Gulf of Mexico 
by water and with New Orleans by rail. 

Only a small part of the land lying east of here is 
under cultivation. It is mostly wild, low, swampy 
land generally covered with a heavy growth of tim- 


ber. In many places every tree is buried beneath an 
enormous load of Spanish moss. Why it is so called 
I do not know. It grows upon the limbs of the trees. 
It often covers the trees from, the bottom to the top. 
It grows like small vines and hangs down from the 
limbs in thick clusters. It becomes so thick as to 
often smother large forest trees to death. Where it 
is the thickest it creates a " dismal swamp " indeed. 
It seems to thrive upon those trees that stand in the 
lowest ground and in swamps where water stands on 
the ground nearly the entire year. When a thick 
grove of large forest trees becomes thoroughly cov- 
ered with this moss even the light of the sun can not 
penetrate the dense mass. At mid-day it is dark and 
dismal beneath such a grove. No one ever ventures 
far within them. They are full of vile reptiles. As 
for mosquitos they are thick enough to darken the 
sun even were it upon an open prairie. The mosqui- 
tos are night birds, and as it is always night in these 
dark swamps, they are ready for business at all hours. 
Unless your delight is mosquitos keep out of the 
Louisiana swamps. 

Brashear City will have its little share to claim in 
the history of this war. After having remained under 
Federal control for a long time, and being made a de- 
pot for a large amount of military stores, it was re- 
captured by the Confederates. Thus it is one of the 
very few places that have been under the Confederate 
rule the second time. The re-capture by the rebels 
was in June last. 

General Banks had withdrawn most of the Union 
troops to have them operate on the Mississippi. After 


the fall of Yicksburg and Port Hudson this place was 
speedily re-occupied by our troops. The enemy 
promptly withdrew without a battle. 

A strong fort is being built here by our troops. 
It is an easy city to strongly fortify. It is surrounded 
on three sides by water. The Achafalaya River bends 
around the north and west sides of the city. A deep 
bayou runs along the south side of the city, emptying 
into the river. The only open ground upon which to 
approach the city is on the east side. The fort is be- 
ing built so as to fully cover this ground. When the 
fortifications are completed the place will be absolutely 
impregnable so far as any rebel force in this vicinity 
is concerned. Had the fort been built in time it 
would have saved our Government the heavy loss of 
property and the deep mortification it suffered last 
June when the Confederates came in and captured the 
city and a large amount of Government stores. 

After our arrival here I was in a building that had 
been occupied by our Government prior to the rebel 
capture. In one room a mark on the wall showed 
that it had been used for "ordnance stores." This 
the rebels had completed so as to make it read: " Ord- 
nance stores captured from the Yankee army June 27, 
1863." Beneath this, at a later date, some one, evi- 
dently a young collegian, a sophomore at least, for 
want of something better to write, had added: 
" Avaunt, Old Jeff, Louisiana is redeemed." In other 
places less esthetic hands had covered the walls with 
such notes as this: " Vicksburg captured, July 4, 
1863. Old Jeff, you are going to the devil." 





WE remained in camp at "West Brashear City, or as 
it is otherwise called, Berwic City, a week. 

Saturday, October 3, 1863, saw us again on the 
road. We started at six o'clock in the morning and 
marched fifteen miles. Our present course is up the 
Teche River. The next day we marched ten miles. 
On Monday we started at six o'clock and marched 
thirteen miles. Passed through Franklin during the 
forenoon. We started at seven o'clock, Tuesday, and 
marched thirteen miles and camped for the night on a 
prairie within four miles of New Ibeary. 

Our trip this far has been through a splendid coun- 
try. We have passed rich prairie lands and some 
fine plantations. Most of the cultivated farms are, 
however, at present in a sorry condition, plainly show- 
ing the sad effects of war. The natural fertility of 
the soil is nnequaled ; cotton and sugar cane grow finely. 
The Teche Yalley will some day be the home of a rich 
and prosperous people. 

Our rations have improved very much. The rich 
prairies have furnished feed to fatten the cattle which 
are numerous enough to furnish us with fresh beef. 
It addition to this the country furnishes us with a 
liberal supply of chickens, green corn and beans, 
sweet potatoes and other vegetables. With these, 
added to the rations we brought with us, our soldiers 
are living high at this time. 


We lay in camp Wednesday and started forward 
again at three p. M. Thursday, October eighth. We 
inarched through New Ibeary and four miles farther 
and camped. The next morning we made arrange- 
ments to establish a permanent camp for a few days. 
News then came of trouble ahead and we imme- 
diately started forward and marched eleven miles. 
During the early part of the. day we heard some 
artillery firing in onr front. It is evidently consider- 
able distance ahead. Had chicken and sweet potatoes, 
hard tack and coffee for breakfast, a cold Innch for 
dinner, and fresh beef, hard tack and coffee for sup- 
per. Boys are growing fat. 

Saturday, October tenth. We started at seven and 
marched twelve miles and camped in line of battle 
near Yermillionville on the Vermillion bayou. The 
bridge across the stream at this place had been burned 
by the enemy and we crossed on a pontoon. It was 
at this place that the firing took place that we heard 

Our wagon trains started back for supplies on Sun- 
day. We are to remain in camp a few days. Some 
of the boys of our brigade are becoming rather law- 
less. It is impossible to keep them in camp. This 
fine (country is too tempting for them. They seem 
.bound to get out of camp and roam at large over it. 
That the Confederates do not capture many of them 
is a wonder 

Monday, October twelfth. We have a new expe- 
rience to-day. This afternoon a regiment from Law- 
ler's brigade was sent to guard our brigade, because, 
it is said, of the lawless action of some of our sol- 


diers who persist in running at large all over the 
country. During the next day the guard around our 
brigade was continued. A chain guard is placed 
entirely around our camp. The Fifty-fourth Indiana 
is performing the duty. The guard is more a matter 
of form than anything else. Our wild lads are on 
too good terms with the Indiana boys to have any 
trouble in running the guard whenever they wish. 
The Illinois and Indiana soldiers are always on 
friendly terms. And then half of our brigade are 
Indiana soldiers. Colonel Slmnk, commanding our 
brigade, is ordered to report to New Orleans under 
arrest. As to just what the real cause of the trouble 
is about no one seems to know or care. 

We remained in lield camp at Vermillion bayou 
nine days. We drilled nearly every day. The open, 
smooth prairie makes us a splendid drill ground. 
Colonel Lippincott, while a good soldier in a battle, is 
not the most proficient drill- master. He usually 
makes some awkward blunders. One day during a 
brigade drill he got our regiment so badly mixed up, 
that he was obliged to have the regiment reform on 
the colors. Such blunders remind us of the days of 
Lock wood. 

Tuesday, October twentieth. We started forward 
again and marched twenty miles, and camped on the 
banks of the Teche River. The soil here is wonderful. 
We dug some sweet potatoes that had grown so large 
and solid that we had to cut them with an ax, a butch- 
er's knife not being heavy enough for that purpose. 

The next day we marched forward eight miles and 
then back three and stayed over night at Leonville on 


the Teche. On Thursday we marched twelve miles, 
camped on the east side of the Teche near Barr's 
Landing. Here we found General Burbridge with 
his command, who had come on another road. 

We remained at Barr's Landing until Tuesday, 
October twenty-seventh, and then started on a march 
back toward New ibeary, to which place it is thought 
we are to return. Marched fifteen miles. The next 
day we marched fourteen miles, keeping on the east 
side of the Teche. We have found a better road than 
that taken during our advance. We save considerable 
in distance. On Thursday we marched twelve miles 
and crossed the river at St. Martinsville. The next 
day we marched through to New Ibeary. 
r- We received two months' pay on November first. 
This time we settled for our second year's clothing. 
We are allowed a certain amount for clothing and 
all we draw is charged to us. The advantage of a 
warm climate where but little clothing is needed, was 
shown in our accounts. Although the amount allowed 
to us is not large,! found that my allowance exceeded 
the amount drawn by the sum of six dollars and 
ninety cents. This I received in money in addition 
to the two months' pay. 

We made quite a stay in New Ibeary. Early on 
Friday morning, November sixth, we were called out 
to meet an expected attack. We went out and formed 
in line of battle, and remained in that condition all 
day and night. The expected enemy did not arrive. 
The next day we heard of an engagement near Oppe- 
lonas. One brigade of our troops was surprised and 
cut to pieces. 

STARTING FOB TEXAS, Nov., 1863. 29$ 

Sunday, November eighth. "We started at seven 
o'clock and marched twenty-fiveor twenty-eight miles. 
It was a-hard day's march. We stopped for the night 
within three miles of Franklin. This looks some as 
thong]} we were running away from the rebels. It 
would suit the boys better to stay and tight. 

The next morning we started expecting to march 
all day, but when we got to Franklin we found a boat 
waiting for us. Embarked and sailed down to Ber- 
wic City. This ended our march up and down the 
Teche River valley. 



soon learned that the reason for our hasty re- 
turn from the Teche Talley, was to go to Texas by 
water. The overland route was too long and difficult. 
Part of our brigade started on November twelfth. On 
the fourteenth we crossed over to Brashear City and 
took the cars and went to Algiers. General Wash- 
burne, commander of our division, came with us. 

The morning of November 15, 1863, was actively 
occupied by us in embarking in the steamship 

! General Washburne was with us directing and watch- 
ing the work. This prevented much of the delay 
often incident to such occasions. In such times we 
are often much delayed by the confusion that always 

294: ARMY LIFE. 

exists when there is no clear-headed person in con- 
trol to direct the work. 

Our wagons and mnles had been brought along 
with the intention of taking them with us. After 
the wagons had been taken to pieces for the purpose 
of loading them, it was found that there was not room 
enough on the boat and we were obliged to leave 

o O 

them. This we much regret, as we have always 
found insufficient transportation for supplies the 
greatest drawback we have to contend with. 

General Wasliburne and staff, and part of the Eight- 
eenth Indiana sailed with us on the Clinton. Most of 
the field and staff officers brought thei r horses with them. 
These with the few mules we brought crowded all of 
the space that was available for animals on the boat. 

After every thing else was loaded the men went on 
board. The boat was badly crowded. The rule 
seemed to be to crowd the soldiers in the odd places 
where nothing else could be put. There was hardly 
standing room. In fact General Wasliburne and Col- 
onel Bailey, the ranking officer of our brigade pres- 
ent, had to use every effort to find room to crowd the 
men in even standing. "Crowd up, crowd up a little 
more, boys," said Washburne. "There will be plenty 
of room when we get started." The boys liked Wasli- 
burne's plain, blunt, Western ways and did the best 
they could to comply. At the same time some of 
them seemed to doubt the boat being any larger when 
at sea than it is when lying at the wharf at Algiers. 

At last it was announced that the last man had 
walked the plank and that all were on board. In a 
moment more we heard a sudden, stentorian voice 


commanding: "Stand by there, my hearties" ; "Heave 
off. " Looking up, we saw that the fat, jolly, old sea 
captain of the Clinton had mounted the top of the 
wheel house, and was giving the necessary commands 
to start us on our journey to Texas. 

Our voyage from Algiers and New Orleans down 
the lower Mississippi was pleasant arid interesting: 
considering our crowded condition it was as delight- 
ful a ride as we could expect. 

As we leave New Orleans, the country along the 
shore of the river appears to have a rich, fertile and pro- 
ductive soil. Many pleasant and cheerful residences 
could be seen upon the banks of the river, surrounded 
with many evidences that they were the homes of a 
contented and prosperous people. Having been under 
the protection of a strong Government ever since the 
capture of New Orleans by General Butler the country 
along the lower Mississippi shows evidence of thrift 
and industry that contrasts happily with most of what 
we have seen since we came to this Southern clime. 

As we were sailing down the river notice was given 
for the men to till all their canteens, camp kettles, 
coffee-pots and every thing else that would answer for 
the purpose, with fresh water. All of the water casks 
were carefully re-filled. This was done, so that when 
we came upon the briny water of the gulf, we should 
start across the salt water with the fullest supply 
possible of fresh water. With the large number of 
soldiers on board this was a wise forethought. The 
time has often been when careful anticipation like this 
would have prevented some of the severest hardships of 
our soldier life. Provident attention to such things as 


these, by a commanding officer, does more to win the 
confidence and respect of his soldiers than the most 
imposing reviews or grandest exhibitions of military 
style. "Washburne's strong point is in the care he takes 
of his soldiers. After he arrived at Brashear City 
there was not any more rotten provisions issued to us. 
General Washburne is extremely popular with b's 

It was a lively, jolly crowd of soldier boys that 
went down the Mississippi on this trip. The general 
health was never better. To see the healthy, fat, jolly 
crowd now sailing down the Mississippi in the Clinton, 
no one would have believed that they were the same 
tired, worn-out and sick men that were a few months' 
asjo seen in the trenches in front of Vicksburg. 
Most of our soldiers are between eighteen and twenty- 
three years of age. Boys of that age with good 
health and plenty to eat recuperate with wonderful 
rapidity. We start for Texas in the best of health 
and spirits. 

As night came on, we commenced to think of how 
we were to sleep. Many laughable scenes ensued. 
Boom to lie down in, was out of the question. It 
had been found difficult to get the men all on board 
even when all were standing. The boys doubled and 
twisted themselves up into the smallest possible com- 
pass. They supported each other sitting thick to- 
gether. In places they were even piled on the top of 
each other. Thus crowded most of them slept part 
of the night. A hungry soldier can eat and a tired 
one can sleep under almost any circumste ices and 
with little regard to the fitness of things. . Mere pro > 


priety and beauty are at a discount with a soldier 
when he is at dinner, asleep or in a fight. 

As we neared the month of the river it was thought 
that, owing to the darkness of the night, the crowded 
condition of our boat, and the shallow water, that it 
would be unsafe to attempt to pass the bars at the 
mouth of the river; so we anchored at midnight and 
lay still until the next morning. 

At early daylight on the morning of the sixteenth; 
we hove anchor and sailed through one of the narrow 
channels that form the Delta of the Mississippi. To 
our right, as we passed out, was a light-house stand- 
ing upon a forlorn sand bar. T-he only building neap 
it was one little hut, intended, I suppose, for the use 
of those whose duty it was to take care of the- light' 

The deep, rich and fertile soil, with its' smiling foli- 
age that greeted us from each bank of the river as 
we came down from New Orleans has here given 
place to barren tracts of sand. 

I -found that the mouth of the river was different 
from the idea I had formed of it. I had supposed^ 
from the descriptions I had read, that the Mississippi 
at the mouth was broken by two or three large islands, 
and that the water ran into the gulf through about 
three large channels. But as it appeared to me this 
morning, from the deck -of .the- steamer where I was 
standing, the river is broken by a host of little islands 
and sand bars, and runs iiito the gulf through a large 
number of narrow and crooked courses. 

Passing through oe of the numerous channels at 
the mouth of the Mississippi, we- were soon sailing 


quickly and pleasantly upon the broad waters of the 
Gulf of Mexico. With interest we watched the re- 
ceding shores, as one after another, this and then 
that particular point was lost to us; until the last, 
boldest point, in its turn, also became enveloped and 
finally lost in the undefined mist of the distant shore. 
We looked ajjain, carefully and long, but all is lost. 
The water around us and the sky above is all that can 
now be seen. For the first time in my life I am out of 
sight of land, sailing upon ,the deep, deep sea. Most 
of the young soldiers, my comrades, being fanner bo}'S 
like myself, were also taking their first ride over deep 
and boundless waters. 

A strange and weird feeling comes over one, as he, 
for the. first time in his life, realizes that he is out of 
sight of land and upon the waters of the deep sea, 
with nothing to cling to but the frail craft that carries 
him above the rolling deep. All there is near him is 
the thin air above and the hardly less yielding water 
beneath him. In case of danger he might as well 
attempt to cling to a handful of one as the other. A 
handful of water, like that of air, would melt in his 
grasp. Cast adrift here how helpless one would be. 
A feeling of man's insignificance, compared with nat- 
ure's greatness, conies over us. Many unbidden 
thoughts will come to him, who, thus for the first 
time, realizes that he is upon the deep sea and out of 
sight of land. 

After the young soldiers became accustomed to the 
situation many queer questions were asked and wild 
speculations indulged in. The f chances of a jolly fit 
of seasickness received a fair share of consideration. 


The sea was calm and smooth, the ship ran as even as 
does a boat upon the smooth waters of a placid river. 
When night came only a very few had experienced any 
symptoms of seasickness, and many of the boys 
seemed disappointed in not being as sick as they had 
expected to be. Many of them became convinced 
that the stories of seasickness, deep waves and plung- 
ing boats, were merely sailor yarns, and protested that 
sailing upon the deep waters of the gulf was fully as 
pleasant as riding upon the smooth waters of the land 
protected rivers. Those of experience smiled to them- 
selves and kept their peace. They could well wait 
for time, and the treacherous gulf, to answer the ob- 
jection; that sailing upon the deep waters was too 
smooth and monotonous to be pleasant. 

During the night a sharp wind sprung up. In a 
short time the waves were running high. The boat 
plunged up and down over them. Many of the 
soldiers were soon sick enough to satisfy old ocean for 
the fun they had laughing at him during the day, be- 
cau83 he could not make them sick. Seasickness is 
peculiar. It shakes some up lively, others it leaves 
alone. Never having been seasick myself I will not 
attempt to explain what it is. 

As the sun rose the next morning and smiled down 
upon the sea, the stormy elements quieted down, and 
in a few hours the ship was again running as smooth 
as though we were sailing along the shores of some 

O C7 O 

pleasant river. Thus passed our second day at sea. 
Daring the night following the wind came up again, 
but not as strong as during the preceding night. We 
had a pleasant all night sail. 


At an early hour on the morning of the eighteenth 
we came in sight of the rough sand bars of the Texas 
coast. We kept within a few miles of land daring 
(the remainder of our voyage. The wind that had 
come up during the night had continued to increase 
and gave us .a rough sea during the entire day. 
M<my of the boys were quite seasick. 

Just an hour before sundown we arrived at the 
Pass of Point Isabel, at the mouth of the Rio Grande 
Hiver. We attempted to go through the pass into 
the harbor but failed. We ran aground on a sand 
bar. Signals were given for some of the boats in the 
harbor to come and help us through. None came, 
and the attempt to get through was abandoned. With 
much difficulty the ship was backed off of the sand bar, 
and we considered ourselves fortunate in being once 
more on the open sea, and safely away from the dan- 
gerous shores. 

When daylight came the next morning it found us 
sailing up and down the shore off Point Isabel. We 
were also within sight of the shores of Mexico. 
Along the coast of Mexico, just below the mouth of 
the Rio Grande, we saw a large fleet of steam and sail 
vessels, all flying the French flag. We were in^ 
formed that it was part of Louis Napoleon's French 
fleet, sent over by him to capture and subjugate un- 
happy and sad-fated Mexico. The American soldiers 
do not look with pleasure upon the French flag, float- 
ing in American waters for such a purpose. The 
views of all were expressed by one of our soldiers, in 
a manner more forcible than elegant. Shaking his 
fist at the French fleet, lie exclaimed: "When Uncle 


Sam and his old woman get over their little family 
difficulty, you French rascals want to be right lively 
in getting out of that melon patch." 

Returning as near as possible to Point Isabel, we 
fired signal guns in hopes of receiving some assist- 
ance from the harbor, but the sea was so rougli that 
none would venture out to us. Toward night, when 
the tide was at its highest, we again attempted to en- 
ter the harbor. In doing so we ran aground twice. 
It was a critical time for us. The huge breakers 
were tearing fiercely. I have read graphic accounts 
of the huge wave breakers of the Texas coast, but 
none gave me more than a faint idea of such fierce 
ones as those by which we were now surrounded. 
Lying in the tierce wa\es in front of us, as stern evi- 
dence of what our fate might be, were the broken 
wrecks of the fated vessels that had a few days previ- 
ously attempted to pass through those terrible break- 
ers. It was plain that no boat could live long in 
such a fearful place. The staunchest boat ever 
made would soon be pounded to pieces if aground 
among those fierce waves. The first sand bar upon 
which we were caught was a small one and we got off 
from it in a short time. We hardly had time, how- 
ever, to take a free breath when we struck again. 
This time it seemed certain that we caught for keeps; 
it was a serious affair. The vessel ran aground hard 
and fast. We worked hard and earnestly. Still we 
stuck fast. The tide had turned. Soon it would run 
down and then we would be left helpless, and by 
morning nothing but the broken pieces of our staunch 
boat would be left. The front half of the boat was 


fast on the bar. Every thing movable was carried 
to the back part of the vessel. The plan was to 
lighten the front half of the ship so that it would 
raise while the rear half settled down in the deeper 
water. After every thing of weight that could be 
moved had been carried back, and just at the critical 
moment the soldiers on the boat were asked to move 
to the rear. They did so effectivelj r . How the large 
crowd of soldiers hung on to the stern of the boat as 
they did without some falling overboard is a mystery. 
The last effort was made, the boat trembled for a mo- 
ment, and then commenced to move, and then after 
once getting a start continued with increased speed 
and slid back with a huge splash into the deep water. 
"We were fortunate, indeed. In ten minutes more the 
tide would have receded enough to have made our 
escape impossible. 

At one time the captain of the boat almost gave up 
all hope of being able to save his ship. He earnestly 
declared that he " would never be caught in such a 
place again." When the darkest moment came he 
sadly commenced a remark which if ended as intended 
when he commenced speaking, would have shown the 
boat of but little value at that moment. Said he, "I 
would not give one hundred thousand dollars for 
this boat," The amount mentioned was more than it 
was worth standing at the wharf at New Orleans. At 
first he only intended to say one hundred dollars. 
Even, although badly alarmed, the old fellow could 
not withstand the sailor's propensity to joke a little. 
It was second nature with him. We were fast and 
in critical danger for about two hours. During all 


of this time the boys remained cool and unexcited. 
They bantered eaah other on the prospect of attempt- 
ing to swim ashore when the vessel broke to pieces, 
bargained with the little ship boys for lemons, in- 
vented practical jokes upon each other, and in many 
ways showed an indifference to danger that was hardly 
allowable even in soldiers. A load of citizen passen- 
gers on the boat under such circumstances would have 
been well-nigh frantic with fear. I sometimes think 
that the greatest difficulty in dealing with soldiers 
who have been in much service, would be to con- 
vince them of actual danger. A few were some- 
what alarmed. I noticed one who was of the class 
called " no account soldiers." They are usually drunk 
while in camp and hiding when there is a fight on 
hand. He became so frightened that he would have 
thrown himself overboard in the mad attempt to swim 
ashore, had he not been caught by some of his com- 

The reckless indifference of the soldiers proved of 
great advantage to us. The captain of the boat after- 
ward declared that he had never seen such coolness in 
time of danger, and that it was owing to the prompt- 
ness with which the soldiers complied with every 
request made, that enabled him to save the ship. 

When at last the announcement was made, " She 
moves, we are now safe," a loud and hearty cheer arose 
from the entire command. This plainly showed that 
beneath the seeming indifference the soldiers really 
had a deep sense of the danger they were in, and were 
truly delighted when it vas past. 

As soon as we were free from the dangerous sand bar 


we ran out into the deep water to remain over night. 
We had barely time to get fairly anchored and make 
some arrangements to sleep when the weather-wise 
sea captain gave us notice to secure everything, as 
" in a few minutes it will be blowing about four 
points." What a " four points" wind was we did not 
know but took the captain's advice and proceeded to 
secure our guns, knapsacks and other soldier's fixings. 
We were none too soon. In a few moments a hard 
wind storm with some rain burst upon us. It was 
impossible for the boat to lay at anchor. The only 
course of safety was to run out into the deep sea. 
This we did. During the night the storm raged with 
tremendous fury. The water of the deep sea was 
whipped into rolling mountains of white foam. The 
angry waves raged as though they would tear asun- 
der the bottom of the mighty deep. The ship ca- 
reened and rocked from side to side until at times the 
bottom seemed uppermost; and then jump and 
plunge headlong, up and down over the huge moun- 
tain waves as though it would turn a somersault 
and dive down to the bottom of the unfathomable sea. 
Huge waves often threw great sheets of water over 
the highest part of the deck. The mad sea covered 
the entire boat with the white foam it spit forth in its 
fearful rage. Each deep opening between the gigantic 
waves resembled a mouth of boundless width and un- 
measured depths opened to swallow us. It appeared 
as though some monster of gigantic size had come 
that could devour our entire boat and its contents at 
one effort. as easily as a huge ox swallows a mouthful 
of corn. A fierce, wild animal foaming with rage is 


a fearful sight to behold. An angry sea like this can 
well be compared with an angry wild beast of gigan- 
tic size. It seemed as though the entire gulf had 
been changed into some fierce animal of destruction 
as large as the entire sea and with unnumbered 
mouths of monstrous size, each foaming with rage 
and opened to devour us. Such as this is a storm at 
sea on the Gulf of Mexico. After passing through 
one we never questioned the wildest story the most 
gifted sailor could relate. 

By the next morning the fury of the wild storm had 
abated and we again returned as near as possible to 
Pass Isabel, anchored, raised the flag, Union down, 
in signal of distress, and fired signal guns to those in 
the harbor. These are the sailors' signals of distress. 
The intention was to try by every means to get some 
assistance, at least a pilot from the harbor. If not 
successful in doing so before night the conclusion was 
that it would be necessary to start back for New 
Orleans. This we would have to do to save the horses 
and mules we had on board. "We have not fresh 
water enough to keep them alive much longer. In 
fact they have had but little water since we left the 
Mississippi. This and the rough sea we have had has 
almost ruined the horses and mules. A rough sea is 
a hard place for live animals. During the fierce 
storm they were, by the plunging of the boat, thrown 
against the sides of the vessel with a crash that 
seemed as though it would break every bone in their 
bodies. They were badly injured. Some were killed. 
During the forenoon the dead horses were drawn up 
and thrown overboard. One horse was thrown over 


which became revived by the salt water of the sea 
and for a while struggled with the waves and kept 
swimming around the ship. Of course it was im- 
possible to fish him out and some of the boys out of 
pity shot him. 

No assistance came from Point Isabel, but during 
the afternoon a small messenger boat arrived from 
some other quarter, bringing us orders to effect a 
landing at some other point. We hove anchor and 
sailed up the coast of Texas, and the next morning 
found us anchored off Aransas Inlet. 

Our rations upon this voyage, as they usually are 
upon such occasions, were very poor. About all we 
have had to live upon was hard tack and some coffee. 
One reason why we did not fare better was because 
there were no conveniences on board to cook for our 
large number. For the first part of our trip the boat 
cooks charged us at the rate of about ten cents per 
quarV for hot water to make our coffee. The objec- 
tion to this was the well known fact that the Govern- 
ment paid for all the fuel, and liberal wages to every 
one connected with the boat. Even at the rate 
charged we could Dot get more than half enough. 
When hardships are unavoidable our soldiers pass 
through them without a murmur. In this case they 
could see neither necessity nor justice. The matter 
was soon settled. Some of the soldiers, without con- 
sulting their company officers, went into the cabin 
and reported the facts to General Washburne. He 
took the matter in hand at once. The trade in warm 
water immediately ceased. During the balance of 
our cruise upon the gulf we had an opportunity of 

AT ST. JOSEPH'S ISLAND, Nor., 1863. 307 
making all the coffee we wanted twice a day Sol- 
?'? Ca " "T 617 We " with P' e "'y of coffee and hard 

of fL 1S - ? 0t * VCry ri h diet The """ion 

the first seasickness had given the boys hne ap- 

petites. Before our voyage upon the gu/f wa/endTd 
they were hungry as wolves. 

_ After an understanding was had with the boat offi- 
.1s, by closing the money making part of their busi- 
ness and, uo doubt, a little plain talk from General 
Washburne, they became quite clever and we managed 
to get some meat cooked now and then. The cor 
missary, with the assistance of the boat cooks, one dav 
cooked a full barrel of pork. Some of the boys me't 
tte commissary before the cooked meat was issued. 
W en he was asked to explain why he had let some 

H, ' ,f ef re ? re S" la '^ i88 " ed > ^declared that 

hungry sold.ers were determined to eat either the 

'i-korthe commissary sergeant and I preferred to 


During the forenoon of Saturday, November twenty- 
firs the steamboat Warren came along-side and part 

aeain ra t e o n n an T, h0rSeS r etranSfeiTCd * herf '' 

herf ' 

tl 1 u Slen e Iatter b !lt 

that she could pass up the channel. Onr company 

Tnl" \^ td t " le WlUTen - We then saile<1 -P *e 
T! rf TT WB sto PP eda8l 'rt tie at Mustan^ 

-sland. Here we found part of our brigade. Those 
who came on the St. Mary from Algiers.^ When thev 
first landed they had a short engagement with a force 

>f rebe s hey found entrenched here. Our boys capt- 
nred their entire force and their fortifications and 


arms. These consisted of two small forts mounting 
three heavy guns, and its garrison of one hundred men 
and all of their camp equipage, small arms, ammuni- 
tion and supplies. "We stopped a short time without 
landing and then sailed up and landed upon the south- 
western end of St. Joseph's Island. 

We had considerable difficulty in landing. The 
pier and wharf had been destroyed. The water was 
so shallow that we could not reach the shore with the 
Warren. The only way for us to land was to use the 
ship's small row-boats. They were put to work and 
the men were soon ashore. Then came the horses 
and mules. How shall we manage them? Anyone 
can easily see that it will be quite a difficult matter 
to carry heavy horses and nimble legged mules 
ashore in small row-boats. Apparently the only way 
is to lay them on their backs, in the little boat, with 
their feet tied as the countrywoman ties her chicken's 
legs when moving. Then only one animal could be 
taken at a time. Should a mule's legs get loose, look 
out. He would have a boat all to himself in short 
order. Evidently there is lots of fun ahead. But in 
the army, things very difficult in theory become ex- 
ceedingly simple in practice. In this case the soldiers 
promptly solved all difficulty by drawing the horses 
and mules up out of the ship and throwing them 
overboard without ceremony. They struck the water 
in every shape. Some would strike head first. 
Others would turn a complete somersault in going 
down. The fall from the place on the boat where 
they were thrown off to the water was some twenty 
feet. Each would be plunged out of sight in the deep 


water. Although they were somewhat stunned and 
confused, none were seriously disabled. After float- 
ing around the ship awhile some of the men in row- 
boats would head them to the land and they would 
swim ashore. All except one were saved. One horse 
became bewildered, or else disgusted with such treat- 
ment, and concluded to desert from Uncle Sam's serv- 
ice, and started up the bay swimming toward the 
land of rebeldom. The last I saw of him he was a 
mile or more distant. Some of the men started after 
him in a small row-boat. I do not know whether he 
was captured or not. 

More difficulty was found in getting the artillery 
ashore than anything else. The cannon could not 
be thrown overboard as the horses had been. This 
difficulty was also soon solved. We lashed some of 
the small boats together, laid some planks across, and 
in this manner made a flat boat of sufficient strength, 
and soon run all of our artillery on shore. Then 
c.ime our supplies and ammunition, all of which re- 
quired much hard work to land. Even the small 
boats could only reach within several rods of the 
shore. The water ran very shallow and we carried 
every tiling over water from two to six inches deep for 
considerable distance. The artillery wheels could 
run without injury to the gun in water of that depth, 
but nearly every thing else had to be carried by hand. 
We all took hold and worked until midnight, when 
our task was finished, and during the balance of the 
night for the first time we slept upon the land of 




THE southern or southwestern end of St. Joseph's 
Island, where we landed, consists inainly of rough 
ridges of sand. "While the rough, wild scenery 
could hardly be called beautiful, still it was quite 
interesting to us who were not accustomed to see 
the moving hills of drifting sand. When I looked 
upon the white sand rolling and drifting up into 
huge piles I thought of the grand old times we 
used to sometimes have in our Northern clime as we 
went dancing with the merry bells over the huge 
drifts and through the flying snow. Sweet remem- 
brances of the past! When will those happy times 
be ours again? 

There is some level land on the island, upon which 
considerable wild grass grows. Although the soil is 
light, some of it might repay cultivation. It is evi- 
dently better adapted for grazing purposes than any 
other. The coast along the gulf is very rough. 
The breakers run very high with a never-ending roar, 
sounding, sounding, day after day and night after 
night as though old ocean was determined at all hours 
to remind us of his unbounded power. It would be 
madness to attempt to land anywhere upon the gulf 
shore. "The only way is to sail up some channel or 
inlet before attempting to land. The large bay be- 
tween the island and the main land furnishes a safe 
harbor for any number of vessels. The only difficulty 


is in reaching it. The channel running from the 
gulf to the bay is narrow and its water shallow. It 
is not deep enough to admit large gulf steamers. 

Sunday, November twenty-second, was fully occu- 
pied by the balance of our troops in landing on St. 
Joseph's Island. 

By Monday morning we were in marching and 
fighting condition. The entire command were safely 
on shore. Our artillery and every thing hr.d been 
landed in good shape. More ammunition was issued 
so that each soldier now had eighty rounds. Three 
days rations of hard tack and coffee were issued. This 
was all the rations we had on shore. Having no 
transportation we will have to carry every thing and 
thus march heavily loaded. 

The water of the bay is warm and the bathing 
splendid. At our Northern homes we would look for 
ice instead of outdoor bathing at this season of the 


At Monday noon the order to " Fall in" was given 
and we at once started for the northern end of the isl- 
and. We kept along the gulf shore all day. Upon 
the beach were many rare and curious shells. The 
boys would pick them up, admire them and then throw 
them away again. Cartridges instead of things of 
mere beauty are carried by soldiers in time of war, 
with an armed enemy near at hand. 

By keeping upon the wet sand near the water of the 
gulf, we had a smooth, hard and splendid road the en- 
tire distance. We reached the northern end of the 
kOand at a late hour of the night, pretty well tired out 
by our heavy loads and rapid marching. 


When our advance first reached the extreme end of 
the island they overtook a band of Confeck rites who 
were rapidly crossing the channel over to Matagorda 
Island. A slight skirmish ensued but the enemy 
soon passed out of range of our guns upon the other 
shore. One rebel officer was shot. None of our men 
were hit. 

A chain of islands ran along the entire gulf coast 
of this part of Texas. Evidently the gulf shore was, 
ages ago. along what is now the main land. Some 
sudden convulsion of nature probabjy produced such 
an effect that the subsequent accretions of sand and 
earth washed up was deposited along the shore some 
distance in the gulf from the former water-line. 
These accretions in time formed into solid land, leav- 
ing a space for water, between it and the former shore. 
At different points the action of the waves and water 
has kept a channel open through the later-formed 
land. This leaves the new land in the form of long 
islands, running parallel with the main land, from 
which they are separated by the water Ij'ing between 
them. Thus there is a chain of long islands running 
along the shore and a chain of bays running along 
between the islands and the main land. These inland 
waters are convenient to the light boats that run 
through them, along the Texas shore. None but 
large ocean steamers or ships can venture far upon the 
waters of the gulf. Small sail and row-boats can run 
through the inland waters with as much safety as if 
in the best protected harbor. 

We lay in camp on the northern part of St. Jo- 
seph's Island, during the following day. We found 

lev I 

s \. cai 



oysters in the bay and gathered what we wanted to eat. 
"We are also feasting on venison. The island is well 
stocked with deer. They have been troubled so little 
lately that they have increased to a large number and 
are quite easily approached to within good rifle dis- 
tance. As we marched up the island many deer were 
seen on our route. Some even came near enough to 


fall a victim to the soldiers' rifles. As we remained in 
camp all day our hunters went over the island and 

d a grand time hunting. Nearly a hundred deer 
were brought in to our brigade during the day. 

During the daytime of Wednesday our regiment 
remained at the same place. Other troops were busy 
crossing over to Matagorda Island. During our stay 
here we had a tedious time. We had our first experience 
of a Texas "norther." A steady wind will commence 
coming down from the far-off snow -covered mountain* 
in the north and northwest, and the result is a fierce, 
cold, penetrating storm. We were exposed to the full 
blast of the severe storm for nearly two full days. 
Our little skeleton tents furnished but little protection 
against the fierce driving storm of cold wind, freezing 
rain and frozen sleet. To make our exposed condition 
worse, there was no wood within reach upon the island. 
It was with much difficulty that we found fuel enough 

f O 

to cook a little meat and make some coffee. Our only 
resource for fuel was to gather " buffalo chips." (A 
large number of cattle had at one time fed upon the 
island.) The boys used their rubber blankets as bas- 
kets to bring in the fuel.. The best we could do was 
to make a fire to half cook our rations; fire enough 
to keep warm by was out of the question. A roaring 

314: ARMY LIFE. 

camp-fire, such as we used to have in the woods of 
Missouri would have been a rare luxury to us. 

The fury of the storm had somewhat abated by the 
night of November twenty-fifth. At sundown we put 
every thing in readiness to cross over to the other isl- 
and. Two small boats were the only means we had 
of crossing. Our regiment waited for its turn, and 
it was nearly ten o'clock at night when we got over. 

We marched forward immediately. For the first 
two miles we kept along the gulf shore, and then 
turned off so as to pass through the sand hills to the 
prairie back of them. The boys supposed that this 
was a signal for camping, and commenced picking up 
drift wood, of which there happened to be a reason- 
able supply on the beach. After we had passed 
through the sand hills to the open prairie, instead of 
camping, as was expected, we again turned to the 
right and continued marching up toward the northern 
end of the island. Still thinking this was only to find 
a better place to camp, the soldiers continued to carry 
their back-loads of wood in hopes that a halt would 
soon be made. As we continued our onward course 
they soon became tired of such an addition to their 
previously heavy loads, and first one, then another, 
with an exclamation of disgust, threw away their load 
of wood amidst the laughter of their more plucky 
comrades, who declared that they '" would never pick 
up anything that they could not carry." Each quar- 
ter of a mile was expected to end our march, but we 
went on, on, tramping along our night's march, and 
others in turn became still more disgusted and threw 
down their extra loads amidst the still louder laughter 


of their merry comrades. Some, more stubborn still, 
disdained to throw theirs away, and the wood they 
had picked up was actually carried full eight miles 
during a night march, and the plucky soldiers used 
the fuel they had carried so far to make some coffee 
with when we finally camped. 

At last, toward one o'clock, we stopped for the bal- 
ance of the night. Forming in line of battle, know- 
ing that there was an armed force of the enemy some- 
where in our front, we wrapped our blankets around 
HS, lay down upon the prairie grass and were soon 
sleeping as soundly and happily as though we had 
never heard of war, nor ever learned what hardship 
was. Many a one who never saw a line of battle 
formed, tired and exhausted with business affairs or 
disease, as he lies sleepless upon his warm and soft bed 
at home, would willingly make almost any sacrifice if 
he could sleep as soundly as we did this night, and 
have upon many a more critical occasion. 

At an early hour Thursday, November twenty- 
sixth, we were awakened from our quiet slumbers 
by the drum's earnest and sudden reveille. Ere 
the echoing sound had passed away, the command, 
" Fall in," was given. Without stopping for a mouth- 
ful of breakfast the lines were formed and the column 
put in motion. We marched forward as rapidly : s 
possible. At eleven o'clock we came to a halt, long 
enough to make some coffee. We carry coffee boilers 
and other light cooking utensils with us. Soir.e 
ground coffee, ready for the coffee-pot, will always be 
found in the prudent soldier's haversack. Dry drift- 
wood was convenient, and some coffee was soon made. 


A combined breakfast and dinner, consisting of coffee 
and hard tack was soon disposed of and we pushed 
forward again. 

Matagorda Island seems to be the home of large 
droves of cattle. "We saw a number of droves during 
our day's march. They were extremely wild. Every 
little while we would come near to a drove that were 
quietly grazing, or resting upon the rich grass. At 
our approach they would spring up and raise their 
shaggy heads, crowned with the huge, unsightly horns 
of the Texas cattle, look upon us in wonder, and then 
gallop away in grand disorder for half a mile or more. 
Moved by some strange and unexplained cause, the 
entire drove, in a body, like a company of soldiers, 
would at once wheel around, stop and gaze upon us as 
though inclined to come back and get acquainted, and 
then, as if suddenly repenting of such folly, again 
turn and scamper away faster than before, and thus 
continue until they disappeared from sight behind 
some distant and friendly knoll. 

We also started up many droves of beautiful deer. 
They would scamper and circle around us, gazing in 
innocent bewilderment and strange surprise at the 
moving column of soldiers, until some horseman 

~ ' 

would dash among and fire at them. The little deer 
would then, terror-stricken, scamper away in wild dis- 
may, to join the drove of cattle that was by this 
time fast disappearing beyond the distant hills. The 
deer upon this island seemed to have learned to keep 
near a drove of the almost equally wild cattle for pro- 
tection. Probably many generations of deer have 
been accustomed to run among a drove of cattle to 

ON MATAGOKDA ISLAND, Nov., 1863. 317 

escape from wolves and other animals of prey, until 
it has become natural for them to run to a drove of 
cattle when they are alarmed. 

During the afternoon a few Confederate soldiers oc- 
casionally appeared in view, for a brief moment, and 
then suddenly disappeared beyond the distant sand 
hills. But little attention was paid to them. A 
brief announcement that "some rebels are in sight" 
was passed along the line, and no further notice given 
them. But few of our soldiers took any pains to even 
look at them. A nice flock of deer, capering over the 
sand hills attracted more attention. It appears nat- 
ural for old soldiers to think that scattering bands of 
an enemy are beneath their notice. Besides this, ex- 
perience had told us that whenever we were approach- 
ing an armed enemy, we would frequent!}" see a band 
of his scouts who would always take good care to run 
away before our advance came within gunshot of 
them. The occasional appearance of a band of rebels 
in our front simply meant, as we knew to be the fact, 
that an armed force of the enemy was still in our front 
and upon the same island with us. Their brief appear- 
ance to view, and promptness in running away also as- 
sured us that we had not yet reached the place they had 
selected to stand and contest our further advance. 
Thus seeing a few of the armed enemy now and then, 
instead of indicating danger, was an assurance that for 
the present there was none. 

At night we stopped within ten miles of the north- 
ern end of the island. The northern end of the island 
is at the entrance to Matagorda Bay. That is the 
place where we expect to find the enemy in force and 


probably strongly fortified. If strong enough they 
may venture out to meet us. Thus it is important 
for us to be well on guard from this time on. 

This day's march can be classed among the hardest 
marches we have in our varied career ever made. 
Many of our toughest soldiers became exhausted and 
were compelled to dropout of the ranks and lie down 
upon the sand, unable to proceed farther. As they 
revived they would resume their wearied step and fol- 
low after us. During the entire night the tired sol- 
diers continued straggling into camp, one after an- 
other. Some were so completely exhausted that they 
had to seek the warm side of some friendly sand hill 
for an all night's rest, and were unable to reach their 
regiments until the next morning. 

I think that we here reached the climax of bad 
drinking water. How it would be possible to find any 
worse drinking water than that we were obliged to 
use at this place, I can not imagine. Two small sink 
holes contained all the fresh water we could find. 
The supply was small and it soon became so muddy 
that by dipping up a cupful and letting it settle, there 
would be a full quarter of an inch of mud and filth 
at the bottom. The water was fairly alive. Unless 
the cup was held very still the active insects caught 
in it would never let the water settle. The two 
places that were the only source of onr supply were 
in the center of a piece of low, marshy ground. 
Having been the place where large droves of thirsty 
cattle had, during many years, concentrated when at- 
tempting to quench their thirst, it had all of the ad- 
vantages of an old barnyard, coloring and scenting 


the water in a beautiful manner. Straining this 
water was of but little use. That only removed the 
larger kind of insects and the solid pieces of filth. 
Boiling the water improved it very much, and when 
the coffee was made pretty strong, it was considered 
quite passable. As much as we could, we boiled the 
water and let it settle and cool over night. When 
ynpure water must be used, it should be first boiled. 
A wise commander will always teach his soldiers to 
boil impure water before drinking it. If all would 
do this, an army could pass through a country infected 
with malaria without the entire command being laid 
low with fever. With our large force and limited 
conveniences, it was on this hurried occasion impos- 
sible to boil enough water to go round. When it came 
to filling canteens with the water jnst as it could be 
dipped up, muck, insects and filth altogether, without 
time enough to let it settle, even the veterans of the 
Thirteenth Army Corps admitted that it was " rather 



ON the morning of Friday, November 27, 18C3, 
after a light breakfast, consisting of coffee and hard 
tack, in heavy marching condition and in complete 
fighting order, we moved forward. We had some ex- 


pectations of seeing an armed enemy ere the snn 
went down. "We knew that they were yet upon the 
same island with us, and that only ten short miles 
were left between us and its northern end, which we 
were now approaching. Our real expectations, how- 
ever, were to find that the enemy had evacuated. 
The morning was so dark and foggy that the most 
prominent objects could be discovered only with the 
greatest difficulty. 

Our brigade marched upon the beach along the 
gulf, and under cover of the sand hills. Had occa- 
sion arisen, these sand hills could, at once, have been 
extemporized into splendid breastworks. Another 
brigade, under command of General Ransom, moved 
forward upon the opposite side of the island. 

Our mounted men, consisting mostly of staff and 
artillery officers, displayed commendable energy in ex- 
amining the neighboring hills, to guard against a 
surprise by the enemy. General Washburne, with field 
glass in hand, was foremost in scrutinizing every sus- 
picious place. 

We went forward in this manner until we reached 
the light-house at Pass Cavallo, without meeting any- 
thing of greater interest than a brief view of a few 
mounted Confederates, who quickly passed out of 
sight. The heavy fog still made it difficult to see far 
in advance. The light-house is at the northeast cor- 
ner of Matagorda Island. Having reached this point, 
we made a halt to rest, and also in order to give 
Ransom time to come up and join us. 

Among other tilings we found here, \vorthy of note, 
was an old fort, said to have been built by the soldiers 


under General Taylor, during the Mexican War. It 
had been built of sand and earth, and was now nearly 
beaten down by the wind and storms that have year 
after year passed over it; still the walls retained their 
form enough to plainly show the plan of the fort. 
"Whether or not any guns were ever mounted in it, I 
can not say. 

Having reached Pass Cavallo, at the northern part 
of the island, and finding no enemy in sight, our pre- 
vious impression that the Confederates would evacuate 
before we could reach them was apparently realized. 

When we started forward we were soon convinced 
of our error. Instead of having reached the end of 
the island, as it appeared when we struck Pass Cav- 
allo, we now found that the long, narrow island, 
which had thus far continued with so much uniform- 
ity in a direct course, here turned suddenly to the 
west, forming almost a direct angle to our left. It 
is one of the strange freaks that nature sometimes 
delights to surprise us with. A little observation 
shows us how nature's work at this place was done. 
When the new land of the long island lying paral- 
lel with the shore of the main land was formed by the 
sand washed from the deep gulf, it left at this point 
a bay of considerable width between the island and 
main shore. The wind and tide then carried more 
sand through the opening now known as Pass Cavallo 
and deposited it so as to build up and leave Matagor- 
da Island with an L shaped end as we now find it. 

After waiting for Ransom's brigade to come up and 
join our left we moved forward and soon found our- 
selves in front of the still occupied rebel works. A 


lively little skirmish now ensued. Our skirmishers 
advanced near enough to exchange rifle shots with 
the rebels in their outer works. A few shots of 
heavy artillery coming from beyond, claimed our at- 
tention and we soon distinguished the elaborate walls 
of a strong and complete rebel fort. The foggy mist 
had now commenced to raise and we soon saw that we 
were in front of more complete and much stronger 
fortifications than we had expected to find. Not be- 
ing .ready to commence a general engagement we 
moved back out of range of the cannon on the rebel 
fort aud camped for the night. Company G of our 
regiment ;being in advance as skirmishers were the 
most exposed part of our force. Some of their men 
were wounded. -Lieutenant Fifer, of our regiment, 
who, acting as aid for General Washburne, was shot, 
a rifle ball striking him in the breast. He had gone 
to the front with orders for the skirmishers to retreat. 
Thus fell a young, brave and accomplished officer, 
nobly doing his duty, 

It was nearly sundown when we fell back. By this 
time the atmosphere had cleared. When there are 
no cloudy mists or fogs around, the atmosphere here 
is much clearer than that to which we Northern sol- 
diers have been accustomed. It now became so clear 
that we could easily see the balls as they were fired 
toward us from the largest cannon in the rebel fort. 
Even the smaller cannon balls and shell could often 
be seen as they flew through the air. It was an in- 
teresting sight. Looking at the rebel gun, we could 
.see the smoke that told of a discharge, before the vi- 
brating sound reached us. Coming toward us, we 


could see and watch the course of the eleven and thir- 
teen inch shell and ball. The trained eyes of our 
Western soldiers easily determined the exact course 
of the approaching missile, and quickly running to 
the right and left, gave them a good wide and unob- 
structed way of passage. The time from its discharge 
until it reached our line was sufficient for us to run a 
safe distance. This was the first battle we were ever 
in where we could easily watch and dodge the cannon 
balls fired at us. The shell fired from the fort fell 
short or burst on . the way. It was only solid shot 
that they could easily send far enough to reach our 
line. The balls that came generally were so well 
spent that they would commence striking the level 
prairie as they came in our neighborhood. At the 
first strike the ball would bound high in air, again to 
strike and then go on striking and bounding to the 
end of its career. Some coming with less force, 
would have passed through the striking and leaping 
play before reaching our line, and then continue roll- 
ing easily and slowly along on the ground. Appar- 
ently one of these slowly rolling balls could easily 
have been stopped with a touch of a soldier's boot, 
but no one attempted it. All of our soldiers well 
knew of the deceptive, hidden force in a heavy rolling 
cannon ball. Near us were pieces of light wood, 
washed up long ago by the waves, and seasoned 
through many a Southern summer's sun. The sol- 
diers took pieces of this light wood ten or twenty feet 
in length and over a foot in thickness, and watching 
an opportunity,' threw them in front of some of the 
balls that moved so slowly that apparently a touch of 


the hand would stop them. The seemingly dead ball 
would strike with fierce force, sending the timber far 
out of the way, and the ball itself bound high in air, 
and then go bounding on its way with renewed life. 
A few such examples were sufficient to warn the sol- 
diers not to touch a live cannon ball, no matter 
how slowly it was moving. The hidden force of an 
almost dead cannon ball is supposed to consist in this: 
while moving forward slowly it is also spinning 
around rapidly. An obstruction brings into action 
the force of the unnoticed rotary motion. If the ob- 
struction struck is of sufficient resisting power, the 
ball will fly rapidly in some other direction than that 
of its direct course. 

During our little engagement we had an oppor- 
tunity to witness the difference between experienced 
and raw troops. Most of the soldiers with us were 
those who had seen hard service. Among them, how- 
ever, were two Maine regiments, and this was the first 
time they were ever under fire. One of the regiments, 
fresh from the pine tree State, was immediately to the 
left of ours. As the skirmish line only was engaged, 
all we had to do was to remain in line of battle behind 
our skirmishers and watch the progress of the slight 
and irregular contest. The fresh soldiers had been 
so eager to see what was going on that it was witli 
difficulty that their line had been called to a halt at 
the desired place. In fact their part of the line was 
pressed rather farther ahead than ours. When the 
heavy rebel cannon first opened, the balls were di- 
rected to their part of the line. The Maine boys now 
skipped back right lively. They did not even stop 


when in line with ns but fell back a few rods further 
where a raise in the ground gave them good protection. 
The heavy guns were now turned so as to bear on our 
part of the line. The old soldiers who had become 
familiar to the fire of artillery during the siege of 
Vicksburg and elsewhere, remained coolly within 
sight of the rebel works, trying to ascertain their ex- 
act position and strength, and to judge of their dis- 
tance by watching the fire of their guns, promptly 
stepping to one side or the other when a ball came 
directly toward them. With a time-piece in hand 
one watched the smoke that told of the discharge, and 
another the ball and thus determined the number of 
seconds after it left the gun before it struck. As the 
enemy had only two guns bearing on us of sufficient 
caliber to send a ball thus far, it was quite easy to 
notice their fire and evade the balls when necessary. 
Loading and firing such large cannon is a slow and 
tedious proceeding. Old soldiers, in an open field, do 
not much fear heavy artillery. In fact our men kept 
their eyes wide open watching, and had more fear 
that some of the enemy's sharp-shooters might creep 
along the sand hills and up within rifle range, than 
they had of the eleven inch cannon in the rebel fort. 
Mention of the action of the Maine boys is given 
only as an illustration, not to censure them. They 
were not demoralized, but fell back in good order and 
reformed with their line of battle intact. I have no 
reason to doubt their bravery. A number of balls 
came near to them, and a shell struck a building in 
their immediate neighborhood, bursting with a terrific 
explosion. As they were not engaged at the time it 


was the wiser course to fall back out of range of the 
rebel cannon. In fact, it was but a short time after- 
ward, when Major Elliott, chief of our brigade staff, 
came up and ordered our regiment to also fall back 
out of range of the strongest rebel guns. We did so. 
The day was now spent, and all there was now to do 
was to pass the night as best we could. 

The engagement for the day was over. After our 
skirmish line was withdrawn no one was hurt. After 
that the enemy turned his entire attention to our line. 
It was a funny fight. The rebels would fire away and 
onr boys would play. "We could plainly see them and 
every move they made; and they could' just as plainly 
see us and every motion we made. All kinds of 
bantering motions were made by our soldiers toward 
the enemy. The most absurd was to mimic their 
firing. While the Confederates were loading, our 
boys would, apparently, become impatient, and by 
vigorously motioning with hats and hands and loud 
yelling, hurry them up. When the rebel can- 
non was fired, loud cheers showed the rebels that their 
efforts to arnuse our bo} T s were appreciated. Some of 
our wildest boys would also run out with their hats 
in hand as though, like small schoolboys playing 
ball, they would catch the flying ball in their hats. 
Then one would take his rifle, step plainly in front, 
and hold it in a horizontal position, while three or 
four jof his merry comrades came up and went 
through all the motions of loading an eleven inch can- 
non. The gun would then be fired and our soldiers 
would loudly cheer, as though they believed the shot 
had dismounted the rebel cannon. Part of those 


running the gun would fall as though the discharge 
had done more execution in the rear than front. The 
rebels seemed to fully appreciate the pantomime and 
eased up on their firing toward us. They even be- 
came good-natured, and, as if wishing to amuse us, 
turned their heaviest gun away from us and toward 
the water and fired a few shots in that direction. It 
was a splendid sight. The huge balls would strike 
the water opposite us, throwing up a huge volume that 
sparkled brilliantly in the bright rays of the setting 
SUM. Glancing up, the ball would again fly through 
the air, strike and bound again, and thus for a long 
distance go skipping and playing across the smooth 
water. Our boys were not slow in showing the enemy 
that they appreciated the entertainment. 

The night of the twenty-seventh of November was 
one of the severest I ever passed. It fell to my lot to 
be on picket guard. My post was between our line 
and the enemy's works. About two o'clock, during 
the night, a fearful storm of wind, rain and sleet burst 
upon us from the north. The fierce sharp northern 
wind seemed as though it would pierce our vitals. 
Each blast seemed to be a piece of sharp frozen steel 
that out. us through and through. Thus it continued 
all night. The following day was but little better. 
No doubt the storm was felt by us more keenly ow- 
ing to our long exposure to the warm Southern sun, 
which had tempered us to its warm and penetrating 
rays. The warm marching we had done and the short 
rations we had lived upon had also served to unfit us 
for the exposure of a severe, cold storm like this. An 
empty stomach gives but little warmth to a freezing 


man. The penetrating force of these "northers" is 
beyond description. No comparison with the severest 
storms of our Northern States would portray the 
fierceness of this Texas storm as experienced by us. 
As well attempt to compare the fierce and driving 
March tornado, with the mild and gentle June zephyrs, 
as to compare a Tesas "norther," with any Illinois 

Having finished my turn on guard I joined with my 
comrades in fighting the fierce storm. The officers, 
for once, were in a worse condition than the men. No 
tents had been brought with us except little "dog 
tents" the soldiers had carried in their knapsacks. 
By joining our little shelter tents together in a long 
row, and sodding up the sides and ends, they made 
something of a protection against the severest part of 
the storm. When the soldiers offered the officers a 
place in their tents the favor was gladly accepted. 
The only hesitancy soldiers, in the ranks ever have in 
sharing rations and shelter with their officers arises 
from a fear that the officers may riew the offer as a 
bid for official favors. An independent volunteer sol- 
dier disdains to be judged as acting from such motives. 
Thus it is that the best soldiers sometimes neglect to 
extend their friendly services to the officers, which 
they would freely extend to them as men and broth- 
ers. This is different in the case of those officers who 
have risen from the ranks with the approval of their 
comrades. Such officers can share with their men 
without stopping to insist upon the dignity due to 
their official position. 

The severity of the storm is shown by the fact that 


the rain turned to snow and covered the ground with 
a heavy coat of snow before the storm was over. In 
still water, on land, ice of considerable thickness 
formed. Cold of this severity is said to be almost 
unknown in this climate. 

The severe storm continued with unabated fury all 
day Saturday. Every effort was necessary to, keep 
from freezing and we were thus prevented from mak- 
ing any move upon the enemy. When night again 
came upon us, the storm was not yet over, but had 
modified so that the sharp sting of the raw, cutting 
wind had lost its keenest edge. We were bound to 
press the enemy as soon as possible. t After dark a 
night force was sent forward to plant a battery, and 
build some rifle pits near to the rebel works. With 
many willing hands, plenty of shovels, and soft, plia- 
ble sand, complete works were soon erected. 

Early on the morning of the twenty-ninth of No- 
vember, our artillery, that had been placed in position 
during the preceding night, opened fire upon the 
enemy. lie was, no doubt, greatly surprised to re- 
ceive a morning salute from works built within such 
easy range of the heavy guns of his fort. The South- 
ern rebels would as soon expected to see us flying in 
the air above them as to believe it possible for the 
Northern soldiers to go out in yuch a cold storm, and 
in the dark hours of night, build elaborate works right 
in their teeth as we had done. 

During the forenoon our infantry went forward to 
feel of the enemy. The Eighth Indiana went first 
and was soon followed by our regiment. The enemy 
made but a feeble resistance to us. As we pressed 


them, they promptly abandoned all of their advance 
lines and fell back under cover of Fort Esparenza, 
leaving us in possession of all their outside works. 

Our artillery did splendid work, proving the benefit 
our gunners have derived from much practice in 
many more desperately contested fields than this. As' 
we advanced, we brought other batteries with us. In 
coming up they had to pass in open view and within 
easy range of the guns on the rebel fort. They moved 
up grandly and gained their position without accident. 
With accurate firing our unprotected guns have the 
advantage of the cannon in the enemy's fortifications. 
We trouble them so that they fire but little and that 
at random. 

At night our blankets were brought up and we 
slept in the captured rifle pits. The boys are de- 
lighted with their success thus far. With but little 
loss we have gained every position we have attempted 
to take. The prospect is bright for us. We will soon 
have entire possession of the rebel works. If the 
Confederates do not evacuate before the investment 
is complete we will have them, too. But for the 
delaj' the fierce storm has caused, we would before 
this have had the enemy completely boxed up. We 
lay down in the captured rifle pits and slept soundly 
right under the rebel cannon, our only anxiety being, 
for an early return of daylight so that we can proceed 
with the work at hand. Up to this time, this contest 
seems more like u picnic than a battle. 

We were sleeping, as only soldiers sleep, when, 
nearly an hour after midnight, the entire command 
was suddenly aroused by a terrific explosion near 


us. "We at once knew that it was a magazine in the 
rebel works. This told us, in the plainest tones, that 
the enemy had evacuated and fired the fort. "We 
were immediately upon our feet and went forward 
without delay. As expected we found the fort aban- 
doned and the magazines burning. The second mag- 
azine blew up just as we reach the fort, the third soon 
afterward. Before the fire was subdued two more blew 
up, leaving only two of the seven magazines that 
.were not destroyed. The enemy seemed to have cal- 
culated on the fire burning through the woodwork of 
each magazine until the powder was reached. To 
some extent, as is seen, the plan succeeded. But 
why did they take any such foolish chances? A mere 
schoolboy could have told them that it was easy to 
lay powder trains to each magazine and thus made it 
certain that all should be blown up and the fort de- 
stroyed to the fullest possible extent. 

Some of our boys were hurt by the falling debris. 
The wonder is that a large number were not seriously 
injured. When the second explosion occurred we 
were up to the walls of the fort. Large masses of 
earth, together with timber of all shapes and sizes, 
from pieces of thin boards to heavy logs, were thrown 
high in the air. All that goes up must come down. 
The ground where the falling fragments struck was 
the place of danger. The first explosion showed us 
where the place of safety was. It was to remain 
near to the burning fort. The night was still, cold 
and clear. Every thing was plainly seen. All the 
debris that was sent directly up fell straight down 
and struck inside of the walls of the fort. Every 


thing that went into the air diagonally from the ze- 
nith, in its fall kept the same angle and in the same 
direction, and consequently struck the ground a long 
distance away. The thick and strong wall of the fort 
prevented every thing thrown sideways from passing. 
Thus there was a zone of entire safety just outside of 
the walls of the fort. While the danger lasted we re- 
mained within the place of safety. As to how far the 
line of danger extended to the rear it would be hard 
to say. The magazines had been built with heavy 
hewn timber. Pieces twenty to thirty feet long and 
eighteen inches or more in widtli and thickness were 
thrown far out of sight in the air and fell, some of 
them, more than half a mile away. 

No place can be dangerous enough to deter some 
soldiers from its investigation. We had " stacked 
arms " and were leisurely waiting for the burning fort 
to exhaust itself. Some of our soldiers must, of 
course, look inside. Captain Lyons of Company I, 
and Sergeant Pike of Company A, among others, 
slipped away without orders, went around to the fur- 
ther end of the fort and then inside. They came near 
being buried by one of the explosions. Fortunately, 
they happened, at the moment, to be near the 
walls of the fort and escaped harm. Pike, true to his 
nature, as the best orderly sergeant in the army, 
always looking for rations for his company had dis- 
covered the store-house and secured a large sack of 
flour and other eatables, an old fashioned " Dutch 
bake oven " and a frying pan. As the explosion 
occurred he dropped down by the fort wall and 
placed the sack of flour over his head as a protee- 


tion from the falling debris. He presented a comical 
picture, when he returned to us, covered with flour 
and loaded with his captured provisions and cooking 
utensils. Captain Lyons, appreciating what he needed 
most, our officers having none at this time, brought 
out an officer's tent. They were the first Union sol- 
diers inside the rebel fort. It is fortunate they were 
not killed. A so'dier should never be killed except 
when in line of duty. They had no business inside the 
fort at that time. 

Inside of the walls of the fort were some dry frame 
buildings. They were on fire. They burned like cot- 
ton. The strange scene we were witnessing was made 
doubly grand by the bright light of the fast burning 
pine buildings. The darkness of night and the 
brightness of day were combined and added to the ef- 
fect of the grand exhibition. Standing where we 
did, we had an unequaled view of the terrific ex- 
plosions and the sights they presented. It was a won- 
derful display. A mountain of earth, iron and tim- 
ber all mingled together; darkened with immense 
clouds of smoke and brightened with the fierce flame 
of fire was, with one huge burst, thrown high above us 
by the powerful power blast, creating one of the wildest 
and grandest scenes mortal man ever witnessed. It 
was a fire-work exhibition never excelled and one, 
those of us who stood beneath the imposing sight, 
will never forget. 

The first thing done, without waiting for the hour 
of danger to pass, was to place the emblem of victory 
the Union flag upon the conquered walls. The flag 
of the Thirty-third was the first to wave over the capt- 
ured fort. 

334 ARMY LIFE. . 

The result of our victory was, a few prisoners, some 
provisions, ammunition and small arms, eight heavy 
guns and Fort Esparenza. It gave us the entire com- 
mand of Pass Cavallo and Matagorda Bay, one of 
the best harbors upon the coast of Texas. 

The fort was a very strong one in many respects, 
but built more with reference to an attack by water 
than by land. The walls, especially towards the gulf, 
had been built with care. They were thick and heavy. 
Being built with sand and earth, cannon balls could 
not have had much effect upon them. Judging, how- 
ever, by the ease with which our field artillery silenced 
them, it is probable that a careful gunner, aiming at 
the fort's embrasures, with a good ship cannon could 
easily have silenced the fort. Not only this; but 
there were the frame buildings in the fort. They were 
built of Southern pine, full of rosin, and thoroughly 
seasoned with the heat of many Southern summers 
and ready to burn as fiercely as though soaked with 
tar. A most indifferent gun-boat could have fired 
them almost at the beginning of an engagement. 
These buildings once on fire, the ruin of the fort was 
certain. Even the powder magazines were largely 
built with the same inflammable wood. A child ought 
to have been able to have made valuable suggestions 
to those who left the fort in such a condition. One of 
the Confederate officers, whom we captured, when 
asked why the dangerous frame buildings had been 
left in the fort, replied, that the highest ground had 
been selected as the location of the fort, and the build- 
ings happened to be in its centre, and thus were left 
standing ; that they had made convenient quarters 


for the soldiers, and the intention was, if a fleet ever 
attacked them and the buildings were found danger- 
ous, to tear tliem down and throw the lumber out of 
the fort. 

They must have been the most simple class of home 
guards who pretended to practice soldiering in this 
fort. The idea, that if a fleet attack them, they could 
stop in the midst of the fight and tear down and 
remove the dangerous tinder boxes, was absurd in the 
extreme. Every thing would have been burning and 
they driven out of the fort by the flames and exploding 
magazines long before they could have removed the 
shingles from the smallest .house. They evidently 
thought that war was merely some sort of a friendly 
parade and if the first part of the exhibition did not 
pass satisfactorily they could commence over again 
and thus continue until the show ran all right. The 
strangest part of all was, that the rebels of the coun- 
try round about thought that they had a second Gi- 
bralter. They had come from far and near to look at 
and admire it, and actually believed that Fort Espa- 
renza never could be taken. 

There is but little doubt but that our field artillery 
could have driven the Confederates out of the fort, 
had they been turned loose to do their best for an 
hour, during Sunday afternoon. But it was a sort of 
free and easy fight. Our men would silence the rebel 
guns and then stop and look at them. If a move was 
made by the enemy to reload their cannon another 
well-directed shot would drive them under cover. 
The object on our part was, not to be in too much 
haste. in driving them out, but to bring up enough 


force and advance far enough to first cut off their ro 
treat. But for the fierce "norther" that burst ant 
raged upon us we would have done so. It is prob 
ably fortunate that we did not. We gained the posi 
tion and full command of the bay and harbor which 
was all there was worth taking. The prisoners, if we 
had captured them all, would not have been worth 
guarding. It is not probable that any of the rebels 
that ran away from Fort Esparenza will ever be with- 
in reach of another Union gun. As prisoners they 
would not have been worth their feed. It is just as 
well they ran away. 


I have before me at this time (1883) a copy of a 
paper published by our soldiers while in Texas. It 
contains an account of our capture of Fort Esparenza 
from the Confederate standpoint. It can appropriately 
be inserted here. In the little soldier paper it is 
preceded by a short editorial note. 

At the urgent request of many friends we republish 
the following account of the Fort Esparenza affair, 
communicated to the Houston (Tex.) Telegraph by 
one of the chivalry: 

PORT LAVACA, Dec. 3, 1863. 

Dear Sir: After what I wrote you the other day, when 1 was 
about to start down to the fort, you will naturally expect me to 
say something of the finale of that affair, especially as it created 
quite a sensation in th-s State, and is really a very unfortunate at'-, 
fair for our cause. Those who are guilty are the very ones tha,t 
will escape in the whole matter, and those brave officers and men 
who periled their lives in that " man trap," called Fort Esparenza 
are the victims, of course, to whatever odium is attached to its 


You have, no doubt, heard that the work was splendid, and so 
it was; for a prettier thing to look at no man would wish to see; 
and, un'il 1 saw it tried I thought it the best thing in the world. 
But it only shows that a man may know very well how to dig a 
trench, or grade a street, and yet know nothing al out military 
matters or preaching. I therefore infer that a man may go to 
school " a heap '' and learn to make a beautiful drawing on 
paper, and then by aid of the bone and sinew of the country can 
construct a pretty thing to look at, and yet, after all, not know the 
first thing about military matters or preaching. This is the idea that 
occurred to my unmilitary cranium. In other words, the fort was 
built with the sole view to an attack by water, and if they had made 
it that way they might have hammered away till doomsday, and we 
would have been there yet, and 1 have not the slightest doubt but we 
could have demolished the whole ten vessels that were off the bar. 
But, unfortunately for us, the enemy knew our weak points and the 
" lay of the land," just as well as we did; hence they landed at the 
west end of the island, in Cedar Bayou, where they found no op- 
position, and took their time to get everything on shore in good 
order, with their two thousand five hundred veterans and five hun- 
dred horses, and, with all their appliances came upon us in our 
rear, picked their locations and went to work on us with their 
rifled guns, and, in short, got our range to such a nicety that al- 
most every shell dropped into the fort every one of which was 
liable and perfectly able to penetrate one or all of our seven maga- 
zines, which were adjoining our bomb-proofs, that were intended 
for the protection of our men; thereby making them the most un- 
safe places in the fort; in fact, the only safe place about it was the 

Some may say that it is the business of a soldier to die, and that 
we ought to have stayed there till at least half of us were killed 
and then surrender to a merciless enemy, whose motto is: "No 
more exchange of prisoners till the war ends." This is very pretty 
talk for those who are at a safe distance; but I would suggest a 
change of place for the time being. Let them imagine themselves 
cooped up in a pen like sheep for the slaughter, and this, too, with 
little or no means to hurt the enemy, while they had all the means 
to hurt us they could ask. Let them also imagine their number 
to be only six hundred, a large rmvjority of whom had never been 
in a battle, and about half the number State troops, who, although 
they were good and true men, yet knew very little about the drill of 
a soldier, and consequently were not near so effective as they other- 
wise would be, and that the guns of our fort were located with 
strict reference to a water attack, and were of very little use for a 
rear attack from a force of two thousand five hundred veterans, 
with rifled guns that could throw with as much precision, almost, 
as an old deer hunter could shoot a buck at a hundred yards. I 
say, let those who are disposed to criticise our evacuation at a safe 
distance place themselves in our position for a moment, and then 


let them say what they would do, otherwise, "let him who is 
without sin, cast the first stone." 

But I have not told all the trouble we had, for the fort was on 
an island, bounded on the east by Pass Cavallo, where the gun- 
boats would have been up as soon as the norther ended, which 
proved to be the next morning; on the west and southwest by the 
enemy, in full possession of the prairie, with their teams ;md six- 
teen horses to a gun, dashing about at a full gallop, and taking 
position wherever they pleased, as we had no cavalry to oppose 
them, and the little harm we could do them with our smooth bore 
guns did not seem to trouble them at ail. In fact the whole three 
days' fight seemed to be a sort of a holiday for them, and re- 
minded me of a cat at play with a mouse that she knew to be per- 
fectly in her power. 

On the north we were bounded by Saluria Bayou, nearly two 
miles from the fort, and it is a deep and wide one, with only one 
tolerable ferry-boat, the rope of which was old and rotten. Then 
two miles this side is another called Big Bayou, and is, like Big 
River, also crossed by one frail ferry-boat. Then, before we get 
to Powder Horn, there are two other smaller ones, with a bridge 
over one and a ferry over the < ther. 

Now, then, with all of these bavous to cross, and by such frail 
means, with a wily foe that we knew could certainly :*urround us 
at their leisure with batteries, I would like io know what else we 
could do but evacuate the place while we could? 

1 regret this sad affa'r as much as any one possibly can, but we 
had the alternative placed before us to evacuate and destroy every 
thing, or wait a day or two and surrender with what men we 
might have left, thereby giving to the enemy the full possession of 
the fort a.nd all our munitions of war. Now, if we could ha,ve had 
a regimant ot well-drilled cavalry, to have skirmished with them 
and kept them at bay when they first began to come in sight, until 
our re-inforcements could have got to us, the case would have 
been very different. Yet with such field batteries as they have got, 
while we have none, we have got to ba pretty strong to fight 
them, even in the open field. 

They will, no doubt, make raids up here among us and do us a 
heap of damage, but unless they are veiy largely re-inforced, and 
that soon, we will soon pick them up although it would be con- 
sidered com i-aband for me to say why I think so. 

We have news from below this morning that the whole fleet 
.(Union) is inside the bar; also that two or three hundred heavy 
gqns were heard to-day near the gulf shore off Goadalupe, and 
we hope that Seemes has got among them. Our fight at the fort 
occurred on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, November twenty- 
seventh, twenty eighth and twenty- ninth. For particulars see 
official report, 

Yours truly, TKXAS. 


The careful observer will readily notice that the 
Confederates, at least their anonymous correspondent, 
profited to some extent and discovered some of the 
weak points of their defense. In other respects the 
delusions seem still to exist. As to their strength 


against an attack by water their confidence remained 
unshaken. Two or three shells from a gun-boat, 
bursting among the frame buildings, would have cor- 
rected them of that error. The delusion in relation 
to " a regiment of well drilled cavalry" to keep us 
back is still worse. "With our trusty rifles, and the 
convenient sand hills among which we could skip 
along, a regiment of cavalry would have bee'n more 
useless than their " smooth bore guns " proved to be. 
Our regiment alone could have disposed of half a 
dozen regiments of Texas cavalry in that locality. 
They needed many things to have " kept them at 
bay when they first began to come in sight," but cav- 
alry was not one of them. Cavalry was just what 
they did not need, on that narrow island. But, it 
is not our purpose to review the enemy's report. Let 
it be read as written. It speaks for itself. 



THE first of December, 1863, found ns camped upon 
the shore near to the captured Fort Esparenza. As 
we now had possession of Pass Cavallo and the harbor 


of Matagorda Bay, other troops coming to act with 
us had a good and easy landing place. The third 
brigade of our division came December first, and 
landed at Dedcroo's Point, on the opposite side of the 
channel. For the next few days boats continued to 
arrive, bringing in more troops and army supplies. 

Our time was passed pleasantly. A little guard duty 
and some drilling upon the prairie was all the soldier 
duties we had to perform. 

On December twentieth our regiment went on board 
a steamboat and sailed up the bay to Indianola. We 
landed and caught a few stray Confederate soldiers, 
who were visiting in the town. We tore up part of 
the pier and carried the material on board and took it 
back with us, to build a pier at Pass Cavallo. We 
returned to camp after dark. The plan is to make a 
winter camp here. 

Three days afterward the plan for us to camp on 
Pass Cavallo at Fort Esparenza was changed and we 
left Matagorda Island and went to Indianola and took 
up quarters in that town. We are in the part of In- 
dianola known as New Town, or Powder Horn, as it 
is sometimes called. Four companies of our regiment 
were given quarters in a large building that had for- 
merly been used for business purposes by " Kunge & 
Co/' Our company had one room, which was the 
front half of the main floor. Company B had the 
rear half. C and D had the rooms above. In the 
condition in which we put the building we soon had 
splendid winter quarters. 

General Warren was the officer in command of our 
troops at this time. He was rather strict in his ways; 


the boys at first thought more so than necessary. 
"When we came into the town it had been hastily de- 
serted by many of its inhabitants. They supposed 
that their former activity in behalf of the Confeder- 
acy would subject them to arrest and punishment. 
Stores were abandoned with goods in them. Some of 
the boj'S would insist upon looking them through 
General Warren had properly given strict orders 
against their doing so. One evening as he was walk- 
ing along the street he found some of the lawless sol- 
diers who had found a way through a back window 
into one of the deserted stores and were taking a look 
at the tobacco and other like goods. Instead of hav- 
ing them arrested General Warren dismissed them in 
his own prompt and energetic way. One of them 
was the eccentric Weed, of Company A. lie was al- 
ways sure to be caught if any one was. Weed soon 
returned to our company quarters. He had been sud- 
denly converted. General Warren was now his ideal 
of a thorough soldier. He rushed into the company 
quarters with wild enthusiasm " I tell you, boys," he 
exclaimed, " General Warren is just one of the staving 
best officers \ve ever had! He means business! He is 
the kind of officer we want! " Such unexpected com- 
mendation for General Warren brought all the boys 
around him, asking for explanation. Weed explained : 
<lp I just now saw the General catch some of the boys 
who had broken into a store and were stealing the to- 
bacco and sugar. He did not fool about it a bit. He 
caught one fellow and kicked him lively kicked him 
clear into the middle of the street. I tell you, boys, he 
is a splendid officer! He is a staving fellow! He 1 is 


the boss! " As soon as this eloquent praise could be 
broken into, the boys asked: " "Weed, who was it that 
got the kicking? " "With increased enthusiasm Weed 

" Oh, I tell you, boys, General Warren is a staving 
fellow a good officer chock full of energy! I got 
the kicking." 

And it was true. Weed, in his awkward way, had 
stumbled in after some of the other soldiers; they had 
skipped lively out of sight, and Weed, the most inno- 
cent one of the crowd, was left to be caught and booted 
into the middle of the street by the angry and ener- 
getic Fitz Henry Warren. 

Early on the morning of the twenty-sixth of De- 
cember, a large portion of our brigade, under the 
command of General Warren, started out to make a 
reconnoissance in force np the country, to learn, if 
possible, something of the number, whereabouts and 
intentions of the enemy in our vicinity. 

We went as far as Port Lavaca before returning. 
When fairly out upon the open prairie, every now and 
then we would see a small band of rebels, sometimes 
only two or three and then other squads of a dozen or 
more, start up from some distant hiding place, look 
at us a moment like a frightened deer when awakened 
from its quiet slumbers by the near approach of the 
dreaded hunter, then mount their horses in hot haste 
and scamper away until lost to sight in the far dis- 
tance. As it was impossible for us to overtake them, 
we made no effort to do so, but marched quietly for- 
ward without paying any further attention to them. 

Within four miles of Port Lavaca we came to the 


Chocolate River. The river here is crossed by a very 
fair bridge. We found the bridge in the possession 
of a small band of the enemy. They had set it on fire 
and attempted to hold it until it should burn enough 
to prevent us from crossing. This plan of theirs did 
not suit us in the least, as, had it been executed, it 
would have detained us considerably, if not actually 
prevented us from cross-ing. Our artillery was 
wheeled into line and opened on the enemy. Under 
cover of the fire of our cannon, some of our soldiers 
ran up, and using their hats for buckets carried water 
from the stream and put the fire out, almost in the 
face of the furious Texas rangers who had attempted to 
burn the bridge. Seeing that they were defeated, our 
opponents mounted their horses and rode away and 
were soon out of our reach. As we were unfortunate 
in not having any cavalry with us, they easily escaped. 
With a couple of companies of good cavalry we could 
have captured them. 

To throw a few planks in place of those burned was 
the work of but a few moments. We then crossed 
over and continued our inarch into the town without 
further obstruction. 

Lavaca. situated at the head of Lavaca Bay, is an 
interesting little town, and to judge by appearances 
was once quite a lively business place. Of course, 
nothing to amount to anything in a business line ia 
done here during these war times. Some future day 
it will become a very important commercial town if 
its opportunities are improved. 

Many of the people at this place appeared glad to 
see us, and welcomed us with demonstrations of joy. 


Men and women at their open doors and windows 
greeted us with such kind words and earnest applause 
as could not be mistaken. Numerous little incidents 
served to show that most of these protestations of 
friendship to the Union cause were their genuine 
sentiment. The varied and extensive experience we 
have had in soldierino; from Northern Illinois through 

o o 

to Southern Texas has taught us to easily read the true 
sentiments of the people among whom we pass. In 
the beginning, a strong Union sentiment existed in 
many of the towns of Texas along the gulf. Ruin 
and decay have been their share since the war com- 
menced. They have no hope for the return of pros- 
perity until peace returns. The unbroken success of 
the Western Union army convinces most of them that 
the end can only be when the National flag waves 
over the entire land. This revives the original Union 
spirit of such towns as this, and they gladly welcome 
the arrival of the Union troops. 

We took up quarters for the night in some of the 
vacant houses. 

At eight o'clock the next morning we started to- 
ward Indianola, where we arrived at an early hour 
during the afternoon. 

The country over which we passed was one continu- 
ous prairie, unbroken save by an occasional stream or 
bayou. It is well covered with wild grass upon which 
cattle feed and keep in good order during the entire 
year. We often came across droves that contained 
many fit for beef. What grand pastures these prairies 
of Texas will be in some future clay! 

We had some little excitement on Wednesday, De-. 1 - 


comber thirtieth. In the morning our company went 
up to Old Town, as outpost pickets. Two companies 
are sent out together, and they are relieved each 
morning by others. We relieved a company of the 
Eighteenth Indiana. They had had a hard guard dur- 
ing the night. An alarm on picket had caused them 
all to stand on guard all night. The usual rule is for 
part to stand on guard while the others sleep. The 
provost-marshal, or post commander of Old Town, wns 
in hot water. He was a Texas officer. A captain in 
the Second Texas (Union) Cavalry. He was undoubt- 
edly much more anxious than a Northern soldier would 
have been in his place. Our arrival seemed to re-as- 
sure him and we were quietly assigned to our places. 
Toward noon, some of the roving bands of rebels 
that run wild upon these prairies appeared in sight. 
Word was sent to theprovost-marshal. He immediate- 
ly mounted his horse and came out to the picket post. 
To his excited imagination, a few horsemen were 
magnified into the advance guard of an immense 
army, moving in line of battle, and coining down to 
destroy the Yankee army in this part of Texas. Every 
soldier in Old Town was ordered out to reinforce the 
pickets. A messenger was dispatched, in hot haste, 
to General Warren, with the information, "that the 
enemy is advancing upon us in force." We soon 
heard the drums beating the long roll, and soon horse- 
men commenced coming up from Indianola, and in a 
short time more, Colonel Bailey, at the head of the 
Ninety-ninth Illinois, appeared. This made us a good 
strong picket line. We also learned that the entire 
force at Indianola, artillery and all, had formed in line 

34:6 ARMY LIFE. 

of battle with the full certainty that a hard battle was 
at hand. During all of this time our sharp-eyed 
pickets, who were watching the open prairie over 
which they could see for miles, insisted that it was 
merely a small band of horsemen moving upon the 
prairie. A few of our horsemen soon started out, 
and the Texas rangers skedaddled right lively. At 
night the Thirty-third came up and the Ninety-ninth 
went back to their quarters at Indianola. 

The next morning all of the troops except our 
company went back to quarters. During the after- 
noon, we also went, leaving Old Indianola unguarded. 
It was not thought advisable to keep a mere picket 
post so far from the army quarters. We performed 
what soldier duties there were to do and returned to 
our quarters for the night. This is Thursday night, 
December 31, 1863, the last day of the year. Thus 
closes the year of 1863, an eventful year one 
that has witnessed many great, strange and bewilder- 
ing events. Who can fully comprehend the magni- 
tude of such momentous events? Already many of 
the scenes through which we have passed seem im- 
possible; seem to me more the remembrances of a 
strange dream, than of reality. I would that it were 
so, but it is not. Ah, no! the absence of so many 
loved comrades that we have laid in their soldier 
graves, only too vividly reminds us that we are in the 
midst of scenes of sad reality. As I shall have but 
little of soldier duties to occupy my attention on 
New Year's Day, it may afford me some satisfaction 
to indulge in and write here, a few reminiscences of 
the year that has gone; for to-night, to the year 1863, 

TEAK'S DAT, 1864. 347 



INDIANOLA, Texas, January 1, 1864 New Tear's 
day. Another year lias come and passed. An event- 
ful, historic year; one that history will ever remem- 
ber; a year that we, the actors in its scenes, can never 
forget. It is a year that has witnessed many strange, 
great and important events. No one can tell how far- 
reaching the results of the past year's work will be. 

A year ago, the objects, the aims, the purposes 
and the intentions of this great struggle could hardly 
be said to be more than fairly determined. Prior to 
that time, it seemed as though both sides were slowly 
feeling their way to determine what great principles 
were involved in the gigantic war that had burst upon, 
us. Since then, it has been a contest for the princi- 
ples then acknowledged to be involved. During the 
year, neither party has suggested any new principles 
to sustain or justify its side of the contest. It has 
been an undisguised conflict between freedom and 

The strife has been desperate and earnest. The 
desperate, passionate and madly insane struggles of 
slavery have been met by the earnest, patient, cool but 
determined zeal with which freedom has reluctantly, 
yet thoroughly, learned to fight in defense of its cause. 

The cause we advocate and fight for, the cause of 
liberty and justice to all men, the cause of our coun- 

34:8 ARMY LIFE. 

trv, has, during the year, been successful enough to 
warrant ns in the belief that a just God fights our 
battles with us. We need not write down the battles 
which have been fought in 1863 to remember them. 
No American will ever forget the names of Vicks- 
burg, Gettysburg, Chattanooga and hosts of others that 
have been made historic during the year 1863. 

To me, personally, the year has been, by far, the 
most eventful one I have yet or ever expect to pass. 
A year ago to-day we were at Ironton, Missouri, 
with one of General Davidson's supply trains. We 
soon rejoined the army at Van Buren, Mo., and then 
went through last winter's campaign to Alton and 
West Plains and thence back again to Ironton. From 
there we marched to the Mississippi and came down 
the river. Then came the important Vicksburg cam- 
paign. Being sick I was not at the battle of Magno- 

JT O O , o 

lia Hills, in which the regiment took part, but re- 
joined it soon afterward at Port Gibson. Then fol- 
lowed the battles of Champion Hills and Black .River, 
charges of twentieth and twenty-second of May, and 
siege of Vicksburg, all of which, owing to the protect- 
ing care of a kind Providence I passed through in 

Next came our short campaign in Western Louisi- 
ana and lately our operations in Texas, the capture of 
Fort Esparenza and Matagorda Bay. And now New 
Year's day finds us enjoying comfortable quarters in 
Indianola; where with a consciousness of being engaged 
in a just and holy cause, and with every promise of 
an early, successful and honorable termination of this 
unhappy civil" war, we are as happy and contented as 

AT INDIANOLA, JAN., 1864. 349 

soldiers in active service and far away from home and 
friends could expect to be. Gladly we greet the new 
year of 1864. 

The first of January found us quartered in Indianola 
with but few soldier duties to perform. We were 
soon quite well supplied with reading matter, and the 
time was largely passed in reading books and papers, 
playing chess and other games, and some of us re- 
sumed our interrupted school studies. 

Among other things we found in an abandoned 
condition was a printing office. Some of our soldiers 
who understood the printing business took possession 
and printed a little army paper. They do very well 
considering the disadvantages under which they la- 

I will take the liberty of interrupting the history of 
the journal to describe one of the papers issued at that 
time. As before stated, I have at this time, 1883, a 
copy of one of those papers. It is dated: Indianola, 
Texas, January 5, 1864. Vol. T, No. 4. The name is 
" The Horn Extra, W. M. Berry, Editor. " It is print- 
ed on a sheet of letter writing paper, opened out to 
its full size, making a two page paper, nine inches in 
width by fourteen in length. The printed matter is 
three newspaper columns in width by one foot in length. 

It is " published semi-occasionally on the first full 
moon before hog-killing time, by W. M. Berry &Co." 

No sign having been painted, "persons looking for 
our office will observe a large horn hanging to our 
door knob." 

Fair warning is given to the soldiers given to gal- 
lantry, in thefol'owing editorial: " We learn thatsev- 


eral of our soldier boys have contracted matrimonial 
alliances with some of the fair ladies of Indianola and 
Old Town. One wedding has already taken place. We 
give fair notice to those already married, and those con- 
templating a consummation of the happy event, that 
cake or no cake, we shall give publicity through the me- 
dium of the Horn of their marriage, giving names, 
company and regiment to which they belong, as their 
friends at home will be anxious to hear from them." 

Two advertisements are copied from the Galveston 
News of October 3, 1863, as showing the " value of 
Confederate money, and also the scarcity of fighting 
material ainongour misguided brethren." The first is 
the announcement by "an able-bodied man" of his will- 
ingness to go as a substitute "for $2,000 in specie." 

The second states " that a substitute can be had for 

On the same page is the " roster of the Thirty-third 
Illinois Infantry Yolunteers, field and staff," giving a 
full list of all of the officers of the regiment. Then 
follows the Confederate account of the capture of Fort 
Esparenza, heretofore given. A few unimportant 
matters complete the page. 

The opposite page commences with brief mention 
of news gleaned from late New Orleans papers. A 
complimentary mention of Colonel H. D. Washburn 

The Chaplain heads the second column with the fol- 
lowing card: " Mr. Editor In compliance with your 
kind invitation the following items are furnished for 
your spirited and loyal sheet. "We are enjoying a re- 
freshing time of religious ingathering. Between one 


and two hundred are already banded together for good. 
The temperance organization for the first brigade, first 
division, Thirteenth Army Corps, now numbers one 
hundred and twelve members. Come, see, hear and 
act to-night in this good work. J. S. DONALDSON." 

Then follows the announcement of the staff of 
Brigadier-General Warren, which is headed by Major 
J. H. Elliott as chief of staff. 

Obligations are acknowledged to Captain S. H. 
Dnnbar "for late New Orleans papers"; to Sutler 
Boas of the Thirty-third " for part of the paper on 
which this issue is printed"; and to Lieutenant E. B. 
Chambers of the Thirty-third " for valuable assistance 
in getting up this number." Each in country news- 
paper style being referred to in a separate editorial 

Two or three editorial notes tell where " Wash- 
ingtonian cigars and fine fruits can be found." 

The card of an Indiana attorney is the only matter 
appearing in regular advertising form and it closes as 
follows: "Particular attention paid to procuring 
divorces especially soldiers recently married or those 
who have done so 'just for a joke.' Charges moder- 
ate." In an editorial note the attorney is indorsed 
by the editor on his personal knowledge. 

Other small editorial notes complete this page. 
That the publishers were about out of ink is shown 
by the following appeal: "Will some of our friends 
in New Orleans, send us a small quantity of printer's 
ink? If this paragraph meets the eye of Lieutenant 
Colonel Charles or Captain J. B. Tyler, we are confi- 
dent that it will be attended to." 


For some reason supplies have failed to reach us. 
We commenced to live on short rations. By running 
in cattle off of the adjoining prairies we have plenty 
of Texas beef. There is something peculiar in the 
atmosphere here. At nearly all seasons of the year, 
dressed beef can be hung up in the open air and it 
will keep in good condition for a number of days. 
By the sixth day of January, all of our rations were 
exhausted so that all we had was coffee and beef. 
This is a light diet, but as our work is also light we 
can stand this living for a short time. 

On January seventh enough meal to make mush 
twice, was issued to our company. The boys ground 
the corn in one of the little Texas wind-mills they 
have here. These wind-mills, only suitable for grind- 
ing corn, are not of much account. It took two days 
and one night steady running to grind the small 
amount we had to distribute to the company. 


A regimental meeting was held at our company's 
quarters on Friday, January eighth, to consider the 
matter of re-enlisting for three years more. The 
orders from Washington, offering a bounty of some 
$402, were read. Lieutenant-Colonel Potter and 
Major Elliott made some remarks in favor of the 
soldiers re-enlisting and showing the advantages to be 
gained by accepting the propositions made by the 
Government. Enlistment papers were afterward cir- 
culated and the boys joined quite freely. The next 
day Colonel Potter came over in the evening and 


talked to the members of Company A about re-enlist- 
ing. He is very anxious to have enough of the boys 
re-enlist to hold the regimental organization. Colonel 
Lippincott has gone home to Illinois. Lippincott 
is peculiar. Sometimes he is popular and at other 
times unpopular with the regiment. He had got into 
one of his unpopular streaks just before he started for 
home. Potter at the time was the favorite. Potter 
did not hesitate to tell us that Lippincott had gone 
home to strive for a brigadiership and that if he 
could not get promoted, he would resign and not return 
to the regiment. With some of the bovs this was an 

O v 

inducement, with others it was not. A large share 
of those present with us have signed the re-enlist- 
ment papers, but not quite the full three fourths de- 
sired. There is no doubt but that the required num- 
ber will join. 

The Chaplain held what he calls "an interesting 
meeting" on Sunday. Meetings are held nearly every 
evening. Quite a religious revival is in progress. 

A few pounds of shelled corn were issued to-day. 
The boys are parching and eating it. Except this, all 
they have lately is beef and water. 

On Monday we received a supply of rations. The 
boys have 'lived through the period of starvation, as it 
can almost be called, without complaint. They even 
enlisted for three years more when the hungriest. 

The next day while on brigade drill with simply 
our guns with us, news came of an approaching force 
of the enemy. We made quick time to quarters for our 
cartridge boxes and then marched to the northern end 
of town to meet their attack. The enemy approached 


within firing distance and our artillery opened upon 
tliem. A few shots caused them to beat a hasty re- 
treat. We followed them a short distance and let 
them go; they were mounted and we were not. 

January thirteenth, the Third brigade came up from 
the camp at Fort Esparenza. General Dana has ar- 
rived and relieved General Washburne who has started 
for New Orleans. 

On Thursday, the fourteenth, our brigade was re- 
viewed by our commander, General Warren. He 
came out in full dress, with gold fringed epaulets, a 
big feather in his hat and all of the other fixings that 
go to make up a full dressed brigadier. In fact, Fitz 
Henry Warren came out a little ahead of anything I 
have yet seen in this line, 

On the seventeenth our men commenced work on 
the fortifications north of town. 

New officers are always thinking of something new. 
The new military duty added this time is for one regi- 
ment of the brigade to fall out at daylight and remain 
on the parade ground under arms every morning. 
This is claimed to be to prevent the enemy from sur- 
prising us. Extra zeal was also used in other ways. 
With two drills each day and dress parade every 
afternoon, our time was quite fully occupied, rather 
more so than the soldiers really enjoyed. 

The question of re-enlisting claimed the attention 
of our regiment during these days. The time set by 
the War Department for the re-enlistment of our 
regiment had expired and Major Elliott went to New 
Orleans to get an extension. He returned with per- 
jn,ission from General Banks for the Thirty- third to 


complete its re-enlistment and to go home on furlough. 
The order of the "War Department is to be evaded by 
ante-dating the muster rolls to January first. 

After inspection Sunday morning, January twenty- 
fourth, our regiment went out upon the prairie and 
held a mass-meeting to consider the question of re- 
enlisting or rather for the purpose of persuading the 
boys to re-enlist. Colonel Potter, Major Elliott and 
others made speeches. The boys responded nobly. 
Full three fourths of the regiment will re-enlist. 

The next morning Colonel Potter requested those 
of Company A who had not re-enlisted to meet him at 
his quarters. There were twelve of us besides two 
others not present with the company. Potter had got 
the strange crotchet into his head that it would be a 
big thing for him if he could persuade all of his old 
company to re-enlist. Of course we all complied with 
his request arid met him at his room as invited to do. 
When there he used his best endeavors to persuade us 
to re-enlist. Spoke of it as a plain case of duty and 
mentioned the history that would be published, in 
which he should give those re-enlisting the highest 
honor. After talking in this manner for awhile, 
he put the question to each individually: " Provided 
every man will go if you do, will you go with 
them?" This was a severe test to refuse. Potter 
possesses a powerful will and in this case he chose to 
exert it to the utmost. Most of the boys assured him 
that in such a case they would not refuse. "When he 
came to me, I replied that I was in full sympathy 
with the movement, but that owing to many reasons and 
other duties it was impossible for me to re-enlist for 


three years more. Two or three more also feeling 
that other duties called upon them stronger than those 
which would induce them to re-enlist, refused. Find- 
ing it impossible to persuade us all to re-enlist, he 
dismissed us with the assurance that he still expected 
many of us to go and would probably speak to some 
if not all individually. During the day a deep 
and exciting interest continued upon this question, 
and before 9 P. M. nearly all of those who had not 
done so, changed their minds and were sworn into 
the veteran service. All honor to those brave boys 
who after passing through all the trials of the sever- 
est soldier life, while in far-off Texas, and far away 
from home and friends, went up so nobly and re-en- 
listed for three years more. And yet under all of 
these adverse circumstances, all were anxious to do so. 
Those of us who could not had the hardest struggle. 
To refuse was harder than to go. 

Tuesday evening Colonel Potter requested those of 
the regiment who had not re-enlisted to meet him, so 
that he could inform us what our future fate would 
be. "We met him at his quarters, Major Elliott being 
present. Potter read the orders from General Banks 
transferring us to the Ninety-ninth Illinois. This was 
pleasing news to us. We had been with the Ninety- 
ninth so much that the ties of comradeship existing 
between us and them were almost the same as those 
existing among members of our own regiment. Major 
Elliott evidently thought that Colonel Potter was 
treating the boys in a crusty, if not harsh manner. 
With tears in his eyes the major bid the boys an af- 
fectionate farewell, said that he " should always hold 


eacli in grateful remembrance" and wished us "a 
happv future, and may God bless you wherever you 


The Major was evidently somewhat mistaken in his 

estimate of the Colonel's feelings. Potter did not in- 
tend to be severe. It was his natural way. In my 
own case, he was fully aware that by far the best way 
was for me to remain through the winter in Texas. 
For fully two thirds of my army life I had been 
troubled with the ague. I had passed through a se- 
vere case of typhoid fever and another of pneumonia. 
As captain of our company he had at different times 
deemed it best for me to go to a Northern hospital or 
receive a discharge. Knowing that I was bound to 
see the three years through, if possible, he had ac- 
quiesced and assisted me whenever he could. I was 
doing nicely in the bracing air of the gulf and the 
best opinion was, that to remain the entire winter on 
the Texas shore would be more beneficial than anything, 
else. ' When he talked with me, even when most anx- 
ious to have all re-enlist, his suggestion was that if I 
commenced shaking with the ague again on our re- 
turn to the Southern swamps, I should then go home. 
Even this he did not insist upon when I informed him 
that it was not my purpose to agree to do a thing and 
then not do it. If I re-enlisted, well or sick, I should, 
as I had done, remain at the front. At the end, as he 
saw that enough had rejoined to preserve the regimental 
organization, he was undoubtedlv ^lad that those who 

. ** " 

could not consistently do so. had not re-enlisted. 
Potter's natural way was blunt and harsh and those 
not well acquainted with him would think him severe, 


when in reality, none bnt the kindest feelings existed 
in his heart. As it appeared to him we were to re- 
main with our friends of the Ninety-ninth and have a 
jolly, happy winter, upon the warm and healthy shores 
of Southern Texas. To Major Elliott it looked like 
banishment. Potter's cool reason led him to the cor- 
rect view. Elliott's warm and sympathetic heart led 
him into error. 

The regiment started for New Orleans, on the way 
north, on January twenty-seventh. "When the regi- 
ment returns we will probably rejoin and serve with it 
until our three years expire. We wished them a 
happy journey and a pleasant time. 



THURSDAY afternoon, January twenty-eighth, we 
moved into our new quarters with Company B of the 
Ninety-ninth Illinois. They treat us royally. The 
old Company A boys, four of us, J. D. King, C. 
A. Bailey, S. Smith and myself, were given a nice 
room by ourselves. The non- veterans of Companies 
B and I of the Thirty- third were also assigned to 
the same company. The next day we made writing- 
tables and other things, and fixed up our new quartets 
in nice shape. 

With reading, studying and playing and light mil- 


itary duties, our time passed pleasantly. Rations 
were now plenty. On February third, our little squad 
of four made capital arrangements about our food. 
The captain of Company B kindly directed our rations 
to be issued to us. A citizen by the name of Smith 
living near had a neat housekeeper for his wife, and 
a good cook by the name of Theresa for his hired girl. 
We made arrangements to board with them. By giv- 
ing them our rations and the sum of fifty cents each 
per week they felt well repaid. It certainly suited us 
nicely. Our food was now much better cooked, and 
f more variety than ever had been our fortune to 
have since we joined the army. Our jolly first 
winter camp at Arcadia was now duplicated with the 
one exception, that it was farther away and more dif- 
ficult to hear from home; and on the other hand, two 
important advantages: our food was prepared in a 
more wholesome shape and the health of all was much 
better than when at Arcadia during the first winter of 
our soldier life. 

1 Friday morning, February fifth, a force consist- 
ing of six regiments of infantry, some cavalry and 
artillery, all under command of General Warren, 
started out to make a reconnoisance and to get some 
lumber. We marched fifteen miles, keeping west of 
Lavaca. We found a good supply of lumber, loaded 
the wagons and camped upon the prairie for the night. 
The next morning we started back at eight o'clock 
and arrived at our quarters at half past three p. M. 
When coming back some of the boys thought that 
they must have the fun of seeing the prairie grass 
burn and started some lively prairie fires. This made 
the General hopping mad. 


Sunday, February seventh, there was a grand re- 
view of the troops at Indianola. Generals Ord and 
Dana came up from Pass Cavallo and joined our offi- 
cers in making the review. 

The Eleventh Wisconsin, Colonel Harris, started 
home on February fourteenth, they having re-en- 
listed for three years more or for the war. We have 
been with and near them so much during the past 
three years that we have become well acquainted with 
them. They are a fine body of men and splendid 
soldiers. Colonel Harris would not part with any of 
his boj ? s and took them all home with him; those 
who did not as well as those who did re-enlist. 

On February twenty-second, a force of the enemy 
came down toward us. The Ninety-ninth went out 
under arms and worked all day upon the fort and 
breastworks. The enemy appeared within sight 
upon the prairie but did not come near enough to 
disturb us. 

A skirmish took place between the enemy and 
some of our mounted men some distance away. 
Fourteen of our men were captured. The next day a 
flag of truce came in from Port Lavaca bringing let* 
ters from our captured men. One was badly 
wounded. The rest reported that they were all right 
and being fairly treated by their captors. 

With these few exceptions the month of February 
passed qu'etly. Oiw duties were light and every thing 
passed pleasantly. With the exception of the "north- 
ers" the weather was delightful. These cold wind 
storms come occasionally and last from one to three 
days. As we were now in comfortable quarters all 


tlie trouble they were to us, was, it required a little 
more attention to keep our tire going. None of 
these winter "northers" equaled in severity the one 
that first welcomed us to Texas while we were advanc- 
ing upon Fort Esparenza. 


On March first, orders came for us to evacuate In- 
dianola and rejoin the Union army on Matagorda 
Island. The next day some boats came up and we 
commenced loading our army s ores upon them. In 
u short time we suspended the moving work. The 
citizens of this place are wildly anxious for the 
Union troops to remain. They do not wish to again 
come under the control of their Southern brethren. 
If we leave the place the Texas rangers will at once 
return to town. A short delay was granted and a 
delegation of the citizens started for New Orleans to 
petition General Banks to countermand the order to 
evacuate. As a military point the place is of no im- 
portance. All we need do is to hold Matagorda 
Island and retain control of Pass Cavallo. Unless an 
advance up into the interior is to be made, Indianola 
is of no particular importance. Should the Confed- 
erate soldiers come down we could return and drive 
them out any day. The only thing to be considered 
is the citizens of the place. They are heartily tired of 
the rebellion and do not wish to again see the Confed- 
erates in town. Should we go and they come back 
they could not do any harm unless they burned their 
neighbors' houses over their heads. The only thing 
1 can see in the citizens of Indianola going across the 


gulf to New Orleans to beg for the retention of the 
Union troops, is a mere matter of sentiment. They 
are so completely converted to the cause of loyalty 
that they do not wish to see another Confederate flag 
waving in the town. 

General McClernand has been restored to the com- 
mand of our army corps. He came up to Indianola 
on March eighth. His old soldiers were well pleased 
to see him. 

The efforts to have our troops retained at Indianola 
failed. We evacuated on March thirteenth. All of 
the troops except our brigade started in the morning. 
During the day all of the army stores were loaded on 
the boats and we started at one p. M. The soldiers 
marched down to the island. The Ninety-ninth was 
the last regiment to leave Indianola. Colonel Bailey 
is a good officer to leave in charge of the line most ex- 
posed to attack. He would rather fight than eat his 
dinner any time. We camped for the night near the 
place where the town of LaLala is said to have once 
been located. The city has gone away. 

We started early the next morning and soon reached 
Big Bayou. We had an all day's job of it to cross Big 
Bayou, and Saluria Bayou, two miles apart, both of 
which we were obliged to cross before reaching the 
island. We had to cross on very poor ferry boats. 

The troops in our advance had a sad accident yes- 
terday. While they were crossing one of the ferries 
heavily loaded with soldiers sunk in the deepest part 
of the water. About forty men were lost. Twenty- 
five of those who met this sad fate were members of. 
the Sixty-ninth Indiana Volunteers. The others were 


some of the colored troops who were working the ferry. 
Such a serious loss of life in such a manner is far sad- 
der than to see our comrades fall in battle. A feeling 
of deep sadness was felt by the entire army. 

We succeeded in crossing in safety and camped for 
the night upon Matagorda Island at the place where 
General Washbarne's head quarters were established 
during the battle of Fort Esparenza. 


Tuesday, March fifteenth, we procured some lum- 
ber which we loaded on the army wagons, with our 
tents and camp equipage, and marched down the gulf 
shore to find a good camp ground for ourselves. At 
night we camped upon the same ground where we 
spent the second night when first upon the island in 
November last. 

The next morning it was concluded that a more de- 
sirable camp ground could be selected about two miles 
nearer the northern end of the island, and we returned 
to that place and established the camp of " Bailey's 
Pasture." The name arose from this: Once w r hile drill- 
ing his regiment when at [ndianola, Colonel Bailey 
used the expression, "Hold your heads up like fat 
cattle!" From this arose the nick-name, "Bailey's 
fat steers." When we got back to the island with the 
rest of the army, Colonel Bailey got permission to 
camp his regiment by itself. Our camp was upon a 
pretty piece of grassy prairie six miles away from any 
other troops, and under the sole command of Colonel 


Bailey. The boys claimed that he had brought his 
"fat steers" out to recruit on better pastures than 
any others had, arid insisted upon calling our new 
camp by the name of "Bailey's Pasture." Thus it 
goes into history that for one full month we camped 
at "Bailey's Pasture." A jolly camping ground it 
was, too. In front of us was the sandy shore of the 
Gulf of Mexico. It was soon warm enough to enjoy 
bathing in its waters. There was no possible chance 
for the enemy to reach us. All soldier duties were 
of the lightest kind. Colonel Bailey and his men had 
a fine and easy time together. If the boys wished to 
drill, Bailey would take them out and after a short 
time would say, "Boys, guess you can have more fun 
in camp," and back to camp we would go. We had 
about one such drill as this per week. Bathing in the 
gulf, gathering shells upon the shore, roving and 
playing upon the island, reading and writing, lying 
around resting and having fun, with plenty of rations, 
was the way our time was passed. At the end of our 
camp at " Bailey's Pasture," there was not a sick man 
in the regiment. To give each day in detail would 
only be to quote such as these: 

" Wrote letters to-day. Weather fine." 

"Read some in Washington Irving's Sketch Book, 
and went bathing." 

"A short skirmish drill this afternoon. Grand 

" Bathing and rambling along the shore. A fine, 
grand day." 

"Lying around, doing nothing. Weather too nice 
to think of anything else." 


"Reading and writing letters. 

"Sunday. As the Ninety-ninth has no chaplain, 
there were no religious services with us to-day." This 
shows that our ease was not disturbed even on the 

Our pleasant camp at " Bailey's Pasture" was estab- 
lished on the middle of March. On the seventeenth of 
April Colonel Bailey left us to rejoin the camp of the 
army near Fort Esparenza, known as Camp of JVIat- 
agorda Island. By the absence of all officers ranking 
him, Colonel Bailey had to take command of our 
brigade, and of course he had to go to brigade head- 
quarters. The old fellow seemed to at once become 
lonesome when out of sight of the boys of his 
regiment; at least he soon sent for us and, on April 
nineteenth, we moved up and joined the brigade 

Our new camp was also a pleasant one. We still 
had fine opportunities for salt water bathing, and 
nearly all the advantages we had enjoyed during the 
past month. On April twenty-second, Smith, the man 
with whom we boarded in Indianola, came to camp and 
made us a visit. General Roberts came on April 
twenty-eighth to take command of the post, relieving 
General Warren, who goes to .New Orleans. Three 
days after his arrival General Roberts declared that 
we did not need so many men on guard at the same 
time and ordered them reduced one half. This pleased 
the boys, as standing guard is the only hard duty 
they have to perform now, and our situation is so well 
protected that the reduction can as well be made as 


On Thursday night, May third, the Ninety-ninth, 
with Colonel Bailey in command, started off for a 
night trip. After dark we embarked on some small 
boats to take a run up the bay. Those present of two 
companies, A and B, were united as one company, in 
all forty men, and we went upon the tug Perry. 
The balance of the regiment went on the steamship 
Sufficks. In attempting to pass up the channel we 
ran aground and did not succeed in getting over the 
sand bars until morning. Thus our night expedition 
failed. After we were safely past the sand bars in the 
morning Colonel Bailey decided to go up the bay a 
short distance, any how. He did not wish to return 
without passing out of sight of the fort, and report 
"nothing accomplished." On we went, sailing up the 
bay. As it was now daylight we would have to move 
carefully in order to succeed. The main object was to 
slip in somewhere and pick up a few of the enemy's 
soldiers and learn something of the Confederate force 
up in the interior. The plan adopted was for the 
small tug to run ahead some four miles so as to be 
able to run in on them. Running with as little smoke 
and steam as possible so as not to attract attention, 
we passed the landing at Indianola, keeping off as 
though running toward Port Lavaca until we came to 
the farther side of Old Town. The tug was now sud- 
denly run toward the shore. Striking the shallow water 
we jumped into the small boats and rowed ashore. 
Then came an interesting foot race. As expected 
some of the enemy's soldiers were in town on a visit. 
They attempted to save themselves by flight. They 
had nearly a mile the start of us and made lively time 


across the prairies. But we had some fleet runners. 
With a lively run they would get near enough so that 
by firing high the balls would pass within whistling 
distance of the running Confederates. The sound of 
one bullet was enough. They would instantly stop. 
As our good rifles could send a ball nearly a mile, we 
soon had the runaways sitting upon the prairie as evi- 
dence of their surrender. We brought them in, came 
back through Indianola, found our boat at the landing 
and re embarked at three p. M. and returned to the fort 
with our prisoners, reaching there after dark. Colonel 
Bailey had one captain, one sergeant and four private 
soldiers to turn over as prisoners of war and was 
consequently, reasonably happy. 

The boys found a deserted library from which they 
selected and brought down a few choice books. 

Friday, May twelfth. By some means our command- 
ing general has got into the belief that the Confeder- 
ates want this place bad enough to fight for it. To- 
day all hands are busy upon the new line of works 
near Fort Esparenza. When completed these works 
will be very strong. They will be harder to take than 
were the rebel works of Vicksburg. In short, we 
would be willing to lay behind them and defy all the 
armies the Confederates choose to bring against us. 

The next day I was off duty and finished my first 
reading of Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress. This was 
one of the books our bo} r s confiscated on our trip to 
Old Town. Through some unexplainable reasons I 
had never thoroughly read it till now. It is a strange, 
ingenious and instructive work. At one moment we 
are completely bewildered; the next we smile at our 


own confusion and say that it is so plain and simple 
that a child could understand it. From beginning to 
end the same strange ingenuity is found. Ap.tly has 
the poet said of him: 

Ingenious dreamer, in whose well-told tale, 
Sweet fiction and sweet truth alike prevail. 





AMONG other things with which we occupied our 
time and amused ourselves was that of writing, school- 
boy like, upon different subjects. After being read for 
our entertainment, such writing was, of course, usually 
thrown away. One of these essays having, however, 
by many curious accidents, escaped destruction, to ap- 
pear to us nearly twenty years after it was written, 
will now be permitted to join the journal as part of 
the history of our army life. It is not given for the 
matter it contains, but as an illustration of the 
thoughts of our private soldiers. As then written it is 
as follows: 

MATAGORDA ISLAND, Texas, May, 1864. 

As this terrific storm of treason begins to abate; as 
this black cloud of rebellion begins to break; as we 
begin to see through this dark night of strife and con- 
flict, through which our country is now passing, and 


discover the morning light of the coming day; as this 
terrible war is nearing its end, does it not become us 
to earnestly and carefully review the position we, as 
a people, occupy; the principles upon which our Gov- 
ernment rests and by which it is controlled, that 
errors, if any there be, may be rectified, and the true 
principle of human rights strengthened and perpetu- 
ated, so that when bounteous peace once more returns 
to our loved country, she may reign unshaken and 
unvexed by the jarring of any false theories in the or- 
ganic law of our land? The great, the divine princi- 
ples of human rights voiced in the Constitution of our 
forefathers, will, we trust, long remain the funda- 
mental law of a great, contented, prosperous and 
happy people. And yet, perfect as it is, we can not 
doubt, but that even in this Constitution, there are 
some errors that can be rectified. To deny this, would 
be to deny its human origin. To be entirely perfect 
it would have to pass beyond the influences of this 
world of human error, to one of divine purity. And 
then, in such times as these, none can say that there 
is no error in the theory of our Government; that there 
is in our country no conflict of false principles with 
those of right; ah, no, too vividly has this war con- 
vinced us of such a conflict. Still, I doubt whether 
all the wisdom of this age combined with all our dear 
bought experience could better our grand old Consti- 
tution, further than with a few brief amendments; 1 
would suggest only these: 

I. A constitutional amendment immediately abol- 
ishing and forever prohibiting slavery in this Republic. 

II. A constitutional or statute law determining the 


qualifications of electors and guarding the purity of 
the ballot box. 

III. An amendment to the Constitution, changing 
the term of office of our President from four to ten 
years, and making the occupant ineligible for a second 

Is it proper to consider these matters at the present 
time? This is the first question that meets us. There 
are undoubtedly many good and thoughtful men who 
are opposed to any change during the continuance 
of our present troubles. They wish first to re-estab- 
lish the Union as it was under our fathers, and then 
under the quiet reign of peace, to calmly and dis- 
passionately review our position, and make what 
changes reason may dictate, unbiased by the high 
excitement that always exists during the continuance 
of a bitter civil war. They argue, and with a show 
of reason, that during the existence of such unnatural 
excitement, it is both unwise and unsafe to depart 
from old and well tried landmarks; that we are not, 
in such times, qualified to reason with the cool and 
impartial judgment necessary to fairly understand all 
of the varied and complicated questions that will arise, 
and that if we attempt to adopt and establish new prec- 
edents and rules under such circumstances, we not 
only are liable to infringe upon the rights and liberties 
of others, but also liable to neglect and endanger our 

Thoughtful men admit the force of such suggestions. 
But is there not another light in which we can view 
this matter? May we not think, may we not hope, 
that such trials as these are given for the purpose of 


purifying us? Is it not a duty, as well as a privilege, 
for a people, as it would be of an individual, to rise 
to a higher, truer state, whenever the furnace of trials 
has fitted them to fill it? Most certainly, the time of 
the greatest trials is the time to call forth the great- 
est excellences; the time of trial is the one that devel- 
ops the noblest, truest virtues. Does the smith, when he 
takes the iron from the furnace, stand still and let it re- 
turn to its cold and untempered state, still harder, more 
brittle and unyielding than before? No, indeed! he 
strikes with quick and heavy blows, tempers it aright, 
and forms it into the useful implement. 

It is the same with man, with communities, with 
peoples. When the fire of adversity has made them 
wiser they must rise to a higher state then or never. 
If they wait for a return of prosperity, they will be- 
come harder and more unyielding than before. 
Through evil and vile habits a man falls into misfor- 
tune. A friend wishes to reclaim him. " When I am 
again prosperous I will reform, and not till then," is 
the savage response. Leave such a man alone. He 
never will reform. So, too, with nations. In every 
case in history where great reformations have been 
made, it has been during the heat of the greatest ex- 
citement and often also amidst the deepest of bitter 
experience and trials. The inspired Declaration of 
Independence is not an exception to this general rule. 
The noble Warren's blood had been shed upon 
Bunker Hill, and many, many immortal patriots had 
died a willing sacrifice for their country before the 
Independence of America was earnestly advocated by 
our forefathers. It will be admitted that great 


wrongs have sometimes been committed during the 
heat of great excitement, such as occurred during the 
French Revolution. But this rule will always hold 
good: ~No great wrong was ever committed by the 
party or people that followed the principles of right. 
"We need never fear doing injustice to others so long 
as we follow the dictates of justice and right. 

The proposition to abolish slavery in our country 
by an amendment to the Constitution is now receiv- 
ing the earnest consideration of our ablest statesmen; 
at least we judge so by what meagre news we receive 
from the North. As soldiers we have had many op- 
portunities to become acquainted with the institution 
of slavery. The slaves early learned to confide in 
the Union soldiers, and would freely tell us of their 
hopes, desires and ambitions, such as the most ob- 
serving slave owner would iwer have thought 
could possibly have found a home in the breasts of 
the patient and apparently unthinking negroes. 
Large volumes could be filled with incidents and 
anecdotes illustrating this. Every colored man that 
comes into the Union camp proves it. I confess that 
my experience proves the black man different and of 
greater capabilities than I had supposed. With many 
others I had serious misgivings for the result, when 
it was proposed to let him at once step from the 
depths of slavery to the high position of a freeman. 
I feared that a change so sudden, so great, would so 
intoxicate him that he would be dissatisfied with his 
natural condition as a member of an inferior race and 


would refuse to fill such position unless bis extrava- 
gant and impossible demands were allowed. Becom- 
ing acquainted with the natural traits of the race 
has convinced me of the error of such views. As 
>a race they make the fewest demands and are the 
easiest satisfied of any people in the world. To "be 
my own man" seems to be their greatest expectation. 
Only let them know that they are free and they will 
work willingly and faithfully, and be fully contented 
with a position that the proud Anglo Saxon race 
would never long endure. * * * 

It is not necessary to argue, at length, the question 
of slavery in the abstract. That it is an evil to be re- 
gretted and that ought to be abolished as soon as prac- 
ticablej is now conceded by the whole civilized world. 
* * * The only question now seems to be, when 
shall it be done? Many who are in favor of abolish- 
ing slavery, ask that it may be done by some gradual 
process, so that the bondman may become accustomed 
to the new position and learn to fulfill its duties. 
Perhaps the time was, when such would have been 
the wisest course; but it is now past. After review- 
ing their present qualifications I am convinced that 
the present is the best time, we can hope to ever see, 
for the success of the black race. The colored people 
are better qualified, to-day, to commence life as free- 
men than they probably ever will be again. This 
war has taught a deeper lesson to them than to u&. 
It has awakened every better impulse of their nature 
and developed their every trait of true manhood to a 
high degree. * * * If we honestly wish to im- 
prove the colored race we should not fail to improve 


the time when their enthusiasm is raised to the high- 
est degree by the grand excitement of this gigantic 
war between freedom and slavery. Now is the most 
favorable time America will ever have to assist the 
colored race to a nobler, higher position. Does it 
become a great and wise people to endanger the loss 
of this auspicious opportunity by procrastination? 

As far as the feelings of the white people of the 
South are concerned, we are still more emphatically 
called upon to abolish slavery within this Republic. I 
am convinced of this more from actual experience 
and a knowledge of their sentiments, than from any 
theory of reason or logic. With slavery abolished 
they can think of the Union restored without morti- 
fication. In such case they will look at it as slavery, 
not themselves, that is defeated. If the Union should 
be restored with slavery, the only explanation that 
could then be made would be that the people of the 
South had been defeated in a military contest. Any 
one acquainted with the strange pride of our Southern 
brethren can well understand how much they would 
prefer to lose all they ever had or claimed in the in- 
stitution of slavery rather to be shorn of their mili- 
tary glory. 

It is claimed, by some, that there-establishment of 
fraternal relations between the North and South will 
be impracticable if not absolutely impossible owing 
to the bitter feelings that have been created by this 
war. A portion of the remaining rebel leaders lay 
emphatic stress upon this argument. In fact it is the 
only tangible one they now have to support their 
falling Confederacy. To some extent these Southern 


leaders are right. It may be possible for people of 
other countries that have once fought as enemies, to 
unite as fraternally as may be required under a des- 
potic form of government, without the cause of the 
contest being removed. But I do not believe it possi- 
ble for the North to unite with the South in as fraternal, 
trusting and brotherly union as should exist between 
the people of the same republic so long as one part of 
our country upholds the institution of slavery. De- 
stroy slavery and then it will not be necessary to re- 
unite our people, for the simple reason that they will 
not then be divided. Slavery is all that ever divided 
the people of our country. Take it away and there 
will be nothing to separate us. "With slavery abol- 
ished the South will have stronger interests and more 
pride in the preservation of the Union than the 
North. The quiet sons of the North could content 
themselves with a mild and unpretending government, 
but the ambitious sons of the South will never be 
happy unless they have a share in a nation of suffi- 
cient strength and power to demand the respect of 
the entire world. Forgetting all differences, union 
with the North will appear to the South as only eo 
much additional strength to the common government. 
I have yet to see or hear of the first Southern 
Abolitionist who was not an enthusiastic Union man. 
It is invariably the rule, that whenever those fight- 
ing against us signify their willingness to abandon 
the rebel cause, and it is a frequent occurrence, it is 
always because they believed that slavery is de- 
feated. They never say the South is defeated, but 
always, slavery is destroyed. The impetuous sons 


of the South can not endure the thought of being 
themselves defeated. They can easily look upon de- 
feat with the thought, as I have heard it expressly 
that, " perhaps, after all, slavery is not right, if so 
we can never succeed in its defense; but with a just 
cause the South can never be subdued." This char- 
acteristic spirit is frequently plainly manifested. A 
case like this will often occur: 

Confederate "But what can you hope to accom- 
plish in the end? Yon can not expect to conquer 
the whole of the Southern people and then hold them 
in subjection." 

Union "Oh, no! we only expect to subdue the 
rebellion and destroy slavery; and then, as there will 
then be nothing to divide us, we will be united to- 
gether again as brothers, with stronger ties of kin- 
dred and interests than ever before." "Well, weH," the 
proud Southerner thoughtfully replies, " I don't know 
about that. "We always thought that slavery was a 
divine institution; if so it will exist forever. But," 
he adds with enthusiasm, "if our people are united 
again under one flag and government they can whip 
the world." This is no fancy sketch but one of act- 
ual occurrence. We meet with this spirit every- 
where. They will admit that a wrong cause may be 
defeated, and yet curious as it is, maintain that they 
never can be subdued. Nor is it strange that they 
should be governed by such feelings. Were we placed 
in a like position we would easily understand how an 
unjust cause which we had, through error, been led to 
support, could be overthrown, and yet be loth to admit 
that we, ourselves, had been defeated. 


This is, no donbt, a new theory and one that would 
not be accepted by those who judge of people only by 
what they know of the arbitrary governments of the 
old world. Being accustomed, as they are, in all con- 
tests, to see error pitted against error, they have 
never learned that a cause can bo defeated without 
the power of those who supported it being broken. 
But in a Government like ours, where all the people 
have a right to participate, we have learned that a 
bad cause can be defeated and yet those who sustain 
it remain as before. The very like principle of a free 
republic is to permit the united wisdom of all to de- 
cide which shall be adopted and for the defeated party 
to submit without being themselves defeated further 
than the one question in issue is concerned. Many 
of our hardest fought political contests prove this. 
Parties have often seen this cause fail, but its mem- 
bers, as men and as citizens would never admit that 
they had been defeated, or their individual rights 
impaired. It is the cause, not the individual, that 
has been overthrown. 

With slavery destroyed, what would remain that 
need mortify the proudest Southern heart? In antic- 
ipation I can look forward and see our country re- 
turned to more than its former prosperity; with peace 
regained, the Union restored, slavery abolished, and a 
free and happy people, brothers of the same republic, 
only striving to see which shall be the most zealous in 
advocating human rights and in adding to the renown 
and glory of our common country. Hand in hand the 
people of the South will then join with those of the 
North in pushing forward every good work. What 


would then be found in the history of our country 
that need give shame to the proudest of an illustrious 
race? Going back to its first commencement as a fee- 
ble Government, and tracing up the course of our 
nation's various contests, it will be found that the sons 
of the South have had their share in every great and 
noble event. On every battle field they were repre- 
sented. In civil and political matters they were lead- 
ers more often than followers. Down to our present 
contest the South has always nobly done its share. 
With slavery abolished they will regret that they ever 
attempted to maintain a wrong cause, but need not 
feel chagrined at their want of valor in its behalf. 
While we of the North regret some of the strange 
fanaticisms and great wrongs committed by our pil- 
grim fathers, still we proudly trace back to our New 
England ancestry. There is a deep and earnest re- 
ligious faith firmly implanted in the hearts of the 
Southern people, and as soon as they plainly see the 
sin of slavery they will look upon its defeat as a decree 
of Heaven. But for the great mistake made by min- 
isters of the gospel who claimed to prove that slavery 
was justified by the teachings ot the Bible, not a sin- 
gle regiment could ever have been organized to fight 
for the Southern Confederacy. 

Emancipation is also necessary to. give us the con- 
fidence and trust that ought to exist between the 
brothers of the same republic. No matter how ex- 
tremely Southern a man is in his views and interests 
we are willing to trust his loyalty to the fullest extent 
when we know that he is opposed to slavery. 
As a son of Illinois I fought long and hard to re-open 


the Mississippi, and now I frankly admit that with 
slavery destroyed and the Union re-established upon 
the true principles of universal freedom, I know of 
none in whose hands I would sooner trust the immor- 
tal hills and works of Vicksbur'g and the guarding of 
our great river than those of the sons of Mississippi. 

Believing that the slaves are better prepared now 
than they ever can again be, that the interests and 
especially the feelings of the white people of the South 
will not be in harmony with those of the North until 
slavery is abolished; that the North will never have 
full confidence in the South while it sustains slavery; 
and that procrastination will only be to continue 
the errors of the past, I am convinced that immediate 
emancipation is the true policy. 


The proposition to place better guards around our 
ballot boxes will be passed over briefly. Not having 
witnessed an election during the three years past, and 
when I did, not being old enough to cast a ballot, I do 
not feel at liberty to say much about voting. Confessing 
that I know but little about the subject, I will say 
that I have a strong belief that some attention should 
be given to the qualifications of voters and to prevent 
illegal voting and false returns. 

Although not old enough before the war to vote, I 
did occasionally " look on " at an election. I well re- 
member how disgusted I then felt to see some of the 
poor , ignorant beings who did not or could not think for 
themselves, led up to the ballot box by some political 
leader and vote the ticket he had, already folded, per- 


liaps, placed in their hands. As far as giving an in- 
telligent ballot is concerned it would have been jnst 
as well to have given the party leaders the right to 
vote the same number of wooden men. Allowin^ 


totally ignorant and irresponsible men to vote has the 
effect to destroy the equality it strives to give to each 
citizen. In the end it amounts to the same as givin^ 

O O 

half a dozen or more votes to a sharp wire- worker while 
an honest and quiet citizen has but one. There ought to 
be'some plan devised by which a voter would go to the 
ballot box untrammeled by hangers-on, and where he 
does not know enough to designate for whom he wishes 
to vote, let his vote go without being counted. Just 
what plan would be the best I will not attempt to decide. 
If it was arranged so that a ticket with the names of 
all the candidates upon it could be given to a voter by 
the election officers, and the voter required to step into 
a private box and mark the names of those he wishes 
to vote for, and no one allowed to see or know how he 
was making his ticket, nor to approach or speak to 
the voter from the time the ticket was given to him 
until it was placed in the ballot box, it would do 
away with the ticket peddler's occupation. 

In cases where the voter could not read the Ian 
guage in which the ticket was printed it might be 
provided that a sworn officer should read the names 
and mark it as the voter dictates. Some would, with 
much force, argue that if a man could not read 
enough to mark the names upon a ticket he ought 
not to be permitted to vote. Probably a more simple 
and efficient mode than the one here suggested can be 
devised. The idea is to require every voter to vote 


his own ticket and do away with electioneering and 
cat-hauling at the polls. 

The more graver question is that of fraud at elec- 
tions. Illegal voting ought to be prevented. With 
the slavery question disposed of, the next great dan- 
ger to our country will arise from illegal voting or 
false returns. In a republican government confidence 
must be maintained or the nation can not long exist. 
The only basis upon which a republican government 
can exist is that the majority shall rule. Where the 
elections are tinctured with fraud none can know what 
the true expression of the majority is. The ballot 
box should be guarded by such strict laws and gov- 
erned by such absolute rules that all will have confi- 
dence in its purity. A family will soon break to 
pieces if there is a want of confidence therein. A 
republic is but a large family. Want of confidence 
will soon destroy it. A moment's thought will plainly 
show this. To start with, we will take a people 
who are agreed that the majority shall govern. The 
majority believe that they have been out-counted by 
illegal votes. How long will the majority be content 
that the minority shall rule by illegal votes? Whether 
fraud actually exists is not so much the question, but 
does a large portion of the people believe that they 
have been defeated by fraud-? Want of confidence 
is where the danger lies. Thus the importance of 
having such rules and laws that all will know that no 
illegal votes are cast and that the ballots are honestly 
counted. I believe that some plan_of keeping a per- 
manent record of the voters of each district should be 
established so that the right of any one to a vote 


could be investigated prior to the day of election. 
Much could be said upon this, our second proposi- 
tion, but for the reasons stated, inexperience as to de- 
tails, we will pass it with these brief suggestions and 
proceed to the consideration of the third proposition. 


There are, I think, many reasons why the presiden- 
tial term of office should be increased, and the occu- 
pant prohibited from being a candidate for re-election. 
There are many vexations connected with frequent 
changes of administration that would be avoided by 
less frequent elections. It is worthy of consideration, 
whether much of the bitter partisan spirit that some- 
times threatens to endanger our wisest institutions 
and dearest liberties, is not created more by the fre- 
quency of our elections than by the elections them- 
selves. If a longer period was allowed to elapse from 
one political contest to another, the excitement and 
bitterness caused by one campaign would pass away 
and the people would enter upon a new election as 
men rather than as partisans. They would vote for 
principles and not for a mere party name. 

Our elections are now so frequent that one political 
contest can hardly be decided before another presi- 
dential campaign is commenced. The whole country 
is kept in a continual fever heat by these frequent 
contests. Who will be our next President, is the 
question that meets us in every society, every place 
and every day in the year? The baneful effects of such 
unhealthy excitement are felt in every branch of our 


Government. If a true statesman suggests a wise 
measure or policy the chances are that it wijl be de- 
feated by the opposition of rivals to him, with but lit- 
tle reference to claims of the principles involved. 

Reforms have often been defeated by selfish jeal- 
ousy. The suggestions of the wisest statesmanship 
have often been ignored or opposed because the con- 
temporaries of him who introduced the measures were 
afraid, that if successful it would make the originator 
President instead of one of his rivals. During this 
war how many hard fought battles have been turned 
from victory into disaster by the detestable spirit of 
rivalry? When a man gets it into his head that he 
" may be the next President" he is of no further use 
at the head of an army nor as a leader in Congress.. 
When a farmer gets the idea into his head that he 
owns a fast horse that will win the next race, that horse 
is of no further use upon the farm. It will not plow 
any more. Such horse is at once put into training 
upon the race track. Neither horse nor driver will 
now earn their feed. All is wagered upon the result 
of the coming race. 

It is so with the presidential race. When once 
thoughts of the presidency possess a man he may, like 
the supposed race-horse, just as well abandon every 
thing else and go into training at once. Presidential 
candidates and race-horses, while in training, are of no 
use in the every -day affairs of life. If the race is won, 
all right; if it is lost, "all is vanity." It would have 
been better if all but the winning horse had been 
kept at the plow, and for all but the successful candi- 
date to have given attention to other duties. When 

384: ARMY LIFE. 

the end is reached, even the owner of the winning 
horse is usually out of pocket in money and totally 
bankrupt in morals. It would be well for farmers and 
statesmen and others to learn the golden lesson: Stick 
to the plow. 

Less frequent elections would diminish their sup- 
posed chances for the presidency, and thus the only 
hope our statesmen would have of seeing their names 
high upon the roll of fame would be to gain the last- 
ing gratitude of their fellow-men by noble works of 
patriotism and earnest labors for the cause of human- 
ity. Then, perhaps, the vaulting ambition of some 
of our leaders would be turned from their own selfish 
ends, to work for the glory of their country and the 
happiness of their fellow-men. 

One thing in which a republic is far superior to 
any other form of government is in being able to 
choose from among its ablest and best men for its 
administrative officers. This advantage is seriously 
impaired when our elections are so frequent that 
every man of moderate abilities and medium talents 
is led to think that the presidency is within his reach 
if he can succeed in destroying the influence of some 
of his brother statesmen. This is, undoubtedly, one 
of the reasons why our ablest statesmen are the most 
bitterly opposed by professional politicians. This 
jealousy often leads the crowd of weaker men to op- 
pose the true, earnest teachings of the wisest states- 
manship. Because of such opposition, such men as 
Webster, Clay and Seward are never elected presi- 
dent. John Quiney Adams never would have been, 
only that he was so fortunate as to live in an age be- 
fore politicians learned their trade. 


If our Presidents were elected for a term of eight 
or ten years we could look for an improvement in this 
respect. Political leaders would then devote their 
talents and abilities to the best interests and im- 
provement of their country. Wire-working and po- 
litical knavery would not pay. Congress would then 
look to the good of the country instead of the next 
presidency. The people being free from bitter party 
spirit and extreme political excitement would learn to 
view matters of government with cool judgment and 
careful reason; and as they learned to think for them- 
selves the baneful influence of political tricksters 
would diminish. The election of a President for a 
long, period would be viewed as a serious matter and 
the people would insist upon choosing from among 
our best and wisest men. An able statesman would 
then be looked for and chosen. As it is now, it seems 
impossible for us to elect a great and able man unless 
by accident, we find one in disguise like "Honest Old 
Abe." Such frequent elections only tend to bewilder 
the people and create an intense political excitement, 
and then some one is chosen more by luck or chance 
than upon merit or from deliberate choice. In such 
a scrub race the one who promises to be the most pli- 
able in the hands of " his friends " is the favorite. 

Changing our chief magistrate so often has a ten- 
dency to weaken and destroy the esteem and rever- 
ence that the people should feel and extend toward 
the head of their government. Retaining good men 
in office tends to increase the people's confidence. 
The different branches of our Government emphatic- 
ally prove this. Look, for a moment; make a com- 

38.6 ARMY LIFE. 

parison; mark the contrast and note the degree of re- 
spect given to each. There is the House of Represen- 
tatives, whose members are only elected for two years, 
the Senate, whose members are elected for six years, and 
the Supreme Court, whose members continue in office 
during good behavior, which, with honest judges, 
means for life. The confidence of the people that is 
felt in each, as a body, increases in about the same 
ratio. For stability in public affairs, the people turn 
with much greater confidence to the Senate than to the 
House of Representatives. Any military man would 
highly prize a resolution of commendation by the 
Senate. He would feel that such an indorsement 
was one that would command the respect of all. The 
same resolution, indorsed only by the House, would 
not be as highly prized. Whether right or wrong, 
the popular opinion is, that the favor of the lower 
house and the passage of measures therein is gener- 
ally to some extent aided by shrewd maneuvering, 
while the action of the Senate is more apt to be gov- 
erned by merit. 

Great as is the respect and confidence of the Amer- 
ican people in the Senate as a body, it is in turn 
eclipsed by the higher regard for the Supreme Court 
of the United States. This regard is so great that the 
people will faithfully obey the rulings of the court, 
although they believe it wrong in principle, until it 
is reversed by the same high authority. 

It seems to be an inherent principle of human nat- 
ure, that the longer we are obliged to trust others, 
the greater will be our care in the selections made, 
and tlie greater will be the confidence we will feel in 


those chosen to fill the position. "When a man enters 
into a brief business partnership he respects the hon- 
esty of the one chosen; when he chooses a partner 
whom he thinks worthy of sharing the "joys and sor- 
rows of life with him," he esteems and cherishes her; 
when his heart tells him that he has found one who 
will be united with him through all eternity, lie loves 

O / / 

her with wild devotion. None would expect to see a 
college of learning establish an enviable reputation, 
whose president and professors were frequently 
changed. Where efficiency is demanded frequent 
changes are never allowed. None would attempt to 
maintain an efficient army where the officers were ap- 
pointed for brief terms, and the successors chosen by 
frequent elections. Prior to the war it is plain that 
the South often exerted more than her due share of 
influence in national affairs because of its custom to 
re-elect members of Congress, while in the North, 
frequent changes is the rule. 

It is conceded that many things can be said against 
a long presidential term. There are two sides to al- 
most every question, especially to one like this which 
involves only matters of policy. Upon questions of 
principle, like that of slavery, the only possible divis- 
ion is between right and wrong. Questions of mere 
policy are always open for discussion. Most of the 
objections against a long presidential term will be 
obviated by providing that no President shall succeed 
himself. Even without reference to the length of the 
term there are many reasons in favor of prohibiting 
an occupant of the presidential office from being his 
own successor. "With a term of increased length these 


reasons would be multiplied. Let us suppose that a 
man is elected President for ten or even eight } T ears. 
At the age he must have reached before he would be 
selected to this high position he would look upon the 
work before him as practically the end of his life's du- 
ties. The only ambition that could actuate him would 
be to have the best possible administration, to serve 
the people well, and leave an honored name in his 
country's history. He would be above all mere mat- 
ters of party politics. In fact, in this rapid age of 
change and progress, when all great questions like that 
of slavery and secession are disposed of, it is probable 
that parties would so mingle and change that at the 
end of such a presidential term the President, looking 
only to the best interests of all, would not know to 
which political party his leanings were. Like a true 
army officer he would forget all mere party divisions 
among the people and be zealous only in the perform- 
ance of his actual duties. It is a question worthy of 
consideration whether all of the administrative 
branches of the Government should not be, as is con- 
fessed the army and navy should be, managed solely with 
reference to efficiency, and confine all political ques- 
tions to Congress. The peculiar manner provided by 
the Constitution for the election of a President and 
appointment of other officers would indicate that the 
fathers designed that the administrative officers should 
be selected for efficiency and not for political reasons. 
In practice the plan has been changed so that in effect 
the name of the party candidate for President heads 
the party ticket at each so-called presidential election. 
As now practiced the cumbersome electoral college 


might as well be abolished, and allow the candidates 
named for President and Vice-President tobe directly 
voted for. At the last election I witnessed, all were 
voting for Lincoln or Douglas. No one seemed to 
understand that he was voting only for electors, and 
probably not one in twenty could have repeated from 
memory the names of the list upon his tick*, t. A long 
presidential term, it is believed, would, to a large ex- 
tent, remove the office from mere party politics. 

With the changes purposed, the ratio of the terms 
of the different branches of our Government would be 
gradual and natural. The lower house of Congress 
would be renewed every two years; the terms of the 
senators six years, and the executive eight or ten 
years. The confidence of the people in the conserva- 
tism of each would run in about the same proportion. 
Then the President of the United States being certain 
of the support of the people in all just measures, could 
at home and abroad claim the respect that ought to 
be shown to the representative head of a great people. 

Thus we suggest that the immediate prohibition of 
slavery, the protection of the ballot box and an in- 
crease of the presidential term are matters deserving 
the earnest consideration of the American people. 




BY the middle of Mav there began to be consider- 

/ o 

able talk of Matagorda Island being evacuated. We 
were loth to believe this. With the fortifications in 
the shape they are a small force could successfully 
hold this place and thus command the entrance to the 
only available harbor upon this part of the Texas 

On May eighteenth we moved up and camped be- 
side the fort on the beach of Pass Cavallo. The next 
day positive orderscameto commence the evacuation. 
We worked all day dismounting the heavy guns upon 
the fort and in loading ordnance stores upon the 
gulf steamboats. From this time on we continued 
to load our boats as fast as they came. 

On the twenty-seventh of May while strolling along 
the beach of Pass Cavallo, I stopped to look at the 
grave of one of the soldiers who fought in the Mexi- 
can War. The grave has been sadly neglected. A 
short time ago a little mound of earth over which 
horses and cattle roamed at pleasure, was all that 
showed that here was the last resting place of one 
who was once a noted officer in our army. General 
Roberts, whose head-quarters are near b} 7 , has remedied 
this neglect to some extent. He has caused some 
posts to be set around the grave and a rope fastened 
upon them, which serves to keep the horses and cattle 
from treading over the remains of the dead. A plain 


plank head board has also been erected to mark the 
grave. Upon one side in large, awkward letters are 
the words: 

Drowned, near 
Sal ura, about 


Upon the other side is the name: 




One of the heroes of 

San Jacinto. 

If General Roberts superintended the marking of 
the head board, the work is not very flattering to him 
as an artist, yet we can not refrain from giving him 
due praise for the respectful regard he has shown for 
the remains of one who once fought in defense of our 
country's noble flag. 

By the last of May most of the troops had sailed 
for New Orleans. 

General Roberts and all the higher officers had gone 
and the month ended with Colonel Bailey, the com- 
manding officer, at this post. 

He is the right man to leave to guard a retreat. 
About all he knows or can learn of military matters, 
is to fight if he sees a chance. If he only had two 
hundred men left on shore arid five thousand rebels 
were approaching, while he had only a single wagon 
to take on board, the chances are that he would stop 
and tight before he would allow it to be said that the 


rebels had captured even an old army wagon from 

During the last of May and first half of June we 
had jolly, easy times upon the Island. Our rations 
were abundant and excellent. As the large supply 
was being reshipped to New Orleans we selected the 
best for our own use. In shipping we retained the 
barrels containing the hams and shipped those filled 
with army bacon. Other things we served the same 
way. The rest of our army go and leave us all the 
chances of fighting; we select the best rations and 
send them the balance. 

The climate surprises us. The weather is delight- 
ful. Cool and refreshing sea breezes come to us 
nearly all the time. We were somewhat afraid that 
the hot summer sun in this Southern land would be too 
severe for us Northern soldiers. The cool, refreshino: 

' o 

breezes from the gulf have thus far made it otherwise. 
None are sick. 

Tuesday, June fourteenth, the last of every thing 
movable was loaded on the boat, or burned; Fort Es- 
parenza was blown up and the rear guard, consisting 
of part of the Twenty-first Iowa and the Ninety-ninth 
Illinois, went on board the steamship St. Mary. 
With the Thirty-third we had been the first to enter, 
and with the Ninety -ninth the last to leave Fort 
Esparenza. It was so dark by the time every thing 
was on board that we could not pass the sand bar at 
the entrance to the harbor. The next morning we 
passed out of the harbor and started for New Orleans. 
Just as we entered upon the gulf the steamship Clin- 
ton met us with our mail from New Orleans. After 


giving it to us she went on her way to the Rio Grande 
and we went on our way to the Mississippi. 

We had a quiet and slow trip across the gulf and 
reached the month of the Mississippi late in the after- 
noon of June seventeenth. We found the river very 
high, so much so, that we found fresh water while 
yet a long distance from the mouth of the river. We 
entered the river through what is known as the 
" Southwest Pass." 

We reached New Orleans and disembarked early 
the next forenoon. We marched toward Carrollton 
and camped for the night. 

On Sunday, June nineteenth, the Ninety-ninth 
was favored by the arrival of a new chaplain an of- 
ficer we have not had for a long time, and also by re- 
ceiving news that the resignation of Lieutenant- 
Colonel Parks had been accepted. His resignation 
was probably a matter of necessity. Whisky had 
ruined him. He is a total wreck. Naturally Colonel 
Parks was a man of fine abilities and should have 
been a good soldier in the field and a useful man at 
home, lie has held the office of Lieutenant-Colonel 
ever since the Ninety-ninth took the field, but been 
such a drunkard as to be entirely worthless. His en- 
tire pay has been squandered in riotous living and his 
family at home have been entirely neglected. He 
will either reform or die soon. 

On Monday, Demp King arid I went to New Or- 
leans. When we got back, we found that the regi- 
ment had moved camp. At last we found them near 

The next morning we broke camp at four o'clock 

394: AKMY LIFE. 

and marched up the river and camped at Kender- 
ville. We lay in camp here three days. At two 
o'clock on the morning of the twenty-fourth, we were 
called up and at ouce commenced to load our camp 
equipage on a steamer. When this was done, we went 
on board a steamer and sailed up the river and landed 
at Donaldsonville. We established a pleasant camp 
a quarter of a mile from the river. 

Fort Butler, a strong work, mounting nine heavy 
guns, is here located at the junction of Bayou La 
Fourche and the Mississippi River. One regiment is 
required as a regular garrison. During the past sea- 
son it has been garrisoned by the Ninetieth New York. 
By some mistake the Twenty-sixth Indiana and our 
regiment have both been sent here. As to which will 
remain has not yet been decided. 

Donaldsonville appears to have been quite a thriv- 
ing town in former times, but it is now in a sorry con- 
dition. The best part of the town has been burned, 
and of course, it will not be rebuilt during these war 

We reached Donaldsonville on Saturday, June 25, 
1864. I remained in camp on Sunday. On Monday 
went through the town. Tuesday I went out into the 
country. The soil is very rich and productive in this 
vicinity. This will some day be the home of a pros- 
perous people. Spent part of the da} 7 gathering wild 
blackberries. They are very plenty here. Blackber- 
ries seem to be adapted to nearly every climate. Ev- 
erywhere from the far North to New Orleans, I have 
seen them growing in great profusion. As a general 
thing, as the wild berries are crowded out by cultiva- 


tion, that is the last we see of them. I wonder why 
more attention is not given to their protection and 


On Sunday, July third, we, the Thirty-third boys, 
bid farewell to our comrades of the Ninety-ninth, and 
started to rejoin our own regiment, which is now camped 
at Brashear City. "We have had jolly good times with 
the Ninety-ninth boys and were sorry to part with 
them. We had been in hopes that the Ninety-ninth 
and Thirty-third would again meet in brigade to- 
gether. In that case we would all still be together. 
Instead of going down to New Orleans and then out 
on the railroad, we took a small steamboat that runs 
down one of the bayous that here brandies otf from 
the Mississippi. "We rode down to a place by the 
name of Thibodeaux, and landed and remained there 
over night. "We saw a number of fine plantations on 
the way down. Among others we passed the one that 
had formerly belonged to the Confederate Gen. Bragg. 
They have a peculiar mail delivery along the bayou. 
A young man upon the steamer is provided with 
some small pieces of wood and string. As he comes 
to a residence he ties the papers and letters to a stick 
of wood and throws it ashore. Should he miss in 
throwing, all the difference it makes, in this still wa- 
ter, is that the people have to take a small canoe, and 
all have them, row out and get their mail and then 
wait until it dries before reading it. 

The next morning, July fourth, we marched from 
Thibodeaux down to the railroad. At one o'clock we 


took the cars and went to Brashear, where we met 
and joined our old comrades of the Thirty-third. We 
had a right jolly greeting from them. We found 
them doing well and enjoying themselves. The boys 
had been having quite a jolly time celebrating the 
Fourth of July and the first anniversary of the sur- 
render of Yicksburg. We were in time to join in 
the evening pastime. 

'] We remained at Brashear until the twentieth of 
' July. In tins-short time an old acquaintance of mine, 
whose home is in these swamps, made me one of his un- 
welcome visits. He greeted me most cordially, shook 
both hands and in fact shook me all over. I was not 
a bit glad. It was the ague. 

On the twentieth of July, Company A took the 
cars and went to Tigerville Station; a small railroad 
station fourteen miles east of Brashear. Our duty at 
this point will be to guard the railroad. We relieved 
a company of the Eleventh Wisconsin. This is the 
first time our company was quartered in a place by 
themselves. Captain Button will be in command of 
the post. We were soon nicely quartered in the build- 
ings at this place. 

Our time now passed rapidly and in many respects 
pleasantly. Occasionally there was a report of the 
enemy approaching to make a raid upon us. We 
were sometimes called up in the night to prepare to 
meet the Confederates, but none ever came within gun- 
shot distance of our liaes. Our guard duty was quite 
severe. Usually each of us would have to be on guard 
as often as every second night. With this exception 


our soldier duties were light, and these days can be 
classed among the most pleasant of our soldier life. 

The big man among the citizens of this place is a 
very wealthy planter by the name of Gibson. He is 
a large slave holder and is recognized as a loyal man. 
This district, it seems, is also considered as loyal 
and was excepted by the Emancipation Proclamation. 
Gibson's property in his slaves is thus still respected. 
He remained loyal, after the Union troops came, for the 
double reason that he is too old to join the rebel army 
and because he has so much property to protect. His 
son is said to be a general in the Confederate army and 
his daughter is being educated in Europe. These 
things show how the Gibson family actually stand, 
better than the old man's oath of loyalty that he has 
taken. Waiving these things he is a fine, pleasant old 
man. He is frequently in visiting with the soldiers 
and they are much pleased with him. His large plan- 
tation is now in cultivation and it has been found de- 
sirable for one of our soldiers to be quartered at his 
place. The soldier is supposed to be a sort of referee 
between the colored people and the overseers. In 
case of difficulty the negroes are told that they must 
do their proper work and that they will be protected 
from abuse. The moral effect of a Union soldier 
being present seems to settle every tiling. The plan 
is for one or two soldiers to go there and remain one 
or two weeks at a time. Mr. Gibson provides for 
them in his own house and practically all they have to 
do is to visit, hunt, fish and have a jolly time. The 
old gentleman makes it exceedingly pleasant for those 
who stay with him. In the middle of August when 


the guard at Gibson's was being changed, Captain 
Dutton proposed that I should go there for two weeks. 
This was for my benefit as it would be much easier 
for one with broken health than to stand guard at our 
post. The Captain was much surprised when I told 
him that I preferred to remain with the company and 
perform my share of the more severe camp duties. 
I explained to him that I had been born upon the 
line of what was known in early abolition times as 
the " underground railroad." That my grandfather 
while he lived was always a zealous Abolitionist. 
That in those early days, before he had a following of 
any size, Owen Lovejoy, when making his country 
school-house speeches, was a frequent visitor at my 
father's house. Thus by birth, education and belief I 
was opposed to slavery and did not wish to take a place 
where it could even have the appearance of assist- 
ing a slave-holder to make his slaves work for him. 
Captain Dutton said that such views had not occurred 
to him and good-naturedly asked, "Suppose you were 
sent out, what would you do when there?" "Probably 
get his negroes all to run away within two weeks." 
"I believe you would," he laughingly replied, "and I 
guess for fear of further difficulties, I had better let 
some one else go." Which was done and I remained 
in camp taking quinine for the ague each day and 
standing guard every other night. 

On August eighteenth, some conscripting officers 
came up from New Orleans and conscripted some of 
the colored men. Only a few were taken from this 
vicinity. Some of the colored women appeared nearly 
frantic when they were parted from their men. 


Checker's discharge papers came on August twen- 
tieth. He was one of those who re enlisted. He was 
so broken in health at that time, that he should have 
been discharged then. He was permitted to re-enlist, 
examined and passed. When the regiment was re-en- 
listing, it was an inducement held out, by some of the 
officers, to those who were too unwell to re-enlist, that 
they would thus get the extra bounty and then be dis- 
charged for disability. Such things look to me like 
dishonesty. Some cases in the regiment were so pal- 
pable that they have been sent North so that they can 
be discharged at some military hospital and thus re- 
lieve those who were responsible for their wrongful 
re-enlistment from responsibility. 

The early part of the summer here is very wet and 
disagreeable. For a long time we had a rain-storm 
every day, and often as many as from three to five in 
one day. By the last of August, this wet season 
seems to be about over. We now have fair weather 
most of the time. 

By the first of September, the planters have com- 
menced gathering their cotton. 

Youngman, a recruit brought to the company, was 
discharged on September second. He enlisted, re- 
ceived a large bounty and drew pay for six months and 
during all of that time all he ever did was to answer to 
his name twice. He was a poor, helpless imbecile, 
who had always been subject to fits. He should have 
been sent to a charity hospital or poor-house instead 
of having been enlisted as a soldier. An army sur- 
geon who would pass such a helpless being ought to 
be cashiered at once. 


On the eleventh day of September an order came 
for the muster-out papers for those whose three years 
expires, to be made out. According to date of en- 
listment papers the three years expired on August 
twenty-first; according to date of muster rolls on Sep- 
tember fourth. As it will be some little time before 
all the necessary papers are made out and we reach 
Illinois to be discharged, we will probably make a good 
start into the fourth year before we reach home. 



SATURDAY, September seventeenth, we were surprised 
by the sudden and unexpected orders to start at once 
for the North. A special train at once took us to 
Algiers. We immediately crossed the river to New 
Orleans. The reason for this sudden haste was this: 
a large number of Confederate prisoners were on 
hand and it was desired that we should guard them on 
the way to the Nerth. "We are to take the prisoners 
to New York and then go to our own State to be dis- 
charged. There are over one hundred soldiers of the 
Thirty- third whose time has now expired, who will go 
with us. 

On Sunday, September eighteenth, we embarked on 
the steam propeller, Cassandra. We had some three 


hundred prisoners. They were part of tliose capt- 
ured at Fort Morgan. They were very well clothed 
and the best looking set of Confederate soldiers I have 
yet seen. As we took them through the streets from 
the prison to the ship, the Southern women came out 
to smile upon and wish the Confederate prisoners 
good-bye. This pleased the prisoners. We took the 
prisoners on board at three p. M. At five o'clock 
every thing was ready and we steamed down the river. 
At sunrise Monday morning we passed from the 
river to the gulf through the Southwest Pass and 
then turned southeast and sailed toward Key West. 
We had a pleasant sail Monday and Tuesday. 
Toward night on Tuesday the wind began to rise 
and through the night and the next day we had a 
rough sea. Many of the boys became seasick. We 
reached Key West after dark Wednesday. We had 
one passenger and some mail to land. As the yellow 
fever is raging in Key West we did not wish to run 
into port and laid outside until Thursday morning. 
A small boat then took our passengers and the mail 
and we went on our way. At night we passed the 
last light-house we will see on the southern coast of 
Florida and turned to the north. The boys were 
greatly pleased when the boat commenced running to 
the north. It seems like going home when we can 
see the north star in our front. During our three 
years' sojourn in the south, with danger and death 
for our daily companions, often, in the dark night 
march, and still more frequently during the lonely 
night guard, the only steadfast guide we could see 
and know was the ever faithful north star, always 


shining like a beacon light over our Northern Homes. 
Thus the north star, always reminding us of Northern 
liberty and the land of our birth, has become to us 
soldiers of the North, a well-known friend and faith- 
ful guide, and with glad hearts we follow in the path 
it marks, knowing that every step taken, with its light 
in front, takes us nearer home. Glorious star of the 
north; glorious land of liberty, gladly do your sons 
follow the light of the one that guides them to the 
bosom of the other. 

Saturday and Sunday we had a splendid sea with a 
good brisk wind in our rear which aided us to sail 
nicely. During part of the time enormous shoals of 
fishes followed us. It was a wonderful sight. 
Where could so many fish come from ? Some of the 
boys declared that all the fish in the sea had assembled 
and come up to greet us on our happy journey home. 
We passed Cape Hatteras during Sunday night and 
ran within sight of the Atlantic shore most of the day 
Monday. As we began to near the busy cities of the 
North we met with evidences of their busy commerce 
by seeing many sails upon the water. 

On this trip I heard more politics than is usual 
with us in the army. The services were very short. It 
consisted of this: Some of our soldiers had news- 
papers, part of which were given to the rebel prisoners, 
whom we kept guarded in their part of the boat. 
Among the papers given to them was one that sup- 
ported- the Democratic candidate for President, General 
McClellan, and contained a positive prediction of his 
election. This was read aloud by one of the Confed- 
erate prisoners to the others, and thereupon they all 


joined in loud cheers for General McClellan. Upon 
hearing {he rebels cheer for McClellan the few Union 
soldiers who had intended to vote for him announced 
that they should vote for Lincoln. It was the shortest 
and most effective political address I ever heard. A 
speech without words simply three rebel yells 
changed all the McClellan voters into Lincoln men. 

The weather remained fine and we had a pleasant 
run the rest of the way to New York. Reaching that 
place the first thing to do was to turn our prisoners 
over to the proper authorities. This done we landed 
in New York City. Wednesday afternoon and even- 
ing we had a little time to run around the city, which 
we improved. 

Thursday, September twenty-ninth, we took the 
cars for the west at Jersey City. Passed through 
some fine towns and countrj r . Paterson, as we saw it, 
appears to be a very pretty place. Goshen is the 
center of a splendid farming country. We passed 
through Elmira during the night and ran on to Hor- 
nellsville where we changed cars. We took the fore- 
noon train Friday, from this place, and ran through 
to Dunkirk. We arrived too late to make connection 
with the west bound train,' and had to lay over 
and take the evening train for Cleveland. We rode 
all night and reached Cleveland at a late hour Satur- 
day morning. We were again too late to make con- 
nection and had to lay over in Cleveland for the after- 
noon train. Ran around and looked at the town a 
little. Yisited the water-works and a few other places. 
Cleveland is one of the prettiest cities I ever visited. 
At half- past two we started again and passed through 

4:04 ARMY LIFE. 

Oberlin and other thriving Ohio towns and readied 
Toledo at a late hour at night. Our afternoon ride gave 
us a fine view of some of the finest farming country 
in the world. "We stopped at Toledo, sleeping in the 
depot buildings over night. We remained in the 
city over Sunday. As it was our first opportunity 
for three long years, a number of us attended church, 
in a peaceful land, Sunday forenoon. At night, we 
got upon the cars and just before midnight started for 
Illinois. We passed through Fort Wayne during the 
night and reached Peru in time for breakfast. At the 
State Line we found the train of the Great Western 
waiting for us. Our cars were attached and we started 
forward and reached Camp Butler shortly after dark, 
Monday, October 3, 1864. 

Thus after three years' absence once again our feet 
are upon the soil of our own noble State. All hail 
to Illinois! Proud and noble State, your sons are as. 
proud of you as you are justly proud of them. The 
land of our birth; the home of our youth; the hope 
of our future, gladly do we greet thee, our own prai- 
rie State. If the returning soldier boys stood erect, 
if they walked with a proud step, if their eyes 
beamed with glad satisfaction as they returned the 
cheers that greeted them on their return to Illinois, 
who can blame them? In every battle from Missouri 
and Kentucky to the Southern gulf and even on to 
the borders of Mexico the soldiers of Illinois have 
been in the thickest of the fight. On every occasion 
the Illinois soldiers have added to the proud fame of 
the grand prairie State. No matter how thickly came 
the iron and leaden hail from the rebel guns, the vol- 


nntecr soldiers from sister States never wavered when 
by their side they could sec tlie regimental banners 
with Illinois written thereon. All knew that the Illi- 
nois part of the line would be maintained. 

With all of the long distance over which we have 
marched and desperate fields upon which we have 
fought with the gallant Western army we have never 
left our wounded nor our dead to be handled or bur- 
ied by rebel hands. Upon all occasions we have 
taken care of our own. We have never left a con- 
tested field except as victors. Fortune has been ex- 
ceedingly kind to us, and we return to our own State 
at her capital, to lay down unsullied the proud com- 
mission she gave us to serve as part of her volunteer 
soldiery. Grand and noble State of Illinois! May 
her sons through all time sustain the record made in 
the years of 1861-62-63 and '64. All hail to the 
State of Illinois! 



THERE was some delay in the making out of our dis- 
charge papers, which gave us an opportunity to visit 
the city of Springfield and other points of interest in 
the vicinity of Camp Butler. 

On Wednesdav, October fifth, some of us attended 

< ' 

a great mass- meeting of those who favor the re-elec- 


tion of Lincoln. I saw Governor Yates, Judge Trum- 
bnll, Senator Doolittle, Generals Logan, Palmer and 
Oglesby, Deacon Bross, Colonel Ingersoll and other 
speakers. Met Lieutenant Fyffe of Company A, and 
M. <J. Nye, a former member of our company. 

Edward Pike, the orderly sergeant of Company A, 
whose term expires and who came home with us, be- 
came so unwell that he had to be taken to the camp 

Sunday, October ninth, the One Hundred and 
Thirty -eighth Illinois came into Camp Butler, having 
just returned from Western Missouri. My brother 
Griffin was with them. This was the first time I had 
seen him, or any of my relatives, for over three years. 
He had grown considerable since I saw him last. 
Then he was a little boy, now he is a young soldier. 

Monday, October eleventh, the mustering officer 
called the roll of our detachment, and then in formal 
manner pronounced the words: "You are now honor- 
ably discharged from the service of the army of the 
United States of America." 

The only thins: now to do was to wait for the pay- 
master and then go home. Those who lived near 
enough to Springfield went to their homes immedi- 
ately; those of us whose homes were too far away 
remained. The paymaster was slow in coming, caus- 
ing ns to wait longer than we expected. 

I spent most of the day, the following Wednes- 
day, in Springfield, and in the afternoon returned to 
Camp Butler. I was much surprised to there meet 
two more of my brothers in camp, Ralph and Webb. 
They had lately enlisted in a new company that was 


organizing to join the old Twentieth Illinois. The 
first had served for a time in the One Hundredth Illi- 
nois and was now returning to the army. The latter, 
who was younger, had grown up, so as to be large 
enough to be a soldier since I left home in 1861. 


Both were buoyant and happy. 

A few months afterward a sadder page was here 
inserted: Of us four brothers who had thus hap- 
pened to meet as soldiers in Camp Butler, "Webb, the 
poor boy, was the only one who was destined to fill a 
soldier's grave. He was stricken down, while in 
Camp Butler, with that fearful scourge of the army, 
typhoid fever. He was brought home sick, but all 
assistance was in vain. He died and was buried in the 
little country grave-yard near our farm home. He 
was the pride of the family. His strength of mind 
was never excelled by one of his years. Knowing 
him as I did, and fully appreciating how such men- 
tal activity as he possessed, unfitted one of his tender 
years for the physical hardships of soldier life, I 
had often written to dissuade him from joining the 
army. He ought to have remained at school. But 
the spirit of soldier ancestors was too strong, and he, 
like the rest, was bound to be a soldier before the war 
ended. He joined the army and was mustered out by 
death, and all that is left of our brightest hopes is to 
revere the memory of our young soldier brother, Ed- 
win Webb Marshall, who died on January 24, 1865. 

On Monday, October seventeenth, I went into the 
city, and, at head-quarters, found that the United States 
paymaster would be on hand the next day. I tele- 
graphed toBloomington and Carlinville, for the Thirty- 


third boj'-s to return. This was my last opportunity 
to serve my old comrades as soldiers. I went to Camp 
JButler, packed up my personal traps and then went to 
Springfield and stayed at the hotel over night. This 
was the first time I had slept in a bed, other than one 
made out of my soldier blankets, since I left home in 

On Tuesday we met at Camp Butler; the Govern- 
ment paymaster paid us the balance our due, we bid 
farewell to our comrades, and each started for his own 
home. I took the night train on the Chicago & Alton 
going north and reached Joliet at an early hour the 
next morning. Here I took the morning train on the 
Chicago & Rock Island railroad, and ran up to Mo- 
kena. From there I walked across the fields to the 
township of New Lenox and was soon upon the old 
home farm, upon which I was born; and thus I 
reached home on Wednesday, October 19, 1864-. 
The first one I met was little sister Mary how she 
had grown while I was away. The little girl was 
out in the field trying to do what she could, attending 
to the farm stock, as her big brothers were all away 
soldiering. It is not strange that it was difficult for 
me to recognize her. I had never thought of the lit- 

o o 

tie puss only as for her brothers to tease and play 
with just big enough for us to throw up and catch, 
as a ball, when playing with her. 

The youngest of the family, little George, he, too, 
had grown and now was quite a large boy, had his 
team in the field, commencing to gather the fall crop 
of corn. Having come on the first train, my early 
arrival was taking those at home somewhat by stir- 


prise. At the house, both busily engaged, I found 
sister Sarah our oldest sister, whose frequent home 
letters had so often gladdened me during the past, 
three long years and our mother a mother, who, 
many, many long years ago, had bean left a widow, 
"with two little girls and h've small boys to care for. 
All of her boys who were old enough had taken a part 
as soldiers, and now the prospect was fair that the 
end would come and she not be called upon to make 
her sacrifice. Upon this day a happy mother was she. 
Her greeting, to me, will not be described. 

Wednesday, the day of my arrival, was a home visit. 
The next day the neighbors, hearing of my return, 
dropped in, one after another, to talk with and ask a 
thousand questions of army life. I was glad to meet 
ind greet them all. And yet, sad greetings some of 
them were. Now and then, when the honest old 
farmer, his white-haired wife, or other kind neighbors 
grasped my hand, I could see tears mingled with the 
joyous words. The tale the tears told did not need to 
be exp'ained in words. Too well I knew, that in the 
neighbor's home there was a vacant chair that never 
would again be filled. Many of the boys with whom 
I had joined in many a wild play at the little old log 
school house, in the edge of the woods, with whom I 
had worked, and rambled over the prairie land, with 
whom I had passed many a long, jolly night in the 
wild woods, lunching upon roasted, green corn and 
ripe apples gathered by the way, while hunting wild 
raccoons and other game; with whom I had robbed my 
own melon patch as well as theirs in turn, many of 
these boys had gone to the war never to return. 


Thus was sorrow mixed with joy. Could I have 
said to each honest old father, to each fond mother, to 
each devoted wife, to each loving sister, brother, child 
and sweetheart: "Your soldier has lived to return from 
the war," these hours of my return home would have 
been the happiest of my life. 

But for the sorrow it brings, every young man 
could well commence his worldly career by spending 
three years in army life.