CIVIL WAR JOURNAL OF JAMES B. LOCKNEY

WIS. 28th REGMT., CO. G

 December 1863

Copyright 1986, 1997-2014 [James R. Shirey]. All rights reserved.


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Camp at Pine Bluff, Jefferson Co. Arkansas
December 1st Tuesday 1863.

This morning was bright and clear. We stacked arms about daylight. The day was bright & warm. The night was clear & frosty. Yesterday noon King & Abare were absent from dinner, so Hinkley & I had dinner together, & when they returned King was mad because I or we did not tell him about dinner. Today he was displeased & found fault about me as he said I did not do anything, while the fact is I sometimes have done some cooking & frequently washed the dishes for all of us. This evening he was right side up again. In the evening gambling rages in Co. B's quarters. I wrote nearly a sheet full after dark till taps. This is the third sheet that I have ready to send home. I also did prepare Pitman's Phonographic Work & a Mag. & Decisions of U.S. Sup. Court for Dec '48 the first & last to Matt & the Mag. To Maria. There was no Dress Parade.

 

On Picket below town on River Bank.
December 2nd Wednesday 1863.

Last night the boys had a lot of low lived jesting long after taps. I was up this morning 1/2 an hour before roll call as I had to finish my letter &c. I sent two well filled envelopes on each of which I paid double postage as I returned many old letters from home. On my book I sent to Matt I paid 15 cts. postage. Then I cooked a pot of coffee while Hinkley cooked some meat & warmed some boiled sweet potatoes. I was all ready for Picket in good season. Corp. Snyder & Juhre & Mckown are along . The day is very bright & pleasant, the sun heat is quite strong. There are six privates, three Corps. & one Lieut. An old negro woman brought 8 peach pies & a mess of Irish potatoes & fresh pork nicely stewed & some baked sweet potatoes, a good mess for six of us & we paid her 10 cts. each. In the A.M. I bought a pint of sweet milk for 5 cts. She told us many soldiers cheated her as she did not know how to count. Very many pass each way. A large forage train passed in & out.

 

Camp at Pine Bluff, Ark
December 3rd Thursday 1863.

Last night was clear & starry. Today bright & sunny & warm. A telegraphic dispatch from Little Rock stated that a big fight took place in Georgia near Chatanooga between Lee & Grant in which we took 10,000 prisoners & defeated the Rebels. Lee commands Bragg's army. He having gone to take command at Mobile. Longstreet commands in Va. in place of Lee. Col. Lewis & Major White arrived today from Little Rock. They were on dress parade. I am well.

 

Camp at Pine Bluff, Ark
December 4th Friday 1863.

Last night was a pleasant one & it was cloudy this A.M. I cleaned my gun this A.M. as we fired our guns off last evening. I scoured it some & got it pretty clean & bright. This P.M. I had a pleasant talk with Lieut. Tichenor. He was on picket last night. He does not enjoy near as good health as I do. He told me about the drinking & gambling ways of the most of the officers of our Regt. in which I am very glad he does not join. They had a big drunk last night. Townsend with all the rest. With Co. Lewis came a mail from Little Rock which brings a list of those drafted in Waukesha, Milwaukee, & Kenosha Co's. Anthony is drafted in Muskego & John Murray, Michael Murphy, &c in New Berlin. Gambling still continues in all the Co's. Last night Ira Woodcock came in. he is well. I mailed a letter to Anthony.

 

Camp at Pine Bluff, Ark
December 5th Saturday 1863.

Today was very mild and pleasant, but cloudy in the A.M. Three others & I went for a load of wood. We got a good load of pine tops & logs. Yesterday the mail was not taken off to Little Rock. Last night in the dark some person threw our stove over the bank where it fell 30 to 40 feet. It was all broken so that we could not fix it. It was a mean trick. Today Lieut. Goff gave me two tens for a 20 greenback. Yesterday & this P.M. some of the boys drilled with sticks in the sword exercise. I did not join. There was dress parade this P.M. I have written to Mother.

 

Camp at Pine Bluff, Arkansas
December 6th Sunday 1863. 

 This was a beautiful day, warm & pleasant. We had inspection at 9 A.M. Gilbert & I & 3 others were ordered by Lieut. Turner to appear for inspection at 2 P.M. because our shoes were not black. Then we were all right. This A.M. I was at Divine service in the Presbyterian Church. I liked the singing & melodeon music. Women only sung. The sermon was not powerful or very interesting. -- I wrote a sheet full to Matt & mailed it to Mother. I bought 4 candles for 20 cts. Rebel prisoners are brought in small squads to town & imprisoned in the jail. I s will have a hard night. Mail started for Little Rock today. Most of what sugar we used since we came here was got from the citizens about in the country, it being confiscated to the government. It is very fair & of good quality & we get a good share of it. It would be worth 12 to 15 cts. in Milwaukee. We can draw no more coffee, candles, or soap till train comes. We have a good supply, which we saved for several days. This A.M. I bought 2 1/2 lbs of pish pork for 25 cts. I have a slight cold.

 

In Camp at Pine Bluff, Arkansas
December 8th Tuesday 1863.

Last night it stopped raining about 10 P.M. This morning I was on guard from 2 to 4 A.M. The day was cloudy throughout & cold toward evening. This P.M. Hinkley & I worked some on an oven & a place to cook. About 4 1/2 P.M. the train appeared on the opposite side of the river. Many of the boys came from Little Rock. 7 of Co. B & L.R. Moore of our Co. came, besides many to other Co's. The train numbers 35 to 40 wagons. We here[sic] a mail has come with the train, but we could not get it this evening. The boys bring word that Capt. Enos went to Wis. Also confirm the report that we gained a decisive victory in the neighborhood of Chatanooga. I am well.

 

Camp at Pine Bluff, Arkansas
December 9th Wednesday 1863.

Last night orders were given to pack knapsack as an attack was expected this morning, but there was none. Vague rumors reach us of a rebel force at Princton, also J. Fagan's & Pearson's forces being in different directions. There are many scouts of Cavalry scouring the country in different directions. The river rises slowly. The train we hear did not bring any crackers, but all flour. There was no mail. We finished our oven & it will be a good place to cook at least. We may have many good corn cakes from it yet. Day was cool & cloudy. I wrote none today. I am very well. Gambling still rages, & many loose and gain

 

On Picket at Pine Bluff, Arkansas
December 10th Thursday 1863.

This morning we fell out as usual at about 5 A.M. but did not take our guns out as it was showery or misty. I went on picket with Lieut. Tichenor & 6 others along the bank of the river below town. It continued misty & cloudy all day, but did not rain. Many slaves live about 80 rods from our post, being fugitives from many plantations from 2 to 12 or 15 miles distant. Some of those bring milk, meat, potatoes, &c. cooked to sell us for what we may wish to give them. Some of those are as white as many free whites I know North. How sad is their condition! As I feared rain I took nothing along to read, & missed it very much. Monroe took along a pack of cards, which some of the boys used. We hear that the scout to Montecello & Princton returned today, but found no enemy.

 

In Camp at Pine Bluff, Arkansas
December 11th Friday 1863.

Last night we were relieved once every hour. The night was dark, & calm. Lieut Co. Gray was officer of the day. Grand rounds came about 12 1/2 A.M. This A.M. I washed some clothes viz two shirts, two pairs of stockings, one drawers, towel, handkerchief, blouse &c. and as many more for Hinkley as he washed as much for me before & so we exchange work. As the day was dark & cloudy our clothes did not dry, and it rained in the evening & in the night. I did not write any for two or three days & today is so dark & barracks so confused that I cannot study or write much today. Gambling still rages, though the officers seem to discountenance it in theory, but I think not in practice. Abare for 5 or 6 days past had had the rheumatism so that he cannot move about but with a stick. Goelzer for several days has not been well, also Draper & Inhre.

 

In Camp at Pine Bluff, Ark.
December 12th Saturday 1863.

Last night much rain fell, but we slept dry & secure. I fell out for roll call & then slept till about 8 1/2 A.M. Train started for Little Rock yesterday N. I heard the whole train was in arrest for stealing some Gov. goods. Extravagance rules on every hand. Many of the boys win and lose from 25 cts. to as many dollars while some lose all they have had in pay for a plug of tobacco about 8 in. long & 2 1/2 or 3 wide & 1/4 to 3/8 inch thick. the boys pay from $1.25 to 1.50 and often from $2. To 2.50 a lb. for smoking cut. Last night orderly called roll before drums stopped beating & for this trifle, Turner sent Lt. Tichenor to order it repeated. How petty! Ira Woodcock made me a visit tonight. He is very well. The air is soft and mild as a May day.

 

In Camp at Pine Bluff, Ark.
December 13th Sunday 1863.

Last night I wrote a part of a letter to Matt and finished it this morning and enclosed $10 in it and mailed it. The mail did not go today. I was at the service in the Presbyterian Church this A.M. Many of the boys were present & behaved very well. I borrowed Harpers Mag. for Oct. from Capt. Townsend & in it I saw an obituary of the truly good and true woman & authoress Mrs. Alice B. Havin. She died Aug. 22 to 4 at Mamaroneck, Westchester Co., N.Y. at the age of thirty six. She was twice married first to Joseph C. Neal. She was a very popular writer & wrote much for the young. She was most deeply & actively interested in our struggle for Union & Liberty & did much for soldiers' widows & orphans. She died of consumption. I read the first cruise of the Monitor Passaic. Also "The Army Correspondent" by L.L. Crounce. We bake good corn cakes in our oven & may others use it. About M. it turned cold and windy. I am well.

 

In Camp at Pine Bluff, Ark
December 14th Monday 1863.

Last evening we discharged our guns, nearly all of which were loaded on guard or picket & this A.M. was a time of general cleaning of guns &c. as inspection took place at 3 P.M. I was on fatigue from about 9 A.M. till 3 P.M. The day was clear & sunny & pleasantly warm. I saw the new moon last evening for the first time. It was then three or four days old. This P.M. I bought 4 lbs. fresh pork for 40 cts. As I was not hungry at M. I ate but two meals today, but I feel very well. This evening Higley had a fiddle & some of the boys played on it. A little negro boy danced some. He was more expert than any othere I ever saw. I wrote a letter to Maria tonight. Thomas Edwards was detailed to oversee some negroes engaged at digging a road to a place for a pontoon bridge which is now building in town. There was no dress parade.

 

December 15th Tuesday 1863.

I was on guard today. I mailed my letter as the mail went this morning to Little Rock. Last night was clear & starry but at 8 A.M. sky was overcast & the day was cloudy, & about 7 P.M. rain began to fall. This P.M. I taught a little slave boy in the letters & words of two letters. He is about 12 yrs. old and so white no one would think he was a slave. We hear of a fight S.W. of Little Rock with the Rebs and our Cav. under Davidson & Inf. commanded by Gen. Salomon. Our men took 7 cannon & 200 prisoners.

 

Pine Bluff, Arkansas
December 16th Wednesday 1863.

 Last night I was on guard from about 5 1/2 till 8 P.M. I was at the horse stable, where I had shelter from the rain which fell sometimes through the night in torrents. Again I went on post at the same place at about 1 A.M. & was on 2 1/3 hours. I took along with me Harper's Weekly Nov. 7 which I read very thorougly; also some of Harper's Mag. for Oct. some of which I read. I took along a candle & as I had some matches along I lit it in the stable & read all the time which passed quickly. I slept till about 9 A.M. when I awoke well refreshed. About M. very heavy rain fell. The river rises very fast. While Hinkley & King slept, as they both were on picket I made two corn cakes & baked them. They were pretty good, being the first I ever made. I wrote some this P.M. I bought a canteen full of sweet milk this P.M. for 15 cts. Wind is cold & blustering and the night will be cold. We had no dress parade. I bought a towel for 25 cts. I am very well.

 

In Camp at Pine Bluff, Arkansas
December 17th Thursay 1863.

 Last night the boys sung some while Higley played fiddle. There was a dance last night somewhere in town. Many officers attend such to their own degredation by what we hear of the character of women n Men. Oh! where is religion, where Civilization! Today we had a boiled dinner of beef & boiled beans, some milk, & cold corn bread. The day is cold & blustry. I read, write, & think while others waste their time gambling, scufling & mean talk.

 

In Camp at Pine Bluff, Ark
December 18th Friday 1863.

Last night was clear & frosty. This morning was bright and the day was sunny, but the wind was so cold as to prevent any thawing but a little about noon, when the sun was quite warm in shaded places. The little white slave boy came this A.M. & P.M. & I taught him both times. He read much better than the day I first taught him. As the weather was rainy & cold for several days past he did not come but now I am satisfied he can learn very fast. My health is very good, but so much confusion prevails in camp I can not write much. Year ago today I was at home in New Berlin. Thanks to God I am now a soldier, one of the vast host that will bravely die to defend dear Liberty. [?] I write at 7. Boys are dancing & fiddle playing below. We had dress parade this evening. Gelzer went to hospital a few days ago.

 

In Camp at Pine Bluff, Arkansas
December 19th Saturday 1863.

Last night was clear moonlit & frosty. The ice this morning on still water was about half an inch thick. The day was clear, sunny, and the wind was sharp & cold where it had any sweep. The river still continues to rise quite fast, owing to the recent rains. This A.M. I was on fatigue duty for wood in Hinkley's place as his hands are sore. Three others & I got three loads of wood, chiefly pitch pine tops. In the woods are some splendid hewing timber as well as saw logs of large size & superior quality. About 3 P.M. the mail arrived from Little Rock. It was the largest we ever got at one time, nearly all got from 3 to 8 or 9 letters each. I got 8, one of which is from Marie of Dec. 3d in which she writes they are all well. She gets strong slowly, goes to school & is well pleased with her teacher Mr. Falkner. Thomas is in Milwaukee, what doing she does not write. Mother's health is pretty good, but Father had some troubles with his back & sick stomach but he was pretty well Dec. 2d. Anthony I infer paid $300. commitation fee. One letter is from Myron Gilbert. There was dress parade. I am well.

 

Camp at Pine Bluff, Arkansas
December 20th Sunday 1863.

Last night was cold, but clear still & frosty. Today was sunny & clear & warmer than the last few days. I did not go to any of the churches, but read some in papers as late as 26 inst. Affairs at Charleston progress slowly. Good news from Grant's army, he having captured from 5 to 10,000 prisoners & 40 to 60 cannon. Burnside does well in the vicinity of Knoxville. He also took large no. of prisoners. Gen. Washburn met with a defeat only partial in La. Yesterday our Cav. took 22 rebs near & took them here in safety. Papers say the guerilla chief John Morgan escaped from Ohio State Prison at Columbus. Yesterday a flat boat came down river loaded with 40 bales of cotton. There are from 600 to 1000 bales now in town. Year ago today our Regt. started south from Camp Washburn. I was at home since 4 inst. sick. We had dress parade. Last evening was read on dress parade an order for the execution of Peter Finagle of Co. G, 14 Regt. Iowa Vol. Inf. at Columbus, Ky on 4th inst. He was shot to death. My little slave boy did not come to camp today but I saw his little sister near the house at which their Mother lives. Orders were given for Co. drill, each fore-noon. tle[?] P.F. deserted from Pittsburg landing & deserted his post at that Bat.

 

On Picket at Pine
December 21st Monday 1863.

 Last night Hinkley was on picket, so I was alone. The night was not cold & I slept well. This morning roll call was about 5 as usual, & some went to sleep. As for some time past our rations of sugar were exhausted & the supply of corn meal run out so we could not make corn bread, we had but rather a short breakfast, but we cheerfully make the best of it. We have a plenty of tea & coffee from our past rations. Some of the boys paid 30 cts. a lb. for sugar. If I could find some I would pay 15 cts. but no more. The sky is cloudy & threatens rain so I take no writing material along. I have some reading along. Lieut. Turner & Goff are on picket. The latter was with us on the post having 12 men on. The 5th Kansas battery of 12 lb. guns or howitzers fired shots for target practice, some were solid shot & some shells, which we heard burst. A boat came down the river from Little Rock, which place she left. She took down a load of rations, some of which we needed much. This was the first Union boat on the Ark. since the spring of 1861. Thanks be to God we now hold the whole River & that too for ever more! The lines about town were closed at sunset 16th inst. Day was pleasantly warm & dry. I am well.

 

Pine Bluff, Arkansas
December 22nd Tuesday 1863.

Last night was rather a pleasant night, slightly cold, but still & dry. Around the moon was a large circle quite clearly defined. We were on post as vidette, two hours at a time. I got about five hours sleep and do not feel any bad effect from my night watch. While on post I thought of the past & some of the future, some friends, Mother, Matt, Maria &c. This A.M. I did some washing as Hinkley was on Co. drill. As some Co's. for a few days past did not have much rations or they say any crackers this morning for breakfast, 4 of Co. E & about 24 of Co. B refused to drill. Roll was called in B at M & all the privates not on duty except one were placed under arrest & ordered not to leave camp without a pass from Capt. Corp. Hoag of Co. B was one of the mutineers. At dress parade all were present without arms & those were reprimanded by Col. Gray, who ordered them to work on fortifications tomorrow & till tried by court marshal. The end is not yet. Steamboat started up river this A.M. with a load of cotton in her hold & 40 or 50 soldiers for guard. I am well.

 

In Camp at Pine Bluff
December 23rd Wednesday 1863. 

 Last night was not cold as usual & today was misty and rather raw & dark till 11 A.M. when the clouds moved to the South & the Sun shone stong and the air was clear & soft & balmy; but the sky was overcast with clouds, but at sunset the sky was again clear and the full moon rises full & fair. Today we drew one barrel & 146 lbs. Flour. Hinkley & I drew our share in flour, we got 18 lbs. We also got full rations of sugar & tea & coffee, in parts of each. What was lacking of flour of full rations was drawn in crackers. This is for eleven days, or all that is left of dear old 1863. Some of our Co. intended to take their share of rations & have them cooked in some of the private houses in town as very many of the boys in other Cos. Do, but Lieut. Turner would not permit them to do so.

 

 December 24th 1863 Thursday

Yesterday morning I slept from roll call till 9 A.M. This morning the moon was in the West at roll call. The day was mild, calm & the sun shone all day & was quite warm at N. Last night after taps, McKic read in Sentinel an acct. of Grant's victories on Lookout Mt. near Chattanooga. He took about 7000 prisoners & 62 cannon & drove the Rebs from their works. Last 24 hours river has fallen 8 to 12 inches. We had drill this A.M. I wrote a letter for King this P.M. & finished a sheet to Maria. On dress parade the appointment of W. T. Donaldson to Sergt. & John Cullen to Corp. both Privates. Boys do not like the first very well. Also the hon. discharge of 2d Ass't. Surgeon Hawes of our Regt. for Physical disability. Hinkley made some biscuit for supper. We had some milk for dinner & potatoes.

 

In Camp at Pine Bluff, Arkansas
December 25th Friday, 1863

Last night there was no detail for picket or camp guard from our Co. but this morning there were detailed for provost guard in town besides a Sergeant & two Corp's. Last night some of the cavalry got whiskey & some noise & shots fired were the result. I believe no one was hurt. Today was cloudy & rather dark most of the day but the air was soft & pleasant. I was on guard near the Court House. We will have a good & pleasant time while on this duty as we will have shelter & cover while it rains. There is some talk of our Co. moving from our present quarters so as to be nearer our place of duty. We all like the duty, but prefer not to move from our barracks. Some of the boys try to do what they can in the way of spending money for the holiday, as for a small cake they pay a dollar a pound. Hinkley & I tried to get a pie but failed to do so as the supply of such is short of the demand, so we had no extras of any kind. The river still continues to fall & is now pretty low again. I heard the Catholic church bell ring & was much inclined to go but did not as I was on duty. there was no dress Parade or drill. I am very well.

 

In Camp at Pine Bluff, Arkansas
December 26th Saturday, 1863

Last evening I got 4 quarts of fresh buttermilk for 20 cts, of which Hinkley paid 15. I found some sweet milk for Abare on the outskirts of town for which I paid 20 cts. a qt. He has rheumatism so he can move about but little. The Lady said she lived about 8 miles below town on a plantation, but that all their cattle were taken except a few cows. She told me they made sugar candy which some of their little girls sold to the soldiers as she said "they had no other way of making money." The furniture in the house, her apparel &c (she wore a gorgeous looking black silk dress all be-flounced &c.) showed that in times past She flourished on the unpaid labor of slaves. What a downfall & so sudden! We hope for the better time coming. A shower fell about midnight. This A.M. was rainy. The boat got here from Little Rock about 11 O'Clock. She brought mail, but none for me. Last night we heard of a Proclamation by Pres. Lincoln offering pardon to all rebels below Brig. Generals & to them returning all property but slaves, who shall accept those terms. We know not how true this may be. Day is dark & lowery.

 

In Camp at Pine Bluff, Arkansas
December 27th Sunday, 1863

Yesterday evening the steamboat went up the river a few miles to take on a load of corn to take to Little Rock. We have news from the army of the Cumberland & Potomac to the 4 or 5 inst. The prospect is encouraging & all the different Corps in safe positions & buoyant spirits. Grant's prisoners taken in the battle of ________, Nov. No.6 _____ & the number of Cannon, 46 pieces. Succor was sent to Gen. Burnside at Knoxville, which place was besieged by Gen. Longstreet, with a strong Corps from Bragg's Army & during his absence Grant hurled his forces on the weakened & divided foe who retreated to Dalton in Georgia. Bragg has been removed & Hardee temporarily takes his command. Gen. Banks has landed his forces in Texas on the Rio Grand. Gen. B. Butler has a department in S.E. Va. & eastern N. Carolina. At this we rejoice. Pres. Lincoln was lately indisposed but at last dates was recovering from his troubles. Secty. Chase's only daughter was lately married to ex Gov. Sprague of R.I. A Union meeting was held at Little Rock about 21 ult. Mead is said to have recrossed the Rapidan. Word was telegraphed to Columbus, O. from Toronto, Canada that Gen. Hon Morgan reached that place. Some of those who escaped with him were captured & near Ohio River. Last night was rainy & today was misty & dreary. I was at the Catholic church this A.M.

 

On Provost Guard in Town.
December 28th Monday, 1863

This morning was cloudy and a cool fresh breeze blew from the N. during the A.M. Before M. sky became clear & the air was warm & pleasant. I was on the second relief & went on post at 10 standing two hours each relief. I wrote some when off duty. Very many citizens lounge about the corners & some ladies take short prominades through the streets, some dressed in the Yankee Hoop fashion & in fabrick lately purchased from the detestable Yanks or else some of those purchased before the War. Many also appear in mourning for the lost & departed. For some time past some were busy building a pontoon bridge for use at this place. The boat took down some clothing for the contrabands, & today I saw several who have enlisted wearing for the first time a complete uniform of U.S. This evening four men came in three of whom left Price's army lately, one on furlough home, when he made good his escape with the others. May God help to redeem this people from the tyranny under which they labor. How poor those men do look.

 

Camp at Pine Bluff, Ark
December 29th Tuesday, 1863

Last night the guard stopped in the front room of the Provost Marshal's office which before the war was the Law Office of Yell & Hutchinson. Some of the boys told me that Yell went in the Army as General. The night was calm & the gibbous moon rose clear & bright about 9 O'clock. I was on post from 10 to 12 P.M. & from 4 to 6 A.M . I wrote some before going on post & I slept about three hours during the night. The day was clear & the sky clear & the sunshine quite strong & warm. Hinkley washed some clothes of his own & mine & I had a full wash all over in cold water which made me feel very much livlier, for I felt heavy a little for lack of sleep. Hinkley & I ate breakfast late & we had no dinner till 4 P.M. & then we ate a very hearty meal of some boiled fresh pork he bought yesterday & some flat turnips, which he bought this P.M., three large ones for a dime. we had some good biscuits he made & some coffee, which we ate out in our cook shed where we were very comfortable. After dress parade we discharged our guns. I fired mine at a target on the other side of the river with my sight raised for 200 yards. The boys said I made a good line shot but my bullet fell a little short. This evening I taught the black man in Co. B. for a short time--for 15 or 20 minutes. The river rose higher today than any time since we came here. Five prisoners were brought in today, incl. a Com. officer.

 

In Camp at Pine Bluff, Arkansas
December 30th Wednesday, 1863

Last night was clear & starry at 9 O'clock, but got cloudy toward morning. At noon rain began & continued most of the P.M. I counted the No. on dress parade last evening & found about 325 exclusive of our Co. guards & pickets &c. Two or three days ago 15 privates & 1 Corp. of Co. B. were sentenced to lose a month's pay, & 9 of them to 10 days hard labor each. More prisoners were brought in today. A boat from Little Rock got here this P.M. & brought us a mail. I got a big letter from Matt. The latest was Dec. 9 mailed 16 so it came in 14 days. Father did not feel strong, though not seriously indisposed. All the rest were well. Preperations were going on for the next draft Jany. 5th. Hinkley & I ate twice today & like that way. He is on guard. Last night after all were abed Seymour & Moore, Griffing, Higley, Fitzgerald & I had a long talk about Baptism &c.

 

On Provost Guard in Pine Bluff
December 31st Thursday, 1863

This morning was cold, cloudy & rainy till about 11 A.M. when it began to sift down fine snow. A strong North wind blew all the day. About 4 P.M. the sky cleared over and the night set in clear & colder than any weather we had yet this season. The two reliefs off duty stop in a front room in the house lately owned & occupied as the residence of Sawyer Yell, who the little boys told went as General in the rebel army, soon after the War began. His office is now occupied by the Provost Marshall. His house is occupied by some of the 5th Kansas Cav. The fence was all torn down & burned. In our room is an old map of the U.S. published in 1847. Now how ruined & desolate is this once affluent home and this is but a specimen of the homes of the South. As I heard the boat would start at 8 A.M. & I was on the first relief, I changed with Moore for the second relief, so I finished & mailed my letter. While on post the soldiers & a few of the citizens had often & kind word to say about the cold & the storm &c. I was on Post from 10 P.M. to midnight. While on Post Smart came, & we walked on my beat & talked together. We saw the moon rise in the east & at first supposed it was a fire on the Picket line. The room in which we stopped was very cold as some of the window glass was broken. We kept some fire all night & those of the boys that tried to sleep on the floor waked up from the cold. As the boat did not start I determined to write a letter to Matt & Mother. So I wrote from about 7 to 10 O'clock. I was at supper about 6 O'clock & the boys sung some of "Brave Boys" after which I helped them or rather joined them in singing the "Battle Cry of Freedom". Oh! how I love this soul-stirring song of Liberty. During the last moments of Dear Old 1863, my thoughts were of Mother & Father, Matt & Maria &c. & God & Liberty. How full of great great & momentous events has the past year been. How many brave & true men laid down their lives on the battle field & suffered so long in hospital for the sake of Liberty & the preservation of National Life. Year from tonight I hope we shall be safe at sweet home and with one more Dearly loved one who will love me ever more. Thus, year by year passes away. Last New Years I was at home. Thanks to God I am very well.
All the troops in this place were mustered today which is done the last day of every second month.

 

 

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Last modified 2/4/2003