CIVIL WAR JOURNAL OF JAMES B. LOCKNEY

WIS. 28th REGMT., CO. G

 April 1864

Copyright © 1986, 1997-2021 [James R. Shirey]. All rights reserved.


Jump to:

1863
January 1864
February 1864
March 1864
Battle of Mt Elba
April 1864
May 1864
June 1864
July 1864
August 1864
September 1864
October 1864
November 1864
December 1864
1865
Letters and "Stray Thoughts"
Index of names

Home


There are two versions of this portion of James B Lockney's Civil War Journal.  The short entries were copied directly from his field diaries.  The more lengthy journal appears to have been composed by Lockney after the war, based on the uniform penmanship and cleanliness of the paper. 

 

[diary] April 1 Friday, 1864 Pine Bluff

I lay down to sleep at 8 1/2 last night & slept well till about 7 this A.M. At 2 P.M. all the Cav. were ordered out in line & all our Regt. went through town & picked up all horses & mules & brought them to Corrells. Day was cloudy. I am well.

 

[journal] Camp at Pine Bluff
April 1st Friday, 1864

Last evening we reached the picket post about dark when our drums of the 18 Ill. had for some time beaten the music that we love so well to hear.  At that time the prisoners, in the advance, nearly 1/2 a mile, were taken to the Methodist Church where they were guarded securely by a heavy detail from the four Co's of our Regt. B, R, E, & C that were not out with us.  Having reached the centre of town our Regt. was kept waiting from 1/2 to one hour, while some of the boys were busy asking many questions about many things about our success, &c.  I & many others felt anxious to start to camp, as I was never before so tired by any labor or exercise as by the march of some 30 miles we had made.  We reached camp about 7 1/2 O'clock, when I washed my feet, drank a cup of coffee, made my bed, & lay down about 8 1/2 or 9 & slept well & soundly till about 6 1/2 or 7 this AM.  We had no breakfast till about 10 O'clock when Safford & Hinkley made biscuit &c so that we had a good hearty meal once more.  My feet were a little tender, but felt comfortable during the day.  The time passed rapidly till 2 O'clock PM when all our Regt fell into line with side arms (waist belt &bayonet).  All the Cav. in the place had been ordered out in line, where they stood till we had examined every stable, public or private, in town & taken all the horses & mules to two large yards (called corrells) where they were guarded & kept till the owners came forward & proved their ownership to all the animals they claimed.  The cause of this search was that many of the Cav. men had held possession of several horses or mules, which they picked up on scouts, or bought for purposes of speculation and now, they as well as citizens, would be compelled to prove their title to them to the satisfaction of the commander of the post --Col. Clayton, else they would be held for the use of the government.  Several hundred animals were thus collected.  -- Lt. got a requisition for 2 gall's of whiskey for our Co. cost $2.00 which has been divided this evening.  Its effect makes the boys no more civil, but the reverse.  Day was cloudy & cool & windy.

 

[diary] April 2d Saturday, Pine Bluff

As many guards went from 18 Ill. We had no drill Parade or duty of any kind today. I & some others went for wood. Day was sunny & pleasant. This P.M. 308 prisoners were started up the River on Steamer Annie Jacobs. Lt. Tichenor & about 25 guards went from 28 [Wis.]

 

[journal] Camp at Pine Bluff
April 2d Saturday, 1864

Last night I wrote till 9 1/2 or 10 O'clock when I lay down & slept well till roll call this morning.  We fell out to roll call as usual, but one was non respondent, who will answer no more.  The day was clear & pleasant.  There was no drill nor dress parade.  I & Lewis, Moore, & McKown, & Corp. Cullen went for a load of wood PM & got back about 3 1/2 O'clock just as some of our Regt. were falling in to guard the prisoners to Little Rock.  Goelzer, Inhre (pronounced Ewry [?]), Sergt. Foster, & Lieut. Tichenor went from our Co.  The detail from the Regt. was about 24 privates, one Sergt. three Corps. & one Lieut.  There was also a detail of about the same no. from 18 Ill.  The no. of prisoners sent up was 310 including one Col. & several other officers of lower grade.  They were strongly guarded from the Methodist church through the town to the steamer Annie Jacobs.  They bid good bye to several citizens, many of whom gave them many dollars in Greenbacks to purchase necessaries during their imprisonment.  I heard one of them ask a man to take care of his little boy or girl.  I do not know which, requesting that if he did not return any more, he should send the person (boy or girl) to school &c.  Some cried as they started, while some women were about evidently filled with sympathy for their humbled heroes of secession & slavery.  Several of them limped along, while many more must have felt the effects of their long march day before yesterday.  Many more made a show of jollity & good feeling, tried to laugh & be merry.  One of our officers on duty ordered the guards to bayonet any citizen that approached the prisoners to converse with them as any mingling of the Butternuts, whether citizens or prisoners, might afford the latter a chance to escape.  I heard one of our boys say a woman gave one of them $200 in Greenbacks.  I saw a man give another prisoner some, but I do not know how much Capt. Morse, Provost Marshal of the post here was busy.  Col. Clayton was about superintending affairs.  I also saw E.B. Gray.  About 4 1/2 PM the boat started up the river.  She came down this AM but brought no mail.  I sent a letter to Matt.  I am very well.

 

[diary] April 3 Sunday Pine Bluff.

Today was dark & windy I was at Pres. Church A.M. The singing & music were very pleasant & such as "stir our hearts to our maker's Praise." I am very well. A light shower of rain fell this P.M.


[journal] Pine Bluff, Arkansas
April 3d Sunday, 1864

Last night I took two pills which waked me up twice during the morning with good effect.  I slept well till after roll call this morning as our Co. had none.  The day was cloudy, dark & blustering with fitful gusts till about 3 PM when a thunder shower came on, followed with hail.  It lasted 3/4 or an hour after which time the sky cleared off & sunshine greeted us.  The weather during the last week was not so fine & pleasant as in Feb.
I was at the Presbyterian Church this A.M.  The no. present was quite small.  I liked the singing, but longed that R.W. Bryant, whom I heard on Prospect Hall in the winter of 1860 & 61 was present & preaching.  He would wake one if asleep & prevent one from sleeping if awake.  His discourse would interest & instruct & so both please & profit.  Now all must submit to the torment of an Old Fossil or Foggy that survives the past to which he belonged.  I wish there was a better place in town, at which to attend Divine Services.  I do not like the singing or music in the Catholic church & I have never been at the Methodist church at which the chaplain of 1st Ind. preaches.  I so severely feel the absence of all social intercourse with human beings that I go to church to see some other persons than negroes & soldiers, & so to revive in some degree my social qualities.
Last Friday when the mail came down I felt the lack of the pleasure & encouragement that one or two good long letters would bring to me, but now Matt was busy, Mother is busy & old, Maria is too busy or forgetting me, so no cheer came.  Well there is all the more to hope for.  No loved one whose hope of future joy usts[?] with me is known, and so she does not write.  The boys often say Men will be scarce & women very plenty after the War.  Alas, that this is too true.  But have not real & true Men always been rare, few & far between;  and certainly the influence of camp life will not develop many cases of noble manhood, either north or south.
Week ago today was Easter day.  On that day Peter Abare & Herman Butkins, the latter wounded at Helena July 4, got their discharge papers & went North while we were gone.

[diary] April 4 Monday, Pine Bluff

I was on guard last night 3 1/3 hours I slept all the A.M. Night was windy & day also. Sun visible only at sunset. We had a fresh fish for supper. Boys caught it on the line. Walden & Griffing & Wells are unwell also Daugherty I am very Well.

 

[journal] Pine Bluff, Arkansas
April 4th Monday, 1864

Yesterday I was on guard in camp.  The guards do not go on post till about 8 P.M. 7 are on post 3 1/3 hours, so that each relief stands but one term.  I was on the second relief from 10 1/2 till near 3 A.M.  The night was blustering & cloudy & a little cold.  I slept about 2 hours before going on post & slept from 3 A.M. to dinner time.  The day was cloudy & not very pleasant.  The sun smiled only as he sunk below the horizon.  I felt dull for lack of work or excitement, so at 4 1/2 P.M. I took a walk about town.  This revived my spirits somewhat, but I longed for a pleasant companion to cheer me during my lonely walk.  How many like me are in the world longing for sympathy & fellowship, while others enjoy the confidence of their fellows, their esteem & love, but alas! they betray slight & abuse those treasures confided to their keeping as if they were not of inestimable value.  We had a fish for supper which was very nice as it was fresh & good.  During my ramble I saw two men take the oath of allegiance to U.S. & Liberty, in the Provost Marshall's Office.  The Oath is administered only by Capt Orlin Morse, Co. D, 5th Kansas Cav. who is I think one of the few really good & able men that has command.  He is a man that looks as if he acted so as to be able to respect himself & command that of others.  I wish there were more like him.
Yesterday I read Lieut's Sentinels of 16 & 17 ult, which is the latest dates I saw.  March 9 Pres. Lincoln gave Gen U.S. Grant his commission as Lieut. Gen, which places him next to the Pres Chief in Command.  Some think Gen. Mead will be removed from Com of Army of Potomac, which Gen Grant will direct during the opening campaign as soon as he can give directions for the conduct of the campaign in Miss, Geo, & Al.  It appears that the object of Gen. Sherman's advance eastward from Vicksburgh to central Miss & beyond was for the destruction of R.R. & Engines cars & other property that the rebels could use.  2,000,000 bushels corn & 10,000 bales of cotton were burned.  Our total loss killed & wounded &c about 150.  It was a complete success.  Gen H.W. Halleck, late Gen in Chief is retained in position subordinate to Grant, near or at Washington.  Today I saw portrait of Gov A.G. Crestin of Pa.  Born in Center Co 1817.  I am well.

 

[diary] April 5 Tuesday, 1864 Pine Bluff

Last night the commissary issued 1 gallon of Whiskey to our Co. & I suppose to each Co. Our mess drew 11 rations. Hinkley & I used none McKee passed it about among the boys. The Woods are green, also fruit trees. We had 1 hours drill with Capt. Smith.

 

[journal] Pine Bluff, Arkansas
April 5th Tuesday, 1864

Last night I lay down at 9 1/2 & slept soundly till after sunrise this morning.  I read & wrote some from candle light.  The commissary issued a gallon of whiskey to our Co. & I suppose to each Co in our Regt.  Sergt McKee passed it among the boys last night & also this morning.  Our mess drew 11 rations a few days ago & Sunday or Monday night.  Clark made sling or hot stuff & as Hinkley & I did not use any they must have had a pretty good share.  Nearly all the boys denounce the quality of this liquor, yet they desire & would use a much larger quantity daily than they ever get, at one time.  When the boys get home all kinds of excess will abound, and they often speak of this with-to them-pleasing anticipations of delight & satisfactions.  I have a strong hope that if I live through the war I shall see the end of slavery & polygamy in our nation--but when will Interm[?] & Profligacy end? when blindness & bigotry among civilized & so called Christian Nations & Heathenism, Idolatry among semi-civilized & barbarous ones?
This was the pleasantest day that we had for some time past, it being sunny & mild & clear throughout.  The woods on the river bottom (not Pine) are getting green & the fruit trees are trimmed in their verdant & tender foliage.  On the opposite side of the river, on Ex-Gov Roane's plantation which he deserted last fall, about the time our troops took possession of the Ark River bottom, the former slaves are busy preparing the ground for a crop.  How strong is the wish I feel that I could engage in the like familiar & loved labor.  Jas. Lahee of our Co. who came from Little Rock about a month ago but who did no duty since he came, went to Regt Hospital about a week ago while we were gone.  I have not seen him since.  For several days past, Griffing has been unwell, able to be about but not fit for duty.  he gains slowly.  Lt. Col. Gray went to Little Rock on the boat that look the prisoners.  About 40 of those we took in last week are detained here in the guard house or jail.
At 2 P.M. we had Battalion drill till 3 O'clock when he dismissed us as he said officers were scarce, most of the Co's being commanded by Ordrly Sergt's
[in the margins:]This A.M. I washed about a dozen shirts & prs of drawers & 5 prs stockings for Hinkley]
Today was very pleasant.  We had no roll call this morning.  Today I saw Walter Goff, late Lieut. in Co. H.  Rumor says he is about to marry a young woman near this place who owns a plantation in this state.  Those who know him best think him a person of very little worth of character.  I sometimes spoke with him & found he was a Republican in political opinions.  I sometimes see some very fresh, healthy & clear blooming young women here, such as by many would be esteemed very beautiful.  I am not acquainted with any of them, but I judge that generally that correctness of opinions & cultivation of mind are wanting, which to me constitute the most true & real beauty.  I have heard of some here who were educated as far north as Cincinnati, O.  Their father enlisted in the 5 Kansas.  I get inclined to doubt the broad & sweeping charges of licentiousness & deep immorality, of the women of this place & its vicinity that I heard & recorded about New Years.  I have heard Lt. Murray expressed the opinion that the virtue of any woman in Ark. could be bought for Greenbacks.  If this be true of him, I think his wish was father of the opinion & so of others generally who entertain such opinions of their fellows.
Today I heard a sergt. of Co. H. say the cause of Capt. Myer's resignation was the low & drunken ways of the officers of our Regt. especially Lt. Col. Gray.  The sergt heard him as Lt. Murray how he could expect the boys to be sober & orderly while the Co. officers & Gray were in the habit of getting dunk.
During the winter some important changes were made in some depts of the army.  Gen. Rosecrans was removed early in the winter from Command of the Cumberland Army & sent to Mo. in place of Gen. Schofield, who was sent to Knoxville to supercede Gen. Foster, who suffered from ill health.  Negotiations go on between Gen Butler who Com. at Ft. Monroe & the Rebel Commissioner Ould in regard to exchange of prisoners.  Exchange of small numbers sometimes take place. Today I saw portrait of Nelson Sizer, author of Thoughts in Domestic Life, which I read 4 to 6 yrs ago
As I write the boys quit playing cards, each telling how much he made or lost.

 

[diary] April 6 Wednesday, Pine Bluff.

This morning we had a mess of potatoes one yesterday & one day before. There was no drill today & our Co. had no roll call. Dress Parade was at 5 P.M. & we had a new set of Banners for our Regt. On the stars & stripes are the names Yazo Pass, Helena, & Little Rock. Day was pleasant. State flag is beautiful

[journal] [in the margin by April 1]  April 6  Mail came at noon.  I got a letter from Matt & Mother & one from Maria.  All well & so am I.  Pleasant weather.

[journal] Pine Bluff, Arkansas
April 6th Wednesday, 1864

Last night when Hinkley lay down he & I had a regular tickling time for some minutes, so that when it was all over, I was in a good state of mind to enjoy a sound & comfortable sleep.  I slept till about 6 1/2 or 7 O'clock when the rest had eaten breakfast.  We had some good potatoes for breakfast. (Neshannocks I think).  We had a mess yesterday & a lot of baked ones for dinner the day before.  Those we got from the Commissary as a part of our rations, & there are few things we could like so well.  If we had to buy them they might cost $5.00 a bushel here.
The day was sunny & pleasant.  We had no drill or roll call.  Dress Parade was at 5 P.M.  We had a new set of colors for our Regt, consisting of a beautiful National Stars & Stripes having the names Yazoo Pass, Helena, & Little Rock in one of the stripes.  The other is the Badger State flag, with its fit motto "Forward".  I saw a box lately marked Gov I.T. Lewis, Madison, Wis. in which our old flags were packed up.  I tore a little scrap off to keep as a souvenir of the first year & a half of soldier life.  They are now tattered & torn, though not with cannon shot, for I think a bullet never struck them though like ourselves they were often under fire.  On dress parade the Resolutions of the Legislature of the states of Wis in regard to the Regts from  that state of thanks to the living & grateful remembered of the dead were read.  The steamer Annie Jacobs came down the river & got here before noon.  Our boys that went to guard the prisoners came down on her.  We got a mail also.  I got a letter from Mother & Matt from 18 to 21 ult.  The weather was very cold.  Blue bird & Robin had reached there.  All were well as usual.  Father & Mother were well.  I also had a letter from Maria & Anna Brogan of 7 & 8 ult.  They were all well.  This is the first Anna ever wrote me.  Lt Slawson Co. B & 5 recruits came on the boat.  I am well.
I am often made to wonder at the errors & mistakes that prevail in men's minds.  Last Saturday just as the boat started up the river with the prisoners, one of the 1st Ind said to me that one of the Rebel prisoners & himself were brought up in the same neighborhood in Ind.  Several yrs ago they crossed the plains together to California.  The Rebel returned a short time before or since the War broke out, left Ind on purpose to join the rebels with whom he has ever since worked & to their cause is he still devoted.  My fellow soldier for the Union thought this was the kind of Rebel that he should admire or respect the most as he thought there was so much pure principle in such action.  On the contrary, I said I thought this was the guiltiest kind of rebel, one who was raised to manhood free from the blinding influences of slavery & its ignorance, having the advantages of the Freedom & Education of the Free States.  He thought such were better than the Abolitionists of the free States, whom he thought the meanest & wickedest people that live anywhere.  I said to him that I was now & always had been an Abolitionist & hoped to see the day when the sun would not shine on a slave in all his daily course. That I thought slavery alone was the cause of the War & that as long as slavery existed we should have agitations & war as the consequence.  In all of this he agreed most sincerely & honestly I think, but he wanted the country rid of the freed slaves, else he did not want them free.  I agreed with him in the first but could not in the latter, part of this, for I thought we must first free the slaves & then deport  colorize them as soon as we could.  We found that he was just such an Abolitionist as I was & am, but a little less enlightened (if I may say so & less liberal then I).  He thought no one was an abolitionist that would not amalgamate with the Negroes & prefer to eat, drink, & sleep with them rather than with Whites.  I said to him I was no such abolitionist as that & thought very close or intimate association between the races must be to the detriment of both races.  This was not the first person I met that was an abolitionist, but from some error of opinion & dislike of the name or its meaning they did not know that they were such..

[diary] April 7 Thursday. 1864

Yesterday M mail came on the Annie Jacobs from Little Rock I got one from Matt & Mother of 18 & 21 ult. & one from Maria & Anna. She went up the River this A.M. I sent an answer to each by the return mail. Day was bright but some cloudy. I had a full wash this P.M. also Hinkley.

[journal] [in the margin between March 30 and March 31]  April 7 sunrise.  This is a pleasant morning.  I am very well.  Mail goes today.  Yesterday I got yours of March 18 & 21.  I was glad to read you were all so well.  I am well.

[journal] Pine Bluff, Jefferson Co, Arkansas
April 7th Thursday, 1864

Last night I slept well & rose refreshed & clear this morning.  The day was cloudy, but not very dark.  There was no drill during the day.  Dress Parade was at 5 P.M.  The ten Companies were out.  No orders were read.  A light shower fell about 6 P.M.  We hear that Lt Col E.B. Gray got back from Little Rock last evening, by escort & that he was greatly disappointed & displeased when told that Capt Smith ordered the new Colors out on dress parade yesterday afternoon.  This shows plainly the measure of the man for he desired to have a long ceremony & an endless round of frivolity just for the sake of the show that could be made.  For this all sensible officers (of which there are a few in 28th) & men despise him & hate his Peacock gaudiness.
For a long time past I have had a longing or strong desire that I could play some musical instrument though it were but a fiddle.  Higby often plays some & since he got one here early in winter he has improved in the tunes that he could play & learned some new ones.  I certainly think I could learn to play some by ear in a short time if I gave my attention to it.  It would be to me a pleasant relief or pastime for simple & common as fiddles are, yet the music is animating & touches & arouses the feelings & sensibilities of a person (at least such a person as I) in no small degree.  This is an old desire with me, but lately I feel it stronger than ever before & I think it is by no means a silly, childish or foolish one.  Often when my thoughts are heavy & oppressive & there is no pleasing companion near with whom I may interchange strange musings & wayward fancies, no syren-voiced singer to sooth the disturbed memories of the past, which are not always sweet or pleasant, or to waft our thoughts to that bright home beyond the skies, then I would like to hear music even such as I could make on a fiddle.  But who can tell if such may ever be?
I wrote a letter to Secretary of State, St. Paul, Minnesota, about taxes.  S[t]eamer Chippawa came down this P.M.  I wrote a letter to Father & Mother.  I am very well.  This P.M. Hinkley & I had a good full wash in the river.  We did not swim as the water was cool.

 

[diary] April 8. Friday 1864 Pine Bluff.

Mail brought me Merry's Museum. I am on Picket today. Day is cloudy & breezy. I went to Camp after 6 P.M. & ate supper. A soldier of 18th Ill. stabbed a negro soldier through the heart & killed him. Soldiers of 18 were to blame I wrote some on post & mailed a letter to Father. Yesterday I sent a letter to Sec. of State of Minn. I am very well.

 

[journal] Pine Bluff, Arkansas
April 8th Friday, 1864

Last night rain fell quite continuously from 8 1/2 O'clock to 4 1/2 this morning.  The night was not cold, else it would have been very sever on the pickets.  Hinkley was detailed last evening from our Co. to go as guard with a forage train that went out 15 to 20 miles this morning.  He started about daylight.  Wagons crossed the river last evening, Steam boat goes down the river today for forage.  This has got to be quite a scarce article, except corn which is plenty, but teams do not thrive on that alone.  Cav. men get the dry leaves of corn, broken off when green & tied in small bundles for their horses, but this is often quite scarce.
We slept well.  I dreamed of some in Wis. whom I have not seen for many a day.  It was 10 O'clock or later last night before 4 or 5  of the boys gave up gambling.  They get to bet higher & higher the more they practice.  Several I think have been running in debt to their next payment for some time past.  Night before last Charles Findley & another got betting, first one bet 50 cts, the other raised him $2.00 the first raised the bet $5.00 more, making it $7.50.  They then compared hands & ____ had it.  It is really surprising how calloused their minds become in this dreadful school of discipline, for nearly all that play for money will cheat by ___  & hiding them wherever they can & even when caught they will deny the charge as long as they can & at last admit it almost without a blush & afterward boast of it.  Playing for pies, cigars, &c so common during the Winter is seldom done now, except by a few who think that less criminal than playing for money, but now the game is for cash.  There are a few in our Co. who seem to possess that peculiar recklessness requisite to the daring & successful gambler.  Those are Muckey, Wells, Snyder, Velte & Foster of Co. B.  Corp Snyder is naturally a good fellow & I much regret he gambles or drinks any.  From what I hear the boys say it is of the first importance to be able to govern one's emotions so as to avoid betraying anything by the expression of one's own face & also to be able to read the expression of the countenance of others as correctly as possible so as to be able to judge the value of the cards he holds as compared with those of others.  We hear that four Co. of Colored Soldiers that have been here all winter are start tomorrow for Little Rock.  The details from our Regt. today were heavy on this account as we will have to furnish some for guard & probably fatigue duty in their place.  Today there are 36 privates & 10 non-com officers (Corp's & sergts.) on guard & about as many pickets.
This morning the air was soft & mild, but toward noon it became a little chilly quite breezy.  Water stands above the ground in little pools & many rivulets are running in their tiny channels.  The frogs are heard croaking in all directions & flocks of blackbirds fly from place to place & gather their forenoon meal from Mother Nature's liberal hand.  While on post as vidette [dictionary def:  a mounted sentry in advance of the outposts of an army.] from 10 to 12 today I could not help wondering at the beautiful plumage, so glossy & changeable hues in the sunshine of a male blackbird that came near me.  He was not of the larges kind that we see in Wis, but of the common kind & yet his plumage was not much if any different from that of millions of other that live now & did live in the past.  I could not help wondering at the beauty bestowed by God on so frail a creature as this bird, whose existence individually seems to be so precarious & of so little importance as not to be missed in any way by Man, the lord of Creation.  But so it is with Nature or neither with God in every department of Creation.  What a vast variety of colors of every hue is given to the different kinds of flowers & to all vegetable productions, what different shapes to the leaves of plants & trees, what various degrees of strength to various substances.  What a mysterious difference between wood & stone & again how various are the metals from all of those.  But I must stop dreaming as 4 O'Clock draws nigh.
For dinner I ate some corn cake & one or two biscuit & some sugar, after which Daniel McNeill offered m a cup of coffee, with some milk or cream in it.  This was very good.  I lately exchanged three quires of note paper with Owen Finley for as much large letter of good quality.  As the boys generally write short letters, they prefer small size sheets.  Last mail brought me Jan'y No. of Merry's Museum, a mag. for boys & girls.  I never saw it before.  Year ago today we returned to Helena from Yazzo Pass.  Weather was pleasanter than now.

 

[diary] April 9 Saturday 1864

The Soldier who killed the negro soldier is in Jail today. I reached camp at 8 1/2 A.M. Day was cloudy & a cold wind blew all day. River is rising some. I am very well. Discharged our guns this evening.

 

[journal] Pine Bluff, Arkansas
April 9th Saturday, 1864

Last night I was on post from 10 to 12 Oclock & from 4 to 6 this A.M.  I slept about 4 hours in all and felt very well refreshed.  The night was dry & not very chill, a gentle quiet breeze stirred the pine tops.  We reached camp at 8 1/2 A.M.  Today was cloudy & a cold wind blew all day.  The river was lately as low as it often has been, but today a little rise took place.  Sayher has returned from the hospital.
Yesterday a dreadful murder took place here.  In this way as I heard it, a negro soldier had a watch which he offered to sell, or else which some of the 18 Ill tried to force from him.  The negro being set upon by several of the 18th soldiers, he tried to get away, when they followed him making efforts to beat him.  At this he threw one or more bricks or bats, either before or after they had thrown at him.  One of them was hit on the head & hurt severely when one of the soldiers drew a knife or dagger & stabbed the negro, some say through the heart, so that he died soon after.  This is the most disgraceful affair that occurred here since we came to this place.  I heard today that the perpetrator of the dark & dismal deed is in jail, awaiting trial.  So far as I heard about it, all say the soldiers were wholly to blame.  So far as I have seen of the conduct of the Negroes, male & female, young or old, they behave as quietly & decently as I ever saw any people do anywhere & though very generally insulted & imposed upon by the white soldiers, yet they passed along very seldom returning a word in answer & then not the most offensive that could be used.  Some friend of slavery will catch this as an argument in favor of slavery;  but then the question follows would not slavery be a good thing for whites if it would teach them better manners & force them to the practice of such habits?  Most, if not all of the 18th Ill Regt were enlisted at or near Cairo in the extreme southern part of Ill or Egypt, & are generally rough fellows & I think ignorant.  They, I judge, are mostly such as think the negro has no rights that the white should respect.
Last evening I saw the new moon first.  I am very well

 

[diary] April 10 Sunday, Pine Bluff.

Last night was clear & moonlit & today was clear & bright. Inspection was at 9 A.M. I went to the Catholic church & read 11 & 12 Chapt of St. John's Gospel. Steamer Annie Jacobs came from Little Rock & brought mail. I got no letter. I hope for one next time. Pine Bluff,

 

[journal] Pine Bluff, Ark
April 10 Sunday, 1864

Last night I finished up all my diary &c to date.  I lay down at 9 1/2 & slept well till about 6 this morning.  Last evening we discharged our guns.  Inspection was this morning at 8 1/2 or 9.  So many were detailed yesterday & today for duty that there were but 16 or 18 on Inspection.  Yesterday P.M. I bought a copy of Harpers Weekly of April ___.  I paid 25 cts for it.  In the Editorial Dept, I read of the offering or presentation of the name of I.C. Fremont by some parties who consider him the "man for the hour".  Harper's prefers Pres. Lincoln for the Union Candidate for the next term.  It is very severe on the traitors of the of the Copper complexion, with such leaders as Amos Kendal, Seyorius[?] and others such that favor Geo. B. McClellan for candidacy for the Presidency.  I regret to see such men as Horace Greely & papers as Independent N.Y. Tribune, strongly opposing the renomination or reelection of Old Abe, for I think he has conducted matters as well as the unusual & circumstances in which the nation was placed & the vast wants of the past perilous three years & the character of the times would allow anyone to do.  And yet it seems that the settlement of the various questions & interests that will present themselves in such a way that they can not be deferred or avoided with safety, will require as great or greater honesty, ability & experience for their adjustment than was required during the War for the administration of national affairs.  There can be no doubt but that many cases of dishonesty & corruption were successfully carried out since the War began, but no man or body of men can be held wholly responsible for such in the present Licyrtious[?] & irreligious, desperate state of society.  I read recently that our National debt on Feb 16th ult. was $1,482,600,000.  So that in any event is a very likely to reach two thousand millions, even though the War should end with the present year.  This vast debt, so inconceivably immense can readily be paid in from 20 to 50 years & all things will be well with us, if the questions resulting from the War be justly & properly disposed of once & forever.
My paper, in the same dept speaks ably of the real grandeur of the result of the election in Ark. by which Isaac Murphy, the only man in the secession convention in the state in 1861 that always & ever voted against the Secession of the state from the National Union.  Everything advances favorably in this state for the triumph permanently of the principles for which we fight.  If our armies triumph over those of the Rebels, there can be but little doubt that Slavery is killed forever & history must show that the excessive ambition of the leaders among its friends was the first cause of its destruction.  For this result of the War every enlightened person in every land must be grateful in Louisiana.  Michael Hann was elected Governor, there being three candidates running for the office.  Tennessee is taking steps toward a return to a New Place in the new Union, without slavery.  There is rumor of a rebel advance into Ky. from Va.  Kentucky seems destined to be overrun in all directions till she determines to destroy her curse.  It now appears that Sherman's Expedition did not quite accomplish all that was intended, owing to the failure of two Cav. expeditions (one under _______________[left blank] ) to reach him, one of which was to start from Chattanooga.  Report says there are some 80,000 to 120,000 deserters from the Union army.  Few of those however are assisting the enemy being scattered about the Western Territories & thousands of them being in Canada;  Many of those we hear now want pardon, offering to return to their places in the ranks of War.
At 9 1/2 to 10 O'clock I went to the Catholic Church, partly in compliance with the wish of my Mother, expressed in her letter recd last week & partly according to my previously entertained intention to do so.  I read 11 & 12 chapter of John's Gospel before mass began during which I sat still in a seat.  The Priest read texts from a Protestant Bible to prove that there was but one true Church, one Baptism, one fold in Christ &c.  His remarks were for those who were not Catholics he said, & spoke so as to repel & offend such rather than to attract & instruct them.  Now there is nothing plainer than that persons do not go to a strange place for the express purpose of having somebody give them a smart & good talking to; but rather to see the way of people & hear what they have to say.  So far as I know, Catholic congregations need all the instruction & improving influence that can be brought to bear on them.  It would seem from what he said that he suspected the want of his own people in this respect, but he was so generous as to instruct those who sat in their seats with folded arms.  Well I hope God will instruct & guide us all in the way that we should go.  I do not know any who do not need more grace & sight, than they now have.  He denounced Jeff. Davis for his presumption in appointing a day of fasting throughout the Confederacy.  Also Protestant ministers & people North & South, for exercising private judgment & thus spreading Abolition Ideas which all together produced this War.  A. Mullen of Co B, 28 received communion.  There were many soldiers present most of whom were Catholics, I judge, & but few citizens & women present.  There was a collection made, but I did not contribute anything.  I think I shall go again.  What surprised me most was that he denounced all such as the expression of one's private feelings of devotion, in ones own words; as he said it would be improper & might be very criminal for one to write or compose a form of prayer for any occasion without submitting it to the examination of Ecclesiastics as it might be defective or incomplete.  I think any prayer now in existence may be imperfect & in fact I doubt if any except the Lord's Prayer can be perfect.
At noon Steamer Annie Jacobs came down & brought mail.  Many of the boys got letters but none came for me.  I have heard nothing from Steele.  Yesterday P.M. I saw many men from the outside.  All seem to be glad to return to Peace & Loyalty, those coming in tell of the trials & hardships they endured trying to avoid conscription hiding months about home & in the woods.  Some from Little Rock say that a large no. of prisoners & deserters came there during the week.  Last night & today were clear & pleasant.
We had dinner at 3 O'clock P.M.  Some of the boys caught a good large fish this morning & the cooks skinned & stuffed it & when it was baked in the oven it was very good & made a hearty meal for all of us (11) in our mess.  For a smaller fish yesterday I heard a man offer a dollar to a negro & the latter said he would not take $2.00 for it.  This made me think they both lived high.  The white man wanted to contract for two or 3 every day, as he kept 25 or 30 boarders.  At dinner I was thinking & asked where might our Regt be a year from today?  [ironically, one year and a few days hence on April 15, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln would be assassinated]   One of the boys said that in a month we might be on the banks of Red River.  Saying that Gray expected that, too.  But this I doubt, though I do not know.  There seems to be quite an accumulation of Commissary stores here & the boats bring loads down from Little Rock.  Some say that this place is to be the depot of supplies for Steele's Army till he can get them up Red River.  Yesterday P.M. the four Co's of Negro soldiers here started for Little Rock.  They went on this side of the river afoot.  There were about 300 of them.  Those sick went on the Steamer Chippawa.  Jas Fitzgerald of our Co went as Orderly in one of them.  The poor fellows had parings & leave takings with their friends & they cheered & yelled lustily as they marched away.  I see in the papers that all veteran Regt's from Ohio lately in the Cumberland Army now go to the Potomac Army.  This seems to warrant the expectation of an other attempt under the direction of Gen. Grant for the capture of Richmond.  How many hope for its success & how many brave boys must fall.

 

[diary] 11 Monday 1864

Today I & Lewis & McKown were on fatigue. we were storing rations in a warhouse. Mail went this A.M. I could send a letter but missed the chance A. Jacobs went to Little Rock. River is rising. I am well.

 

[journal] Pine Bluff, Ark
April 11th Monday, 1864

Last night I lay down about 9 O'clock & slept well till 6 1/2 this morning.  The morning was sunny & I expected a clear bright day, but the clouds shut out the sunshine.  P.M. & towards evening the clouds grew heavy & let a few drops fall.  The air was still all day.  Lewis, McKown & I were detailed for fatigue about 9 1/2 & worked stowing away rations till 5 P.M.  There was a detail of about 30 for this purpose from 28, & one half loaded the wagons at the landing while the rest, with which I worked, were busy in a ware house.  I & one of Co B piled in three tiers about 275 bbl's of flour.  There were 25 others with open heads that could not be piled up.  We also stored 40 to 50 bbl's of coffee, some ground, the rest roasted.  25 to 50 bbls's sugar, & 150 to 200 bbl's hard bread or crackers or tack.  Some say a train of subsistence will start for Steel's arm this week.  Coffee, hard bread, & such are packed in old barrels.  Most of the bbl's are machine make & the heads often break out & cause waste of flour, sugar, &c.  The work was quite severe on our hands, some[what] like picking stones at home.  It is strange that I never see a stone pile or heap here as were so plenty in Wis.
Steamer Annie Jacobs went up the river this A.M. & took mail.  I had some written that I should have sent, but I did not know when Higby took the mail off this morning.  The Curlew went down the river A.M. probably foraging.  This A.M. Co. B stacked their arms & we heard that they were to have new Springfield rifled musket & new accouterments.  Some said our Co G was to have the remainder of 100 that were sent here, but I do not think Lt. Col. Gray will give them to us, as G. is none of his favorites.  B. wants 55 & about 45 would do our Co.  I would like to keep my old gun that I first selected in Camp Washburn & the
accouterments I then got, all of which are marked, except my bayonet sheath.  Many change their guns for some other one;  but I have got to love mine & wish if I could, to take it home after the War as a relic of the third War for Nationality & Liberty.  But if we get better guns, weapons that will be more efficient for our work, I will reluctantly part with mine, as with a friend that was often my only dependence under God's protecting power, in the day of Battle & many an hour of danger.  I have decided to bring my gun & equipment home if the government will sell them to us & I think I will be able to look on them where they would be free from dust & rust, hung in my best room, with as real satisfaction & righteous Pride as could be felt by many whose names were more conspicuous than mine ever was or is likely to be, even though they have Old Shoulder straps & high Commissions on which to base their high pretensions & claims to public positions, honors & respect.
At noon the boys were talking of a case near our camp in which three men & one Corp. are on guard today to protect a fence around a house garden plat from which a few pickets were taken by someone last night, or sometime lately.  The man that owns or occupies it has taken the oath of Allegiance & so is presumed to be a Loyal man & as such, some argued, was entitled to protection at our hands.  Others & those Gilbert, who came in was leader, wished the boys would let the fence alone, or else that they would tear it to flinders, some night if a guard were kept up.  This is strange consistency to me, as like the arguement of some that if any man makes a beginning toward enslaving a man or race, it is right for others to follow it to any extent--but at first it is wrong to begin it.  All blame Col. Gray for furnishing or ordering a guard on any trivial occasion for he seems so closely allianced with many of the citizens that he prefers their wishes & appearance rather than the health & welfare of the soldiers of the Union.  In Milwaukee Sentinel of 26th ult, I read a statement of the estimated strength of the Rebel Army of disciplined men, made by Corres. of NY World.  Lee has 130,000 in Va. & vicinity under his command.  Trans. Miss. Dept. 15, 000.  The total is 275,000. 

 

[diary] April 12. Tuesday, 1864.

Last night was rainy. Hinkley was on Picket. Gilbert & I lay in my bunk. I was detailed on guard but I & five others were not needed so we were dismissed. Today I bought Dick's Complete Works in two vols. for $2.50 also Atlantic Souvenir for 1830 .25 & H.K. White's Poetical works small Ed. 25 cts.

 

[journal] Pine Bluff, Ark
April 12th Tuesday, 1864

Last evening the sky was heavily overcast with clouds & about 8 O'clock rain began to fall.  I wrote some in my diary out in our mess room & afterward in the barracks.  Lieut. gave orders to have lights out 20 minutes after retreat.  This cut short the time for gambling.  As Hinkley & David McNeill were on picket, leaving Gilbert & me each alone.  He proposed sleeping with me.  I lay down before 9 & rose at 6 1/2 this morning when the sun was quite high in Heaven & when the rest of the boys were at breakfast.  Rain fell lightly nearly all night, but the day was clear & pleasant.  While I write the moon shines clear & silvery & the shades of night are gathering around.  The recent rains make the river rise, so that it is now in good stage for boating.  There was regular Monthly Inspection at 2 this P.M.  I was not on Inspection having been detailed on guard, but there being six too many, I & five others were dismissed.  I am apt to be on guard tomorrow.  Today I attended the auction sale of A.A.C.Rogers, M.C elect from this Congressional District.  He sold all his household & other property, preparatory to starting to take his seat in U.S. Congress.  Everything generally brought a high price, particularly in the housekeeping line.  One china set brought $60, a piano $175 said to have cost $400 new.  I think the sale amounted to $500 to 800 dollars He had a small library in which few took any interest.  Surgeon of 1st Ind. bought several books.  I bought the Complete Works of Thomas Dick, S.L.C. for $2.50. Atlantic Souvenir for 1830 for .25 & H. Kirk White's works complete for .25  Dick's works are about as good as new.  The Pub. price before the War was $4.00 & now may be as high as $5.00 owing to the great rise in Publisher's materials.  During my first school in winter of 1854-5, I read The Christian Philosopher, which is comprised in the work.  I heard some say he did not intend to return to this place as one remarked, it was a hard place to raise a family.  I am very well.
Today I noticed for the first time what I so often heard the boys speak about, viz, the way in which southern women from the most accomplished, enlightened refined to the poorest & lowest , use tobacco or more properly, snuff in the way called dipping.  The boys say they have seen young & elegantly dressed ladies use it as well as the middle aged & the old.  It appears they acquire the habit early in life & constantly carry the snuff in a little bag or case in their pocket as men carry such in which they dip a small stick, which they first wet in the mouth so snuff will adhere to it.  This they put in their mouth & move it about the gums as if to scatter it in every part of the mouth.  At first I could not believe the statements of the boys in regard to this & the manner in which they spit what appears to be tobacco juice in the same way that tobacco chewers do, but now I feel somewhat forced to give more credence to what they said about this.  From what I saw yesterday & what the boys say those women appear not to try to hide their use of this unmanly & still more unwomanly & filthy narcotic.  Surely Slavery & the ignorance it caused produced many strange effects among the people of the Southern States.
This morning I went down to Co. A. & had quite a long & pleasant visit with Ira Woodcock.  Often has he come to see me when he would stay & chat a while with me & invite me to visit him, when he would be starting away.  I was always so busy that I seldom complied with his wish.  We had a few jokes & some talk about the long ago.  He told me his brother-in-law, Geo. Daubner who married his sister Frances & who was discharged a year ago for a disability in his right hand, was dissembling - or plying off as the boys call it- & his hand was well very soon after he reached home.  His conduct in this respect is very unpleasant to Ira, who is a true & faithful soldier.  He said he lately had a letter from his sister June who is in Oregon.  His people like the climate there & he says he intends to go there after his term of service expires.  I read lately of the death of miss Adelaide Anna Proctor, the Poctess.  I think she was English & Barry Cornwall's daughter.  Her works are pub. in U.S.A.

 

[diary] April 13 Wednesday 1864

I was up before roll call this morning at sunrise. The day was pleasant & sunny. We got our new Springfield rifles this P.M. Boat came from Little rock. I got a letter from Matt

 

[journal] Pine Bluff, Ark
April 13 Wednesday, 1864

Last night candles were quenched early, but the boys kept up cracking vulgar jokes till near 10 O'clock.  At last I fell asleep & slept soundly till after midnight after which I was restless & wakeful several hours before daylight.  We were up to roll call about 5 O'clock & I saw the surnrise while his body was yet cut by the horizon in the east.  The day was pleasant & the sky clear till the middle of the P.M. when clouds rose & covered all the sky.  We had dress parade at 6 P.M. & a light sprinkling of rain fell.  Co. B. got their new Springfield rifled muskets & in the afternoon we got ours.  They are handier than our late Enfields & but little lighter.  They have a bright finish & are scaled for shooting 500 yds.  Our Enfields were marked for 900 yds, but 500 is about as far as good shooting with small arms can be done.  We also got new equipments & turned all our old ones over to Regimental Qr. Master.  Many were busy today sweeping the grounds about camp as there is to be a grand review tomorrow A.M.
This P.M. a boat came down & brought mail for this post & also for Gen. Steele's army.  I got a letter from Matt to March 30.  They were all well up to that date, had made some sugar & molasses.  There was wet weather & some was cold.  Matt had been at a concert at Prospect Hill.  Father & Mother felt very well & quite strong.  A thin 12 mo. book I sent to Maria was mailed $1.26 additional postage besides .15 or 18 cts.  I paid here.  He has to pay extra postage on nearly every letter I send home.  A train of 100 wagons got here today from Little Rock.  It is to start soon with supplies for Gen Steele's army.  Alexander McNeill came down with it.  We hear Steele had heavy fighting near Camden.  Lieut. Tichenor got his commission as Capt. of our Co.  I am well.

 

[diary] April 14.

All were well. Tichenor got his commission as Capt. of our Co. 14 Thursday Pine Bluff. Yesterday a train of 131 wagons came from Little Rock. This morning rain fell. I am on guard in Camp. P.M. was sunny. Boat took mail up the River & a letter to Matt. We had two good messes of fish today. I am well

 

[journal] Pine Bluff
April 14 Thursday, 1864

Foster, Clark & Wells are on Picket.
I went to sleep in good season last night & rose about 5 this morning to roll call.  Morning was dark & cloudy & before 8 O'clock a sprinkling of rain fell.  Guard mounting was delayed till 9 O'clock expecting the review would take place, but the weather was too threatening.  I am on guard to make up for the day I was dismissed.  Each of the 9 on camp guard stood an hour & a half to watch the fence & I was one of those excepting the post at the Com house.  I like camp guard the best.  This is the first time on guard with our new guns.  I heard today that John Cullen has torn his Corporal's stripes off in anticipation of an order of Lt. Col. to reduce him to the ranks.  For several days past, the 1st Ind. Cav. have been preparing to move their camp from the place they occupied in town all winter.  Their new camp is on our right, on the bank of the River.  Orders were read last evening on dress parade for the Cav. to parade every day.  They are not near as strict about such matters offancy as Inf. generally are.  I have heard that the citizens of this town today presented to Col. Clayton, Commander of this post, a horse, sword, & full set of equipments.  Someone said the value or cost was $18.00  I believe it was a private matter at which nearly all the Com. Officers & the upper ten of the citizens--every place has some such even though it be the infernal regions.   I heard said many of the Officers of the Cav. as well as our own Regt. were in that lower than beastly state--delictably tight.  Lt. Col. included.  Thanks to God our Capt was not of the No.  Train was loading last night & today.  P.M. was sunny & pleasant.  No dress parade.  Boys got 4 or 5 fishes this morning, which we ate for breakfast & supper.  They were very good.  Boat took mail up river.  I sent a letter to Matt.

 

[diary] April 15, Friday 1864

I am well. Today was quite pleasant but changeful P.M. Three transports & Gunboat 37 came up the River No mail. Chippawa came down last night. No mail. Dress parade at 6.

 

[journal] Camp 28, Wis. Vols. at Pine Bluff
April 15 Friday, 1864

Last night I went on guard at roll call 8 1/2 P.M. & was relieved at 11 1/2, after which time I had a good sleep till 5 1/2 this morning, when I was waked by the Corp.  I was on post 1 1/3 this A.M. guarding the fence.  As my beat was between two fences in a lane, I made up my mind that the purpose of watch was to keep the quarrelsome people of the South from destroying each other in the way they have been doing during the last 3 1/2 years.  But this was a mere fancy.  I was only guarding a fence!  Last night while I was on post at the Q.M. 15 rods from our barracks, I heard cheering & confused talking which I supposed was made by some of the boys;  but I found it was made by some of the Company Officers in consequence of the drink they had today.  In fact, as some of the boys would say they raised "merry Hell".  Loudest among those I heard was the voice of Lt. C. Rowing of Co. K.  The morning was soft & mild & the birds were gayly twittering in the pleasant sunlight.  At 7 I & the others of our mess ate breakfast for which & at dinner, we had fresh fish.  The day was changeful.  Some sun & some shade all day.  Yesterday, Safford & Hinkley overhauled our stove & oven, & made it larger & better than before, making much more room in our mess room.  This will be very convenient for us as we may stop here the greater part of the season.  The little Steamer Chippawa came down the river last night & got here about midnight with a load of ammunition.  Some of the 28 were detailed to unload it this A.M.  Shot & shell & rifle cartridges were loaded on the train wagons.  This morning I was much amused to see the boys play marbles which has lately got to be a favorite game among them.  Our new Capt. played awhile.  12 or 14 years ago I could play marbles better than many of the boys can now, but since that time I have not shot a marble that I can remember.  Wicket ball is also played by the boys on the pleasant grounds in front of our quarters.  I do not take part in this, though I may yet sometime.  Our mess got 10 lbs dried apples today at 8 cents a lb. from the Post commissary.  Three transports & one gunboat came from below & got here at 5 P.M.  They are loaded with Government supplies.  I read Mil. Sentinel of March 28.  I am well.
Lately all our Co. divided into messes.  The first organized & yet continued is that composed of Gilbert, McKee, D. McNeill, Donaldson, Moore, Young, Lahee.  The next was ours; now composed of Griffing, Foster, Lewis, Hinkley, Clark, Wells, Safford, Walden, Walton, Turner, & Loughney.  The next organized was Church, Crillen, Muckey, McKown, Vosburgh, Draper, & Cameron.  Again a mess was formed by Thomas Edwards, Bowers, Thornton, Smart, Owen & Chas. Finley, Velty, N.J. Smith, Reamer, Darling, Gill, Juhre.  Last week the last was formed, the fifty consisting of E.B. & W. H. Smith, King, Gelzer, Snyder, Stutsman, & Jacobi.  Higley is the only one that boards out.  In the first they cook one day as each one's turn comes.  In ours we pay H. & S. 50 cts a week from each one, they doing their own duty when their time comes.  Our food is well & regularly cooked  we fare very well for soldier's living.  Today we drew a loaf apiece instead of flour rations of which we draw one half share & on half hard bread.  The loaves weigh 22 oz each.
Today I read 2d & 3d Hours of Melancholy in H.K. White's works.  A McNeill, who came from L. Rock with the train said our (2) Brigade of the 3d Division in Steel's army lost 100 in killed & probably a proportional No. wounded.  We hear preparations are making here for prisoners he has taken.  Papers say Owen Lovejoy, Representative in U.S. Congress from Ill. died at          March .  I am sorry for this as in him we had one of our trust & ablest champions &  fearless defenders of the Rights & Liberties of Man.  For many years past he was a prominent man in the national Congress.  But he yet lives!

 

 

[diary] April 16. Saturday 1864.

I am on Picket today. It is clear & pleasant. sun warm, nights cool. I got a letter from Matt datd 2 & 3d inst. Father Mother, & all were well. He sold hay for $20 a ton, butter for 28 cts a lb. Steamer Annie Jacobs come down. I am very well

 

[journal] Pine Bluff, Ark
April 16 Saturday, 1864

Last evening Lewis & I went into Co. B's quarters & stopped till roll call.  We went to hear the music of the fiddles that are nearly all the time in use there, for several of the boys play.  While we stopped there the boys got up a dance in which I & Lewis were invited to take part, & he did so.  He told me that his step father, P.N. Monroe never treated him well or kindly, that he never encouraged him or felt as if pleased with the way L. did things, even though he did his best & well.  Also that Monroe did not try to be pleasant & cheerful at home & to make home and his own people or family happy as he did to make strangers, when they visited him.  This strongly reminded me of Goff's way & the way he used his family.  To m`e it proves a meanness of character for which I think there can be little excuse in any case & generally none at all.  Lewis & I sometimes express our mutual wonder that men do not make peace & quiet happiness of home the great objects of their lives.  I certainly think that if I should marry a woman widow--having one or more children-- that I could treat them & my wife kindly & act justly toward them that had no other protector, but I can little depend on my opinion in this matter for my conduct might depend on some conditions.  L. told me that Monroe did not leave him a dollar by will or otherwise.  L. is very still & will confide in but few.  Till last June, when he went North from Helena, he was in the same tent with Gilbert, A. & D. McNeill & Geo. Church.  Some dissatisfaction arose between him & them so that they would not have him with them again, nor did he feel anxious to renew the connection.  He to me is a man agreeable companion than many others in our Co.
I am on picket today.  It is a warm dull day.  I had a short sleep before noon.  I felt a longing for the time when I could work & not be confined to lounge & lazily stand on picket as now.  His will be done.

 

[diary] April 17 Sunday. 1864.

I came off Picket at 8 3/4. Day was warm & pleasant. I was at Presbyterian Church. Mail took a letter up River. A detail from 28 W.V. & 7 Mo. Cav. worked unloading corn. We had apple pie for dinner & supper.

 

[journal] Pine Bluff, Ark
April 17 Sunday, 1864

Last night mail came on the Annie Jacobs from L.Rock.  I got a letter from Matt dated 2d & 3d inst.  They were all well at that time.  They had received my portrait that I sent about the middle of March.  Most of thought I looked natural & well.  Mother looked at it & after a long time, meditating, during which the tears forced their way down & at length said I looked very natural & well, but she thought the eyes were quite sunken; and Father thought I was much reduced, all others thought I looked well.  Mary Ann Goff had been sick, but was entirely recovered.  Sister Mary was much pleased to see the portrait & that I looked so well.  Brogan's people had a letter from Matt & John from Cal.  They were doing well & would have $800 in gold earned at the end of the first year.  Matt had sold butter for 28 cts a lb. & hay for about $20.00 a ton.  Mary gave him a large green apple which he gave to Winnifred.  Some were plowing for wheat.  On 3d Mother walked to church.  Father, it seemed was well.
Last night I was on post from 10 to 12 & slept till 4 1/2 this morning when I waked & was on post again till 6 1/2.  My first beat was pleasant & moonlit & during my last daylight returned.  The sun rose clear & unclouded & the birds of 8 or 10 different kinds were waked to melody.  I paid the last dime I had for a pint of sweet milk & had a plenty of good sweet coffee for breakfast.  We may get pay May 1st or thereabouts.  I went to the Presbyterian Church & heard the singing & part of the discourse.  The Prodigal Son was the subject. -- I tried to get another letter on the boat, but she started up before I got aboard.  I have one in the mail aboard.  There was a detail of about 50 men from 28 W.V. & 7 Mo. Cav. unloading corn off the Chippawa.  Our boys got so much whiskey as to make them almost drunk.  Lewis, Clark, & I went about town P.M.  I was longing & anxious for home & sweet Peace.  Capt Tichenor went to Little Rock to be mustered.  Dress Parade at 6 P.M.  Well.

 

[diary] April 18 Monday 1864.

Last night there was a thunder storm & vivid lightning. I took a dose of Pills & a powder of quinine Last night Officer of the day played in a strange way with pickets

 

[journal] Pine Bluff, Arkansas
April 18 Monday, 1864

Last night I wrote & read till about 10 O'clock.  About 9 P.M. a detail was made from our Regt. 4 from our Co. to unload the corn from the Chippawa.  My bed fellow--Hinkley was one, so I slept alone till about 4 1/2 this morning when they returned.  We were waked by the Reville at 5 1/2.  I had a good sound sleep.  Last night I took four of Ayer's Cath. pills which waked me up about 4 A.M. & produced good effects.  H. slept till about 11 O'clock.  There was also a detail from 7 Mo. Cav. Regt.  Whiskey was provided in such plenty that many got too drunk to work so that about 1/2 had to do 3/4 or more of the work.  For some time past the boys noticed that I would sometimes curse, though seldom, & only at a few particular things, as intoxicating liquors, slavery, & the betrayal of woman's confidence & love, which nature designed as a sacred treasure & blessing to & for Man--when she place the grand treasure in his keeping.  Goelzer, who was on the detail & who is one of our best boys, said this morning in the barracks when speaking of the way that some of the party drank the liquor & so became unfit to help the others--that he felt inclined last night to say "Damn the Whiskey, as Loughney does".  Though he sometimes drinks & speaks in favor of a moderate use of liquors, at least beer, yet I hope he will see the necessity of total abstinence as the only sure means for certain security against the shame of drunkenness that disgraces many of Earth's noblest, truest, & most lovely.  Certainly when I think of the woes those enemies of Man's Peace produce in the world, from pity for the victims, I can most heartily say.  Damn such things!
Last night a thunderstorm passed over us.  The lightning was very vivid & near us, but little rain fell.  Last night the Officer of the Day went along the picket line & played strange games with many of the videttes from some he got their guns, including a Corp.  He told others he was the rebel Gen. Forest & acted in a very unusual manner & so that the sentinels might have shot him or thrust him with their bayonets & all in strict obedience to orders given in such cases.
Yesterday P.M. 3 to 5  members of 7 Mo. Cav. were buried.  They were shot last week when the Regt went down to guard Steamer to the mouth of the river.
Last mail brought me the Jany. No. of Arthur's Ladies Home Magazine as a specimen.  This morning I went to see Ira Woodcock & I found him confined to bed.  He had a chill & fever yesterday P.M. & did not feel well enough today to be about.  I stopped with him about an hour as he wished to have me stay awhile with him.  Today the wind was high & blustering.  After breakfast, Clark & I went out in the boat to take the fish off our line.  We found two small cat fish on, which we ate for dinner.  I wondered at my ill success in trying to row the boat across the river.  I last tried to row a boat up the Tallahatchie when we were going down to Ft. Pemberton, when I & Lt. Murray & Surgeon Smith of our Regt. took a life boat & went back to some of the other boats.  I remember what a time I had at Leseur [?] while crossing the Minnesota River.  I did not know how to row the canoe, so I sat down in the middle of it & was unable to steer it across the river, so I drifted down stream.  At last I got in one end of it & found I could easily control it & soon moved up stream & so got safely across.  Thus I find that in many things I am very inexperienced & have very much to learn yet.
Today I saw the Toronto Weekly Globe of March 25.  It is a large & well printed gazette paper & I think it is ably managed.  I read some paragraphs in it from N.Y. papers on the 'American Revolution' now going on.  It expresses the opinion that the U.S. are favored by the Reciprocity Treaty & wishes it continued.  Some action was taken in U.S. Congress for notifying the British Gov. of our wish to change it or have it discontinued.  Immense preparations are making for early movements of the largest & most important character in Va against Richmond.  Col. Ulric Dahlgren, son of the Admiral Com. S. Atlantic Squadron was killed ----- in Gen. Kilpatrick's raid near Richmond.  Rebel Gen. Forest advanced on Padukah, Ky. & much of the town was burned.
We had Dress Parade at 6 P.M. 18 Ill. at 5 1/2.  I am well.

 

[diary] April 19 Tuesday.

I slept well last night & was up to Roll Call Day was clear & sunny. We had dress parade in the evening. I read a copy of Pine Bluff Reporter. our entire force Cav. & Inf. on the scout in last march was 1250 men.

 

[journal] Pine Bluff, Jefferson Co.
April 19th Tuesday, 1864

Last night was one of those clear, soft, moonlit beautiful nights, which we can but admire & when far away, one must long for the company of pleasant friends & the sweet quiet of home; for by me nothing can be half enjoyed alone & all scene of beauty & times of enjoyment are a hundred times increased & intensified when some congenial & loved friends participate with us the loveliness of Nature's varied glories & beauties.  About dark Lewis & I started away from camp & for an hour or more rumbled about the unpaved sidewalks which like the streets are dusty & uneven.  We spoke of matters of deepest & life interest to us after the war & in which we both think very much alike.  We exchange thoughts about our mutual acquaintances & about some that to one of us were strangers & in this way we may learn something of advantage to us hereafter, & of amusements to us at present.  I slept well & rose at roll call.  The morning was pleasant & the day clear & sunny.  During the day a strong breeze blew, but during the P.M. it died away & the evening is as glorious & pleasant as truest poet, or fondest lovers could desire.  The new blooming forest looks soft & delicate as compared with the somber green of the pines that have endured in their present dress all the rough blasts of Winter.  I heard two Co's of 18 Ill. came here lately & now the Regt. had Dress Parade every evening.  Sometimes there are many spectators present at those parades, & of our Regt.  This evening, Capt Morse of Co D, 5 Kansas had a lady in a buggy to see our Regt. on parade.  He is our Provost Marshall & one of our best officers.  Yesterday, E.N. Walden paid 50 cts for 6 small apples & as much for 5 potatoes for these he paid ten cts a lb.  This is at least 8 to 10 times the price in Milwaukee.  He is very weak at present.  Ira Woodcock is better & about today.  Gray was back yesterday, he did not go to Steele's Army.  I read a copy of Pine Bluff Reporter & Madison, Wis Patriot--which opposes the Administration.  In Harper's Weekly, I saw portrait of Hon. Owen Lovejoy.  He was amiable looking as true & able.

 

[diary] April 20 Wednesday. Pine Bluff

Day was pleasant & sunny. I was on fatigue duty cleaning about camp. I had headache this P.M. I bough[t] Harper's Weekly April 16 for 25. Owen Lovejoy is dead, born in Maine Jany. 11, 1811. He had been a minister of the Gospel. I paid 25 cts for 5 small apples. I gave little Alameda 3 of them

 

[journal] Pine Bluff, Arkansas
April 20 Wednesday, 1864

Last night I lay down about 9 1/2 O'clock.  During the evening, I sat at the card table & read M. Renan's Life of Jesus  -- an article of column in Harper's Magazine for February.  It was written, I should think, by some one of the ablest Ministers in some of the Protestant Churches of the U.S.  The review or critiq[sic] is I think quite or very able.  Honorable mention in made of the able opposition made to its errors by some Roman Catholic writers of Europe.  The author is a native of France & in his early life studied in Roman Catholic Colleges for Orders.  He is an able but erring Man & his book & life are strange, too.
I was on fatigue duty today.  16 from the Regt. Our duty was to clean broken bricks, chips, bones, &c. in front of our barracks.  The party was a good natured one, as was also the Sergt. who did as much as any of us.  Seldom such a Sergt. or Corp. is met.  No one thought the work necessary, & on that account there was little will in the matter.  Some of the party knew Col. Gray at home & went to his school in Palmyra, Wis before the War.  He was a good teacher, but few had much respect for his character, for Chastity or fidelity in his marriage relation.  While at work a well looking young woman passed along & some of the boys remarked about her, as she passed.  I saw her look about some.  To me, it was saddening & sickening to hear the remarks which followed.  It would seem that from the conversation & feelings of Officers & men that here a woman is regarded merely as a means of sensual gratification to be hired for a given sum to sell her honor, virtue, her very soul.  I certainly am not pure as I should wish & strongly desire & hope to be, but this exulting in the ruin & blight of the loveliest, fondest & purest part of the human family is enough to make one weep, if by that means any good would be accomplished.
I did not feel very well this P.M.  I had some slight headache & felt a little feverish.  Steamer Prairie State had a load of cotton aboard but 40 or 50 cts an hour was paid to some of the boys to help unload her.  Day was pleasant & sunny.  No drill or Dress Parade.  I ate no supper

 

[diary] April 21 Thursday Pine

I am on picket today. morning was cloudy but day was hot & sunny. Annie Jacobs came down & took a little mail Capt. Tichenor came down Many deserters come in. I went to camp in the evening.

 

[journal] Pine Bluff, Arkansas
April 21st Thursday, 1864

Last evening I read an article in Harper's Weekly in regard to the propriety of recalling Gen. Geo. B. McClellan to a command in the field.  It was plainly shown that he did not sympathize with the real objects of the War or believe in its success & so was unfit to command our forces or any part of them.  His sympathy with the Copperheads of the North is very  evident.  All true lovers of our County & our cause must rejoice that he or such as he have now no important command in our army.  I was present last evening at the Dress Parade of the 18 Ill.  There were about 200  present beside others in the Regt off on duty.  Many of the boys wore Cav. jackets, as it seems they have not yet a supply of clothing.  The music was good, though there was but one fifer & three drummers.  Our band lately play some new tunes, such as "Gay & Happy " and others that I do not know.  Last night about midnight there was a detail from our Regt. to take the place of 18 Ill as they had orders to march to Little Rock.  I have heard they moved their things aboard the boat today & again unshipped them.  This is some as we did at Helena about a year ago.  There is a spirit of ***mity existing between some of our boys & the 18 Ill.  Some on both sides are rough & such as are ready anytime for a fight.  This is certainly shameful to all concerned very much to be regretted.  They have been in the service a year or more longer than our Regt. & this makes some of them think they have a right to run on us.  Between our Regt. & all the Cav. here, the best of feelings always existed.
I am on Picket today.  The sky was cloudy in the morning, but in the middle of the day the sun shone clear & hot.  In the A.M. the Annie Jacobs came down from Little Rock with a load of commissary stuff & a little mail.  Two letters came for our Co.  A body of 200 Cav. went to Little Rock this P.M.  I heard all the Cav. from this place were ordered to Little Rock to guard a train of supplies for Steele's Army.  Many deserters from the rebels come here & give themselves up.  There is little hope for the Rebellion, even among its late friends.  I am well.

 

[diary] April 22. Friday 1864, Bluff, Ark.

Came off Picket at 8 1/2 A.M. Wind blows & sweeps the dust in clouds I had a good sleep last night as it was warm & a little sprinkling of rain fell. I saw Ritscel, 9th Wis. today

 

[journal] Pine Bluff, Arkansas
April 22d Friday, 1864

Last evening I came to camp & ate supper with our mess.  For dinner they had a fish which the boys caught.  I was on post from 8 1/2 to 10 1/2 at which time a light sprinkling fell & I expected a rainy night.  Lightning flashed along the western horizon & muttering thunder followed it.  I slept well from 10 1/2 to 2 1/2 A.M. & from 4 1/2 to about 7 this morning when I waked refreshed & satisfied.  The night was warm & I slept on my rubber with my overcoat about me.  It did not rain enough to cause us any inconvenience.  The boys on post, McKee, Moore, Mucky & McKown had some rough play during the morning, knocking each other with packs of blankets.  They did not interfere at all, or much, with me as I took no part in the fun.  Yesterday Capt. Tichenor came down on the boat & is today on Picket.  Last evening the Chippawa came down, but brought no mail.  The day is very windy & the dust is blown in clouds so as to be very annoying & many of the boys wish for rain.  The duty is quite heavy on our Regt at present, and is apt to be so for some time to come.  We now catch a plenty of fish for one or two meals each day.  I like it very much & I think it healthier than meat.  This morning I was writing when a pleasing surprise came suddenly to me.  It was Ritocel [Henry Reitzel ?]  of Co I, 9 Wis. V. Inf. that came as guard on the boat from Little Rock yesterday.  He looks about the same as when I last saw him in the fall of '61., one Sabbath day when I & many [are] now far away.  (Anthony & his wife, both sisters Ellen & Mary, brother Matt & Maria) visited Camp Siegel where the 9 [Wis.] was at that time in camp.  We also visited Camp Scott on Spring St where the 1st Wis. Inf. was in camp.  That was a pleasant day & pleasantly was it passed & now I wonder how little I knew when I & the rest of the Co. with me listened to a Capt. or Lieut. reat[?] to his Co the way their knapsacks should be packed for the march next day.  Well thank God for the past & I now too am a soldier for Freedom.

 

[diary] April 23, Saturday 1864 Pine Bluff

I & Lewis were detailed on fatigue today while at breakfast. We had a very disagreeable job loading boxes & bbls of bacon at the landing. Rain fell in the PM & AM.

 

[journal] Pine Bluff, Ark
April 23, Saturday, 1864

Yesterday A.M. I went to our Regimental Hospital & asked Surgeon Smith for some antifever medicine.  He felt of my pulse & ordered Chas. Frisbey, hos steward, to give me four powders, a part of which was quinine.  He said he tried to have some vegetables, potatoes &c. issued as part of our rations, but so far was not successful.  Yesterday A.M. S. Turner was on guard & a rail on which he & two or three others were sitting fell on his left ankle.  The bruise caused it to swell & become inflamed.  So that in the P.M. the ambulance came & carried him to the hospital.  A shower fell yesterday P.M. which was welcomed by many as the clouds of dust were very disagreeable.  While speaking to Dr. Smith, a young negro or slave woman came to him to show her finger to him on which there was a felon.  It was her right fore finger, just the same that I had a felon on 12 or 15 yrs. ago.
Yesterday evening, Steamer Prairie State went up the river.  In the P.M. I felt a slight headache & feverishness, the same as two days before.  I took one of the powders & three pills last night.  Today I have felt very well.
Yesterday, I read some stories of home & the War in Harper's Weekly.  The spirit throughout was lifelike & natural, brave & at times almost sublimely grand.  I also read 'Hidden Pearls' the first story in Jay. No. Arthur's Mag.  While reading it, tears forced their way, as the incidents narrated brought to my mind the certainty of some parting with my parents, as even should I return home safely from the perils of War, they must soon depart from this state of existence.  How mysteriously hidden from us is nearly all that relates to this future life--for I think little else is so certainly known or presumable as this.  Those who most conscientiously & sincerely follow the dictates of duty, truth & justice, temperance & purity here will have the best title or claim to Peace, Happiness & Joy hereafter as well as being best prepared for the enjoyment of the joys & bliss of the Heavenly home.
I heard that Capt. Murray of Co. H went to Little Rock on the Prairie State to get mustered in as Capt; also Lt. Colier, Co. E for some time past acting QuarterMaster of our Reg. to be promoted to that position permanently.  I should also state that Dr Smith told me that our Regt. is very healthy, at present only 4 or 5 in hospital & 2 or 3 only from each Co. attend sick call in the mornings.  This is very favorable as compared with the no. of sick & ailing at Helena last summer, when 12 & 15 often went to sick call from each Co. & at time the No. from our Co. was ___.  I asked Commissary Sergeant Rodgers (Co. F.) how many rations were drawn at a time for our Regt. as this represents the No. of men now here present with our Regt. exclusive of Com. Officers.  He told me the last time, about 20th inst, he drew for 568 men.  There are about a dozen negroes in all the Co's as cooks.
Last evening I sat reading in Tichenor's room, not speaking to anyone when Gilbert came in & went on to tell Donaldson that he heard our late Lieut. Turner was about to be cashiered for running away from an imaginary foe, when sent with orders from Gen. Steele. G-- seemed anxious to have a chance to tell some new stories & repeat some old ones about Turner & only needed a sympathizing listener, so he asked me if I had heard about it?  As I have often felt disgusted at this one of his habits, I tartly answered that I did not know that I had & that if I hadn't I did not wish to!  This was not encouraging for the indulgence of a petty feeling of late nursed by a selfish mind.
While at breakfast this morning, Lewis & I were detailed on fatigue duty.  Our work was to load heavy barrels & boxes, each about 500 lbs of clear sides or bacon, into wagons., which were unloaded by a detail from 18 Ill.  There were 24 from our Regt. A part was coffee, hard bread &c.  The ground was very steep & rain fell in showers, so that we never before had so disagreeable a job of fatigue.  Day is cool & breezy. 

 

[diary] April 24 Sunday Pine Bluff

Took a powder of quinine We had inspection at 9 A.M. went to Presbyterian church at 10 I read 21 Chap. Joh's Gospel in the Church----Day was Cool & breezy. Ritscel, 9 Wis. ate dinner with us. He went up on the Chippawa in the P.M. There was no dress Parade. I read Harper's Weekly of April 12. I have felt very well. Pine Bluff strange rumors in Camp.

 

[journal] Pine Bluff, Ark
April 24, Sunday, 1864

Last night I wrote & read till 9 1/2 O'clock.  I had a good sleep till about 5 1/2 this A.M.  Most of those in camp hate to rise at roll call, though nearly all like to sit up late of nights.  The night was cool & very favorable for sleep.  Yesterday morning I could not but wonder at the beauty or more properly the grandeur of the sun as it gradually was hidden from sight by dark & heavy clouds.  Early this morning I went in the boat with Walton to take the fish off the line.  We found two cats & one buffalo fish.  While on the River's smooth surface the sun rose clear in the rosy eastern sky & I admired its glory & majesty.  Surely, if we knew not of the all powerful Creator & Loving God, the Sun would to me be the greatest & most sublime object of worship & adoration in the visible Creation enduring & changeless as He has been from generation to generation.  I can think, however, that my devotion to such a Divinity would be very strongly contested by the beauty, grace & wondrous power magnetic as well as mental of some of Eve's, no, God's daughters who have so much power to refine & elevate when they use their power in that way & always to charm.
The boys sold the three fishes for $1.50.  We had inspection at 9 A.M. Capt Tichenor has his new straps & his new suit on.  I went to Presbyterian Church & as usual liked the singing & music but very little was I interested in the discourse.  There were but few present.  Our old neighbor Ritscal ate dinner with our mess.  There was not so good a dinner as I expected & wished to have, but we had apple pie & he said that was the first pie he ate sine he came in the army.  He went up on the Chippawa, which took 350 to 500 bales of cotton to Little Rock.  I may next see him in Wis.  Their term of service will expire early net fall.  Day was breezy, cool & pleasant.  There was no dress parade.  I again had a longing for company, for I felt lonesome & the hours were dreary.  I strolled about awhile with Lewis for there was no dress parade.  Am very well.  P.M. 18 Ill started out to Mt. Elba to guard the pontoon bridge at that place.

 

[diary] April 25 Monday, 1864

This was a beautiful day. River rises very fast & is nearly as high as at any time since Nov. I am on Camp guard today. Bought fish hooks & line for 2.25 & books $2.00

 

[journal] Pine Bluff, Ark
April 25th, Monday, 1864

Last night after roll call a boat came down from Little Rock having on board 24 recruits for our Regt.  Among them are Jacob Heaton, William Jones & Peter Coons from New Berlin who come in our Co.  To me, it was a glad sight to see Heaton as he was the first one I saw from so near home since I left.  They were 24 days coming from Madison, Wis, having started 1st inst.  It was late when stillness reigned in the barracks.  Hinkley & Layhee being on guard, leaving Griffing & I each alone we slept together.  We had a very sound & comfortable sleep.
The morning was soft, calm, and beautiful i, in fact all that can be required to make it delightful.  Last evening the river was rising gradually but since daylight it has risen as fast or faster than we ever saw rise before.  I am on guard today, in Camp & we have a very easy time of it, each one standing on 1 1/0 [?] hours during the day & three hours in the night.  At 5 P.M. a rumor came in that the rebels destroyed 50 or 60 of our wagons belonging to an empty train that was coming here from Steele.  We also hear that the rebels attacked our men in large numbers on the other side of the Saline River about 8 or 10 miles from Mt. Elba.  This may be all false, as there is yet no reliable source known from which it emanated.  There is but little other force here now besides the 28 WV.  Today I read Headings in Chicago Tribune of 15 inst. of Forest's capture of Ft. Pillow in Tenn. on ____  It is said he butchered 400 negroe soldiers that were there at the time.  This P.M. Clark caught a fish different from any I ever saw before, its length including a bill or beak on the upper jaw extending straight forward 12 or 14 inches, is 4 1/2 to 5 feet & weighs ______ lbs.  [garfish??]  This A.M. I paid $1.25 for 26 good fish hooks & a dollar for cotton yarn to make a fish line 100 to 150 ft long.  I felt well all day so I think my fever symptoms are broken up.  Dress Parade at 6 P.M.  We had three fish for dinner & supper.  Today I finished reading John's Gospel.

 

[diary] 26, Tuesday, 1864 Ark.

I am very well. River is very high. Day is pleasant. We hear rebels attacked our train 8 or 10 miles beyond Mt. Elba & being in large force cut up & scattered our guard of 77 Ohio. 43 Ind. 36 Iowa. 1 Ind & 5 Kansas & 7 Mo. Cav & captured the train of 200 or 250 wagons

 

[journal] Pine Bluff, Ark
April 26, Tuesday, 1864

Last night I lay down about 10 O'Clock & slept till 2 A.M. when I was waked to go on guard.  Before that I waked up a little & heard shouting outside along the picket line & I since found it was the shouting of some of our men getting to the pickets & safety.  As soon as I went on post at our Regt'al Headquarters, I saw & heard two that had come in & they told a tale of disaster & death.  They represented that the 77 Ohio, 43d Ind, 36 Iowa Inf Regt's & 1st Ind, 7 Mo & 5th Kansas Cav Regts were guarding a train of about 200 wagons sent by Gen Steele from Camden to this place for supplies & that when about mid way or 8 or 10 miles on the south side of Mt. Elba an overwhelming & unexpected force of rebels assailed them on all sides.  The enemy had 6 or 8 pieces of artillery & we had but 3 or four.  All of this force, which they represented at about 1000 or 1200 they said were completely cut to pieces & wholly unequal to the enemy who stood all around in deep columns & poured deadly volleys into our men.  I could not restrain my indignation at this for I could not but attribute their extravagant stories to a panic that must have seized them.  This I afterward found to be the story of most of those who came in the A.M.  Many came in who had been prisoners in the enemy's hands, but who escaped in the confusion of the fight.  Some came in afoot, some without hats or caps, clothes tattered, hands & face scratched in the fight & making their way through the woods.  It is said that the enemy made a feint of an attack on Camden yesterday A.M. to occupy Steele while a force of 8 to 15000 rebels made the attack on the train.  I have seen many who came from the scene of action & they all agree in describing the confusion & death as terrible.  It is also said our men heaped the rebels in vast piles all over the ground.  Some say that there were Indians helping the rebels, who with some of the Whites gave our men no quarter, but murdered them after they had thrown down their arms & surrendered themselves prisoners.  Some of the Cav & teamsters cut their way through the enemy & escaped.  First we expected Steele would be compelled to retreat to this place or Little Rock, but since we hear a large train left Little Rock with a strong guard of 3 to 5000 men.  It seemed all the train was lost as well as all the artillery which was spiked so effectively by our men as to useless to the enemy.  Rumor says in Casselberry, of 1st Ind Cav & Post surgeon here was shot while dressing the wounds of Maj McCanby.  Both of those are said to be killed.
This evening word came in of a more cheering character, to the effect that soon after the fight ceased & before the rebels retreated a strong force from Steele came to the battle ground & severely punished the enemy, recapturing nearly all the wagons, except some 20 that were burned & taking 1100 prisoners.   I conversed with one today that was on an escort of 25 men with one of Gen Bank's staff officers sent with dispatched from Red River to this place.  We hear the enemy deserted Shreveport, La. of which we took peaceable possession...  Gen Thayer from Steel's army is here today.  Many of the train guard escaped to Camden.
Steamer Prairie State came down from Little Rock & got here at 6 this A.M.  Mail was distributed while I slept & when I waked I found two letters from Matt dated 9 & 14 inst, also one from Maria of the 9th.  They were all very well  Father & Mother being in good health & John middling.  Anthony's family I infer were well.  Spring was backward.  No field work doing[done?].  Maria attended Teacher's Examination on Prospect Hill.  Certificates were not given at the time she wrote she had engaged a school.  Her letter is very good & neat.  All that I could wish she ate sugar with Matt.[??]  Weather is delightful.  No Dress Parade.

 

[diary] 27 Wednesday 1864, Pine Bluff

Today is very pleasant & quite warm Encouraging rumors come in but they may be unfounded. 18 Ill. came in today from Mt. Elba. a few Straglers & fugitives came in with them. One of 77 Ohio brought in one of their flags. Boat came down from little Rock 1000 or 1200 soldiers

 

[journal] Pine Bluff, Jefferson Co
April 27, Wednesday, 1864

Last night was clear, pleasant & beautiful and so cool as to be very favorable for sleep.  This morning was clear & the sunshine & soft mild air made it all one could wish for.  About 8 Oclock A.M. the 18 Ill came in from Mt Elba.  I believe they met no enemy.  A few members of Regts that were in the fight came in with them.  Among others, I saw a member of the 77 Ohio & one of his comrades, who, dear devoted Boy, made it a point of his life during the confusion & tumult of the fight to tear one of the flags of his Regt from the flagstaff, & falling on the ground to avoid detection he stuffed it into his bosom inside his shirt & then with his loved, precious treasure, he effected his escape.  It is probably that the other fell into the hands of the enemy.  It was touching to me at least to see those devoted Brothers in our Dear Cause thus scattered from their fellow Soldiers & comrades. As one asked what would be done with the few that were left, when he said he supposed they would be sent to Little Rock.  I also heard Capt (late Sergt Driscol of Co A, 5 Kansas Cav & said to be one of the best if not the very best gunners in this Dept).  Driscol tell of the fight as he saw it.  He went with the train from this place & had charge of the artillery in the rear of the train.  (I heard him say he was an Irishman, I should judge so from his appearance;  I think he is a Catholic from what I saw of him in the Church.  I heard his enemy as usual or too frequently is the thousand times accursed drink.  Oh may Heaven save him & all from it.)  It would seem the enemy was in great force & charged often & after many repulses & vast ruin among them made by our well directed, the two pieces of which he had charge were spiked & deserted...for lack of ample supports of Inf when the rebels were not more than 10 feet distant.  Lt. Col Drake of 36 Iowa was in command of the train.  It would seem the surprise might have been avoided if the train was hurried on so as to cross the Saline in the night when all [some text apparently missing]   He entered the army early in the War as Capt.  With the train are 12 pieces of artillery.  danger of a surprise would be avoided.  It would seem that many escaped after they were prisoners for a short time.  W. Goff (late Lt. in Co H 28 W.V.) & Capt Townsend's father who were returning with train were captured.  The latter had a large amount of money with him to buy cotton;  some say $100,000 dollars.  The former escaped & came in.  Next to the loss of life was that of a vast amount of mail, which was brought from all of Steel's army & bound for the loved ones in all parts of that Free North.  Alas!  How many of those will wait with fond longings to find as from many of those who fell in the fight & who will now write no more love tidings.  But thanks to God! they died for a glorious cause & not in vain, for the curse for which our foes fight will be soon utterly destroyed, so that not a vestige shall remain.
Lewis & I spoke to a man who was a soldier in the Rebel army at Ft Smith last summer.  He made his escape & helped our men in the fight here  25 last October.  He pointed out a man -or friend- with whom McKee & D. McNeill boarded last winter, who he said was in high glee because of our reverses & the temporary triumph of our foes.  He said there were many such here in town.  Alas! what a sad & deplorable state reigns here at present.  I heard some citizens say lately that some rebels -Shelby's men- range the country dressed in our uniform & commit all kinds of outrages, even to violating women & pass themselves off for Yankees.  All this is done to exasperate the people against us.  they also come to some men of union principles scattered through the country & find them devoted to our cause, for they pass for Union Soldiers & when their victims have freely betrayed themselves, they are murdered - shot or hung- by our enemies.  Two old men were lately hung in this way & 4 or 5 young men forced off to the rebel army.
Steamer came down this P.M. having aboard 3d Minnesota Inf, 40 Iowa & parts of other Regts to the No 1000 or 1200.  The 3d has about 600 men in it.
River is very high.
I was an hour on fatigue duty.  I earned 40 cts for rolling 4 bales of cotton.
Gen Andrews came down on the boat & commands the force coming with the train.

 

[journal] Pine Bluff
April 28, Thursday, 1864

Last night I had a good sleep. The day was warm & pleasant.  I mailed a letter to Matt & also one to Maria.  I mailed some papers to Maria.  The river is very high, but began to fall today.  The bank is washed away & falling in fast.  The boys secured our stairway with ropes, else it would have gone in the river.  Many logs & whole trees & some ferry boats or flats float down.  How majestic & grand the Ark River now looks & how useful it would be should it always continues so high for now a vast many could be borne upon it surface.  The water is dark in appearance & is filled with a sediment of sand & soil which makes it unfit or disagreeable for use at least till it has settled to the bottom.  A confusion of rumors is heard on every side and while some content themselves by repeating the statements they hear, with the usual additions.  I can not feel satisfied with such exaggerated stories.  I have no access to anyone that would have reliable accounts.  I do not like many of the talks among the boys for are they false, as I think most probable, the effect is to create distrust in the fidelity and ability of Maj Gen Steele & thus so far as this influence can reach, to weaken us by distroying that strength which copnfidence gives thus the capture of the train is said to be caused by his carelssness or treachery.  Others again say his Steele's sister is the wife of Gen Fagan, rebel, & that he boarded with her while at or near Camden, while others say she is a rebel Major's wife & one would almost conclude he took his whold force out as if on purpose to board with her.  Some of these things are silly & much probably untrue.  We had orders at 2 or 3 OClock P.M. to be ready to much at a moment's notice.  I packed my box & nailed it up with all my things in it & left it in care of some of the boys to express.  A if we do not come back  We fell in at 8 O'clock, stacked arms, & waited till 9 P.M.  Co's A, F, C, R, G, & B.  No 300 go out.  D.E. & H. stop here.  I am well.  

[diary] April 30 Saturday

We started early this morning & stopped one mile from Mt Elba. We marched back 10 or 12 miles. rain fell A.M. & P.M. I went on picket at 5 P.M. Steele retreats from Camden.

 

[diary] May 1 Sunday, 1864

Lewis, Snyder & I were together on Picket I slept well. We started early & reached Pine Bluff at 2 P.M. Day was sunny & pleasant. We met 8 ambulances & help going to our wounded at Moro Creek. I am well.

 

[next]

last modified: 8/22/2021