1850 United States Federal Census for Granby, Hampshire, Massachusetts
Dwelling house 15
Levi Moody, 66, farmer, born Massachusetts
Mary Moody, 64, born Massachusetts
Electa Church, 69, born Massachusetts
Reuben Moody, 25, farmer, born Massachusetts
Mary Moody, 36, born Massachusetts
Levi Moody, 26, carpenter, born Massachusetts
Amanda Moody, 24, born Massachusetts
Andrew Moody, 22, carpenter, born Massachusetts
Otis Moody, 20, machinist, born Massachusetts
Born 1827 Granby, MA
Died 16 Sep. 1897 Granby, MA
Spouse: Sarah Clarinda Clark
Born 7 Nov 1831 in Chicago, IL
Died Nov 1908 Granby, MA
Married: 1851 in Granby, Hampshire, MA
Children : William Otis Moody born 1854
1860 United States Federal Census for Chicago, Ward 2, Cook, IL
Dwelling House 1238
George Norton, 37, merchant, born England
Isabella Norton, 32, born England
Alice Norton, 5, born Iowa
Daniel Parker, 26, painter, born Connecticut
Ann Parker, 29, born England
Mary Stepfield, 64, nurse, born England
William Parker, 30, painter, born Connecticut
Andrew Moody, 33, master builder, born Massachusetts
Sarah Moody, 28, born Massachusetts
Otis Moody, 30, master builder, born Massachusetts
Illinois Civil War Detail Report
1st Lt. Co. K 51st IL US INF
Residence: Chicago, Cook Co. IL
Height: 5'8 3/4"
Marital Status: Single
Nativity: Hamshire, MA
Joined 20 Sep 1861 at Chicago, IL
By Col. Cumming for 3 years
Mustered 24 Dec 1861 at Chicago
Remarks : Killed in battle 19 Sep 1863
1870 United States Federal Census for Chicago, Ward 3, Cook, Illinois
Dwelling House 2218
Moody, Andrew, 34, sash manufacturer, real estate $20,000, personal estate $50,000, born Massachusetts
Moody, Sarah, 30, keeping home, born Massachusetts
Moody, William, 5, born Illinois
Doty, Melville, 25, clerk in grocery, born Canada
Doty, Virginia, 21, boarding, born Illinois
Eldridge, Edward, 25, book keeper, born Massachusetts
_____________, 21, domestic servant, born Kentucky
_____________, 30, domestic servant, born Ireland
1880 United States Federal Census for Oswego, Kendall, Illinois
Moody, Sarah, 48, boarder, born Massachusetts, both parents born Massachusetts
Moody, William, 13, boarder, born Illinois, both parents born Massachusetts
1900 United States Federal Census for Chicago, Ward 4, Cook, Illinois
37th Street Dwelling House 247
Baldwin, Robert L., b. 1843, 57, born PA, both parents born PA, barber
Baldwin, Annie, b. 1854, 46, born IL, father PA, mother NJ
Palmer, Oscar B., 64, boarder, born NJ, both parents born NJ, carpenter
McNammia, Peter, 43, boarder, born Ireland, both parents born Ireland, plumber
Moody, Sarah C., b. Nov 1831, 68, born MA, both parents born MA, 3 children, 1 living
Moody, William O., b. Jan 1867, 33, born IL, both parents born MA, draughtsman
1920 United States Federal Census for Chicago, Ward 27, Cook, Illinois
Monticello Ave, Dwelling House 4830
Moody, William O., 52, born MA, both parents born MA, mechanical engineer, R.R. steam
Moody, Daisy D., 40, born England, both parents born England, Immigrated 1882, naturalized
Moody, Jack O., 4, born IL, father born MA, mother born England
Moody, William D., 2, born IL, father born MA, mother born England
Monday morning Apr. 7, 1862
In camp at New Madrid. Were roused up at 4 o'clock A.M. with orders to prepare for marching immediately with two & one half days cooked rations. Unfortunately for me I was suffering from the effects of an attack of chills & fever, & was not able to accompany the Regiment. Regiment formed in line soon after sun rise & received orders to delay marching for an hour. After little more than an hour the Regiment were again ordered to fall in & took up their line of march towards the river. We learned from those who went to the river & returned, that our force took the transports & crossed the river landing at a point seven miles below. The next three days were spent in camp, & among the loneliest days I ever experienced. Health gradually improving.
Wednesday Apr. 9
Our expedition returned from Tennessee, the result of which was the capture of over 4,000 prisoners, with their entire stash of arms, ammunition stores, etc. This was accomplished entirely by our Division, under Gen. Paine, without the loss of a man, and with a force not exceeding in the aggregate 2,500 men. A result so surprising may excite inquiry as to the cause, and after hearing all the facts I cannot avoid the conclusion that the result was more directly due to the interposing hand of God, without the aid of human agency, than any like event that ever came to my knowledge.
Gen. Paine, with the First Brigade, came upon the enemy in the afternoon, drove in their pickets, & halted for the night within a short distance. Our own, the Second Brigade, lost the way, & by a lucky accident, as some would call it, came upon the enemy rear, & halted for the night within musket shot of the enemy pickets, without knowing anything about the situation. They were then deceived with the idea that we had surrounded them with a surprise force.
________ of theirs. But they seemed to be completely panic stricken, and during the ( halt ) their Gen. sent in to Gen. Paine an ( offer ) to surrender his whole force in the ( morning ). In the morning they were drawn ( up in ) line, laid down their arms, & with a ( battery ) of artillery, surrendered to a force of (not ) more than half their number with ( no ) artillery. During the day many more ( prisoners )were taken & the whole brought under _______ to New Madrid, & from thence sent ( to various )points at the North. Among other ( trophies )of this expedition Capt. Rose brought ( to camp ) a contraband of herculean frame, who ( had ) been held by one of the most rabid ( secessionist ) of that vicinity. He is now _______ us & renders valuable service.
Thursday Apr. 10
Rested in camp & recruited from the fatigues of the late expedition.
Friday Apr. 11
Received orders to strike tents & move down to the bank of the river, in order to be able to take the boats at the earliest possible notice. Commenced to rain just before we commenced to move, & it has now grown into a proverb, that stormy weather & the 51st always go together. Notwithstanding a drenching rain storm the movement was accomplished in the afternoon. This time I was bound not to be left behind, and though very weak started with the Regiment. Soon after starting I was furnished with a horse by the Adjutant, else I fear I should not have been able to get through. Arrived at our camping place a little before dark, & pitched our tents in a muddy cornfield on the bank of the river.
Saturday Apr. 12
Felt much better than I expected after so much exposure. Were busy in the forenoon preparing rations. In the afternoon we moved all our baggage & camp equipage on board the steamer D.G. Taylor preparatory to our trip down the river. This was accomplished with much difficulty about 10 o'clock P.M. We are now fairly embarked on the long talked of expedition (down the river) to Memphis. What obstacles & difficulties remain to be encountered & overcome, the future can only disclose. We are unfortunate in having a poor boat with very leaky decks & and no cabin accommodations at all of any account. During the day several gun boats & mortar boats have passed down the river to open the way & make everything safe for us to follow. They are most excellent traveling companions on such a trip, & their presence makes us feel much more safe & comfortable.
Sunday Apr. 13
Were underway about 1 o'clock A.M. & with our whole fleet proceeded down the river. As near as I can learn the fleet consists of seven gun boats & eleven mortar boats under Com. Foote, & about thirty transports.
do we notice any sign of civilization. About 9 o'clock A.M. we tied up to the Tennessee shore, where we lay for several hours. The time was improved by the men in visiting different boats & cooking their rations on shore. In the afternoon we again got under way & proceeded down the river.
Monday Apr 14
Morning again found us tied up to the Tennessee shore, a few miles above Fort Pillow & as near to its batteries as it was deemed safe for vessels of our class to approach. The gun boats were reconorting below us, but with what success we could not ascertain. Later in the afternoon we all moved over to the Arkansas shore, to be out of range of rebel guns, in case of engagements with our gun boats. The land at this point is very low & is protected from inundation by a levee or artificial embankment, which I understand was constructed by the State.
At this high stage of water it furnishes an excellent landing for our boats.
The whole country near here is owned by a rich Planter by the name of Heardin, a violent Secessionist who has contributed largely of material aid in support of the Rebellion. On the approach of our troops he deemed it prudent to seek more congenial society & accordingly transported his slaves & most of his valuable furniture & stores forthwith. He was loading a barge at the levee when our boats came in sight Sunday evening, seeing which he hurried back to his house and attempted to take them south a short distance by land, then strike the river below. But he evidently failed to comprehend the activity of our Northern Troops, for he was taken prisoner by our scouts while returning for another load & is now confined at Gen. Pope's headquarters. I learned these facts from one of his Negroes, who was taken at the same time. I will say here that I have never yet seen a Southern Negro who had not sufficient intelligence & discrimination to recognize in the Northern Army his friends & deliverers, notwithstanding his devotion to any former master. This man had served his master faithfully up to the very moment of his capture, but when the same act made his master a prisoner & himself a freedman, he seemed to rejoice about equally at both results.
Many of this class are surprisingly quick in their perceptions. Monday afternoon our Regiment marched out, stacked their arms in a field & spent two or three hours luxuriating on Arkansas soil.
Tuesday Apr. 15
By order of Gen. Paine our Division marched out to a grove & held public service to give thanks to God for our recent victories. According to the President's proclamation these services should have been held on the preceding Sunday, but our circumstances were such as to make it impracticable. Rev. Messrs Jameson & Taylor of Alton were present & the services were highly interesting & appropriate. After their conclusion a few of us were permitted by Gen. Paine to walk over & inspect the house & grounds immediately surrounding, the whole being under strict guard, which no one less than a Gen. could pass.
The house is built in the peculiar Southern style, with rather more pretensions to architectural effect however than we usually find. The upper story & roof porches of the Gothic style, while the lower story retains the peculiar Southern features of a broad piazza extending quite around the house. The columns are natural trunks of Cypress trees & so regular and uniform that from the base upwards for two thirds of their length they appear at a little distance as though fluted by machinery. We strolled around on the piazza & looked at the doors & windows, but could get no glimpse of the inside. It was close & silent as Death's shadow. I couldn't help asking myself this question, if the case were reversed & a Southern Army were invading the Northern states, would they be as particular to protect the property of their enemies. Still, it is right & I am glad we can afford to be magnanimous . From the rear of the house, on either flank, a covered passage way extends to some out buildings, which were occupied by the house servants. The grounds are quite undulating & irregularly supplied with trees, some of which are of enormous size. Little streams of water & small ponds appear quite frequently. When we arrived there was a fine park of deer in the place containing over 20, but though the soldiers were strictly forbidden to go near them, I think it would now be difficult to find one. It is easy to draw a beautiful picture of such a place which should be entirely truthful, & could a person stand at a safe distance & look upon the scene it would appear to be one of exhilarating loveliness. But there is another side to be noticed on this occasion, though the day was clear & beautiful with a gentle breeze, as we strolled around the house & over the grounds we were literally covered with swarms of mosquitoes, & it was only by a vigorous application of wisps of brush that we were able to make our way along. I believe all cotton & wealth of Secessiondom could not induce me to endure this terrible nuisance. Mr. Heardin is said to be very wealthy, owning two plantations farther south. It has been his custom to spend his summers alternately at the North & in Europe.
Wednesday Apr. 16
Our whole force spent the day on shore to cook rations for ourselves & give opportunity to clean up the boats. Returning about sunset we were met with the order to be ready to move in an hour. What could it mean ? The batteries below us had not been silenced & we certainly could not move down the river. Perhaps we were to make a night expedition into the interior. But upon inquiring of the officers of the boat we found they had received the same order which of course settled the question. It very soon came out that Gen. Pope had received orders to proceed with his whole force up the Tennessee river & join Gen. Halleck's Army. The surprise occasioned by the order was only equaled by the chagrin with which it was received. Not that we were unwilling to go where most needed, but we had undertaken to open the Mississippi. It had become a sort of pet scheme with us & so felt disappointed at being compelled to abandon our work. However there was no alternative & we set about making preparations to move, or rather the boat hands did, for there was very little for soldiers to do. There was a scarcity of fuel on board & nothing to be obtained here but rails from the fences, which under the necessity were used freely. If Massa Heardin ever again comes into possession of his place, I predict he will find something to do in the rail splitting line, before his fields will be ready for crops. Our movement on this occasion was to prove no exception to our former experience, in regard to weather, for with the order to move, came a violent storm of rain, commencing with a thunder storm & ending in a settled rain.
Thursday April 17
Owing to the storm & darkness we failed to get under way last night, but this morning our whole fleet commenced the tedious process of stemming the rapid current of the Mississippi. The rain continues to pour in torrents & it is optional to stand outside & take it clear, or retire below & receive it through the numerous cracks & seams in the decks. There is very little comfort & less enjoyment in prospect for this trip. Officers can get their meals below on the boat, such as they are, for fifty cents each, while the soldiers have two stoves in the after part of the boat for six or seven hundred men, on which to make their coffee. Stopped once during the day to take on wood & water where the men were obliged to wade waist deep in water to get to it.
Friday Apr. 18
Still found us moving slowly up the river, with no change from yesterday excepting that it only rained at intervals, giving us a little relief from close confinement & dirty water. Found a wood pile today above water & stopped several hours to take on wood. Pilot said we had made four miles in the last seven hours. We reached New Madrid about two o'clock P.M. , the place from which we embarked nearly one week ago.
Stopped here two or three hours to take on coal & commissary stores. Our chief anxiety now was to pass Island No. 10 before dark, & in this our desires were gratified. We reached the island about 5 1/2 & luckily it was one of those intervals of cessation from rain so that we were able to stand outside & witness this spot which had won for itself such a memorable place in history.
Approaching the island from the south, there is nothing remarkable in its appearance. The lower end of the island is heavily wooded & at this stage of the water, nearly submerged. We passed between the island & Mississippi shore, some of the other boats taking the other side. Toward the upper end of this island, the land becomes higher & opens out broader. There are two earth work fortifications on the west side of the island, mounting three or four guns each & a much larger & more formidable one at the head of the island. A regiment of Federal troops are encamped here & the Stars & Stripes float securely where less than two weeks ago the Rebel forces were marshaled under their Stars & Bars. What sudden & radical changes was produced. Had this fleet attempted to pass this point at that time, it would have been sunk in ten minutes. Now we ride past with as strong a feeling of safety as one would ride in the street cars of Chicago. The same batteries & guns are there precisely as they were then, but the grand motive power is changed. The hearts of the men who now stand behind these death dealing monsters we know are loyal & true & we can trust them. As we emerge into the broad river above the head of the island, the natural strength of the position becomes more apparent. The Tennessee shore makes a long curve inland & batteries can be erected there & easily protected. That would apparently effectively command the river for a long distance above. With the aid of a glass we had a view of their fortifications, some of which are of great strength, but all this time the boat is moving on & the island with its fortifications are fast receding from view. Supper is the next thing in order, after which the time is variously occupied in smoking, card playing & by one at least in musing upon coming events.
Saturday April 19
When we woke this morning we were lying at the Ohio levee in Cairo, the tip of which is now only a few inches above water, & now commences a grand struggle between the men to get on shore & the officers to keep them on the boats, for we only stop a few hours & if allowed to scatter through the town, it would be utterly impossible to get them together again in time for starting. Some of the old campaigners went ashore before daylight, as soon as the boat touched the landing & before the guards were posted in sufficient force to prevent it. Others entreated permission to go with such earnestness & it seemed so hard to refuse them, after their long confinement, till finally every street & store was swarming with soldiers. The express office was besieged by so large a crowd eager to send money to their friends, that they were obliged to apply to the Provost Marshal for a guard to station around the door & keep the crowd in check. Stores were besieged in like manner & stripped of their contents at owners prices. The rain continues to fall meanwhile & Cairo fully sustains its reputation for mud, which is the strongest expression I can use. About 9 o'clock word was passed around for all hands to get aboard, but this was not so easily accomplished. The work of cleaning up stragglers was commenced, but fully two hours elapsed before we were ready to start, & even then we were obliged to leave some behind. We are now making our way up the Ohio, a new route to most of us & we are on the lookout for any interesting object that may present itself. We hug the Kentucky shore in order as much as possible to avoid the strong current. The only indication of shore however on the Kentucky side is the edge of woods, as the banks are entirely overflowed. We noticed many log houses completely surrounded by water, the owners in some instances endeavoring to save their stock by the aid of rafts. In other cases there would seem to be no possible escape for the calves & hogs whose last retreat was finally submerged & they were left with no spot of dry ground in sight. I suppose the more humane inhabitants crawl to the upper story & perhaps make their escape in boats. While coming up the Mississippi I noticed a very pretty white house with green blinds, on the Missouri shore, which stood in a perfect sea of water. How people can enjoy living in such localities is beyond my comprehension. Still I suppose it is very seldom the water reaches such a high point as at present. On the Illinois shore the banks are much higher & evidences of a superior civilization are visible at every turn. Just at evening we reached Metropolis, a small town on the Illinois shore, where we stopped to take on coal enough for the entire trip, which detained us till morning.
Sunday morning Apr 20
Started at daybreak, arriving at Paducah after a run of a few hours. Made another stop to take on commissary stores, for which this is now quite a depot. This is a much larger & older town than I had expected to see. It lies high above the river, with finely paved streets & sidewalks paved with brick, much resembling an Eastern city. It is here that the Tennessee river forms a junction with the Ohio. Here again, as at Cairo, was a great rush to get on shore & notwithstanding it was Sunday, the stores were in full operation & did a large business, supplying what we were not able to provide at Cairo. In fact, it seemed to be a necessity for it was the last landing we were to make before reaching Pittsburg, & probably the last chance we should have for months, to supply ourselves with articles necessary to our comfort. I visited one of the hospitals in company with Mrs. Yates, where are about one hundred patients, mostly wounded from the Pittsburg battle. The building was formerly occupied for a seminary, is very large, with large rooms & high ceilings & very well adapted to the purpose. We had very little time & did not visit any of the wards, but understood the patients were well cared for & generally doing well.
On the levee I met Fred White of Chicago. He left with one of the artillery companies - looking hale & hearty as ever. He is stationed here permanently & in some way connected with the Quartermasters department. He says to me you will have to look sharp, for they shoot close up there, all of which of course was duly considered. Soon after noon we again started & proceeded on our way up the Tennessee river. We have passed the last point where we can expect anything like friendly treatment from the people. Hereafter our commissary department must furnish the supplies & the force of arms all the protection we can receive.
We expect our next landing will be at the old battlefield & we know not but we may be immediately called upon to enter the same scenes that were enacted there. The cold rainy weather continues adding materially to the other discomforts of our situation. Having finished the day in writing a letter, & reading a little, I turned in, hoping to get a glimpse of Fort Henry in the morning. But in this I was disappointed, for we passed it in the night, & reached the piers of the R.R. bridge above, which was destroyed at the taking of Fort Henry. About 2 o'clock on Monday morning, here the whole fleet were tied up to wait for daylight, before passing the bridge. We're underway again with the first appearance of light & passed the bridge long before I was up. These cold rainy mornings are not favorable to early rising. The further we proceeded up the river the more grand & beautiful became the scenery, & in spite of the unpleasant weather & our disagreeable surroundings, it was one of the most delightful trips I ever took.
The river for the most part runs between high cliffs, which in many places rise almost to the dignity of mountains. These are covered with a dense wood, with foliage of every hue from the evergreen to the white honeysuckle. It is so different from the Mississippi which has no visible shores, at this stage of water, that it really seemed pleasant to see once more a river confined to its legitimate channel. I did not see a place in the entire route where the banks were overflowed, but occasionally there would be stretches of bottom land (Sometimes cultivated & sometimes not) & frequently there would appear a series of table lands, stretching back from the river, & affording the most beautiful location for farms. These were but rarely improved, & but once in the entire route did we see anything resembling a town or village. In one place we saw a church with a few houses clustered around it, & on the river bank quite an extensive mill. Everything about the place looked like Yankee enterprise, & I have no doubt if we could land we should find the veritable Yankee, or some of his descendants, on the ground.
The effect of sailing up this river is like the unfolding of a vast panorama, although this is a faint comparison. The scene is ever changing, always new. Sometimes we could trace the course of the stream for miles in advance, as it wound itself among the hills & lost itself in the distance.
Then again we would seem to be sailing directly into the base of a pyramidal bluff, with no possible escape & some of the officers would jocularly ask the pilot how he was going to get the boat over that hill. But all at once we would discover some hitherto concealed opening & a new scene of beauty would open & unfold itself.
Such was the whole day's experience. I stood for hours upon deck today, most of the time exposed to the rain, & saying to myself when we have round this point I will go below, where it is more comfortable. But the point gained, would open another view, surpassing all the rest & so it continued till darkness shut out the scene & we were forced below.
Tuesday Morning Apr 22
At Pittsburg Landing
Arrived here about one o'clock this morning. We are now at the end of our journey, & have a beautiful morning in which to commence our new operations. For five days & nights that we have been on the boat it has rained almost incessantly. I suppose it is only a coincidence, but it seems very odd that it should always rain when we are on the move & clear off when we go into camp. We did not land at Pittsburg, but went up the river three or four miles to Hamburg, where we found a good landing. Gen. Pope had received orders to go & reinforce Gen. Mitchel on the extreme left of our line, but he protested so earnestly, telling Gen. Halleck that this army came up here to fight & not to do garrison duty, that the order was finally revoked .
Landed about 9 o'clock, stacked arms, & sent out a detachment of 100 men from each regiment to select a camping place for our Division. A site was selected about 1 1/2 miles from the landing, near the town of Hamburg, now entirely deserted. The town is located on a beautiful site, & contained a hotel, several stores, & quite a large number of dwelling houses. The buildings still remain, with the signs on the stores untouched, indicating the name & business of its former occupant. This desolation in advance of our army must be the result of misapprehension on the part of the people, for unless it should appear that they had materially aided the rebellion, they would be protected in their persons & property.
Merchants & mechanics would reap a rich harvest, by simply staying at home & attending to their business. But I suppose the same ignorance that has thus far sustained the rebellion, prompted these men to run away & leave their homes. There are a great variety of flowers here already in blossom. I saw here such beautiful roses in every stage of blossoming, gathered from the yards & gardens, although it is little past the middle of April. This is the first place I have yet seen in the Southern country, where I thought I could live comfortably. We reached our camping ground just before dark. It is located in a grassy field, surrounded on all sides by heavy timber, & is one of the pleasantest camps we have ever had.
Wednesday Apr 23
We're occupied in completing our camp & making ourselves comfortable as possible, another beautiful morning greeted us & the Reveille of the numerous Regiment surrounding us, was accompanied by the music of myriads of birds in the woods around.
I arose at five & the scene at this time was one of the most charming I ever witnessed. The very atmosphere seemed exhilarating, & the waking to life & activity of so many thousands around us, has a most exciting influence upon ones spirits.
My tent was located on high ground, close to the Corinth road, & all day long from early morning, was one continual stream of baggage & artillery wagons passing along to join their respective Brigades & Regiments. Occasionally a new regiment would pass along, to take its place in the division to which it was assigned.
Now & then squads of cavalry gallop past to perform scouting recon in advance of their lines. Groups of General & Field Officers trot leisurely along, looking as though they suffered no lack of the good things of life, which I presume they do not. Mounted Orderlies go dashing past at a furious rate, with very significant long envelopes stuck beneath their belts.
Taken all together, it is a lively scene & one is not likely to suffer much ennui at such times.
Thursday Apr 24
Was much like the preceding day only more so, two twenty pound Parrot guns arrived during the day& were posted opposite our camp. They are decidedly the finest pieces of ordinance I have yet seen.
Their peculiarity in external appearance consists in having the greatest weight of metal near the breech. They are rifled with deep grooves & fire conical balls, & percussion shells. We have orders to move tomorrow morning & leave our tents & camp equipage behind.
Friday morning Apr 25
It rains - rains hard - rains very hard. We were all ready to start, haversacks packed with two days rations, & wait for the order, but it don't come. Finally, after a long time the order comes not to march today, the rain continues, rendering the roads nearly impassable.
Sat Apr 26
Pleasant that we remain in camp all day. I presume on account of the bad conditions of the roads. Evening - received another order to march next morning, for it seems to be an established custom that when we don't start rainy days, we must on Sundays.
Sunday April 27
We started according to order about 7 o'clock in the morning, tents & camp equipage remaining behind. The day was beautiful & our march of five miles passed off very pleasantly. A short distance from camp we came to a small creek over which had been thrown a hastily constructed bridge of poles. A subsequent rise of water had overflowed this bridge raising some of the poles from their supports, & rendering it altogether of very doubtful security. The teams, by careful handling, were able to ford the stream, the water coming up to the bottom of the wagon body.
Our company being on the left of the Regiment & marching in the rear, we were the last to cross, & had nothing to do but sit & witness the operation which occupied over an hour. It was quite amusing to sit by & witness the scene, to notice the different qualities of human nature exhibited & how differently different men encounter difficulties.
Most of the men depended on the aid furnished by the old bridge, each man providing himself with a long staff to preserve his equilibrium. I don't suppose the spectacle was at all similar, but as the long line stretched out across the stream & over the opposite bank, with knapsacks and accouterments strapped upon their backs, I could not help thinking of the march of the ancient Israelites, as I have seen it pictured with staff in hand. Perhaps because it was Sunday my mind more naturally reverted to Scriptural scenes. A few tried to cross on trunks of trees which had been felled across the stream at a point below.
One fellow, losing his balance, fell over backwards into the stream - going under with gun, knapsack, cartridge box & all, whereupon all the others set up a shout of laughter, according to the custom of ever to rejoice at the misfortunes of others. We passed several regiments halted on the road, the 42nd Col. Roberts falling in behind, as being attached to our Brigade. The country becomes more broken as we proceed. One of the hills we climbed would not seem out of place in western Massachusetts. The soil is decidedly poor, being a sort of mixture of red clay & coarse gravel, with strong indications of gravel everywhere visible. With the exception of one cleared field, where there was a log house, we marched the whole distance through the most beautiful timber I ever saw, consisting of the most part of young growth Oak & Hickory. We halted in the afternoon & formed camp, which is the finest location we have yet occupied.
The timber is completely free from undergrowth & sufficiently open to oppose very little obstruction to the passage of teams though the ground is very completely shaded. The country is full of rivers, with little streams of running water, supplied from springs along the banks. The water has a strong mineral taste, which I presume to be iron, from the appearance of the soil & beds of the streams. In the afternoon after arriving on the ground, I went out & gathered wild flowers, which are quite plenty & some very pretty specimens. Slept all night with the ground for a bed, a fine tree forming headboard & canopy.
Monday Apr 28, Tuesday Apr 29, Wednesday Apr 30
All beautiful days, were spent in camp, frequent skirmishes occurring between pickets & advanced scouting parties. Meantime our tents & camp equipage had been brought forward, & we were again permanently established.
I wish we might never find a worse place for a camp, but this is hardly possible. We occupy here a central position in our Division, which gives us a view of the more active operations of the camp.
Gen. Paine's headquarters are only a few rods distant, just across a little ravine & the daily departure & arrival of pickets & Grand Guards, the occasional bringing in of prisoners, & the constant passing & re-passing of teams, do much towards relieving camp life of much of its monotony. The nights are quite cool with heavy dews, & even the days are not uncomfortably warm. The atmosphere has that sharp invigorating element which is peculiar to more Northern latitudes. There is none of that influence here which we felt on the upper Mississippi, which robs one of all his energy, & I see no reason why this should not be a healthy climate, though if I were to spend a whole season here, possibly I might change my views.
Mosquitoes have not troubled us at all, since leaving the Mississippi, for which I feel profoundly grateful.
Thursday May 1st
May day in the sunny south. May day in two states, a privilege not accorded to many. We received orders in the morning, to make another advance of five miles toward Corinth. Tents & camp equipage were to follow some day. It was as beautiful May day as I ever saw, & not warmer than some I have known in New England. The country through which we passed today, was more open than heretofore & mostly cultivated. We passed several fields of corn, & some where there had been cotton last year, though there is very little of this article raised in this vicinity. The houses are mostly built of logs & rather poor of this kind, but some of the yards & gardens exhibited considerable taste in the arrangement. I confiscated a beautiful rose from one of the gardens we passed, through the medium of our contraband, that is, I could not quite reach it over the fence, & got him to perform the service for me. To this I added some wild flowers picked by the roadside, which furnished quite a May day collection. We halted about three hours in the middle of the day, to wait for orders, Gen. Paine being anxious to push in & occupy the town of Farmington, which would put us in possession of the R. Road east of Corinth, but he was refused permission for prudential reasons, I suppose. We crossed the line into the state of Mississippi about 3 o'clock P.M. & halted for the night, about a mile beyond. We had just got fairly on the ground, & arms stacked, when the Adjutant comes up with the pleasant information that Co. K is detailed for picket duty tonight.
This naturally involved loss of supper, for we had nothing with us, & our rations have not yet come up. But it is already late & we must be off, trusting to be able to send back & get something to eat.
This picket duty is sometimes quite exciting, as we have been forcing in the Rebel pickets for the past few days, & they frequently exchange shots. We marched out nearly two miles beyond the camp, & were posted in the edge of a swamp. Six companies are detailed from our Division, to form this guard. We managed to get some rations up from Corinth about 11 o'clock. Everything was perfectly quiet through the night, not a gun being fired from our Division. We almost wished for something to turn up, to afford a little excitement.
Friday May 2nd
Were relieved from guard about 10 o'clock. Returned to camp, & found we had all been ordered back a mile, having advanced too far the day before. This order occasioned some grumbling, for it is not pleasant to make a retrograde movement, but we move back in the afternoon & occupy another beautiful camp.
Saturday morning May 3rd
Orders to be ready to march in an hour, with one day's rations & no knapsacks. We have got so used to marching orders that they don't surprise us much, now, although there is something a little more than ordinarily significant in this movement.
We have heard vague rumors of a reconnaissance in force to take place today, & this movement looks quite like it.
After waiting some time, we finally march out & find ourselves in rear of the advance, passing over the same road in which we returned yesterday. This road, if we pursue it far enough, would take us to Corinth, via Farmington.
We know nothing yet of our destination or the objects of the expedition. True, the presence of all the Surgeons in the Division, with the ambulances, is rather suggestive, especially when taken in connection with the fact that the ammunition wagons follow closely in our rear. But these may be only precautionary measures, so we plod on, feeling that in our case at least, ignorance is bliss.
Towards noon we were halted for over an hour, & we understood there was skirmishing ahead, though we could hear no firing, but some of the ambulances were here ordered in front, which tended to confirm the rumor. Moving along again, with occasional halts, we soon came upon evidences of fighting.
The road was strewn with remnants of discharged cartridges, with frequent stains of blood. We now learned that there had been some severe skirmishing, in which several of our men belonging to the sharpshooters were wounded, six Rebels killed. The road here is very narrow, coming through thick woods, in which the Rebels were concealed & fired upon our troops as they advanced. It is one of the best places that could be selected for an ambush, but our skirmishers drove them out, & cleared the way for the advance of the main columns. We kept pushing along & soon came to the body of a dead horse hauled out by the roadside. Further along, we came upon the bodies of two of the dead Rebels, lying in full view by the side of the road. This we thought looked a little like work, & there was probably more of the same kind ahead. These were the first bodies we had ever seen killed in war, & for a moment the real horrors of the scene flashed across my mind. I felt a kind of tremor run through my frame at the sight & the prospect. But this feeling was only momentary.
Some little excitement, or even a few rods of on the double quick, & all such feelings vanish. All this time we were kept in the rear, & I for one began to feel a good deal dissatisfied at our position, not that I had any particular anxiety to get among the enemies bullets, but I felt unwilling that any stigma should rest upon us, even by implication. But our turn was yet to come. The Rebels in retreating had felled trees across the road, destroyed bridges, & used every means in their power to impede our progress. While engaged in repairing a bad place in he road for our teams to get over, the order came for the 51st to advance. This was obeyed with alacrity, & we pushed forward much of the time on double quick. We passed through the rebel camp which gave unmistakable evidence of the hasty flight of its occupants. Many articles of value were left behind, which fell into the hands of our troops as they advanced. We were still in the rear, but ever pushing forward at a rapid rate. The march was now becoming exciting. Down through ravines & up over steep hills, we went till we came in full view of our forces drawn up in order of battle, on the crest of a hill, the line forming a right angle. It was one of the grandest sights I ever saw, but we had not long to look, for the whole line was advancing & soon passed out of view. We were now in sight of the town of Farmington, & the Rebels were only a few moments ahead of us. There had been a short artillery skirmish, just before this, on the ground we now stood upon, between a Rebel battery & one of our own, resulting in driving the Rebel battery from the ground. Two cavalry companies were now ordered forward & went off at a full gallop towards town. We followed fast as possible & in a few moments entered the town. Our chance had now come, the Rail Road was only half a mile ahead, & we expected they would make a desperate resistance at that point. The 51st were now ordered to the front, in advance of the whole column, the cavalry only being ahead of us.
This was enough to make amends for marching in the rear a whole week. One company of sharpshooters were thrown out as skirmishers, & we had proceeded in this order but a short distance, when our cavalry were fired upon from a thicket. They fell back & reported a battery posted there, ready to receive us. Our Regiment had orders to fix bayonets, & in half an hour more we should have had a mortality list of our own, with perhaps the honor of taking a battery, provided we had stood up to the work & not disgraced ourselves. But just at this time an Orderly rode up to Gen. Paine, who was sitting on his horse within a few feet of me at the time - & handed him a paper. He read it, & ordered a halt. I saw by the expression of his countenance that something was not right. Lieut. Col. Bradley, who was in command, Col. Cummings being sick, rode up, & the General said Col. we have got to turn back. Sorry, but can't help it . We found it to be an order from Gen. Pope ordering us to return. He probably thinking we might be drawn off too far from the main body of the Army & cut off. We marched back two or three miles & bivouacked for the night.
Farmington, judging from what we saw of it, is a small town with a few very poor buildings, & these all deserted. There may be something better on the railroad. Beyond the point where we turned back, & for the credit of the town, I hope there is.
Near one building which we saw, was a large pile of coffins, which they had not been able to take away. We learned subsequently from a contraband who came into camp, who had helped to make them, that these were the last of a lot of fourteen hundred made for the Rebel army at Corinth, & they were used as fast as made. This contraband manifested more than ordinary intelligence & seemed quite familiar with the position of affairs at Corinth, having been there frequently. He said if our troops had followed them up, after the battle of Shiloh, they could have taken the place without a struggle. He says the artillery was all left behind, & the troops were completely disheartened. After two or three days, finding they were not pursued, they went out & began to gather their guns. It seems a pity that so many valuable lives should be lost & nothing gained.
Sunday May 4th
Contrary to general expectation, we did not advance today. After breakfast we changed our location to a piece of timber nearby. Rain commenced falling very soon, which continued moderately all day, but through the night it was a perfect deluge. A few of our tents arrived just before dark, which enabled us to make ourselves passably comfortable.
Such a powerful rain put an effectual stop to all military operations for the present. The roads in many places are utterly impassable, even for light teams. Our rations are back in the other camp. There is some prospect of a short allowance.
Wednesday evening May 7th
Have had pleasant weather since Monday morning, & this with the aid of Col. Bissel's Engineer Corps, have put the roads & bridges in tolerable order. We have orders to march again tomorrow morning, at half past seven, with one days rations.
Friday morning May 9th
Our days work yesterday proved to be a very heavy reconnaissance, in which nearly all of Pope's army took a part. We marched out at the time appointed, in the direction of Corinth, by the southwestern road. After about three miles of slow marching, with frequent halts, we came in sight of a considerable body of Rebels, nearly a mile in advance. We had no means of ascertaining their strength, as they were mostly concealed by a point of timber. From this time our movements were conducted with extreme caution, but we gradually advanced & occupied the ground where they had been seen.
Our Division now seemed to divide up into small fragments. At all events, we suddenly lost sight of all but one half of our Brigade, consisting of the 42nd & 51st , under temporary command of Col. Roberts of the 42nd .
We marched off to the right, across open fields & into thick woods, where we found tough work to make our way through the tangled underbrush & briars.
We made our way through this swampy thicket as best we could, crossing two streams of water in our route, & halting near a road on the west side, as we learned from scouts & skirmishers, though we could see nothing of it, being concealed in the woods. We remained at this point nearly an hour, while our skirmishers were learning the position of affairs in front. During this time we heard considerable artillery firing, & some skirmishing rifle shots. Our plan was to advance to the road, but being warned of the approach of a large body of the enemies cavalry, we were ordered to retire. It was now nearly dark & having accomplished all we could, we returned to camp. We have accomplished a good deal in the way of reconnaissance, but it has been at rather of a dear price. I have not yet learned the full extent of our casualties, but I have already heard of one Major of the 7th Illinois Cavalry, & some others killed, & quite a number wounded. This kind of service is very disastrous to those actively engaged. More so, I believe, than a regular battle. From their superior knowledge of the country, the Rebels can post themselves behind sheltered points, fire a few shots, then scatter & run before we can get to them. We had rumors for two days past, that Corinth was evacuated, but I guess the day's work of yesterday satisfied our Generals that there was some work to do, before we can occupy Corinth. We have orders this morning to move our camp about two miles in the direction of Farmington.
Saturday May 10th
Our attempted advance yesterday resulted in a disastrous repulse & final retreat to our former camp. In accordance with the plan of General Halleck, our Division were ordered to advance our camp about two miles in the direction of Farmington. Our Brigade marched out of camp, with knapsacks, about 7 oclock in the morning, teams with tents were to follow immediately. After advancing a bout a mile, we met an Orderly riding back, who said we should find work ahead. We paid little attention to this, as such rumors are getting to be quite common. Besides, we went all over the ground the day before, & noted everything we found, & we did not anticipate meeting any force we could not overcome. We marched a mile & a half & formed column of Division & marched in this order, by the flank, onto the ground we designed to occupy, & halted in a small ravine. The Rebels had already commenced throwing shot & shell onto the field.
Two companies, A & K of the 51st & three companies of the 42nd , the whole under command of Major Walworth of the 42nd , were detached to skirmish a body of timber on the right. Our knapsacks were unslung, & placed in a pile. Gen. Palmer telling us we should camp somewhere very near there, though the exact location had not been decided upon. We marched off in the direction indicated, keeping under the shelter of the hill as much as possible, till we entered the woods, where the three companies of the 42nd were deployed as skirmishers, with the 51st held in reserve. The woods were completely scoured by the skirmishers, discovering only a few scattering rebels, & these were soon scattered. This was near the middle of the day, & very warm in the sun. But we had a very comfortable position in the edge of the woods, where we lay in the shade, while the other companies were skirmishing through the woods. During this time, which lasted over an hour, we had a fine view of the field. We could see the operation & effect of two Rebel batteries separated from the main body of our forces by a hill. A wreath of white & blue smoke would curl up then a booming report, & then we could see the shell strike, & explode among our men on the brow of the hill, half a mile in front, causing a visible commotion among men & horses. It was a time of considerable anxiety, but still I did not in the least at this time doubt the result. Meantime our line of skirmishers had advanced through the woods to a point on the enemy's left, & considerably in rear of their advance lines. While standing at this point within four hundred yards of the Rebel battery, they saw a full regiment of Rebel infantry march out & take a direction leading to the woods on the top of the hill, in front of our main forces. Another regiment started towards our line of skirmishers, where they were halted in the woods. Seeing this, the Major in command deemed it prudent to retire, & gave the order to march in retreat. As soon as this order was given, the regiment that were marching towards us, turned their course, & fell in behind the other regiments marching to the top of the hill, near where is a cotton press.
Our skirmishers retreated & formed on the reserve, & then we all started to make our way back & join our Regiments, if we could find them. This was not such a very easy matter, for we were now completely outflanked & in great danger of being cut off. It was now evident that our men were largely outnumbered, & overpowered, for we could see them being driven down the hill in considerable disorder. In fact there were not enough of them to rally & present anything like a tolerable front to the enemy's advance. Our course in retiring lay directly across where the storm of shot & shell was pouring in.
Soon as we got down a little out of sight we were ordered on the double quick & soon came directly under the enemies fire.
We kept under the shelter of a ridge as much as possible, & part of the time in the edge of the woods. We had by some means become separated from the Major & his companies of the 42nd, which left us only our two companies of the 51st & no proper commanding officer. The scene was now more awful than agreeable. Shells were exploding all around us at the rate of three or four a minute, & the grape & musketry would spit against the trees all around us, sounding very much like the popping of corn in a corn popper. I had no time to see anything around me, or even to think of any danger, my whole time & attention being required to keep my company together. We were now in the edge of the woods where it was difficult to march any way, & scattered fugitives were all the time rushing to the rear, breaking through the ranks of my company, & rendering it necessary to reform them about every two minutes. We had reached a small open field separated from the battlefield by a narrow wooded ravine about two rods in width. We had met Gen. Palmer, who ordered us to form here in line, which we did, but very soon heard a call from the field in front to come forward to that point. This order we also obeyed & found a few companies formed in column. I don't know who they were, or whose order they were under, but they were facing the enemy, & this was sufficient for me to know, at the time.
We had not fairly got into this position, before General Palmer rode up, & ordered us to move off by the left flank, which would take us out to the road, by which we entered the field. We there passed through the most severe ordeal of the day. The shelling was incessant, & the musketry, which at first sounded like the scattering drops before a shower, now came in a perfect deluge. Men were shot dead within two feet of some of our men. The shelling was so constant, that for some of the way we had to drop flat every two or three rods, to avoid them.
I finally became so used to the things I didn't care much about them. I could tell by the sound whether they were coming low or high. Sometimes they would strike the ground, & "ricochet". When they performed this trick, I generally got down pretty near the ground, but when they came along with their peculiar whizzing sound, they were quite sure to pass over our heads into the woods. Twice we were almost saved from annihilation by the timely warning of these shells. We heard the shell come crashing along, & falling down to avoid this, & tremendous volley of musketry passed closely over us. Had we been standing it seemed as though we should have been cut to pieces. I saw a horse near where we passed, which had been struck by a piece of shell, & left dead in a most singular posture. He was sitting on his haunches, with his forefeet extended, neck & head in a perfectly natural position, just as we sometimes see a dog sit up on his haunches. I suppose he must have been struck in such a manner as to throw him into this position, & a contraction of the muscles fixed him rigidly in this position. We now passed into the woods to the left, & in a few minutes came out on the road which we came over in the morning. I was now separated from the other company & for a few minutes was commander in which, as far as I knew, at least, I had no one to give me any orders. But fortunately I found General Paine on the road as I came out, & reported directly to him for orders. He directed me to retire along the road, which I did very leisurely, stopping occasionally to rest. I found upon examination that we had not lost a man, & had no one wounded. One of our men had his bayonet scabbard struck by a ball, but they all escaped unhurt. As I now recall the scene to mind & I am filled with wonder & astonishment & it seems that nothing but the direct interposition of Providence could have saved us all on that occasion. I have thus far confined the account almost wholly to my own actions.
The balance of our Regiment, soon after our Company left, were ordered off to protect an exposed point, on the extreme left. They remained there till they too were completely outflanked, & were obliged to make a long circuit through the swamp to gain the road. Learning that the 42nd were still behind, they marched back to the field & joined it & these two regiments covered the retreat, being the last off the field. We finally all came back & occupied the same camp we left in the morning. The Rebels only followed us about half a mile. The causes of this disastrous epoch are more apparent than they were. We learned from a deserter, who came into our lines next morning, that the Rebels were out in force of from twenty to twenty-five thousand men under Price, VanDorn & Bragg. They had at least five batteries in position, while opposed to them we had perhaps four or five thousand men & two batteries, only one of which I think was brought into action. We had plenty of troops in reserve, with which we could have been reinforced & driven them from the field. General Nelson, who occupies Buell's left & joins us on the right, could have come in on their rear with 10,000 men & cut off their retreat & used them all up. Why was not a plan so desirable as either of these seemed to be, adopted - well, General Halleck holds everything in his own hands, with an iron grasp & he refused to allow us to be reinforced, fearing it would bring on a general engagement, for which he was not ready. He was in constant communication with the field by telegraph & ordered the retreat early in the day. All the modern discoveries in art & the sciences are made use of in carrying on this war. Thus the telegraph is advanced day by day as we advance, & I suppose all the divisions of the Army are in constant communication with each other & with Headquarters. Our forces lost in this affair about 200 killed, wounded & missing, quite too many, it seems to me, to throw away without gaining any equivalent.
We have no means of knowing the enemy's loss, but I presume it was not as large, though our men gave them some tremendous volleys, & they killed one mounted officer of high rank, apparently a General. Our Regiment & one or two others lost their knapsacks, which was quite a severe loss to the boys. The Rebels retired from the field the same night, & according to the report of the deserter, before mentioned, in considerable disorder. At any rate the field was clear the next morning & has been occupied by our pickets since. The 42nd & 51st were highly complimented by General Palmer for their conduct on this occasion, remaining behind to cover the retreat, & marching off in perfect order.
Monday night May 12
We have remained in camp since the affair near Farmington, & today we have received notice that this will be our permanent camp till the great fight comes off. Saturday night Mr. Munson arrived from Chicago with a beautiful suit of colors for the Regiment & packages from friends at home. First Lieutenant of Co. K was kindly & bountifully remembered by his friends at home, with the things most needed, except a pair of _____ shirts, which are not needed at present, & I hope never will be, but it is the part of wisdom to anticipate such an event, & they are adapted to the purpose.
The colors have not been presented yet, as they are waiting if possible to get the Regiment all together, & at present two companies are out on duty. Our Company is detailed for picket duty tomorrow, & this perhaps will deprive us of an opportunity to witness the presentation ceremony. But this is of little consequence. Such a kind & generous token of remembrance from the citizens of Chicago is sufficient to call forth our deepest feelings of gratitude, without any ceremony attending it.
Wednesday P.M. May 14th
We returned from picket duty this forenoon & found the good old flag on our new rallying standard - which I trust is to lead us to victory - floating on the breeze in front of Col. Bradley's tent. The colors I learn were formally presented last evening. Some speeches were made I believe, but I presume they were very much like hundreds of others on similar occasions & hardly worth reporting. Though for that matter they may be reported in the Tribune as one of their reporters came on with Munson & has since made our camp his headquarters.
These colors have a real intrinsic value aside from the consideration of friendly feelings & good wishes on the part of our friends at home, There is no doubt but that a regiment will do better service on the field from having some standard to rally around. It is the embodiment of an idea, & the natural substance through which that idea appeals to the senses. On the same principle, men will sometimes fight splendidly under the leadership of a favorite officer, & become utterly disheartened when he falls or is removed from them.
I think I felt something of this in our recent affair. I had been left alone with my Company, with no one from whom to receive orders, & no knowledge of the two positions of affairs. I knew not whether our retreat had been ordered, or whether our troops had been ingloriously beaten, & were getting off the field as best they could. My whole attention had been absorbed in looking to the interests of the men. It was under these circumstances that I encountered Gen. Paine as we came into the road on the edge of the battlefield. The blood fairly leaped through my veins - I felt the first real enthusiasm of the day, & I verily believe I could have charged a battery alone if the General had ordered it. But the order to retreat had been given long before, & he ordered me to follow on slowly, which I did very slowly.
Our line of pickets is now strongly posted just beyond the battlefield. We had to pass over it yesterday & today, as it lay directly in our route in going to our post in the line of guards.
I was more than ever surprised on looking over the field, to see how far we were outflanked, & left in the rear of the enemy's advance before we retired from our position as skirmishers. Our picket duty was without incident worthy of note. It is a very dull disagreeable service, as we are obliged to keep awake all night, & perfectly still, straining eyes & ears to detect the least motion or sound. We were posted last night, some over two miles from camp, in groups of six - two of the six being fifteen or twenty rods in advance of the other four. These groups were so near together, that when deployed in single line, there would be a man as often as every ten or twelve feet. In case of attack in force our arrangements were made to rally five companies together, which would be able to hold in check a force five times that number. We were almost as near the Rebel camp as our own, & could plainly hear the beating of their drums, which were kept up till 10 o'clock & resumed again at 3 in the morning. They do drumming enough for both armies, but I believe bluster has always been one of their characteristic elements.
Mr. Munson informs me that he must start home tomorrow, consequently I must improve as much of the time as possible, in writing, for this means of communication is much more direct than our irregular mails. I am very sorry he is compelled to leave so soon, for the sight of an old friend in citizen dress does one good. It seems to establish a connection between this & some past age. The weather is delightful here now - rather warm in the middle of the day, but cool nights & mornings, & no mosquitoes to annoy one. Our camp has been much improved since we learned it was to be one of some permanence & now presents quite a picturesque appearance. The camp fronts nearly west, the tents are arranged in single rows, one for each company, running from front to rear, Company Officers occupying the rear tents which open to the rear. The Field Officers' tents are placed in one row at right angle to the others, some five or six rods in rear of the Company Officers tents, & opening to the front. Thus the Company Officers & Field Officers tents face each other, enclosing an oblong area which makes quite a pretty park. We are located in a grove of magnificent Oak which furnish a most refreshing shade during the heat of the day. The camp has been entirely cleared of underbrush, & even swept clean, so that the most richly attired ladies could walk through it without danger to their apparel, provided it was not too unreasonably long. I am now writing under an awning in front of our tent, made of using the fly, which was designed for an outside cover to the top of the tent. By moving it to the front, extemporizing a ridge & extra post for the front from the woods, we have another space in front of, & equal in size to the tent itself, protected from the weather except about three feet high on each side & the front end. It corresponds almost exactly to pictures of Oriental life as seen in old Geographics. We only want the Palm trees instead of Oak & a few Arab women to make the picture complete. The band are rehearsing one or two new pieces - the first they have attempted to learn, since leaving Camp Douglas. Groups of soldiers here & there all over the camp are making preparations for supper. One youthful looking soldier at my right is going through with a labored effort to grind some coffee in a worn out coffee mill. Many of the boys have a more primitive way of crushing the grains of coffee. They put it in their tin cups & take the handle of their Sabre bayonets & use them as mortar & pestle. It answers a very good purpose, so far as the coffee is concerned, but is rather destructive on the cups - We are now quietly waiting for the grand movement, which it seems cannot be long delayed. But this is a most excellent school for patience.
Thursday May 15
In accordance with orders received last evening, our camp was active at 3 o'clock this morning, the men preparing a hasty breakfast & filling their haversacks with two days rations. As usual in such cases, the final order to march is a good deal behind the time & it is very nearly 7 o'clock before we march out of camp.
Of course we know nothing of the plan of operation, but all our preparations point strongly to the possibility of a general movement today. Our Chicago friend, Mr. Munson, who was to return this morning remains & goes out with us as a volunteer in the ambulance wagons. This marching out to battle does not tend to impress one very strongly with the value and permanence of our earthly existence. We deposit our pocketbooks & papers with some friend who is not going along, with directions how to dispose of them & communicate with our friends if we fail to return. It seems a practical question, whether a life held by such a frail tenure is worthy of so much thought & labor as we usually bestow upon it. We barely marched out of camp into a grove, where our Brigade was formed into line of battle, facing towards the enemy. Arms were stacked & the men rested under the trees. The day was beautiful, & as I lay under the shade of an Oak tree, & looked upon the long line of muskets resting in their stacks - I thought if victories could be won in this way, it would be very comfortable. I finally learned through the Major that there was to be an attack, or at least a heavy reconnaissance, by the right wing of our Army, & presuming they might retaliate by throwing a larger force upon our left wing, we had been drawn up to receive them. But they did not choose to pay us a visit & soon after noon we were marched back to camp.
I always return to camp with something of the same feelings with which I would return to my home after a long absence. It is the only center of attraction we can have & all the comfort there is in this mode of life is found there. But today our turn of rest was very brief. We had hardly got settled in camp , before our whole Regiment was ordered on picket duty. Our march over a dusty road & in a mid-day sun was not particularly pleasant. One of our men was prostrated by the heat & fell by the roadside. The question continually arises in mind how can one fight this hot weather.
But God knows what is for the best & I need not trouble myself in regard to the future. Our experience on picket developed nothing new. There was about the usual amount of firing on different parts of the line, but we have become so accustomed to it now, that it has to come pretty near to disturb us much. Reached camp again about noon on Friday & now I said to myself I will have a little season of rest, for I had been up most of the time for three nights past, & felt the need of it. But alas for human calculations, again came the order - two days rations & be in readiness to march at daybreak. Patient submission being one of the cardinal principles of a true soldier, of course we had nothing to say.
Saturday May 17
I was awakened by Reveille at 3 o'clock. I thought I would give just five dollars for two hours more of good sleep, & then I got up. I might just as well have taken it & not cost me a cent, for we didn't start till after sunrise. This time we understood the arrangement to be to move our camp towards Farmington. We are moving in force this time, & woe be to the Rebels who attempt to oppose our progress. New roads have been constructed through the swamp, & our means of transit generally much improved. Well we advance about a mile into the swamp & halt just four hours & a half, & then march back to camp. This movement did not furnish even a respectable basis for operation & I returned to the old camp very much in disgust with all military operations. We had hardly been in camp an hour before we saw a large body of cavalry pass out along the road. Then Hamilton's Division in our rear, filed into the road & passed off in the same direction. What could it mean ? Various & vague were the camp rumors afloat - that Corinth had been evacuated, that our Generals were already in the town & their troops were going to occupy it. Probably there is no place that equals an isolated military camp for unfounded rumors.
We had Yorktown evacuated a long way in advance of the telegraph or Gen. McClellan & at one time we had it taken with 100,000 prisoners. These & others equally absurd are in daily circulation, & they always purport to come from some General's headquarters. We were not long kept in suspense, for very soon the order came to fall in, & we were again on the march over the same route we took in the morning. Notwithstanding our disappointment in the morning, we found the march at this late hour of the day much more comfortable than it would have been under a mid-day sun. As we neared Farmington about sunset we were halted for a few minutes on rising ground, & looking down to the right we could see Crittenden's Command of Buell's Division filing out of the woods to connect with our right. It is possible this is the solution of our retrograde movement in the morning, that these forces were not quite ready to advance, & thus keep the line perfect. Or what is more probable it may have been a strategic movement, to deceive the enemy, by allowing our forces to appear in sight, & then by withdrawing them, convey the impression that we had abandoned the movement. Our advance reached Farmington about dark. We were drawn up in two separate lines, one brigade covering the other in each division, & now commenced our first experience in the trenches. Arms were stacked, supper hastily dispatched, & then every able bodied man not detached for other duty was set to work throwing up breastworks in front of our entire lines. Quietly & silently we went to our work, no beat of drum or sound of trumpet, to disturb the universal silence of this occasion with the accustomed retreat & labor. Even men's voices took a lower tone, & for a space of five hours, 10,000 spades & picks performed their noiseless work. We completed our section just before midnight. I had performed my full share of labor & was quite glad of an opportunity to take a little rest. This did not require much preparation, I had only to wrap my blanket around me, lie down on the ground, & my couch was made up for the night. But I enjoyed a most refreshing sleep until 6 o'clock Sunday morning. I had not completed my breakfast, when I was notified that I was again detailed to go off with a fatigue party from our Regiment, in connection with the other regiments of our Brigade. No quiet Sabbath in store for me, in which to read & meditate & rest.
As we marched out to our new field of labor, I could see the result of our labor of the previous night, miles of fortifications were visible stretching out in opposite directions, till they were lost to view over the hills. Siege guns & batteries were planted in commanding positions in different portions of the camp.
It was hard to realize that human hands had accomplished so much in the short space of one night. Our work was the same as last night. We had another long line of fortifications to construct, at right angles to the main lines, terminating with a battery on high ground.
The mode of constructing these works is quite simple. We first lay up a common Virginia rail fence, as strong as possible, filling the interstices with brush to prevent the dirt from falling through. About four feet in front of this fence, a ditch is dug, about four feet wide & four feet deep, the dirt being thrown against the fence, forming a solid embankment from four to six feet in width. A shallow trench in front to stand in, completes the works. These works afford very good protection against musketry, grape & cannister. Our work today was completed about 3 0'clock in the P.M., & by this time I felt quite willing on my own account to suspend operations. In other parts of the camp the work of fortifying still went on. On the hill in our rear are a battery of siege guns & 64-pound howitzers, each piece being protected by a huge octagonal breastwork. Our tents & baggage came forward today & we are now in a regular entrenched camp. We shall very soon be in a position to receive our friends & if Mr. Beauregard's family who's to pay us a visit. They will probably meet with a warm reception. Gen. Halleck seems to be pursuing a cautious policy, which undoubtedly is the only safe one. Judging from present appearances the great battle will not come off for several days, unless the rebels make the attack, which is not at all probable.
We are now encamped in an open field, with no protection save what is afforded by our tents. It is the first time since leaving Hamburg that we have not had the benefit of a fine grove. Wood & water is less easily attained than formerly, & if we are compelled to remain here any considerable time, must prove quite a serious inconvenience. The soil is barren enough, the poorest I have yet seen. It is a sort of reddish clay - very dusty when dry & very sticky when wet. It seems to be chiefly productive of red ants & bugs of every description. We found our mess chest literally swarming with these little ants, attracted thither I suppose by the box of sugar. I have now suspended it by a string inside the tent, which I think will puzzle them a little.
Adjoining our present camp is a graveyard, & on one side of this latter is an old log church, the roof covered with shakes through which the daylight streams, almost sufficient I should think to dispense with the necessity of windows. The seats were long wooden benches with standards continued above the seats & a single strip of board running lengthwise for the back. These have mostly found their way to soldiers' tents. I looked in at the door as I was passing the building & saw a surgeon in the pulpit dispensing medicines to sick soldiers. Even the cemetery before alluded to bears testimony to the same lack of civilization & progress. The prevailing idea that darkness is preferable to light, seems to have been carried in the disposition of their dead, & arrangement of the graves. In many cases they are enclosed by close brick walls, covered with a tight roof, & very much resembling an old fashioned ash- house or smoke- house. In other cases where wood is used, they are enclosed by a fence, & the whole covered with a tight shingled roof resting on four corner posts, lying flat on the surface of the ground. I remarked to a comrade, as we stood by one of these graves, that it was hard to realize that this was the work of the present age of our country.
Thursday May 22
It is just one month this morning since we landed at Hamburg, & the great conflict which we came to engage in, is still a thing of the future. To say it is no nearer now, than then, would not be strictly true, if the battle is to be fought at all, but the indications of an immediate engagement seem less positive now than at that time.
We have by no means been idle during the time. Our lines have been advanced some 16 miles & this has not been accomplished without some severe skirmishing, attended with the loss of many brave men. We are now in sight of the enemy's strong works, preparations for attack & defense are constantly going forward on a most gigantic scale, & in all human probability the crisis cannot be much longer delayed. Monday & Tuesday were comparatively quiet days, at least so far as we were concerned. Our works were strengthened, & preparations made to resist an attack, which was confidently expected. We had a large supply of commissary stores, which would be very acceptable to them, & which from information received, we supposed they would make an effort to obtain. But these apprehensions of our Generals were not realized, the Rebels probably thinking it safer to adopt some other means of supplying themselves with the necessaries of life. Tuesday night we received notice to be ready to march at half past six next morning, with one day's rations.
Visions of an infantry battle again hung over us. The usual hasty preparations were made for any possible contingency that might occur, which of late have become so common as hardly to excite an emotion. Wednesday morning we were astir at an early hour, & troops could be seen moving in every direction, & it really looked as if the mighty conflict were about to commence.
Our haversacks were filled with one day's rations, & we marched out in the direction of Corinth. Just as we started there was a tremendous brisk cannonading, a little to our right, which lasted only a few minutes. Sharp volleys of musketry could be heard in front as we advanced. We proceeded in this direction about a mile & halted in thick woods. There we lay in the cool shade of the trees, commenting upon the firing in front, & discussing our future prospects till noon, when we received the order to about face, & march back to camp. From the best information I could subsequently obtain, our Generals wished to ascertain the position of a certain Rebel fort somewhere in that vicinity, & I believe they accomplished their purpose. The cannonading I understand was on Buell's line, in Sherman's Division, in which he performed a very brilliant maneuver by advancing two companies of infantry, against two or three Rebel regiments, & then falling back, & then drawing them onto some masked batteries which he had conveniently placed to receive them. It was reported that he cut them up in a terrible manner. It was certainly the most rapid artillery firing I ever heard.
There is something very exciting to soldiers in the sound of cannon. I can't explain the philosophy of it but I have noticed the effects on several occasions. It seems to thrill through every nerve, like an electric shock. Men move off with a more rapid, elastic step, as if it were inspiring music.
Friday May 23
Our Regiment went on picket in its regular turn. From the close proximity of our lines to the Rebels, this has become a duty of much importance & no little hazzard. Our advance lines were less than a mile from our encampment, which is quite too small a distance to insure protection. We relieved a company of the 16th Illinois & were posted in the edge of a wood, overlooking a field of nearly half a mile in width, which was the central ground between ours & the Rebel pickets. We could plainly see the Butternut Gentry moving about on the opposite side of the field, and the Captain we relieved said they would remind us of their presence occasionally by sending rifle bullets over to our side. The experience of the day confirmed his prediction. Firing was kept up at intervals nearly the whole day. None of their shots took effect, though some of them came quite unpleasantly near. I was honored with one salute of this kind, two or three shots striking the fence very near to me, while two or three shots were buried in a tree out of sight - behind which one of our sentinels was stationed. They had apparently these large range rifles, & very good marksmen to use them. It is not particularly conducive to one's happiness to feel that one of these murderous weapons may at any time be leveled at him. We fail to see the glory there is in being shot at from behind trees, with long range rifles. Still, even to get killed in just such service, nearly every day, & they die for the same cause, are entitled to the same honorable memorial as those who die on the field of battle. But they seldom get it. A poor soldier who perils his life for the safety of the Army, standing on an exposed position, to give warning of any approach of danger, & loses his life while at his post, is not mentioned among those who die amid the excitement of the battlefield. Our experience was otherwise varied by the setting in of a heavy rain, which continued through the day, & part of the night. How eagerly on such occasions do we watch for the first appearance of morning till the expected relief is due, which is about 9 o'clock . It is a relief indeed, both to the body & mind. Twenty four hours of incessant watching, with every nerve strained to its utmost tension, is enough to produce a sense of weariness in any ordinary piece of human mechanism.
Yesterday was a comparatively quiet day. Our folks advanced a battery & shelled the Rebel pickets from a position where they had been troublesome.
Sunday was a lovely quiet Sabbath Day. The morning was clear, with a cool breeze, & so still for two hours after daybreak that the singing of birds was the only sound to break the stillness. I really felt something of the charm of Sundays at home, where we dismiss all cares & in the luxury of clean faces & clean linen, enjoy a day of undisturbed repose. The day throughout was remarkably quiet for our Army. No shots were exchanged between pickets, & no work was carried on, at least in sight of us. We had preaching by the Chaplain at 11 o'clock, the audience being graced by the presence of two ladies, nurses in the hospital department of the 16th Reg., Mrs. Yates of Chicago, & Mrs. Webster of Alton, Ill. They were formerly in our Reg. They afterwards dined with us & altogether it was a very pleasant Sunday. Monday & Tuesday were quiet days & I did little except admire the glorious panorama of the sky which seemed to exceed every sky of the kind I ever witnessed. I could sit for hours & watching the varying - shifting clouds, so pure & white, as they roll up their fleecy manes against the deep blue sky, constantly taking on some new form & yet so gradually as scarcely perceptible.
I love to forget my surroundings at such times & lose myself in the contemplation of this most beautiful part of the visible creation. These feelings may seem in strange harmony with the sterner conflicts of life, in which I am engaged. But I am not inherently a fighting man, & I could wish the graces of Christianity might so triumph over the passions of man, as to forever banish all thoughts of strife from the human heart. Men were created for other purposes than to destroy each other, & yet here are two mighty armies, almost within hailing distance of each other - waiting & straining to do this very thing, & I am one of the number, & I verily believe I ought to do it. Where the spirit of evil takes on organized form, & threatens to overturn the institutions of a free government & society, mild measures are not sufficient. Force must be met with force, & the cause of truth & justice maintained at all hazzards. When the spirit of Christ has universal sway over all hearts, then & not till then will war & fighting have an end. May the time soon come.
Our advance from Farmington
Wednesday May 28
The morning sun rolled up into an overclouded sky, & everything betokened a day of excessive heat. Early in the morning I went back to the hospital, located about 3/4 of a mile in the rear of our camp, to visit some of our sick men. I had hardly been there half an hour when word came for the Surgeons to go forward with the ambulances immediately & join the Reg., which had received orders to advance. I made something better than double quick time back to camp, & found the Reg. just ready to fall in with two days' rations in their haversacks. We soon after formed into line on the crest of the hill, in rear of our camp & rested there, waiting for Stanley's Division to move to the front, which it appeared was to have the advance on this occasion, while our Division ( Gen. Paine's ) supported Stanley, with Hamilton's still in reserve. General Palmer being absent on account of sickness, the command of our Brigade devolved on Col. Roberts of the 42nd.
At length we got in motion - the whole available force of Pope's Army, & appearances seemed to indicate that the movement was general along the whole line. We crossed our outside picket line about 10 o'clock & our advance were soon engaged with the enemy skirmishers, driving them across an open field about half a mile in length. We were halted here, in order to make some disposition of our batteries in front, as we had come within range of a small Rebel fort in front & to the left of us, which might annoy us somewhat. This open field was very undulating on the surface, the elevations having a gradual easy slope, entirely surrounded by timber & terminating abruptly on the edge of swamp, on the other side of which lay Corinth, hardly a mile distant. It was now nearly noon & intensely hot. I thought I would avail myself of the opportunity to take a little lunch from my haversack, not knowing when I should have another opportunity, & sought the protecting shade of a clump of Willows in a ravine nearby for that purpose. I was soon after joined by Col. Bradley & the Adjutant, & as we sat there on the grass, discussing the possibilities & probabilities of the day. Bang Bang went our artillery just over the hill in front of us. We instantly sprang to our feet & hastened back to our Regiment. We remained in our position for some time, waiting orders, but there seemed to be no farther movement. The artillery ( 3 batteries ) had taken up a position & were engaging the Rebel's front, but I judged somewhat at random, for if one shot in ten had taken effect they must have demolished it. The order again came to rest, & for the next two hours we lay very quietly in the woods to the left of us. Some of the men cut bushes & erected temporary shades in the open field. The artillery meanwhile kept up an incessant cannonading upon the Rebel fort which returned their fire, the shells generally passing over our heads & striking in the fields beyond. As long as this continued, our position was very comfortable, but after awhile a new scene opened. We were suddenly called to "Attention", & we could see that there was an important movement in progress in front of us. Our skirmishers were being driven back & there was considerable commotion around one of our batteries, belonging to the 1st Regulars. We were drawn up in line of battle across the field, to be ready for any emergency. There were several of these lines, two in rear of us & three or four in front. We occupied the second ridge from the enemy, probably six or eight hundred yards distant. The bullets would occasionally drop around us, but not enough to claim much attention. The infantry fire now became very sharp in the vicinity of our battery, posted on the right, while one battery on the left performed the most rapid artillery fire I ever heard. All the interest seemed to center around the battery on the right, & for a time matters had a very serious look. There seemed to be a momentary panic in that vicinity. Our skirmishers were driven back. The middle battery limbered up & retired from the field & soon after the battery on the right came off the field with only two horses to each gun. But it was soon over & our services were not required. We learned that the battery was suddenly attacked by the 5th Tennessee (Rebel) Regiment & so close were they that in less than one minute from the time of attack most of the horses were shot down. The 5th Minnesota ( a new Regiment ) stationed to support our battery did not behave very well & it was said the 47th Ill. also nearly did not come up to the work as they ought. The Rebels were backed by a force of 12,000 men. They came on with a sudden dash & a yell, & if they had made a break in our lines would probably have driven us back to Farmington. At this critical juncture Capt. Spohr's ( formerly Dodge's ) Iowa Battery on the left turned their guns on the advancing Rebels & saved the day. This battery had not been observed by the Rebels, though it was within good musket shot range. This first gun was loaded with solid shot & he ploughed it square into the head of their column. He then continued to drop shells among them till our own folks had got out of range, when he poured in such a storm of cannister that nothing could stand before it. They broke & fled, leaving their dead on the field. Our folks buried 30 of their dead that night & I believe some more next morning. Our loss was considerable, though not as great. We intrenched ourselves & remained on the field all night. Next day (Thursday) we held ourselves in constant readiness to move, but received no orders. The regiment on our left had considerable skirmishing, & suffered some loss. General Rosecrans rode into camp today & surprised us all, as we had not heard of his arrival. He is a large fine looking man, with a frank genial expression of countenance, & just such a man as I should suppose would merit the affections of his men.
Quite a little episode occurred in the afternoon, which is worthy of note. We were all lying at ease under the protecting shade of our fast bowers, when we were startled by two crashing reports apparently right in our midst. Every man sprang to his feet as if struck by an electric shock. My first thought was that some shell had burst right among us. There was a battery in our rear & the cannoneers sprang to their guns, & for a few moments there was a general excitement. But we soon ascertained the report to have come from three heavy Parrot guns of our own - located just above. Why they fired & what they fired at was still a mystery.
Some said they fired blank cartridges for signals, but this we learned was not true. We subsequently learned that they were loaded with shells aimed at Corinth & went straight into the town, doing great execution. One of them upset a locomotive tender, killing one man & wounding the engineer. Another went through a bank of earth 9 or 10 feet thick.
It was now evening of Thursday. Our troops had been quite active through the day, but we had made no visible progress. One gun from a small redoubt on the right of the enemy's works had annoyed us considerable & was not yet silenced. Our future was clouded in mystery & opinions seemed nothing but idle speculations. Late in the evening we heard tremendous cheering along the Rebel lines, which evidently proceeded from several thousand men. This too was susceptible of any interpretation, according to our fancy.
Had they received good news from Richmond ? Were they receiving reinforcements ? Or had they got orders to leave, which called out such throaty cheers ? Well, it might be one or another or neither of these causes. Our men slept with accouterments on as usual. During the night there seemed to be great activity on the railroad. As many as six different locomotives could be distinguished. Trains were running all night & apparently went out heavily loaded. I was up quite early in the morning & almost with the first appearance of light. We were startled with a number of reports, varying in power, from the enemy's lines in front, which told the tale too surely to leave any farther room for doubt.
We knew it was not artillery, our ears were now well practiced in the sound of cannons, to be deceived in that matter. Following the report we could see here & there a column of smoke rising above the tree tops & consisting in one dense black cloud, which lay along the western horizon in strange contrast to the clear gray light of morning reflected from the opposite sky.
And so - Corinth was evacuated. At least we believed it - talked of it as such - & speculated upon the effect it would probably produce. Two or three hours later, & whatever of doubt may have lingered in the minds of any, was removed by the return of some of our regiments who had been there & walked through the deserted fortifications. They reported the evacuation complete, everything taken but some commissary stores of flour & beef, & even this proved to be less in quantity than at first supposed.
Some trophies were brought back, but they were neither numerous or valuable. One man had a gourd dipper from Beauregard's Headquarters. Another a goblet, & another a kind of upholstered table. I suppose all the articles taken rom Corinth the week following came directly from Beauregarde's Headquarters.
And this barren victory - this possession of a deserted town, with a few dozen houses, & an indifferent amount of native earth thrown up in extended lines is the result of months of labor.
Millions of treasure & thousands of lives. Does it pay ? I think not. In my opinion Halleck has missed a splendid opportunity. He says in his official dispatch that the result was all he could desire. I think it fortunate for his peace of mind, that his desires are so limited. Two questions very naturally suggest themselves : If Gen. Halleck knew this evacuation ( which had been in progress a week ) was going on, why didn't he throw his whole force upon them & reap a splendid victory ? If he didn't know it - with his whole force lying within a mile or two of the enemy - why didn't he ? I consider it one of the first qualities of good generalship to obtain reliable knowledge of the enemy's strength & movements. Without this, I cannot conceive how anyone can plan & execute a successful campaign, unless his force be so far superior that he can afford to dispense with all the advantages of strategy.
But of course a soldier can't be expected to understand the policy of a campaign & perhaps I am wasting my time. Viewing the result from a personal standpoint, my emotions were variable, a sort of mixture of regret & rejoicing. Humanly speaking, my chances for an extension of life were increased about a hundred fold, for if we had had a battle, the brunt of it would have fallen on Pope's Army, & from the situation of our Regiment & all the circumstances of its position, I should ave had little expectation of coming out whole. We remained very quietly in camp until about 4 P.M. when we got the order to march, with two days rations.
One team was to follow with enough for about two days more. We did not take the direct road to Corinth, but bore off to the left & east of it, crossed the Memphis & Charleston Railroad, passed through the fortifications of the enemy's right wing, & kept on nearly due south along the line of the Mobile & Ohio R.R. Near these fortifications there had been apparently a very large Rebel camp.
There was a great mass of rubbish left upon the ground, but with a very few exceptions, nothing of much value. We found one full barrel of molasses, & our boys helped themselves to such limited quantities as they could dispose of. This moving of a large army, from a permanent camp, is something like house moving. At first view, one thinks there is a vast amount of valuable stores left behind. But when we take into consideration the many little articles of comfort that will accumulate in an army of ten thousand men, which could not possibly be moved, we cannot wonder that many articles of considerable value are left behind. We continued our march very leisurely till ten o'clock in the evening, & halted for the night. We had reports of the cavalry having evacuated the rear-guard of the enemy, less than ten miles ahead, at the crossing of the Tuscumbia River, where they had a battery planted.
I was very tired, & after stacking arms, stretched myself on the ground with the least possible delay. We were called up for breakfast as soon as there was any appearance of light next morning, anticipating an early forward movement. But Saturday night found us occupying the same position. We had been kept in the "Qui Vive" all day, falling in & marching out a short distance, standing an hour or two in the sun & then marching back again.
There was some skirmishing ahead, resulting in the wounding of several of our men. The bridge of the Tuscumbia was understood to be destroyed, but we had a large force, under Col Bissell of the Engineer Department, along with us, prepared for just such contingencies, & it did not seem as though such a slight obstacle ought to arrest the progress of an army for nearly two days. But whether this or something else was the cause, we remained in the same place till Sunday afternoon. This delay might have been very accommodating to the Rebels, but it certainly was a very queer kind of vigor to use in their pursuit.
Sunday June 1st
The first day of the month being the advent of the first summer month. The very idea of summer in Mississippi, is suggestive of linen clothes - broad brimmed straw hats, & possibly an umbrella to protect one from the scorching rays of the summer sun. But I failed to notice any change in the degree of temperature since last Spring ( yesterday ). There was not much to disturb the quiet of the day, till towards night. We held ourselves in constant readiness for any order, but none was received. In the afternoon the officers discussed the probability of being ordered back to our old camp. We thought, from the manner of concluding the retreat, it could not possibly be the design to follow up the enemy. But, contrary to expectation we received the order late in the afternoon to advance. Half an hour brought us to the Tuscumbia River, which at this point is a very small stream.
The bridge was not yet complete, & the column was halted & the men set to work bringing rails to serve for a floor instead of planks. As a fact illustrating Gen. Halleck's "vigorous pursuit" of the enemy, I will state here that Col. Bissell said he could have had the bridge ready to cross in two hours, if he had got the order to do so. But he had been waiting nearly two days for orders to accomplish two hours work. I don't pretend to say there were no other reasons for this delay, & possibly good ones. I only state facts as they come under my own personal observations. B ut to the observer of events, there is an intimate relation between cause & effect. However candid we may desire to be, we cannot ignore the evidence of our own senses in forming conclusions. We did not wait for the completion of the main bridge, but crossed on a temporary foot bridge, Field Officers dismounting & leaving their horses behind. Nothing was gained, however, by this operation, for we only marched a short distance, where we waited for the batteries & wagons to come up. After about an hour we again got in motion, passed through a small village called Danville, & three or four miles beyond we reached Rienzi, where we halted for the night. Danville was the first inhabited village I had seen since we left the Tennessee River. It is a small village containing probably fifteen or twenty very plain wooden structures, which no doubt are the houses of very plain people.
Site Map - Table of Contents
Regimental History | Formation of Regiment | Chickamauga | Reenlisting 1863-64
Links to Diaries - Journals - Accounts | Private Tabler | Pictures - Biographical Sketches | More Biog. Sketches
POW List | POW Summary | POW Account: M.V. Riley | POW Account: Theo. Eads
Offsite Link: Illinois Soldier Database
All Rights Reserved. Edward Leroy Tabler Papers Copyright © 2005 2008 2009 William Edward Henry
Other materials may be quoted briefly, with citation to this website, except for those used by permission of stated institutions.