Henry W. Tisdale

 July-October 1863


July 1st.

Detailed on fatigued duty.  Routed at 4:30AM to work at 6:00AM. Cleaned up around Corps Headquarters, burying entrails and other refuse matter left upon the ground by former bodies of troops. A deserted dwelling and outbuildings furnish quarters for most of the officers. Such work makes the men fretful as they feel that when not on drill or the march, they are entitled to rest.


July 2nd.

Have had no mail now for most a month.  Causing sort of homesickness.  Had a fine bath last night.  Were routed this morning at 4:00 AM mustered for two months pay.  Went to pick blackberries and got three quarts. They are quite a treat to our daily routine of pork and hard tacks. Went into woods in afternoon, spending the time in sleeping, reading, and letter writing. Writing a letter to Carrie. Had a dress parade at which orders were given to have five roll calls per day viz. at reveille 9:30AM through 3:30PM, at dress parade and taps, this to keep men from straggling off from camp as having no drill gives leisure time in plenty.


July 3rd.

Wrote letter to Carrie.  Short company drills held at sunrise and sunset. Most of the regiment out digging trenches. Had a debate with some of our company about the Negro question. Need to watch against getting excited in such debates.  To argue in a kindly and cordial way and not give needless offense. Think it better as a rule to avoid all debates on political questions while in the army.


July 4th.

Our glorious Fourth.  It is doubtless to most of our nation a sad and mournful day.  Our country still in the midst of a sad Civil War and which for two years has been almost seemingly fruitless. To human view final victory and success are yet afar off. This I feel this morning, but now later in the day with Vicksburg captured it seems as though the day when we can take up our homeward march with the rebellion crushed is drawing near. The news had come to us at noon that Vicksburg had surrendered with General Pemberton, 27,000 prisoners, 280 guns with small arms and it is difficult to describe the joy with which the news was received in the camp. We had counted upon nothing of note to occur by which we might celebrate the day, but with such news it could scarcely be otherwise than a “glorious Fourth.”  Another cheering surprise also greeted us, viz. a mail, our back mail from June 8th.  Oh! How joyful was it received-men danced and capered like children, all could now say, “Ain’t this a glorious “Fourth” as letters and papers in abundance were distributed. Received 6 letter and 3 papers, 2 letters from Abbie, 1 from Nellie, 1 from Oliver F. Bryant, 1 from W H. C, and 1 from L.A.T.  A little shadow was cast over our enjoyment of the day as orders came in the afternoon, “ready to march at a moments notice with 6 days rations.”  With the capture of Vicksburg before us we could march feeling that we were at last really making progress in crushing the “Rebels” even upon “4th of July.”  Marched at 6 o’clock. Left our campground literally covered with newspapers the product of the day’s mail, which we were obliged to leave behind unread. Made 5 miles dust awful were completely grimed with it and sweat and looked more like walking meal bags than soldiers in blue. Bivouacked in a wood. Passed numberless deserted camps recently occupied by Western troops. All seem now to be on the move. Doubtless plans are laid to catch General Johntson and his army. Picked two quarts of blackberries this morning going about two miles from camp. Had a 4th of July dinner of them and pork, hard tacks and tea. Believe this to be the first 4th I ever spent away from home. Had many imaginings as to how my folks were spending the day.


July 5th.

Sabbath.  Reveille at sunrise. Had just time to get our coffee down when orders came to march. Marched 1 and 1/2 miles and bivouacked until 3 PM.  Had just got a cup of tea made and was preparing to munch some hard tacks and pork. I gulped down a little tea pretty near scalding hot and crammed down a little pork and hard tack and fell into line. Did not feel very well the rest of the day because of eating this so hastily. Marched 1and 1/2 miles and bivouacked in a fine wood for the night.


July 6th.

In camp all day having a good chance to get washed and cleaned up. Near our camp was a cotton plantation and in a field near by a cotton pressing establishment, which during the day was burnt. Had a nice bath in a nearby stream. Had to clamber through a network of blackberry bushes to get to it yet the privilege of bathing in a clear stream richly paid the trouble. Wrote letter for Florian Matz and one to Abbie. Spent rest of day in reading. Wasted time in reading love stories when I might have read, which was more profitable. Green corn plenty had some roasted for dinner. Much interested in the 1st Chapter of James, my evening chapter. Feel I do not work for God so much as self.


July 7th.

Cleaned Gun.  Wrote letter to Nellie.  Just finished it as orders came to “fall in.”  Marched at near 2 PM towards Jackson, Mississippi.  Made about 10 miles and camped at near 12 midnight.  Our route through swamps, cornfields, cotton fields. The latter was in blossom; by several fine plantations showing good care and cultivation-by others all deserted over the Big Black River on a temporary bridge made of logs, boughs, ropes, grapevines etc. The first part of our march made very slow progress, the road being at times completely blocked with teams so we had to go hitching along. Very warm, with the thermometer standing at 115, the dust almost stifling at times. Many of the men fainting from heat and sun struck, Moses W. Downs, Perez Fearing, Sergeant Samuel Patch, Albert Ellis of our company, all but the latter soon got well. It was a sad sight to see men thus fainting by the way.  Owing to the impossibility of getting ambulances along with us the Surgeons could do but little for them. For a while at sunset and an hour or more after, our route was through a fine wood very pleasant and cool.  At near 10 PM came up a very heavy shower. Such thunder and lightning and torrents of rain I think I never saw before. The road before a bed of dust now became a bed of mud at times ankle deep and slippery so that ever and anon someone of us would be sprawled full length. It became so dark as to prevent our marching and for 3/4 of an hour or nearly so, we had to stand and take rain amid gleaming lightning and crashing thunder. Officers and all got completely wet. Soon after the shower, bivouacked in large field. Converting the rail fence, which surrounded it into thousands of bonfires, about which we gathered by groups, to dry ourselves a bit before turning in. Our whole corps in the field together and the scene presented by the gleaming fires and the men about contrasted with a background of darkness and the starlit sky above us was romantic and enlivening.  Had a change of underclothing which had kept nearly dry in my knapsack, which I put on and stretching upon three rails with my rubber blanket over me soon forgot about wet and mud in refreshing sleep.


July 8th.

Did not march until afternoon. Spent the time in drying our clothes etc. and cleaning our guns.  Pigs, chickens, green corn are confiscated in plenty.  Marched at 3PM.  It was a good road but we are obliged to go hitching along on account of wagon trains blockading the roads.  Fell into bivouac at 3 AM. Not half of the regiment together, and but 12 of our company the balance left straggled behind.


July 9th.

Slept soundly until long after sunrise.  Hardly awake when orders came to fall in and march, and off we started with empty stomachs and weary feet. Our march last night was illuminated with burning out store houses, barns etc. Among them, some belonged to the estates of Joseph and Jeff Davis. Today our route has kept twisting and turning now through corn and cotton fields, now in the road, and now in the woods. And ever and anon, blocked with trains of supplies and ambulances getting our supplies of water from the brackish ditches or still more brackish puddles by the roadside. Were allowed about an hour halt at noon to make coffee and munch hard tacks. Had a fine two hours rest in the afternoon.  Near by us was a mansion well furnished and apparently just deserted by its occupants. It was soon pillaged.  Books, maps, clothing, furniture, fancy articles etc. being scattered promiscuously among us and taken without any regard to need. Soon some more barbarous than the rest commenced smashing furniture.  Pianos, bureaus etc. and ending with setting the whole place on fire. To most of us this seemed a shameful piece of barbarism, unworthy of our army, and disgraceful to it, and hurting the cause by stirring up a spirit of bitterness among our foes. The furniture and family mementos thus destroyed could be of no use to the enemy.  Had the family remained at home nothing of this kind would have been molested.  In the storehouses there was plenty of bacon, molasses, sugar and honey which it was but right we should take to splice our scanty rations.  Made about 10 miles when we were told to “turn in” until next morning.


July 10th.

Were allowed to rest unmolested until sunrise.  Soon after came orders to draw three days rations, take only rubber blankets, haversacks and canteens and to march.  Hitched along through the day, our route similar to that of yesterday. Twice were halted, stacked arms and got to making coffee when orders came to “fall in” so it was throw away our coffee and march on.  At near 4:00 PM came orders to load our muskets and prepare for action, were now near the city of Jackson and the enemy. The sound of an occasional gun, ambulances with little pieces of red flannel filing into line, men with stretchers and bandages and Surgeons making displays of their instruments all told us that the realities of war were near at hand. The prospect sobered us as it always does even the most jovial, yet saving a stereotype few who always “skidadle” at such times.  We were ready for our duty. For action we had 26 privates, 4 Sergeants, and 5 Corporals in our company.  Remained in line until dark then marched two miles and bivouacked just outside the city. Missed our blankets and tent pieces, but with our rubber blankets beneath us and snuggling together we passed the night comfortably though a little chilly.


July 11th.

Remained in quiet until 10:00 AM.  Near us was a finally furnished mansion, which the occupants had just deserted. To appearance it must have been occupied by a large family as it was furnished with furniture of every description, and an abundance of children’s toys, books, engravings etc. Some of the furniture was recognized by some of our company as their own manufacture. A general pillage ensued and soon our camp presented a ludicrous scene of our man dressed in women’s apparel strutting about with a motley collection of furniture and notions.  Some of our men got some fine engravings, but little use could be made of them, as there was no way to transport them. Were formed in line of battle about a mile from our camp spot at the base of a hill and beside a shallow creek.  Here we remained as a support to an advanced line of skirmishes. Skirmishes and occasional artillery firing was kept up most of the day in our front. Shell and solid shot occasionally passing near, and a spent bullet dropping among us, one of the latter slightly wounding one of our company. Reports say that the rebels are fortifying themselves in and about Jackson. Our Colonel sun struck and carried off the field today to the hospital. This throws a gloom upon the regiment.  Lt. Colonel Mitchell of the 51st NY placed in command of us. Sixteen of our regiment disabled by the heat today. Near where we are stationed is a large insane asylum, a fine stone building and had finely laid our grounds and surroundings, but these are now transferred over and cut up by our artillery and baggage trains.  The asylum is filled with inmates. What strange varieties of life are thus thrown together. The building is already scarred from the fight as a cannon shot had ploughed its way into it. Showers came up towards night.  “Turned in” upon beds of boughs and grass and though somewhat wet were soon asleep.


July 12th.

Were routed at two a.m. and marched to the front where we deployed as skirmisher relieving the 17th Michigan.  Our orders “not to advance to keep under shelter as much as possible and to hold the “rebs” in check.” Part of our line was in a wood and part in a particularly open lot, which afforded us an occasional fine tree or stump for shelter. The rebels were similarly posted in our front. A rambling fire was kept up most of the day, both parties watching each other from behind stumps and trees like cats. Some would climb into trees so as better to spy out some stragglers from shelter. We got off quite fortunately having but six wounded in the regiment. It seemed sad to be spending the Sabbath thus. Stretching myself upon the ground behind a tree I passed some of the time when the “rebs” were slack in their firing in the study of God’s word. However full of counsel and comfort is God’s word for any and all circumstances of life. Quite and artillery fire was kept up a part of the day, the shot and shell flying over our heads and occasionally one dropping among us or crashing among the tree tops over us.


July 13th.

Were divided, four men to a post during the night, two required to be on the watch at a time-thus got four hours sleep during the night.  Just as day broke the rebels opened fire quite savagely. At the same time, we were being relieved by the 7th RI.  Many of this regiment were wounded, a few killed in getting their position.  Has a very narrow escape viz.  I was standing behind an orderly Sergeant John K. Hull of the 7th RI who had relieved me, both of us behind a tree, I giving him some instructions.  I had my gun in front of me lengthwise of my body-flat a click upon my gun and at the same moment Sergeant Hull uttered a faint cry and fell upon his face at my feet.  I sprang close to the tree and glancing at the body saw blood gushing from his mouth and that a bullet had passed through his body. He uttered a groan and expired.  Looking at my gun I saw that the middle band was partially broken and the woodwork close to it dented upon the barrel, thus showing that the bullet after passing through his body had struck the gun and by it was glanced aside. Thus has God again preserved me in the day of battle. How strange the fortunes of war, all the day before I had been in the same spot and not always careful to keep behind the tree thoughtless of real danger. In fact not five minutes before, the Sergeant Hull was killed, I spread out my blanket in an open spot near the tree and folded it and yet not a shot was fired at me. Dropping upon my knees I crawled quickly to the rear and was soon out of danger once more. Felt sober the rest of the day. Feel that while God is thus almost by direct providence shielding my life I ought to render it all as an offering of gratitude to His service. Our regiment remained in support of the skirmish line the rest of the day.  Were ordered to keep equipment on and ready to fall in line of battle at a moment’s notice. Twice we were thus ordered to fall in but it proved only a feeble attempt of the “rebs” to drive our skirmish line, which caused the order. It was amusing to see us scrambling to get into line as these orders came. Some would be cooking coffee, which or course would have to be dumped instantly; some semi-asleep.  Visited the camp of the 7th RI and ascertained that Sergeant Hull shot before me was unmarried and was much esteemed in the regiment.


July 14th.

Slept soundly upon three rails with a few boughs spread upon them to smooth their sharp edges. Routed at daybreak and marched to the rear of the asylum and camped. Rested for the day. Cleaned gun for it was badly rusted. Had some green corn and stewed green peaches.


July 15th.

Removed our camp spot 1/3 of a mile to a wood. Knapsacks came up and mail.  Received two letters from Carrie and Nellie. Wrote to Abbie and Nellie. Washed myself in a muddy creek near by, also my clothes first time since the 4th.


July 16th.

Routed at 2 AM.  Marched to the front and supported 46th NY, who were on the skirmish line. Regiment in readiness to fall in and drawn up in battle line once during the day. One of the regiment wounded by a shell.


July 17th.

Routed 12:30AM and marched to the front and were in our places on the skirmish line before daylight.  As it came, no shots from the “rebs” greeted us as heretofore, and out fire to their lines brought no reply. Advancing cautiously we formed and found they had no skirmishes out. Our regiment was first to enter the city, and out regiment flagged the first upon the rebel capitol of Mississippi.  Found by the citizens that the rebel troops left during the night, the main body leaving at 10 o’clock. Their force estimated from 20 to 30,000. They had constructed some formidable breastworks about the city, with earth, timber and cotton bales. They must have left in haste at the last as they left one 32 and guns all mounted and not spiked with a quantity of ammunition beside it for use.  Before leaving they set fire to several stores which were filled with merchandise.  Our regiment was detailed to guard private residences and was thus scattered over the city. In days of prosperity Jackson must have been a fine city, has some fine private residences wide streets singularly laid out with wide sidewalks and profusely ornamented with shade trees. The dwellings not at all crowded as in our northern cities but all present a free open aspect with plenty of room for gardens etc.  Was on guard over the mansion of the rebel Governor John J. Pettus.  Many of the citizens had “skidadled” with their effects. Most of the stores had been cleared out and what of them had not were soon ransacked of whatever could be of use to us. Sugar and molasses were found in considerable quantities, casks of which were rolled into the streets, heads knocked out and we were soon rolling in sweets. Took away with us what we could.  Molasses ran along the sidewalks and gutters in streams in front of some of the warehouses. Some pillaging was done in deserted private mansions and books, pictures, and fancy articles taken afterwards thrown away or trampled about camp. Many houses showed the effects of our shells, in smashed rooks, demolished chimneys etc. The rebel troops were in some localities obliged to “burrough” to protect themselves from our shot. Near 1,000 prisoners were captured. About 150 were placed in charge of our regiment. At near noon marched back to our camp ground with our prisoners. Had some interesting talks with them. Three fourths of them expressed themselves as tired of the war, discouraged at the loss of Vicksburg and feel their cause as good as lost. Had a conversation with one young man from New Orleans, who said the war was got up by the aristocratic land owners, and that the laboring classes and mechanics opposed to it and forced or cajoled into it by false views of state rights and northern aggressions. They told sad stories of hard marches and short rations with Johnston. They were dressed in all sorts of suits semi military or citizen and many of them sadly ignorant. We were much relieved at this “skidadle” thus getting clear of a much, dreaded assault upon the city. Still it may be only deferring the fight for “he who fights and runs away may live to fight another day.”

July 18th.

Had the best night’s rest last night allowed me for a week.  Detailed with 20 men to as guard to Division supply train but being sent to the wrong place, had to retrace our steps and were thus made late and so lost the job of which I was not sorry.  Busy most of the day cleaning gun.


July 19th.

Sabbath.  A quiet day until 4 PM when came orders to pack and be ready to move at a moment’s notice.  Kept waiting ‘til sunset when we were told to turn in, as we might not move until morning.  Busy all the forenoon in writing and filling out diary for the past week.  At 9 PM had rations of fresh meat given out.  Toasted mine upon my ramrod ready for the morning.


July 20th.

Routed at 3 AM ready to march at 4 AM, but after several short hitches got under way at 6 AM.  Our whole Corps, wagons, artilleries, ambulances with the wounded etc. on the move together in one column bound back to Milldale.  Our column made a fine show to an outsider, but it was anything but pleasant marching being very warm and dusty.  Made about 20 miles during the day not getting into camp until 10 PM.  Many “fell out” both of officers and men in fact more were left straggling by the way then went into the camp. But 10 of our company got into camp with the regiment officers. Many were sun struck, both officers and men.  Had dinner of fresh meat and roast green corn and coffee. The meat distributed to us soon as killed.


July 21st.

Routed at 4 AM.  Barely time to cook coffee etc. when ordered to fall in. Some had to start without any coffee, and without which a soldier is poorly prepared for a march and some started with pails of hot coffee in their hand. Our Brigade took the lead in the Corps. Passed through Brownsville a neat looking place.  Passed many fine plantations. The dwellings and other buildings belonging to them would be considered 100 years behind the age at the North. Immense fields of corn were attached to each stretching often as far as the eye could reach-doubtless these were cotton fields before the war. Report saith the Rebel Government have forbid the raising of cotton for market and that grain crops must be raised instead. Plenty of melons, apples, and peaches along our route, which we confiscated to hour hearts content. Halted for near 3 hours at noontime and was awfully hot. Our route is through open country for several miles, varied with cuts and through valleys where scarce a breath of air was stirring. Men straggled behind in scores-near 3/4ths of officers and men had fallen out ere we had gone three miles. Many were sun struck as reports were plenty that some had died company were sun struck and others of our company partially. Had cold chills and were buried by the roadside.  Captains Park and Pratt, and Lemuel A. Smith of our down my back and other unpleasant sensations for an hour or more which led me to fear it was sunstroke.  But thank God I got through safely. It was a sad sight to see men disabled thus and to think of those who if reports were true met with death so suddenly and such hasty burial when as it were we were “homebound.”  None of us even our Brigade officers could give any reason for such severe marching in such weather; and to most of us it seemed needless and wicked as we had no enemy to molest us or to engage our attention.  Made about 20 miles and camped in a cornfield near the Big Black River.


July 22nd.

Moved our camp spot a little to a grove nearer the river.  Remained in camp until near 5 PM.  Had plenty of fresh meat and green corn, but half rations of hard tacks and coffee.  Crossed the Big Black River amid a heavy thundershower.  Rain poured in torrents for an hour or more and turning the road into a complete bed of mud-patched ankle deep interspersed with brooks and semi rivers a foot deep. I fell flat in the mud twice. Got thoroughly soaked and nearly exhausted but made out to bivouac with the regiment. Turned in upon some rails and slept soundly notwithstanding wet clothes. Made about 7 miles.


July 23rd.

Routed at 4:30AM. Marched at 5 without breakfast, as we had no rations.  Weather bright and warm so that got dried off in making the remaining 8 miles which brought us to our old camp spot at Milldale, a weary jaded and hungry set of men.  About one half of us got into camp together with the balance scattered along the road for miles back. Had rations of coffee, hard tacks and pork given out. Sent to the landing and got some soft bread and from a dinner thereof and some sleep refreshed and went to the brook and had a grand bath and washed coat, hat, pants, vest, and in fact every article of clothing.  O, how refreshing and enlivening it is to feel clean once more.  Put up in tent with William M. Titcomb and John D. Cobb Thus has ended our campaign about Vicksburg and to Jackson, Mississippi.  It has been varied with the usual fortune of war, the cheering and victories and the wearying and trying commingled. We, in this campaign have had much of the latter and as I am in mind to review it can but wonder we were able to endure so much and come out with the strength we have. Weary and jaded and many of us more fit for the hospital than camp we now hope soon to be set North and that recruiting spell may be given us.


July 24th.

Lay in tent reading and posting up diary for the past 4 days. Partially wrote letter to sisters and mended clothes.


July 25th.

Finished letter to sisters and wrote it in a grove of cane breaks just out side camp. Cleaned gun and drew three days rations which amount we are required to keep on hand.  Our campground is situated at the foot of a wooded slope. It is a rough spot but most of us have fixed up bunks of cane poles, and for bedding have mistletoe, a kind of moss which hangs in festoons of bunched from the trees about us. Some use boughs and twigs, but the rough ground disturbs us but little. Have poor accommodation for our sick of whom there are many. Have a sort of hospital building built of in part tent cloth and partly of shrubbery and canebrakes.  Doctor Snow, our Surgeon, is a thoroughly competent man but lacking in feeling and sympathy for the sick. In fact, feel that most of our surgeons are lacking in these qualities and at times feel that there are excuses for them in the matter, perhaps that their being brought daily to sad and terrible scenes. And the fact that many men systematically “play off”, make believe sick to get rid of duty, may lead them unwittingly and unwillingly to a cold and callous spirit and manner to their patients.


July 26th.

David Phelan, of our company died today in our regiment hospital. Thus one by one we are cut down. Now have a funeral near every day from some of the regiments. Hospital accommodations are very poor and diseases incident to the heat and the fatigue we have undergone are multiplying among us. Have a rough burying place near our camp. It seems sad to have men buried in such lonely spots where the foot of fellow man for many a year may not tread again. Of our comrade it may be said that in his country’s service he has done what he could.  Leaves a wife with no children. Had religious conversation with William J. Wallace.  From it felt more my need of simplicity and gentleness and have for my motives the controlling love of Christ and the promotion of holiness and salvation in the hearts of all men.


July 27th.

Fixed up odds and ends.  Sleepy in afternoon and felt more humbled in spirit.  Need to cultivate disinterestedness in all my actions looking to doing good to others and a spirit of improving to the utmost my talents and opportunities for usefulness. Notice that a spirit of selfishness is creeping over me that I have but little of that broad love that is ready to relieve and help those in trouble, at inconvenience to self and without questioning of color or position or thinking of praise or credit to self.


July 28th.

Unwell near all day from diarrhea.  Heavy shower at sunset and near drowned out, water coming in torrents and swelling dried up brooks to streams over our heads. Streams came down the hill upon us carrying away one tent and grilling out some others. Appointed to attend “Sick Call” each day.


July 29th.

Busy near all day fixing up tent.  Making a bunch of cane poles and a bed of mistletoe.  John D. Cobb fixed up tent by himself.  William M.Titcomb and myself are together.


July 31st.

Our whole regiment out on picket today.  Leaving camp at 6:30AM.  Picket posts 3 miles from camp near the Yazoo River, commanding a fine view of the country round about. Our picket duty a more formal affair done probably to exercise our legs a little. Busy when not on post cleaning gun and equipment. Were under the command of Lieutenant Ingals.


August 1st.

Saturday.  Came off picket at 11 AM.  Whiskey dealt out to the regiment on return. Gave my ration to Corporal Clinton Bagley. Think it needless to give out whiskey now and wish there were no such thing allowed only in the medicine chests of the Surgeons. Thunder shower in afternoon. Read in “Proverbial Philosophy” a copy of which founds its way to camp from the ransacking of Jackson.


August 2nd.

Sabbath.  A beautiful day, but showery in afternoon. All quiet in camp. Read in Bible and Congregationalist most of day. Went into woods at sunset and had a season of Bible study and prayer. Felt I needed a more simply childlike walking with God.


August 3rd.

Monday.  Wrote letter to Benjamin Boyden. Our sick from the hospital transferred to a hospital boat today. Theodore F. Dunlap and Conrad Schnider of our company were among the number. From this we feel that we shall soon be ordered to bid good bye to Mississippi and once more turn our faces homeward. Have had quiet easy time with nothing to do but eat and keep clean.  Hardly any of us can claim to be well-the heat some days intense and really wilting to us, yet as we contrast this quiet soldiering with our Jackson campaign we fell we ought not to complain rather be thankful.  Has a spirit of envy and jealousy roused in me today by the trifling cause of our Lieutenant’s calling upon another Sergeant instead of myself to do some “clerking.” How much do I need to cultivate disinterestedness in all I do and to seek in all things to do the best my circumstances will allow and leave results with God, and to learn to seek not in any wise honor or applause from man. Our corps received a complimentary notice from General Grant today crediting us with courage, faithfulness, and endurance in the campaigns about Vicksburg and Jackson, and that the two places ought to be inscribed upon our regiment colors. This notion was read to our regiment today.


August 4th.

John Birch of our company taken violently sick last night with fits and spasms-took four men to hold him-he seemed to imagine that the rebels were after him and suffered terribly.  William M. Titcomb of our company left for home to receive a commission in General Wild’s African brigade, in the 2nd Regiment NY Volunteers.  May success and prosperity attend him.  How do these departures ever and anon of one and another from among us lead to the inquiry? Have I done my duty to them in spiritual things?  Have I lived in all Godliness and brotherly kindness with them?  And how too, do such separations remind me to be more watchful that I may do justly and love mercy to those remaining.


August 5th.

Wednesday.  John L. Smith and George Sargent left for 30 day’s furlough.  May they have joyous visits home.  It seems good that some of us at least can go home and somehow seems to bring home nearer.  Went to the landing with George Sargent, who was too weak to carry his baggage.  Was boastful of a “righteous above others” spirit today-need to remember Christ’s words “Not to let my left hand know what my right hand doeth.”  Felt I have not that tender, hearted love for the spiritual welfare of others I ought; have a sort of shrinking from speaking to others of religious matters.


August 6th.

Thursday.  National Thanksgiving is on account of recent victories.  Do not have that spirit of thankfulness I ought, or remember that it is God in His Providence who giveth us the victory. And that we as a nation are dependent upon him; that victory or defeat is alike from his hand. And that we ought by the one to be excited to devout gratitude and by the other to humiliation and patient trust.  At 10 A.M. came orders to draw and cook 5 days’ rations and be in readiness to move during the day.  At noon came orders to “pack up” and in an hour after we were on the move to the “landing.”  Took the afternoon to load the baggage, horses and mules.  Our company detailed to help in this task-not a very easy one in the broiling sun, a slight shower happily improved that air towards night.  Amusing scenes occurred in loading the mules who disliked the plan of walking the “gangway” to the steamer and consequently had to be pulled or pushed by main force-some of them in their efforts were capsized into the river.  The 11th N. Y., 51st N.Y., 79th N.Y., and two companies of the 45th P.A. with our regiment composed the cargo.  It was with merry hearts that at 9 P.M. we steamed down the Yazoo with the wooded shores ringing with our songs.  All were willing to bid goodbye to Mississippi and its memories of hard marches, scorching sun, soaking showers, and alternate beds of dust and mud.  Thank God most of us who came upon its soil have been allowed to leave it, but the majority of us weaker or less able for future service without a resting spell.  We are on the steamer, Planet.  Our regiment has lost but 3 men in the campaign, 2 by disease, and 1 in battle.  Two others were taken prisoners.


August 7th.

Friday.  Set up until 1 o’clock with John Birch.  He has improved somewhat but is very weak and not rational in mind.  Our sick have very poor accommodations, are placed on rough board bunks with nothing but their blankets beneath them. Our regiment stowed upon the upper deck where we enjoy the sun to our hearts content.  Have put up our shelter tents, which are quite a shield to us.


August 8th.

Saturday.  Nothing of note today.  Steam boating on the Mississippi especially with our heavily laden boats, is as monotonous as heart could wish. It is aggravating to see the passenger boats glide swiftly by us. The scenery is more attractive than our down war trip two months ago. The foliage has a deeper green, the river is lower and long stretches of sandy beach often intervene between it and the foliage bank.  Doubtless too, the fact that our hearts are lighter and cheered with the thought that now we are going toward home, with glorious victory upon our banners, and the prospect of a resting spell amid the green fields of Kentucky, causes things to have a different look to us.


August 9th.

Sabbath.  Had a good season of bible study.  Arrived at Memphis at 3 P.M.  Hucksters and peddlers with pies, cakes and gimcracks soon flocked round and upon the boat.  None but the officers were first allowed to go on shore an attempt was made to prevent the men from doing so at all, but soon one and another would run guard and ere long the boat was deserted. The stores were soon opened, bread, cakes, fruits and notions generally, and not a little whiskey freely purchased. Bought some fruit and bread. Felt some misgivings about the right of it, but overruled the voice of conscience by arguments that I was cramped upon the boat with nothing but hard tacks and bacon, and that I needed these extras for health, and we might not remain until tomorrow. This sought to make me feel right to buy them upon the Sabbath. But as the evening came on with its review of the day I felt I had done wrong in the matter. O how specious and seemingly just are some of the arguments which our passions and appetites will use to lead us to feel we are right, when in reality we are disobeying either the spirit or letter of God’s command. How great the need of watchfulness and prayer when seasons of doubt arise as to whether it may not be right in some cases to overlook God’s command, how then does a spirit of filial love and communion with God help to make plain the path of truth and duty. Feel that I can never have strong faith, much joy in the Christian life, much love to my fellow men, but little of the spirit that worketh to save souls, or much of the grace of the spirit, while I thus neglect the plain commandments of God. A large number of our men got the worse from liquor, and a street fight took place between them and some of the Provost Guard.


August 10th.

Monday.  Our boat’s perfect pandemonium the first part of last night, and one could not help being amused, shocked, and vexed by turns at the strange antics of whiskey.  Remained near the city until noon, coaling up etc.  Took a bath in the river.  Left John Birch, of our company in the hospital. Think it will be the last we shall see of him.


August 11th.

Tuesday.  Nothing of note today.  Shower came up at sunset making the 4th on our trip.  Stopped quite a while to wood up.  Had to take down our tent pieces on account of cinders from the smokestack.  Wrote a letter to Ronnie. The scenery is monotonous still and we spend our time between dozing and sleeping mingled with some debates on politics, and letter writing.  The sun is anything but agreeable at times. It is easy to see we are nearing the free states. The houses and farm buildings have a more modern thrifty and tasteful look, the grounds about them more tastefully laid out etc.


August 12th.

Wednesday.  Arrived at Cairo at 11 A.M. Remained until 6 P.M. for cars. It seemed good to get on land and stretch out at full length without fear of punching someone’s ribs or being punched in turn. Had a chance to visit the town and buy notions.


August 13th.

Thursday.  Loaded on cars again en route for Cincinnati as our next landing place.  Crowded into box freight cars as usual, nevertheless got pretty good sleep for the night. Some of the men slept outside tying themselves to the walking plank of the car.  Had rye, coffee, and meat provided for us at Centrallia at 4 A.M.  Changed cars at Sandoval and left for Cincinnati at 10:30 A.M.  Our trip to Cincinnati was pleasant considering our cramped accommodations, but as we had the privilege of riding outside we got on quite tolerable. Rode outside near all day with my blanket for a seat. The scenery was much pleasanter than our outward trip of two months ago. The crops more advanced presenting to us noble fields of corn and other grain orchards and gardens loaded with ripening fruits and vegetables. At near every town we got fresh supplies of fruits, the citizens bestowing them upon us generously. At Washington, IN they gave us a grand treat bringing to us at the cars, fruits, pies, cakes, bread etc. Our only reward to them was our thanks.  At Vincennes, IN we had hot coffee and rolls.


August 14th.

Friday.  Slept tolerably on the car floor.  Had some more coffee for us at Seymour, IN. The scenery as we approached Cincinnati was lovely, a feast to our eyes after the views we had had of the barren and half, cultivated fields of Mississippi.  Every foot of ground seemed to be cultivated vineyards, and orchards lining the hillsides.  As we neared the city our route lay near the river and it was enlivening to scoot by the steamers and boats upon its bosom. At every village the citizens were out to cheer us. Arrived at Cincinnati near 4 P.M.  Marched to the market building and had a good repast of coffee, ham, bread, fruits etc. At 6 P.M. were ferried across the river to Covington.  A suspension bridge is about being built across the river.  Marched to a fine shady camp spot just outside the city.  It was unspeakably refreshing after our weeks tumbling about on boats and cars to stretch out upon mother earth and rest without being crowded and jolted.


August 15th.

Saturday.  Had best night’s sleep for the week.  Busy all day washing “skirmishing” and cleaning up generally.  Pitched tent with John D. Cobb.  Our whole corps is coming to camp near by us.  Reports say we are soon to go to East Tenn.  Near by us is the 129th Ohio (6 months men new recruits).  A sight of their new rig and unsoiled clothes and equipment brings to memory our first days of soldiering at Lynnfield, Massachusetts.  Some of our men were unkind to make fun over their “greenness” in drill and forgetting seemingly their own early experience but a year ago.


August 16th.

Sunday.  A beautiful day, with inspection in morning, I attended church at Covington.  Had opportunity to look upon a Sabbath school. Very pleasant to do so, bringing to mind the pleasant home privileges of the past. My mind and heart is not as it should be in religious matters, cold and dull-do not make the privileges of prayer and study of God’s word foremost as I ought but too often let secular duties crowd them our of mind. Wrote letter to sisters. Orders for us to be ready to march tomorrow.  Our regiment is to go as guard for a wagon train to Hickman bridge. It is a sad disappointment to most of us as we were hoping to remain quiet for a while. Get paid off, and some clothing before we are again upon the march.


August 17th.

Monday.  Routed at 3 A.M.  Ready to march at 4 A.M.  Lounged about all day, and did not move at all and thus seemingly needless loss of sleep etc. The regiment overhauled by the Surgeon with 74 men reported by him as unfit for duty. Most of them are quite sick with chills and fever and diarrhea, nine from our company.  Report saith they are to go to a convalescent camp or semi hospital at Camp Dennison, Ohio. On our route from Miss. had to leave four in hospitals, one at Memphis and three at Cincinnati so that now we have but 22 men in camp for duty out of the 100 with which we started a year ago. Have 72 upon the rolls of them 22 in camp. Two are sent to invalids’ corps, 22 in hospitals, two on furlough and the balance on detailed service. Our Colonel on the sick list and will have to remain behind and as we have no Captain in the regiment for duty we are to be commanded by an officer from the 51st NY.


August 18th.

Tuesday.  Routed at 3A.M. and marched at 6A.M.  Moved slowly expecting to meet the wagon train 5 miles from Covington, but found that the train had moved on before us, so put our knapsacks on our teams and moved on after them.  Made 11 miles and had noon halt.  Five miles in the afternoon brought us up with the train gone into camp for the night. Camped near them having a fine camp spot on a grassy slope near a pond of clear water, with good spring water nearby. It is refreshing to have such good opportunity to wash our weary and blistered feet after a day’s march.


August 19th.

Wednesday.  Had a fine night’s rest. Thank God for it. Routed at sunrise. Out train is made up of a lot of new wagons destined for team-stretches out near a mile in length.  Most of the wagons are covered with new canvas and present a picturesque appearance jogging along over the hills.  Have our knapsacks carried and can ride or walk as we please there is not much choice as the wagons are without springs. Made about 11 miles and halted for the day. Spent rest of the day at our ease, and gathered green corn, tomatoes, potatoes, apples etc. from the farms round about and so lived high.


August 20th.

Thursday.  Routed at daylight. Got underway at 6 A.M. Made about 30 miles over a rough and hilly road jolting us when riding to our hearts content. Camped beside a running brook. Confiscated a lot of straw from a neighboring field for bedding for the night.


August 21st.

Friday.  Got underway again at 9 A.M.  Our commander with a squad of men captured a couple of guerrillas this morning. Reports say they have been captured before and broke prison.


August 22nd.

Saturday.  Routed at sunrise and underway at 6 A.M.  Our route today and in fact throughout our trip has been mostly through a fine farming country.   Splendid field of corn, orchards and gardens stretching along side the road and away from it, interspersed with these were fine pastures abounding in groves of maple and black walnut, free from underbrush.  Passed many fine farmhouses.  Passed through Georgetown today and is quite a thriving town. Stopped quite a while during which we had quite a conversation with one of the citizens concerning slavery in Kentucky. He said the free slaves were poorly off, being lazy, little forethought for the future, given to theft etc.  But that most of the slaves in KY were better off than the poor whites especially those living in the poorer sections of the state. Feel that the degradation of the whites is but a result of slavery, else why is there not a similar state of things in the free states lying in the same latitude as KY.  Camped at Paris, at close of the afternoon having made 21 miles.


August 23rd.

Sabbath.  Placed on guard last night, and thus busy until 10 A.M. washing up and tending to guard relief and thus not able to attend church as I hoped.  Paris is quite a thriving town, its dwellings and public buildings have an antiquated look-has two or three churches.  Felt dull and sleepy today and unable to fix my mind upon reading.  Feel that is wrong to be thus and that something is wrong in my manner of living-think it may come from drinking strong coffee or too much of it.  One from our regiment from Company H died on the way yesterday.  Many blamed the Surgeon, charging him with neglect in not having the man taken from the wagon and properly cared for.  His company and a portion of the regiment attended his body to the Paris cemetery. One of the town clergymen read a burial service and offered an appropriate prayer. Thus one more of our number is buried far from home and kindred.


August 24th.

Routed at daylight and underway at 6 A.M.  Several of the regiment sick and sent to Nicholasville on cars, with three from our company. Our wagons now loaded with bales of hay, upon which we perched ourselves and rode quite comfortably.  Passed through Lexington and camped for the night three miles beyond it.  Shower just as we got into camp. Are camped near a splendid farm containing some fine tobacco fields. The hands were busy thrashing wheat using an 8 horse, thrashing machine. The latter was quite a novelty to us.  Were allowed to take what straw we wanted and thus were enabled to bid defiance to the rain.


August 25th.

Woke to find it raining quite had which it continued to do for two hours.  Underway at 6 A.M. and passed through Nicholasville and 5 miles beyond, went into camp in a delightful spot a fine grassy grove with a large stream nearby.   Here we bid goodbye to the wagons and report saith we are to remain and recruit and renew our clothing etc. Altogether, our trip as wagon guard was pleasant, a sort of holiday excursion for soldiers.  Our fear of guerrillas is hardly worth mentioning. Our living excellent and the fruit and vegetables confiscated or given us by the way were rich treats. We have named our present camp “Camp Parks.”  Our Adjutant promoted to Major today so that now we have an officer from our own ranks able to command us. Have abundance of straws from a neighboring field for bedding.


August 26th.

Wednesday.  Had to remodel our camp, laying our new streets clearing away bushes, stoves and all rubbish, and pitched our tents “double.”  Laid by with sprained foot purchased by extra gymnastics in getting from the wagon yesterday. Signed our pay rolls and got paid off in the evening, much to our joy.


August 27th.

Thursday.  Received a mail, our first since leaving Mississippi.  Received a letter from Abbie a most joyfully welcomed, think there must be one or two back letters on the way.


August 28th.

Friday.  Rainy most of day.  Busy near all day cleaning gun and equipment and mending.  Felt lazy and drowsy. Had real home dinner today of pork, corn, cabbage, potatoes etc. these were extras got with sales of coffee and other extra rations, or rations not used.  Peddlers of every variety about the camp and wagonloads of poultry, vegetables, fruit etc. stand along the public road. These articles are sold cheap and many of our men spend their money freely for them, using scarce any government rations thus we get “extra” rations to sell.  It is saddening to see how some men gormandize themselves with these eatables many of them with kinds and quantities anything but healthful.  A letter from Nellie with post stamps, two nice pocket pincushions, and some flowers from the home garden.


August 29th.

Saturday.  We have fine cool weather, wool blankets that feel comfortable at bedtime.  Busy most of the day mending, fixing and cleaning up generally.  Received a letter from Carrie, very welcome. O what a joyful time if I were allowed to see home again. How much I have to be thankful for, that health and life are yet spared to me while so many have been cut down around me. Two of our company have died that past week: John Birch, at Memphis, Tennessee and  Samuel Wright, on the boat on the Mississippi, and they were buried at Helena, AK.  Had clothing issued today and very welcome, as we have drawn none for near four months.


August 30th.

Regiment inspection at 10 A.M., dress parade, and our military duties today.  We have had quiet times now for near a week.  No drills and thus a good chance to rest men, and clean up after our Vicksburg campaign.  Chills and fever are ripe in the camp and daily rations of quinine and whiskey are served out to the regiment.  As God is giving me good health I have not felt the need of the above “prescription.”  Had a quiet time for reading from afternoon inspection until dark.  Attended prayer meeting at camp of the 11th NH.  Felt sort of cold hearted.  Have a need to be more instant in prayer and bible study and now that we are quietly in camp have no excuse for neglecting them.


August 31st.

Mustered for pay to August 1st.  Wrote letters to Abbie and Nellie.  At dress parade came a program for the resumption of daily drills, guard mounting etc.  Am glad to think that this will tend to better order in camp, and more regularity in eating etc.  So closes another month of army life.  It has seen another campaign ended with numbers depleted, but not near as much as we expected as we left Kentucky in June.


September 1863


September 1st.

Our first drills today since June 3rd.  Not very well in afternoon, sort of chills need to be watchful.


September 2nd.

Battalion drill from Manual led by our Major.  Felt that with more energy and decision I might do more to improve my mind during the odd moments that come between our hours of drills etc.


September 3rd.

Sergeant of the guard today, while also indolent all day wasted much time today in reading silly love stories.  Feel I cannot expect that the fruits of the spirit will be manifest in my life if I thus feel the lusts of the body.


September 4th.

Nothing of note today.  Our usual daily drills, easy soldiering.  Feel that it tends to laziness and too much aimless use of time.  Have not the enthusiasm.  I have not performed it in our drills and thus cannot expect to be proficient in the “tactics” and maneuvers of field drill.  Feel I have not made it a matter of conscience and duty, as I ought.  John D. Cobb, our orderly, spoke to me of the matter and said that if I would take pains I might improve so as to have a chance for promotion.


September 5th.

Busy cleaning gun in forenoon, and washing and reading in the afternoon.  Signed pay rolls and got paid off to September 1st.


September 7th.

Rose by daylight.  Endeavored to be more industrious, to be more guarded against temptations to gratify my appetite.  Have succeeded somewhat.  Fell that if I but firmly resolve to be more earnest in a right use of the luxuries now peddled about camp I need not yield as I do to useless eating of them.  Need to watch and pray more than I do, and to so have my heart’s affections placed on higher and nobler things than eating so that there shall be no desire to gratify.


September 8th.

Wrote letter to Carrie.  Had an offer to be detailed as Ordinance Sergeant at Corps Head Quarters.  An easy position and tempting as likely thereby I should get rid of marching, knapsack lugging etc.  But feel I can be more useful to the cause to remain with the company.  Besides, feel like sticking to the fortunes of the regiment come weal or woe.  John L. Smith came back from furlough.  How good it is to see someone fresh from the old Bay State.


September 9th.

Orders to be ready to march soon after roll call.  Marched at noon.  Our company with orders hired a team to carry our knapsacks.  Marched ten miles and camped at Camp Dick Robinson, a splendid camp spot having been used as a drill camp for Kentucky troops.  Several in our company are worse from whiskey.


September 10th.

Reveille at 6 AM.  Marched at 7 AM, made ten miles, passing through Lancaster and camping a mile beyond the town.  Had our knapsacks carried and made our ten miles by 11 AM.  It seemed good to get rid of our luggage.  It seems a little homelike to get upon ground upon which we have been before.


September 11th.

Reveille at daylight.  Marched at 6:30 AM.  Made twelve miles.  Passed through Crab Orchard and camped one mile beyond it.  Again our marching is over for a while. Terrible dusty today, never saw it worse.  Were as smutty with dust and sweat as could well be.  These three days of marching have been pleasant, as we have marched leisurely trough a fine country and lightly loaded.  Found that the 1st. Brigade had been in camp here and left yesterday with eight days’ rations for Knoxville Tennessee.  Suppose we are soon to follow them.  If so, a long rough march is before us, on which I fear some of our poor fellows will fare hard.  Orderly Creasy of Company B., and our Sergeant Major, promoted to lieutenants today.  Think they will make good officers of which we are much in need.  Wish our Colonel could be with us to enforce better discipline.


September 12th.

Spent part of forenoon in reading papers.  Good news came from General Burnside and from Charleston for which God be thanked.  Heavy shower in afternoon with violent wind, many of our tents blown down causing amusing scenes, and amusing to those who could keep their tents upright and peer out at those whose tents were down and they paddling about in the mud and water.


September 13th.

In camp at Crab Orchard, Kentucky.  Busy most of forenoon fixing up after last night’s rain.  Went to town to attend church but found that services were held but once a month.  It has two churches.  The town has a demoralized and dilapidated look, the most so of any town we have yet seen in Kentucky.  The citizens seemed as if they never knew anything of a Sabbath.  Stores and other things are open, children of all ages frolicking in the streets.  Not as sorry at such scenes as I ought to be.   Feel I have not that thirsting of soul for the spiritual good of my comrades, which ought to be in the heart of the disciple of Jesus.  O how much have I the need to pray that I may blend the spirit of Christ and living for the salvation of souls with my daily life.  Wrote letter to Abbie.  Received one from her written July 27th.


September 15th.

Nothing of note yesterday.  Have daily fore and afternoon drills.  God is giving us charming weather, nights cool, days sunny and warm.  Feel I have made a little progress today in making a better use of leisure time.  Made 5 resolutions viz. concerning prayer, study of God’s word, eating, and to strive to be more humble and earnest in daily duties.  May I be prayerful for God’s grace to help to keep them.  Went to town in morning and got shoe fixed.  Wrote letter to brother, Ronnie.


September 16th.

Removed camp to a better location, on some fair grounds near the town.  Found plenty of loose lumber from the dilapidated fair buildings with which fixed up some nice quarters, board floors, bunks etc.  Reports plenty and cheering that our regiment to do provost duty here and that government is going to establish a military post with store houses and repair shops in the town-of which we are quite jubilant.


September 17th.

Wrote a letter to Abbie and to Benjamin Boyden.  Removed camp again, some 30 rods to another part of the fair grounds, and have now a splendid location.  Smooth grass flat around which runs a racecourse. We also found plenty of loose lumber or rather made it so by tearing down the fair buildings with which built us comfortable quarters.  Many buildings are miniature cottages.  There were some very wry faces as the order came for removal, but good feelings were restored as the new ground was found better than the old.  Found plenty of straw in a neighboring field, so that altogether we have the best quarters we have as yet enjoyed in the service.  John D. Cobb and I, have two bunks, closet, shelves, other household conveniences.  Thank God for these comforts.


September 18th.

On guard duty today.  2100 Rebel prisoners passed the camp today, and what a sorry looking set of men.  Dressed in all sorts of uniforms and no uniforms, pale and spiritless faces looking as one of our men expressed it “as if they had been nipped by the frost.”


September 20th.

Unwell most of the day with diarrhea.  Hard work to bring my mind to close thought or to study God’s word with any deep feeling.  Private Naaman Torrey Jr. of Company H buried today in the village cemetery.


September 21st.

Wrote letters to have some flannels etc. sent me from home.  A most lovely day, it seems almost like wasting time to be stationed here in this peaceful section, the bright Autumn days.


September 22nd.

Wrote to brother, Ronnie.  Had needless dispute with one of the company, from it learned that I need make it a rule to avoid all disputes or debates upon useless topics, and to study to be quiet, patient and gentle.  Received a letter from Nellie.  I was very glad to get it.  By it fear Abbie is not very well.  Wish I might get home to see her.


September 23rd.

Sent out with detail from our regiment, and so from the 51st PA regiment to repair road to Mt. Vernon, thirteen miles.  Left camp at 7 AM went nine miles and took dinner.  Commenced work at 4 PM.  Worked until 5:30 PM then put up our shelters upon a steep hillside, and near a fine spring.  Have 3 day’s rations with us.  Received letter from Abbie.  Noticed a spirit of selfishness in not being willing to allow Lt. Pope to come into our tent for the night.  John L. Smith, and Clinton Bagley in tent with me.


September 24th.

At work at 7 AM until 11:30 AM repairing steep hillside, filling gullies so as to make it possible for any wagon to travel.  At noon orders for two companies of each regiment to return to camp.  The road was rough and got into camp at sunset with feet badly blistered.  The country through which we marched hilly and mostly woods with here and there a log cabin was in a tumble down state.  Saw an intelligent looking women at work harvesting.


September 25th.

Cold and chilly most of the time.  The men busy fixing up huts.  Enjoyed our “cosy” cottage” today.  Reading near all day.


September 26th.

Received latter from Carrie.  Busy most of forenoon cleaning up for tomorrow’s inspection.  Read in “Old Wornstead” in afternoon.


September 27th.

A beautiful day, with a heavy white frost this morning.  Bible study in early morning.  Inspection at 10:30AM.  Went to church.  The church was open for the first time since our stay here.  The preacher seemed to have a benevolent and charitable spirit.  Strolled into a neighboring field for quiet and bible study in afternoon.


September 29th.

Troubled with rheumatism.  Lame and stiff today.  We drill only three hours a day so have plenty of time for reading.  Received a bundle of Congregationalists from Benjamin Boyden today very welcome.


September 30th.

Sergeantt of guard today.  Middle of forenoon came orders to be ready to march with 8 days rations report to Knoxville, Tennessee.  Wry faces and hard words were in order from some who had hoped our “soft snap” of provost duty for a while longer.  Were it not for the 8 day rations to lug think the march over the mountains this time of the year a delightful prospect.  Wrote to Abbie and Nellie.  Our camp illuminated tonight with blazing cook fires cooking the rations of pork and bacon.  Another month gone.  It has been a pleasant one, with delightful weather in the main for us to enjoy the sunny side of army life.  God has been good to me in giving me rich measure of health.


October 1st.

The regiment in a state of turmoil all day ending with word that we were not to march until tomorrow.  A drizzly rain all day.  Wrote to Carrie.  Spent time in fixing for the march and in reading.


October 2nd.

Reveille 5 AM.  Stirring, amusing, exciting scenes occurred in camp for the two hours before marching.  Blazing fire is on every hand with stewing, frying and boiling, and cooking coffee.  Tents and blankets on every hand spread out for drying.  Packing of knapsacks and trying to cram the 8 days rations into knapsacks.  Many hard words about carrying the latter, 5 days rations of pork and bacon and 8 days of sugar, coffee and hard tacks.  The 51st Regiment who marched with us carry but 5 days, hence the hard words.  Rag and scrap gatherers in plenty who reaped a harvest of old clothing, shoes, bottles and rubbish generally.  It seems a bit sad to bid goodbye to the comfortable domicile which had been built as some hoped for the winter.  Many were set on fire and blazing bonfires were on every hand.  A Kentucky farmer, who formerly had been a driver, gave us an account of the route to Knoxville so that as we started 7 AM it was with pleasant anticipations about the journey.  Made 12 miles and camped 1 mile from Mt. Vernon.  Road was rough, hilly and rocky, but in fine condition from the recent rain, weather cool and fine.  Into camp at 3 PM and then a rush by “foragers” for fresh pork, and soon poor piggy was captured and sizzling in the frying pan.  Lt. Pope, John D. Cobb, Clinton Bagley, John L. Smith, Hiram J. Shufeldt and myself tented together.


October 3rd.

Were allowed to get up at our leisure, and did not march until 9 AM being obliged to wait for the wagons to come up, they having got set several times and one was upset twice.  Marched through Mt. Vernon, which contained about a dozen houses in a dilapidated condition and was built upon a bed of rocks.  Made 4 miles and camped beside a fine spring and near to a cave, which was quite a curiosity and gave one an idea of what “Mammoth cave” was like.  Mutton and fresh pork soon found their way to our frying pans, notwithstanding orders not to take anything from the citizens without paying for the same.  But it was tempting to see the porkers running about the camp and even into your tent and poke their noses into your knapsacks, and think you have nothing but salt pork and hard tacks in prospect for a week.  Wrote letter to postmaster at Crab Orchard giving him instructions to dispose of the “box from home” which I had hoped would arrive before we left telling him to sell the boots, dispose of the goods as he saw fit, and mail the flannels to me.


October 4th.

Marched at 7 AM. 10 miles and camped beside Little Rock Cartle River at 12.  Route over Wild Cat Mountain, across Rock Cartle River, roughest road I ever saw.  The autumn coloring on the forests and occasional glimpses of distant mountains served to lighten the weariness of the march.


October 5th.

Reveille at sunrise and on the march at 7 AM.  Marched 9 miles and camped 2 1/2 miles from Loudon.  Our road saving one very steep hill was fine for marching, a nice sandy loam and not dusty-fine heavy oak, chestnut, and pinewoods skirting the road most of the way and the air clear and bracing.  The regiments going at almost double quick time some of the way.  In camp beside the 11th NC and report says we are to remain here until some batteries join us.


October 6th.

Fine day.  Washed clothes with John L.Smith and Clinton Bagley.  Went to town with Sergeant Samuel Patch.  Quite a thrifty town with fine Seminary building of brick, bur now sadly defaced within having been a sheltering place for straggling soldiers and sheep.  Had pleasant chat with Sergeant Samuel Patch.


October 7th.

Rained all night up until noon today.


October 8th.

Fine day, spent good deal of time in cooking and cleaning equipment.


October 9th.

Nice soup for dinner, spiced with apples foraged from the neighborhood.


October 10th.

Marched at noon with 3 days rations, half of which were hard tacks and 3/4 of coffee and sugar.


October 11th.

Reveille at daylight, marched at 7AM made 20 miles marching through Barboursville and camping beside the Cumberland River.  Had a grand swim and bath.  Fell into camp at 4 PM.  Had rations of fresh meat to cook which we had quite a job of lugging fence rails for the cooks.  Our Major gave some rather arbitrary orders that tents must be struck at Reveille and before breakfast.


October 12th.

Reveille at daybreak.  Marched at 7:30AM.  Made 15 miles and camped on the banks of the Cumberland after crossing at Cumberland Ford.  Route good, scenery fine of hill, plain, and valley along the banks of the river dressed in autumn colors.  Amusing scenes occurred in fording the river, on rocks, cobble stones, trunks of trees and fence rails, each man for himself and ever and anon some luckless one would slip off into the water.  The place of our bivouac was on a fine flat at the foot of a triangular amphitheater of grand and imposing mountains.  Near by the ruins of what must have been quite a brick mansion in its day.  Peddlers came into camp with pies, corncakes, milk, chickens, chestnuts, potatoes etc. and we were enabled to splice out our half rations.  They seemed a simple and ignorant folk, hardly knowing the value of their goods, or one of piece of money from another and many not able to read.  Their dwellings of rough logs at the foot of the hills and mountains, and their cleared farm land running up the sides.  Many of their dwellings looked scarce fit for human habitation.


October 13th.

Reveille at sunrise.  Marched at 7:30 AM.  It rained off and on all day, soaking us thoroughly and making the roads slippery.  The road for 6 or 7 miles was rocky, hilly, and mountainous.  Crossing the mountains was weary tramping up and up over the slippery rocks and about taking our breath away at times.  Made 13 miles and camped at the foot of Cumberland Gap at 2:30 PM.  Cleared up for a little and gave us chance to dry our rubber blankets and make some beds of the tall weeds abounding nearby.


October 14th.

Up at sunrise.  A bright clear morning the sun gleaming over the top of Cumberland Mountains gave us a grand view of them and of the Gap from the Kentucky side.  Started at 8 AM marching over a rocky winding road so steep that frequent halts had to be made ere we reached the top.  From this a splendid view burst upon us.  The valleys, hills, and woodlands of Tennessee are stretching out before us.  Jagged rocks were on every hand as we passed through the Gap, and one could not help wishing he could take a leisurely view of the scene.  A stone has been set up in the gap marking the corner boundary of the three states of Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee so that standing near it one can be as it were in three states at once.  Descending from the Gap the road zigzags in a picturesque way so that as infantry, artillery and wagon trains wound their way down a stirring and novel scene was presented.  Made 13 miles and camped at Tazewell, Tennessee.


October 15th.

In camp all day, waiting for wagons with rations to catch up.  Grand chance for foraging apples, “porkers”, and chestnuts so that we lived high and got a good day’s rest.


October 16th.

Up at daybreak.  Marched at 7 AM through Tazewell, fording Clinch River.  Rained a good part of the day, but held up just as we turned into camp.  Made 12 miles over rough and muddy roads, bur we soon forgot them as we dried ourselves with blazing piles of fence rails and refreshed with coffee and “hard tacks.”  Soon upon beds of weeds slept the sleep of the weary.


October 17th.

Marched at 7:30 AM.  Made 15 miles and camped on a fine level spot between two brooks.  The first six miles were rough, and rocky, muddy and wet.  Every mile or two having to ford some brook.  In fact this has been our experience a good part of the way since leaving Cumberland Gap.  The latter part of the day was through a good farming country and the town of Maynordsville.


October 18th.

Marched at sunrise.  Rained near all day.  Marching awful on account of the mud.  We marched by turns in the road, fields and woods as we could by so doing best avoid the mud, teams and batteries, nearly stuck in the mud regardless.  Made 14 miles and soon upon a fine camp spot and dried our selves by the very cheery fence rail bonfires.  Five miles from Knoxville the knowledge of which cheered us as we stretched upon “mother earth” for rest and sleep.


October 19th.

Marched at 9 a.m. and camped 1/4 mile NW of Knoxville.  Laid out camp in regular military order.  Received our first mail since leaving Kentucky.  Received two letters from Abbie, one from L. A. T. one from A. B. Norris and one from Ephriam A. Roberts informing us of his whereabouts.  A pass was given him allowing him to “fall out” on our 3rd day, he was obliged to go into a house by the where he stays now confined mostly to his bed with a colored woman for a nurse.  Writes that he is homesick and anxious to get to the regiment.  Scarcely had we got tents pitched ere reports came that we were ordered to be ready to move at any time.  Had dress parade and inspection much to the disgust of most of the regiment who felt that our Major who was in command was much too hard on us, to call for such maneuvers as soon after our march.  Troops are in camp all about the city.  We have a fine view of the city from our camp.  Fortifications are in process of construction on some of the hills about the city.


October 20th.

Busy all forenoon cleaning gun, and washing and cleaning up generally.  Visited the city this afternoon.  Quite a substantial looking place, but showing the marks of its recent occupation by the rebels, who did not hesitate to help themselves to much of the stocks in the stores and shops.  The prices of some of the store goods as follows:



$4.00 and upwards


$12.00 and upwards


$1.60 per lb.


.50 per lb.


.60 per lb.


.50 per lb.


$2.00 a gallon


Cheap and plenty



Many strong Union people.  Saw General Burnside for the first today and is a solid earnest looking man.  Our Battalion drilled in afternoon causing wry faces again, as many of us feel we are entitled to more rest after our march.  Said what I ought not to about it.  Got called out while on dress parade for standing with my head out of position.  Felt mortified about it.  Feel I have a need to be more careful about little things.


October 21st.

Routed at 4:30 AM.  Tents struck, knapsacks packed, breakfast eaten and ready to march at 5:30 AM when orders came counter making the move.  We were allowed to remain quiet all day, though under orders to be ready to move at any moment.  Wrote letters to Abbie Cheney and Nellie.  Have reports of a defeat of the Army of the Potomac, which makes us feel blue.  Have full rations of bread and fresh meat.


October 22nd.

Wrote letter to B.B.  About 1 PM came orders to be ready and march in half an hour.  Flew round generally and were ready.  Waited round until 7:30 PM when we were ordered to re-pitch our tents and make ourselves comfortable for the night.  Had scarcely done so when the orders to “pack up” again and be ready to move at once. This caused us to do some lively hustling with not a little mental and outspoken scolding.  In 20 minutes were on the march for the depot of the Virginia and East Tennessee railroad.  We stacked arms for about an hour, moved to an adjoining freight building where we were told to make ourselves comfortable for the night and we were soon stretched out upon the platform and the vexations of the day were soon forgotten.  Such orders and counter orders and movements are partly musing and partly vexing and we call them “A La Military.”


October 23rd.

A thundershower greeted us with the rising sun from which we sheltered ourselves as best we could in the surrounding buildings, eating our breakfast of hard tacks and coffee.  Fell in stacked arms at 9 AM and waited until 2 PM when we boarded a train of dilapidated freight cars and were soon en route for Loudon Bridge on the Virginia and East Tennessee railroad.  Rained all the afternoon.  The cars were leaky and the floors covered with mud and filth so that we had to stand all the way with our knapsacks on.  Were near five hours going the 28 miles.  The engine and cars had been most recently captured from the rebels and were in poor working order, so that some of the way we had to get out and push the poor wheezy engine along.  Arrived at the Loudon Bridge at 7 PM and disembarked in the rain and mud, the latter near ankle deep in spots.  Some poor fellows fell flat into it, so that all in all it was about as rough a time as the regiment has had in this campaign.  A rail fence was soon transformed into bonfires and drying our selves as best we could we pitched our tents and “turned in.”


October 24th.

Slept soundly in spite of rain and mud.  Drizzly day spent cleaning gun and equipment and mud from clothes.  Cannonading heard in the distance.  Mending clothes, knapsack etc.  Moved camp spot just at night to a better locality and made bed of weeds.  Short rations caused a good deal of grumbling.  Located on the banks of the Holstein the town of Loudon lies across the river from the ruins of the railroad, bridge, which burned recently by the rebels just opposite our camp.  A position bridge spans the river.  All of our corps with part of the 23rd are in camp about us.  The campfires and hillsides about us make a fine prospect as they glow in the evening hours.


October 25th.

A bright morning, cheering to see the sun and feel its warmth.  Busy part of the forenoon getting ready for inspection.  It seems good to have a quiet Sabbath after three spent in marching.  Received letter from Abbie and Ephraim A. Roberts. Was sorry to learn of an accident to Aunt P.  Wrote letter to them in reply.


October 26th.

A most beautiful day.  Troops mooning about us today.  A lovely moonlight evening.  Miss our rations of candles as cannot read or write and have to spend the evening about the campfires or turn in early.  The bright lights of the signal corps gleaming and waving their peculiar signals from the hilltops, with the bright camp fires and the music from the band to give us cheer.


October 27th.

Wrote letter to Nellie.  Rainy today and had some pasty pudding made from “middlings” foraged from a flourmill to splice out our short rations.  Benjamin’s Battery took position on hill above our camp and things look battle like.


October 28th.

Routed at 3 AM and formed in battle line with 3 days rations in knapsacks.  In battle line all the forenoon.  Lively scenes were all about us.  Troops from across the river filed across the bridge.  Then followed the people from the town with such of their belongings that they could take with them.  The scene was both pathetic and comical. The long train of army wagons, ambulances, cattle, hogs and army stores of all descriptions were followed by the citizens of all classes young and old, black and white were on foot and in vehicles of every description and with household goods ditto.  It was a sad sight to see them fleeing from what they no doubt imagined it to be their doomed town, on to Knoxville.  Then the Pontoon was taken up, and our Division. Had the job of lugging the planks to the train 1/4 of a mile away.  As the darkness came on the job was done and the little town was left alone in its glory and desolation.  The last tragic act was the plunging of a locomotive into the river from the opposite side to prevent its capture.  Then we marched to the woods in our rear and camped for the night.


October 29th.

Marched 6 miles to Lenoire Station on the Virginia and East Tennessee railroad.  Beautiful day and good marching, and as the fear of the oncoming “Rebs” had faded away, it was one of the bright days of soldier life as we camped upon a fine spot.  Our regiment was located in front of General Burnside’s head quarters.


October 30th.

Rainy.  Wrote letter to Nellie.  Detailed with then men to report to Division Head Quarters for fatigue duty.  Waited an hour for orders and at the Corps Head Quarters to wait another hour and then were sent with 8 army wagons to load with material for building of a bakery.  Stones from the foundation of the lately burned depot building.  On our arrival found that no tools to work with were at hand and so after worrying about it in the rain for an hour were sent off for some wood.  On getting to the woods were told we might return to camp, which we did in no very amiable frame for we felt somebody had blundered.  We had a tramp and soaking for nothing. Then as if to add to our vexation, just as we had snuggly settled in for the night orders came to “fall in” with guns and equipment. Which we did in the darkness, rain and mud, only to be told after a season of waiting that the order was countermanded out with the cheering words “back to you tents ready to turn out at a moments notice.”  Guerrilla bands of rebels reported nearby, hence the alarm.


October 31st.

Raw and cold.  Mustered in for two months pay.  Did some mending.

Nov-Dec 1863