This letter to the editors of The Port Byron Globe from a soldier of the Fifty-First Illinois Infantry appeared in the April 24, 1885 issue.
(Two-thirds of Company H were recruited in Port Byron, Illinois and the neighboring Rock Island County townships of Coe, Zuma, and Cordova.)

Familiar Camping Grounds
Chattanooga, Tenn. April 19, 1885

Editors Globe:

Having a few leisure hours, while on a business trip here, I put in the time hunting the location of the camping ground of the 51st Illinois in 1863, and knowing many of your readers were members of Company H, they will be interested in hearing it.

Since we were here in camp, Chattanooga has grown to be a city of 27000 inhabitants, and where we were in camp so long on the hill near the foundation of a Catholic church, I find our parade ground and camp ground all covered with fine churches and residences, and where the field officers had their tents is now occupied by a large brick Court House. I recognize some of the trees that were in front of the Colonel’s tent.

While standing on the hill looking around I could almost locate the very spot occupied by some of the tents, and well remember about where the Commissary had his tent, and in that connection it was brought vividly to my memory how short we were of hard tack, sowbelly and money. All the boys will never forget how carefully we watched the measuring out of our [illegible] sugar with a spoon and counting out hardtack on a rubber blanket, so that all would share alike. Some of you no doubt remember that one of Company H watched the commissary tent one night to draw extra rations when the company’s sergeant was out, and got very cold feet. I think his name is Bowker.

Who stole the corn from “Stot’s” mules, was a question he tried to solve, but never found out. I could not swear to it, but always suspected Billy Nick could tell all about it from the fact that he called me up about 10 or 11 o’clock one night to try some of his hominy, and as we only had one team at the time, supposed the corn came from the mules. He simply asked them for a share, and as they did not answer, took it for granted they were willing to divide up.

All of you remember how good we felt when the news was read one evening on dress parade that a supply train had left Bridgeport via Sequatchie Valley, and on its arrival we would have plenty to eat, but the next morning some one received the latest news by grapevine that the train had been captured by Forest and burned up, which was the fact.

Some of you never will forget how good the flap jacks tasted, when Landsdown brought us some flour he found on a foraging expedition in Sequatchie.

Fort Wood can plainly be seen, and looks about the same as it did when sending parrot shells to Missionary Ridge, except there are no guns there now. Lookout Mountain looks the same as it did over 23 years ago. No change by buildings can be seen from here. Mission Ridge is getting cleared off and some of the land cultivated, and the home General Bragg occupied as headquarters during the fight can be seen yet.

At Tuscumbia I visited our camp near the large spring and took one more drink from it, and passed by Fort Rose where Cos. H and K were guarding the railroad. At Decatur I found the old fortification and rifle pits still to be seen.

I passed a long time in the National Cemetery here. It is on the round hill south of Fort Wood, and west of Orchard Knob, and is a beautiful location, and on ground naturally adapted to the purpose used for. The Government owns 135 acres and have 73 enclosed with a stone fence and laid out in fine drives and walks, and kept in perfect condition. Nine men are working all the time keeping it in order and taking care of the graves, which are all covered with grass and mowed smooth with lawn mowers. Each one has a marble headstone with a number on it and name of state enlisted in, and a record in the office with the number and name. In all there are 12973 buried here, and about 5000 are “unknown.” Most of the unknown were moved from Chicamauga. I looked the records over and found but one of Co. H, Charles Farnsworth. Among the others of the 51st that all of you remember is: Lieutenant Buck, Co. K; Lieutenant Al Simons, Co. G; Capt. Lester, Co. E.

Sergeant Major T. Casey, whose last detail was made at Chicamauga. I can almost see him now coming around to Co. H saying, “Sargent Trint, give me a corporal and ten men. None of your back jaw.”

In the National cemetery is a large marble monument dedicated to the 4th Army Corps, with the Triangle Corps badge and name of all the Division Brigade Regiment and Battery composing the 4th Army Corps—22d, 27th, 42d, 51st and Battery, 3d Brigade, 2d Division. Not a name of corps, brigade or regimental commander on it. Those who have loved ones buried in the National Cemetery can rest assured the graves are well attended to.