CIVIL WAR JOURNAL OF JAMES B. LOCKNEY

WIS. 28th REGMT., CO. G

 February 1864

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


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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]February 1st 1864

Now a member of Co. G 28 Regt Wis. Vol. Inf. A resident of The Township of New Berlin Waukesha Co. State of Wisconsin, U.S. America

 

[diary] PineBluff, Arkansas Feb 6 Sunday, 1864

Thermometer 10 A.M. 54 P.M. 70 Day was pleasant & bright. I was on guard on 3 relief A.M. I wrote a letter to Mother & mailed it. We ate but two meals. I am well.

 

[journal]

Camp at Pine Bluff, Jefferson Co
February 1st, Monday 1864

Last night I wrote & read till after 9 O'clock.  During evening Vosburg got one of the books I bought & asked to read it a few minutes, which I reluctantly granted, but he kept it till after Roll Call & as he did not use it carefully, I asked him to give it to me which he did.  Now someone may think this was unkind & ungenerous to a fellow man & soldier, but if anyone saw the case as it is he might not think so.  I did not know him till we went into Camp Washburn Sept 13, 1862, but we were not long there till he became marked in my mind as the most brutally obscene person in the whole Co, almost wholly destitute of all fine feeling & noble aspiration, or an elevating idea.  The impression then made on my mind has been only all the more firmly fixed & its correctness proved by the intimate acquaintance I have had with him during the last year & a half.  Very many of the boys are very obscene & vulgar, as well as blasphemous, but as I heard someone repeat a remark made long ago by Corp. Kerr, who was a pure person in regard to Vosburg, "that in the indecent remarks of others of the boys there was much wit & keenness of perception united with humor (all of which by no means could be considered as justifying the sin) but in anything he said there was nothing but clear sensuality & swinish coarseness & filthiness.["]  I am compelled to concur in this opinion in every respect as Alas, being too true.  In regard to Danl McNeill, I once said "that if he & I had to go to Hell, I hoped we would be far apart & in different corners" & in regard to the other I have to wish that Vosburg might never see a beautiful sight natural or artificial till he changed from his hateful way, which outrages all the natural feelings of regard we have for women, as well as all respect for her as the class or sex to which our other, sisters, & the person whom we would most heartily love all our lifetimes, belong.  Such is his baseness in this and other respects, that if he & I were alone on duty & I should be killed with none to tell the story to my people but he even though he should truly tell the news so interesting to my people, yet would I rather they should never hear of it than that my Mother or sisters or Maria should ever speak to one as base[??]
While yet in Camp Washburn someone reproached him for speaking so indecently in my presence, as we were in the cook room & eating room & I remember his answer was that he did so on purpose to make me blush!   I heard him at Little Rock tell of his success in deceiving a girl & his management by which he secured the assistance of an unprincipled woman in the neighborhood (who was probably a wife & mother) (for such a person must have been unprincipled) by whose agency & misrepresentations in his behalf, he escaped the penalty before the law of men which his dark & deep criminality merited.  I certainly regret that nay of my fellow men or comrades in arms for so holy a cause should be as debased as I have found this person to be.  His tent mates, who know him best in this respect, say that he is very selfish & stingy & that he sends all his wages home as soon as he is paid & as he has always washed the boy's clothes as shirts, pants &c, he also sends all he can earn in this way & as his tastes are so coarse he is never troubled with buying books papers or any such things himself.  I often borrow papers of others, but to such as will take care of such things, one may safely lend.  This industry is very good in itself, but when money making becomes ones object in life it can but have a degrading influence.
I regret to have devoted so much space to so poor & degraded a subject, but as there are many person of the class to which this individual belongs, I do not think my remarks lost.
The day was very pleasant, sunny, bright, & clear.  This A.M. I was down at the guard room & as Hinkley & I saved some coffee,  wished to sell it.  I found a person who would pay me a dollar a lb.  I went in to the Q'rters of Co D 5 Kansas & for an hour or more was very well entertained by the stories the boys told me of their experiences in Mo. & this state.  This P.M. I was going to write in our cook shed, but the boys took possession of it & every other place covered in was filled with gamblers for fun & for money.  The sun was warm, so  wrote outside.  Some were detailed to cut poles to make a house for Lieut. Tichenor & in the P.M. some of the boys laid up a part of the sides.  This evening about 7 O'clock mail came & made me rich in good news from home to the 9th inst.  Father was still weakly, all others well.   I had two letters & a note from A. McNeill.

 

On Guard Pine Bluff, Ark
February 2d, Tuesday 1864

Last night nearly [all] the boys were very well pleased as they got from 1 to 8 or 9 letters each all of which were filled so far as I could judge with good news from home &c.  Some had silk handkerchiefs sent in letters, others had portraits of those at home.  While one had a piece of wedding cake from Muskego & one of our stuckup corps (who boasts his father's wealth, which is not enormous as if it were any increase of his own merit) had a half lb. of tobacco sent to him from Waukesha.  Sergt. Griffing read to me a part of a letter dated Larkensville Al, Jany 6th '64 from one of his school mates in the 93 Ill who was in the last Battle in the vicinity of Chatanooga[sic].  He said as they marched over the battleground of the Chicamauga[sic] fight of Sept 19 & 20th they saw very many of our dead still unburied on the surface of the ground with their heads cut off & set upon stumps.  Evidently this was the work of human fiends, not the mad wild sport of battle.  I say whatever the cost, die the hell born "sum[?] of villainies" which so inprevites[?] humanity as to trifle thus with the unresisting dead or helpless wounded who fall in awful battle's foremost ranks, bravely & manfully striving for the cause they love.  Union with Liberty.
My letters (two) from Matt continue the story in previous letters of cold & snows immense;  the first making great caution necessary & the latter blocking many roads so as to render them impassible.  Wood & Hay are very high & owing to the condition of the roads those articles are scarce in market.  I fear Father's health so continues to fail that he may not survive to see the end of the war & then to welcome me home.  However against my wish, what should I say but "Thy will be done on  Earth as in Heaven".  Mother continues as usual (Oh, that I could see them face to face there tonight, my heart would be glad & my tears would be bright.  With them would I laugh & with them I'd pray, nor feel the hours long till the coming of day.  Then I'd swiftly return to be here at roll call with rich treasures of Love from those dear loved ones all:  Prepared would I be for the wild, widespread fight we wage for Dear Freedom, our God & the right').  But I'll be contented thank Heaven I'm well:  So are all there (but Father) as Matt's letters tell.  Brothers, sisters, & nephews, dear nieces likewise.  Each day received blessings from Him in the skies.  Oh may they be fond, loving, faithful, & true, and all the true way led by Jesus, pursue, that when life here is over their souls may arise to realms of bliss far beyond sunset skies;  Where naught that's impure, false, or unkind may be, we'll love God & each other through Eternity.===  I also had a letter from Alexander McNeill in answer to one I wrote him about my box sent by express.  He seemed to know nothing about it & thought Turner brought it to me as he told Turner it was in Adam's Ex. Office.  I sent the receipt for it by French, who went back on the last boat.  I think he may send it down on the next boat.  I went on guard at 8 A.M. & 1/2 hour after I & Mucky went down on the boat as guards.  We were relieved at 10 o'clock.  While there, 25 to 40 of the Colored soldiers came & unloaded some express boxes, & a large quantity of Sutler's goods, besides many barrels of flour, pilot bread, meat, peas, &c.  About 50 of the 36 Iowa Inf. came down as guards.  I spoke to some of them about military matters at Little Rock.  Gen F. Salomon still commands [ blank space] & Brigatier[sic] Gen. Rice of the [ blank ] Iowa.  The troops there during the past fine weather drilled every day for 3 or four hours.  Much fatigue work was done by the soldiers on the fort on the Benton road near the grave yard where I was on picket Nov 6th last.  Our Regt. was fortunate for leaving when it did.  The 77 Ohio Inf. nearly all reenlisted & went home on furlough & to recruit.  The 9th Wis is still there.  Work on the fort was discontinued & it remains unfinished.  This A.M. Corp. Walton was detailed for duty at the jail, vice Crop E. Kievel, who goes in the post commissary as clerk.  I sold three lbs of coffee today for Hinkley & me, for $3.00.  Our Regt was paid this P.M. for two months.  Some were a little short for some account of $26 dollars, but I got mine full.  Day was clear & bright, cool & windy.  River is again high & rising.

 

Camp at Pine Bluff
February 3d, Wednesday 1864

Yesterday morning before we went on guard there was a heavy transaction in our Co in trash: Jewelry.  Sergts A. McKee & A. Foster sent sometime ago for 100 tickets for $10 each marked for some article of jewelry as gents[?] fine gold vest chain, rings, lockets, ear sets for exhibiting foolishness, shirt studs &c, all said to be gold which of course they are not, though they look like it.  Some of the boys sent for some of the things as a set of jewelry which he sold to a negro for $5.00 & another got a sliver penholder & a gold pen, which he sold for $2.50 to one of the boys.  Each of those though valued from $10 to $15 cost them but $1.40.  The tickets sell at retail or in small lots for 25 cents each & if one likes what is call for on the ticket he sends $1.00 for it & 15 cts for postage when it is sent to him by mail;  but if he does not like it he may send for some other article on the list of equal or less value.  If ones motts is "any way to make money" he could gain some by sending for this trash jewelry & selling it at 5 to 10 times its cost to the Negroes, who greatly admire such things.   But I certainly would not think it fair or just to take their money from them in this way.  The two sold their tickets for 25 cts each & so made a good thing of it.  In every lot of 100 tickets one calls for a watch which in this case fell to Peter Darling.  I bought none.  If I should get any it would be a locket to hold two pictures, but I hate counterfeit stuff.
The day was bright & clear, the air fresh & the sunshine was warm from 10 to 4 P.M.  I wrote a letter to Matt this P.M.  The boat went down the river yesterday P.M. for a load of com. forrage &c.  In Chicago Tribune 14 ult, I read of the death of Wm. Makepeace Thackery, the English novelist;  also Arch Bishop Hughes of N.Y. who died 12 ult in N.Y. City.  He was born in 1798 in Ireland, came 1817 to U.S. when he worked at gardening & studied at the same time.  Draft is delayed till March.  Rebel hopes are failing.  The boys worked on Lieut's house today & finished the sides.  A week ago there was some talk of moving our Co. to quarters down town, but Lieut could not find any place he liked, so we will not move as things look now.  I am very well.

 

Camp at Pine Bluff, Ark
February 4th, Thursday 1864

Last night our lights were quenched soon after taps. Gilbert quenched the candle of one of the boys (D. McNeill) which he & others felt vexed at this as they thought he should not have done it so suddenly.  Some of the boys blew out Hinkley's & my light & threw pieces of meat &c at it, but as we were not ready I lit it again.  Last evening at supper we had some very pleasant conversation as to the truest & best kind of girls for wives.  Lewis & I talked about some in New Berlin who we thought would not be willing to milk cows even in pleasant weather & very hurried times & that those (of whom there are several in a particular family unmarried) would not be willing to marry a good man if they thought they should be sometimes required by circumstances to do such little outdoor chores.  The opinion of all was that a wife or daughter on a farm, being a farmer's wife or daughter should in cases of necessity be willing to do such things, & I think that is sound doctrine.  But all strongly condemned the meanness of some husbands, fathers, & brothers who also may require wives, daughters, mothers & sisters to go out in the cold or stormy weather  into dirty barn yards where the manure is often deep & wet, to milk while they themselves sit & lounge about the house & at the grog shop.   Grffing told about a young woman (his cousin) who had travelled in Europe some time after having completed a thorough course of study, having while abroad $1000 a year to defray expenses, & being well informed & a genuine & true woman, yet he knew her to marry a poor young man of good habits & principles & she willingly & knowingly shared all his privations & trials with a right good will & strong sacrificing determination.  Such a person & such love are inestimable treasures.  He also thought the Catholic or Douay translation of the scriptures was the truest & best.
I worked some on Lieut's house.  River is very high.  Day bright & pleasant.  Tichenor sends more than $[blank] home for the boys by paymaster who will express it.  Today I read Mysteries & Miseries of Ark.

 

Camp at Pine Bluff, Ark
February 5th, Friday 1864

Last night after taps & by the light of the fire, I read a story by T.S. Arthur called "The Temperance Tract", showing how much good may come from a very small beginning.  Alas, what misery comes to homes & families by the great curse of intemperance.  I had a good sleep till broad daylight this morning.  The day was clear & pleasant, though not so warm as some days past.  Today I read about 75 pages in a book "Plain Talk about Home Matters".  Some of it was very good & sensible & sharp, while other parts show the disrespect & little regard with which female help is treated in the towns & cities even in the Free States.  Certainly the condition of servants in most families is not an enviable one.  Alas, that people's habits are such as to keep them often in a state of servitude for long years, while they could be independent & for themselves, free from the whims & caprices of masters & mistresses.  Thackery was born at Calcutta, India in 1811 and was the author of many works of fiction.  During the last two or three years he conducted the Cornhill Magazine.  For many years past he has been reckoned one of the three or four leading novelists of England.
Today there was a fire in town by which 80 bales of cotton piled near the court house were destroyed & 20 damaged.  One man was arrested & put in the jail as some said he was seen to kick the remains of a yet lighted cigar under or into the cotton & from which it took fire.  Some say that he said he lighted his cigar there but did not think of any danger.  Clark who saw him in jail says he is a well dressed sharp citizen.  Some say that another pile was intended to be burned as they say some coals of fire were found near it or under it.  If the first pile was fired purposely I think the desire was to destroy all or nearly all our ammunition which is stored in the court house.  No building took fire
Boat went up the river for corn & returned this evening.  I wrote a letter to Thomas.

 

On Provost Guard in Pine Bluff
February 6th, Saturday 1864

Last night after taps four or five sat about the fire reading by the light of some rejected pine shakes or long shingles, of those I was one.  The boys made so much noise that it was little use to lie down till they became quiet, then it was 9 1/2 or 10 Oclock.  McKee read a letter from Jeff Davis to the Pope & also the Pope's answer, in Mo. Republican of Jany [blank].  In the latter was mentioned peace many times, but never Right or Liberty!  The tenor of the Pope's letter was too sympathetic with the wishes of Davis to afford much comfort to any loyal man, much less a soldier fighting for Union & Liberty.  He may have been deceived by the wily, false flatteries of the arch traitor of human liberty, but for one in his position & influence in the world (though the latter is much less than that of his predecessors) this is a poor if any apology or excuse, for he certainly should be better posted! ---In the A.M. yesterday I carried mud about 4 or 5 rods from the place where Hinkley made it to Lieut's house, where Greene put it on.  It was nearly all done at M & in the P.M. I wrote a letter to Thomas & put it in the office at about 9 P.M.  Lt. Tichenor gave me the countersign.  It was Como, Tonight it is Ulm!  I slept well & waked about daylight.  The night was cool & windy.  The river was a high last evening as any time, yet, but is now at a stand still.  (Yesterday during the fire, Capt. Williams of A Co took the job of quenching the fire for $500 and got most of his co to help & many others, some cavalry & others of our Regt.  Three or four of our Co worked some & to each he paid $5.00  Had I known about it in time I would have gone at it gladly.  Cameron said he was asked to work for $5 but refused it as he would not work, though able).
This A.M. Lieut Turner took his leave of our Co as he went up on the boat which started for Little Rock about 9 or 10 O'clock.  His leave-taking was a very simple affair.  Some of the boys said he went in the Co barracks & said he had come to bid them "good bye!"  A few answered Good Bye very calmly & deliberately, while many said nothing in answer.  I was out at the time, but saw him outside, when I went over to him & cordially shook his hand and wished that he would have a good & happy time.  I finished by saying that I hoped we might meet again safe and well after the War!  He answered that he hoped it would be so;  and with a sincere wish for his welfare I saw him depart.  This P.M. Gilbert & others were in the guard room & he gave utterance to his hatred & ill feeling toward him who has left us, perhaps forever;  but who always went with us wherever we went & led us in the first fire on our foes on the memorable morning of the fourth at Helena.  Certain it is that he has many faults & unpleasant ways;  and so I must think have most others of my acquaintance as well as myself & I can but think that we should all in his, as well as other cases freely & heartily & kindly forgive as we would ourselves wish to be forgiven.  One great difference between me & Gilbert in this case is that Turner preferred Sergt S.S.Smith in times past when he was in the Co for promotion rather than Gilbert, and this G. knows, & may feel it hard to forgive it;  while I & others never had any achings for climbing the giddy icy path to a high position & so never had our minds filled with jealousies & envy.  I have no doubt but that (judging from what I have heard  consider likely ) Lt Turner did not use Orderly G. as kindly & fairly as a really good man should & would have done.  Gilbert says he does not wish Capt Turner well or ill.  This I think a solecism, for having a pretty full understanding of the case, as he certainly has, it is not in the nature of things for a person to be neutral & so I believer he wishes him ill but does not like or think it best to say so!  Here I wish to say that I think I was always plain, fair & square, always truthful & sometimes blunt with turner, & now I feel that I never cringed to him in the least or humbled myself in any way to gain his favor, else than as my duty required me to held obedience & respect to him.  I do not regret having parted him kindly
Day was clear & windy, rather cool.  Boat came down from Little Rock this evening & brought us mail.  I got two letters from Matt & Mother to 25th ult.  All are well.  I got my box from Lit. Rock all right.

 

Camp at Pine Bluff, Arkansas
February 7th, Sunday 1864

Last night I read my letters. Mother wrote me a sheet of commercial note all full dated 20 ult.  Matt also wrote two sheets, some of it as early as 1 to 3 O'clock A.M.  He & Anthony go often to town with wood which brings a large price, the highest since 55 & 56.  For some large loads of 170 ft they got $7.50.  Father felt pretty well, but had spells of dizziness & little appetite.  He thinks he soon would be well if the good weather came.  I hope he will.  John does not be well, as he feels weaky & dispirited.  They all do all they can & I fear more than they should.  In my box (which Sergt. Fuller Co. B took down & for which A. McNeill paid the charges $1.75) I found a good pair of no.8 boots which fit very well, two good shirts, pair of suspenders, paper of candy, two prs good stockings, my old buck gloves & one or two pairs of wool mits with forefinger.  A paper about four lbs dry apples, the crevices were filled with onions which feared would all be frozen, but not one was injured.  Mother wrote that Brogan & Ellen Thomas & Maria, Mary (sister) & her little girls & Anthony & Catherine & their two little ones (as they have an infant some about two months old then) had all been to visit her at different times.  This was the first reliable notice I have had of this important & interesting addition to A. brother's household that I have had.  N.I. Smith told me of it sometime ago.  The school in the old school at home, where I taught in the winter of '57 & 8 is all gone to wreck.
I was on guard on the boat from 8 to 10 P.M. & 2 to 4 this A.M.  I came up then & slept till the boys went on inspection at 9 A.M.  That was all the sleep I had during the night, as in the interval I filled my diary & read in the Cincinati Commercial of 25th ult.  Hinkley, Foster, Griffing, Gilbert & I attended Divine Service at Catholic Church.   Text was in Cor. about charity.  Some of the boys thought the sermon was pretty good & so did I but Gilbert could see no good in it.  He has a peculiar glass through which he looks at things.  The boat went up the river about 3 P.M.  I paid Sergt Tuller for my box, he said he would pay A. McNeill.  Last night I wore a pair of wool mits (mother sent me) while on guard.  There was dress parade at 4 P.M.  Congress voted a gold medal to Gen. U.S. Grant.  Many orders were read.  Our Col I.M. Lewis is honorably discharged for physicable disability.  Day was pleasant, clear & sunny.  I am well

 

Camp at Pine Bluff, Arkansas
February 8th, Monday 1864

Last night I tried to read by the light of the fire, but failed as it was too dark.  I went to bed & took four pills which had a good effect.  I had a slight headache, but it did not trouble me much.  I had none today.  I slept as all of us did till past 7 O'clock A.M. when it was very broad daylight!  The morning was a little hazy but the day was clear , sunny & pleasantly warm.  P.M. Foster, Hinkley, W.H. Smith & I went out for a load of wood.  During the A.M. Gilbert & I went to look at the books, but I did not find any I cared about.  G. bought three novels for 25 cts.  I picked 3 or 4 books among the others, but did not offer anything for them.  Yesterday I read 30 pages & today 20 of "Correspondence & Conversations between Lord Byron & Countess of Blessington".   I find it quite interesting as giving a more intimate knowledge of Byron's whims & caprices, notions & opinions on many subjects than any other book I ever read or now know of.  I also read several chapters in Luke's Gospel.  Today I did very little effective work as I did not write nor read much as I intended to do considerable of both, but I did not purposely waste or idle any time;  tomorrow  I hope to do better.  This P.M. I saw clothing distributed among the Negro soldiers of the 4th Ark Regt.  They got rubber blankets & a wool one each.  I asked one how he liked how Old Uncle Abe treated them?  He said, pleased, that he thought he (Abe) did the best he could for them.  Our Regt & Co drew clothing this P.M. & it was distributed to the boys.  I got a pantaloons & one drawers, the first costs $2.50 the latter 90 cts.  The boys drew boot this time which they like much better than shoes.  Our Co got 18 pairs.  The boots are pegged & costs $2.92.  Some of the boys offered me $11.00 for mine or twice what they cost in Wis.  I now have a very full supply of clothing till the end of the summer time.  Foster by the last mail got a small microscope magnifying 500 times.  It is a mere drop of glass in a little piece of wood less than an inch in breadth.  While I write he got a grayback or Army louse so as to come under the magnifying power.  I have looked at it & the hideous thing looks like Dr Hawes' alligator, so the boys say.  It is not large enough to take a satisfactory view of the object.  Cost 25 or 30 cts.  I'd like to have Craig's  P.M. I had a good wash all over.  I am well.

 

Pine Bluff, Jefferson Co, Ark
February 9th, Tuesday 1864

Last night we were abed soon after the taps. Before lying down I took anther look at the grayback through the microscope.  I could see it move its hideous arms & legs & it seemed to have great claws like a bird of prey.   One could also see great hairs point from its body like great horns.  After we laid down Gilbert & I had a long talk about the past.  He told about the families that lived about his home & near Prospect Hill when he was a boy going to school.  He told of many whom I never knew very [well], many of whom went to distant places, while many died & not a few lived to no useful purpose & came to disgrace & dishonor, and yet live in shame & sin!  It is a sad, but instructive thing to take a retrospective view of the past as far as memory will reach and in a few cases will the picture be t all as pleasant as every right minded person would wish.  Alas, what shame & sadness was so near my old home in many cases of which, thanks to God, had not the least suspicion.  (After Roll call & Higley is playing the "Old folks at home" on his fiddle.   How fondly memory reverts to the loved scenes of long ago.)  We rose after sunrise;  the day was clear & pleasant.  G. said all of his father's family are yet together but him absent, he must have thought of his loved sister, who loved so well though unhappily & who so early filled a premature (but not dishonorable ) grave.  I thought of my first school mistress Miss Nancy Ann Reynolds to whose school I went in our district in the fall of 1844.  Then my brother Michael wrote my name in one of Cobb's New Juvenile Readers in which my class then read.  How I wish I knew where he now is & that he was well.  Like G's family, ours is still all together but him from whom none has heard during the last long 10 or 12 years & myself in the Union Army.  How I wish that liquor had not lost or murdered him so early, but rather that he reposed in a soldier's grave at Vicksburg, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, or Chattanooga or some of the other hundred battlefields on which Freeman bore dear freedom's banner.  Little should we regret those who unavoidably die early, or for some grandly noble & useful purpose.  Gladly would I write to my first teach in Wis did I know her address on the Pacific Slope.  I was busy from 9 A.M. to 2 P.M. looking over Yell's abandoned library.  I found some books & maps of interest, which I carried away with me.

 

On Guard at Pine Bluff, Ark
February 10, Wednesday 1864

Yesterday P.M. I & 7 others were detailed to guard the boats, as they were expected to come up the river.  The only information that I heard was received about them was that a citizen came in & reported 15 or 18 steamers 12 or 15 miles below the town;  before dark we went to camp as the boats did not come with orders to be ready if wanted.  Along the course of the river there was a smoke seen above the horizon which many supposed to proceed from the boats, but they did not come last night & today it was considered a sell! as nothing was heard or seen of them.  Many bets were made about the boats coming last night.  Jacobi of our Co bet $5.00 with a Negro man in Co B that the boats would come before sunrise today.   They both put the money in H.W. Smith's hands & this morning the cook or Capt's servant in b came & rec'd his money.  Jacobi felt very sorry & hated to lose the v[?] & tried to argue that he did not mean this morning .  I hope he will learn from this to bet no more.  Yesterday I heard a War sketch after this way.  A Rebel soldier (said to be a deserter from Bragg's Army at Lookout Mountain) lately arrived here where he hoped to be safe from conscription in to Rebel ranks & to find home in some state of preservation, but was probably surprised to find things as they were.  His long wished for Pine Bluff was reached at last & he was conducted to the provost Marshall's office where (report says) he very willingly took the oath of allegiance to the U.S. Government, heartily glad to be free from the tender care of the Jeff Davis Despotism.  Next he turned his steps toward his home in town, where he hoped to find dear wife waiting & hoping for his return.  We must imagine his surprise when accosting his wife (or she who had been his wife before the war) to find that she had lately married a soldier of the 1st Ind. Cavalry.  Soon his fellow partner in the possession of his former wife was summoned to his no small surprise.  It was the will of each that the other should retain his wife;  but as they were both too willing, they agreed to abide by the choice of the wife, who by her criminality or indiscretion had placed herself in this disagreeable predicament.  She chose the "Yankee" and the boys said they saw the two husbands promenading the street as if they had been brothers.  If this be true (& I have no reason to doubt it) 'tis a fair specimen of the foulness of society as I hear of it abutey[faded] in this town.  Of course she must be chiefly to blame.  I hope to heaven I shall never have my marriage relations interfered with in this way for I certainly should not know what to do had I ever really loved her who was my wife.  I can't doubt but that the husbands did the best in having no difficulty about it for I think it either were to be blamed it should be the latter, for I think all marriages here between soldiers from the North & southern women (widows especially ) are by at least one of the parties intended to be temporary arrangement & the connection to cease as soon as our troops leave here.
Many of our boys sent some of their money home soon after payday, & some have long since rid themselves of what they kept, or all their two month's wages by gambling, betting &c of which very much is done every day.  Some of the boys in Co B as Geo. Reader, Summerlot & others establish what the boys call a "bank", in which money is bet according to the throw of dice.  A few times I looked at this game for a few minutes at a time, but I long ago quit looking on for I was filled with surprise at the recklessness of many of the boys in betting & disgust at the deep criminality of this winning another's money.  Some of our Co & other Co's had lost or won at the game "Chuckluck" the boys call it, from $5 to $50 or over at one time & often have they been run clear out, so that from having 20 or $40 yesterday they would not have $1 today.  When they had lost considerable they would not stop, but keep on hoping "luck", as they call it, would turn in their favor & thus allured on would they continue to bet till all was gone.  Again when they got money they'd begin again "to win back what they had lost!"  Sometimes they win it back and again often they only lose more.  Geo. Church won & lost often & quit leaving [blank] many dollars in the bank. Corp. Snider won largely & quit on the safe side (if any such there be in sin).  I deeply regret he has this lack of principle, for in very many respects he is one of the best boys in our Co.  Horse races after take place where many soldiers & citizens bet heavily.  Private gambling among the boys is almost continually going on.  Many charges of cheating are heard.
Today I took about 10 lbs coffee from some of the boys for 75 cts, which was more than they could get & sold it to a man for $1.00 a lb, so I made about $2.00 on it.  Citizens now buy it for 50 cts lb.
The day was bright & pleasant.  Col. Gray has arrived from L. Rock.  In "Conversations with Lord Byron" I read to page 100

 

Pine Bluff, Arkansas, Jefferson Co
February 11, Thursday 1864

Last evening I went & sat a little while in Lieuts house & found him serious & meditative.  He told me he had been thinking of home, but that he did not allow himself to think much about it, as it made him sad.  I said to him that my mind or that I was at home about half the time, & that it afforded me a very great relief to think of those most dearly loved & to contemplate in fancy the great happiness I hope for when the War's all o'er.  I never experience the sadness or homesickness that appears often to trouble some others of the boys, some of those single as well as those having families.  I however feel (sometimes) an aching & longing even in my very bones for the time when I may return to civil & more civilized life, where I hope to enjoy all the blessings bestowed by our Creator & the advantages afforded by the Freedom of the grand & mighty North, to all or most whose industry, steadiness & intelligence equals mine, small as my share of those qualities may be.  I have reached that period in human life when the heart, yea the very soul yearns for one unfathomable & invaluable treasure of love which God has made to be the greatest treasure, except His love & salvation that he made for man's enjoyment, elevation & happiness.  What happines unspeakable is it to know one is next to God, supremely loved & in return to know that he loves one in every respect worth of his devotion, fidelity & heartiest efforts for her peace, satisfaction & joy.  How unsatisfactory it is to be in doubt whether one may ever reach this happy state this security & bliss, for the human heart needs sympathy & cheer each day, or rather every hour to sustain it in its struggle for right & truth against the many evil influence which are brought to bear against it & the downward tendency of the nature which is ours.  Not that human aid is all sufficient for us, for only Divine strength can preserve us, but our hearts are kept tender & our good resolves revived & made stronger by frequent contact with the good, true, & pure;  as we become more prone & Earthy by the absence of elevating & purifying influences & the self-reproaching example of the Good!
Tichenor told me of one in our Co or two & some in other Co's who were discharged by means of bribery & treachery, and he thought there would be some strange developments in our Regt ere a year rolls by...  I say at least in regard to all those who traffic in money at the expense of our country & freedom's interest, be justice done though the Heavens fall.  He also told us of fraud by some of our officers, both line & regimental of whom he had reason to believe that some government property as guns, tents &c had been sent home to the old Badger state & of tricks to which they had recourse to evade the keen vigilance of the government inspectors & officials at Memphis & elsewhere.  He has no confidence in the honesty or integrity of very many of those in high position & some trust among us & he hopes they will not succeed in their deep & dark deeds.  May "the triumphing of the Wicked be short!"  Capt. Stephens of C Co., he (& I) think reliable & truly manly & noble integrity & worth of character.
Yesterday I was on guard from 12 to 2 P.M.  I saw some well looking young & middle aged women who live here in town in good or costly apparel promenade the streets, go in some of the shops & buy but little if anything so as to excite suspicion from the way they doubled their paths, that they were on missions of ruin & shame as on purpose to attract the public eye.  May Heaven open their soul vision to the sad end of every evil way & if pure & true may they be preserved.
I was also on guard from 10 to 12 P.M. & slept till 3 1/2 this A.M. I came to camp with R.D. Lewis about daylight & read some in "Byron's Conversation's" by the firelight, so today I got to page 130.  I was well refreshed by my short sleep last night & have felt well all day.  I think however I am not in a very good state of health, as I eat without much appetite.  Hinkley & I rolled cotton bales & piled them up in three tiers for ten cents a bale.  One of Co B helped us as we three worked together.  During the A.M. we rolled 30 bales & earned $3.00.  We could have earned nearly as much more could we but have [had] plenty of bales.  In the P.M. we and Matt Stephens earned $1.30 cts together.  About 3 P.M. we attended the funeral ceremonies at the Catholic Church of a member of Co G 1st Ind Cav. who died from injuries recd, 3 or 4 weeks ago while helping to run the saw mill here.  Remains were buried near Methodist Church.  Day was dry, sunny & pleasant.

 

Camp at Pine Bluff, Ark
February 12th Friday 1864

Last night Sergeant A McKee stated to the Co that a meeting of some of the commissioned officers was called to convene this A.M. for the purpose of deciding what Lieut. of the Regt. who had rec'd his commission in Wis should be recommended to the Gov. of Wis. as the most fit for promotion to the Captancy of our Co (G) stating further that Murray of H & Bingham Co E both first Lieutenants in their respective Co's were the ones whom Lt. Col. Gray favored for the vacant place.  He also read a petition, which had been drawn up to the Gov. requesting him to commission Lt. Tichhenor, Capt. & Srgt Gilbert 1st Lieut of our Co.  The first statement in regard to the disposal proposed to be made of our Co was rec'd with much surprise & not a little indignation by our Co. with great unanimity;  not a few giving utterance to threats, execrations & bitter denunciations of both the persons named, for offending as many of our Co. are & destitute of strict morality, and conscientiousness, yet they hate & despise the officers of our Regt. whom they know to be worthless in character & destitute of the most ordinary, manly qualities, as lacking in chastity (according to undoubted statements of very many) as well as being drinkers, if not actually drunkerds & being generally of a hated turn as regards their general bearing & conduct.  It is not known that Capt. Enos has resigned but it is presumed that he will try to do so.  The object of the petition was well received & this morning all of our boys present very willingly signed it except Owen Findley who would not & Bence, our Co. drummer, who was not asked not being near by.  This morning Hinkely & I went down town after breakfast & got a job of 50 bales of cotton to pile.  Two of Co B helped us & we got through at noon.  Each of us earned a dollar.  The day was bright & pleasant.  I ate no supper & am the better for it.  The Steamer Alamo came down & got here at 4 P.M. bringing a small mail.  I got one letter from Maria.  none from Matt.

 

Pine Bluff, Arkansas, Jefferson Co
February 13th Saturday 1864

Last night I wrote an answer to Maria's of the 9 & 21st ult.  She wrote a sheet of this size (commercial note) full, part in answer to one that I wrote to her Father & Mother some time ago & part not in answer, all of which was very very pleasant & pleasing & interesting to me.  She said all her people were well & had been so notwithstanding the terribly cold weather they had had.  She said every forenoon was devoted entirely to written & mental arithmetic, while the P.M. is used for geography, grammar, writing, reading, spelling, singing &c.  Noon is also occupied for singing.  She likes her teacher well, saying she thinks he is the best teacher she ever had.  She says Mr. Lincoln, to whose commercial college Thomas goes, presented him a gold pen at New Years.  She was then ciphering in compound proportion in Thompson's higher arithmetic & hoped to get through it this winter, or school term.  She had been at grand Pa's Sunday & says "they are all well.  Oh what fun Matt & I do have.  He is a regular old bachelor.  I told him so Sunday.  You write & give him a lecture about it."  She also says "Now James, you must hurry & get a furlough home."  Annie is ciphering in exercises in fractions, in the practical arithmetic.  She writes "Catherine & Annie do have many a slide on the way to & from school.  O! how I remember that evening you came home with us" from school last winter.  She gets Arthur's Home Magazine.   She finishes thus, "We take the Weekly Wisconsin.  I write for it now.  A kiss & love to thee.  Good Bye."  I mailed two letters to Matt today, in which I sent $20 & one letter to Maria.  Just as the boat was starting, I, at about 3 P.M. left another letter to Matt in the clerks office on the boat.  I hope it will go safe.
I & Hinkly & our two mates yesterday rolled & piled 56 bales of cotton in about 3 hours this A.M.  We four earned $5.60 or .40 each.  We could find no work this P.M., but may Monday.  Two citizens asked the man for a job to work today at the same time we did, but he seemed very decidedly to prefer us to do his work.  I could not help feeling a little affected at this, as the citizens looked pale & weakly.  I am well.

 

On guard in Pine Bluff
February 14 Sunday 1864

Last night about roll-call a few drops of rain fell & this morning was rainy & the air was smoky all the day.  Rain fell sometimes during the day & again a few hours of dry time would follow.  The air last night & all day was mild & the rain was soft as an April or May shower.  We rose after daylight & I got a pail of water from the river & had a good wash in the open air so soft or warm was the water & the air.  For this I have felt better all day, as after my full wash I put on a full set of clean clothes, shirt & stockings & boots new from home & pants & drawers which I drew last week.  My new suspenders from home are the easiest I ever had.  What a difference between our condition as regards [to] supplies of food & clothing and the rebels as well as we are confident of final success.  (While I write the boys of Co D 5th Kansas Cav in the opposite room across the hall from our guard room have just sung the star spangled banner & are now singing the "Battle Cry".  I think the men of the 5th Kansas are generally more moral & elevated than those of the 1st Ind Cav, though as compared with our Regt both are very far lacking in knowledge & education.  I think the same is probably true of their people at home as those connected with the mail here say that we send or receive much more mail than the two Cav. Regts combined; & this is a pretty true test as regards educational & intellectual superiority.  Many in the 5 Kansa are in the war because they love Liberty rather than because they wish the "Union as it was" for this they do not desire, as no rightminded & loyal man should.  I have spoken with many of them who were in the border war in Kansas in 1856 & after some of them were with Old John Brown of Ossowatomy & Harper's Ferry fame.  Thus while they (as I) are now following up their long cherished ways & opinions, but very many of many Regts & among them the 1st Ind are at school different from any which they ever before attended & in which they learn new lessons & new ideas and among the rest is a hatred of slavery as the cause of all our troubles)  Today I read an account from A Richmond Paper copied in Milwaukee Sentinal of the escape of Gen. John Morgan from Ohio.  It is a humiliating fact on our part.  My voice is clear & I am well.

 

In Camp at Pine Bluff, Ark.
February 15th Monday 1864

Yesterday was Valentine's day, but I sent none, but some I wrote in the evening to Maria.  I never gave any attention to such ceremonies & I think I never shall & so I do not expect any silly remembrances.  Last night I slept about & hours with Hinkley, and as my sleep was quiet & sound I have felt very well replenished all day.  Rain fell quite constantly all night & sometimes the rain fell heartily.  Yesterday was rather a dreary day & also last night.  This A.M. was so cloudy that the sun did not shine much, but during the P.M. there was considerable sunshine, though the sky did not become clear.  Last night was dreary & rather severe on the pickets as they could not sleep any from the rain.  This A.M. I hear Lt. Col. Gray say that word came by telegraph that the fleet was coming up the river.  Yesterday P.M. Corp Church & Private Jacobi were taken sick by the ague & they being on guard, Muckey & Sergt W. T. Donaldson were detailed to replace the others.  During the night I sat on a door step on my beat, under a roof where I was dry & warmer--Donaldson was for many years a seafaring man & is now always restless & nervous when on duty.  He came along during my first round of duty--from 8 to 10 & I was sitting down at the time.  Soon he returned & said if he found me again sitting down while on post, he would report me as not properly performing my duty.  Now this is a  petty display of authority in him for none of the others, Sergts or Corps would have done so, for all at the time was still & few if any were moving about.  He did but little duty with the Co, having been 10 or 11 months in the Re'tal Commissary Dept & consequently knows less about it than most others.   Today I saw a citizen who married in Wis several years ago a girl whose people lived near Milwaukee, 1 1/2 miles distant & there she was raised.  I conversed a little with a man who was 5 or 6 mo. in the Rebel Army, but got out more than a year ago, when he went to Ill.  There he said he found many men more rebellious than very many men whom he knew here in the state & even many who were in the Rebel Army.

 

Camp at Pine Bluff, Jefferson Co.
February 16th Tuesday 1864

Last Saturday while rolling cotton near the ferry & steamboat landing, my attention was arrested by a conversation between a white man (whom the owner of the cotton had to help watch his cotton at night so that no fire or other mishap, as stealing would happen to it) and a negro whom he had known in times past as a slave.  I understood that the white man had been an overseer & he asked the slave (of the dark past) who Mr.----- had to oversee after a time to which he referred.  The negro gave him the desired information and then went on to tell him (in a very everyday way, for the information, surprising as it certainly was to me, seemed to be a very familiar subject to both of them) how the overseer killed a slave woman belonging to the plantation referred to.  I then asked the negro how the overseer killed her? & he answered that he whipped her to death, because she did not work so as to satisfy him.  At the same time he went on to tell the other about the same overseer killing another slave on the same plantation.  I asked him what was done by way of punishment to the overseer who murdered the slave woman & I think he ans. not anything.  This murderous tale was received by the white man with as much indifference as any daily occurrence of very little importance.  The day before Hinkley & I had a little talk with this man about the state of the country & the institution of slavery.  He was in favor of doing away with slavery now, not that he thought it wrong, but that he considered it the cause of the present trouble in the country.  He expressed himself in favor of colonizing the slaves, so that they would not be free among us.  On no conditions would he have the freed slaves to have the rights of jury & witnesses on an equality with white men, as in no case would he have a negro's testimony taken against a white person, even though the latter was to blame.  He could read and write some, but I think he is a person of little information & still less refinement & elevation of mind & such I think generally are slave overseers
Record for the Day
Last night I read after taps by the light of the fire till about 9 1/2 or 10 oclock P.M.  Nearly all the time till then there was so much noise that one could not sleep if he were abed.  I slept soundly, having waked but once during the night & that when Hinkley fixed one of our wool blankets which had worked out of place, till after sunrise this morning.  During the night the wind rose & this morning it was high & cold.  Some of the tents the messes use to cook & eat in were blown down & we found our shed rather cool while we ate our meals.  In the P.M. it became moderate & now (7 P.M.) the air is clear & cold & but little active, so that we will have some frost.  It is however but a really pleasant, breezy & healthy night & so has the day been.  It pleasantly reminds me of many such an evening, starry & moonlit, that I passed in the Heaven-Blessed Free Old Badger State, with those so dear who now abide securely (thank God) where Liberty rules.  Hinkley & I this morning after 8 A.M. went down town ready to take a job, but we found none.  The man for whom we worked last week told us he would like to have us help him this P.M.  So after dinner we got our two partners in Co. B who were very glad to help us & went to work after having changed our clothes, as the bales are either dusty or as today, have some mud on them.  From about 2. P.M. to 5  we piled in a building 60 bales, so each of us earned $1.50, which we all thought very good wages.  While going to our work about 1/2 mile from camp I was speaking to one of our B boys & expressed my preference for this way to earn money rather than getting it by gambling &c.  He agreed with me saying he would play games no more, as the boys had induced him to try it & he had lost some of his money in that way.  He also said he belonged to the church at home & so the Ide was in his mind that he should not have joined the boys in sinful ways.  Alas, that so many neglect, while in the army what they felt bound to observe while at home even the most ordinary principles of morality & decency.  For two or three weeks past, L K Moore & W T H McKown have been on daily duty overseeing the negroes when there was work of a public kind to do as digging drains along the sides of the streets &c.  This P.M. the latter got a drink of whiskey at the post commissary & ere an hour or two after, he was drunk as could scarcely able to stand & swearing every minute most blasphemously.  Our boys dance.

 

Pine Bluff, Ark, Jefferson Co.
February 17th Wednesday 1864

Last night some of Co B boys came in & had a dance in our quarters, in return for a similar visit to them by our boys the night before.  Two of Co B--David Hill & Ellis White-- played on two fiddles and made some very good music & besides others "Girl I left behind me", Miss McLeod's Bell, Soldier's Joy" &c, many of which I liked very well.  I read & wrote some of the time during the dance & again I was so pleased with the music I listened to it.  I read a short sketch by T S Arthur in "Sons of Temperence Offering"  "How to ruin a young man".  I also read a part of  "Temptation" & & finished it this morning.  Both are good & reformatory.  After Midnight I was awake for nearly an hour, but at last I slept & did not wake till after sunrise this morning when breakfast was ready.  H. & I & our two partners of B went down after breakfast & after waiting awhile we found work.  One of B patched cotton bales with bagging where the bales were uncovered & three of us piled 56 bales of cotton as fast as two teams could haul it from the breastworks, and thus we had nearly half the time to sit down, during which time I read.  We all worked by the day & earned $2.00 each.  I conversed awhile with a Prussian who came to Ark [in] 1850, where he has since resided not yet being 30 yrs old.  He owned & run a small steamboat before the War.  He said he was in Churchill's Regt at the Battle of Wilsons Creek or Springfield in Mo where his Regt lost 230 killed & wounded out of 430 that went to action.  He saw Lyon (our Noble Lyon) on the field, Churchill's Regt fought one of our Regts 2 2/3 hours, each now advancing & again pressed back by the other during the whole time.  He was also at Oak Hills & Pear Bridge.  He was Sergt & owned 2 or 3 slaves, but now all was lost & he joined me in the wish that by all means all cause of future wars among us would now be removed.  He had been a telegraph operator for the Rebels & now for us, sometimes.  Another told us he had been in Price's army at the time we took Little Rock. They leaving the city at 1 Oclock P.M. took 4 1/2 days to reach Archedelphia from which place he soon deserted.  About 3 P.M. all our artillery was (11 pieces) taken to the river bank to fire a salute as the fleet was expected as we saw the smoke after dinner.  Cav was down at the fleet 8 or 10 miles below, but it came not.

 

Pine Bluff, Arkansas
February 18th Thursday 1864

This morning was quite cold & breezy & the air continued so all day.  I thought the cold would cease about 9 or 10 A.M. but it did not cease all day.  Last night I read a Temperence sketch 'The Old Almshouse'.  It is a sad but o'er true tale, showing what misery is borne by the victims of intemperance & those innocent ones dependent on them for support;  also how this vice increases other crimes. ---The Fleet reached this place at M. consisting of 10 transports & one Muskittoe Gunboat.  Most of the boats are common sized river boats.  Two are fitted for ferry service, being small boats.  One two boats are four 20 lb. rifled parrot guns, efficient, steam, true & reliably Union Orators.  When the Flagship (Gunboat No 37) reached the lower end of the town, our batteries of 2-14 lb rifled guns & six 12 lb mountain howitzers gave forth their true & hearty welcome of three rounds or 24 guns, firing shot & shell the latter of which I saw burst in the air or rather I saw the smoke of the explosion, while the fragments flew much further onward.  The Parrots on board the Davenport & Emma answered our welcome of hearty thunder in tones of true eloquence by 6 or 8 shots & again '37' rounded too in mid stream & uttered from her brazen guns "Four rousing cheers for Union & Liberty".  One of the transports sunk so as to have from 2 1/2 to 3 feet of water on her boiler deck.  All the P.M. our Co. was on duty on the boats, but some were relieved at sundown by Cav & the rest at 9 P.M.  About 500 new Volunteers came on the boats, chiefly for Iowa & Ill Regts.  We hear the recruits for our Regt & 27th Wis went by mistake to Vicksburg.  Two boats came down from Little Rock today, one brought a small mail .  I got a letter from Anthony dated 29th ult.  All were well but Father who fails very fast, as he has no appetite, his head is dizzy.  He says Winnifred speaks nearly every word plainly.  Their little boy was born Nov 22 & does well.  Our boys heard that 150 or 200 lost women came on the boats, bound for Little Rock.  Alas! Treasures are daily lost of almost infinite value.  What waste of life & soul!  I am well

 

On guard in Pine Bluff, Ark.
February 19th Friday 1864

This morning was cold as was all the [previous] day, for though the sky was clear & the air active & breezy, there was a chilling frostiness all day.  All our Co. except 5 or six are on duty on the boats, one guard being stationed on the bow of each boat & another at the bar to prevent the soldiers from getting drunk, stealing &c.  Orders were to allow no soldier or citizen aboard the boats unless the former had passes from Provost, Marshal & the latter class had business with the officers of the boat.  Notwithstanding all the caution that a guard may exercise, a few soldiers, with one feigned excuse or another, would manage to get aboard, for the drink.  Commissioned officers were allowed aboard whenever they wished & the boats crew of course had free & uninterrupted passage.  A good joke is told by Owen Findley to this effect.  While on guard at the barroom on one of the boats, a soldier & an officer went to the bar to drink when the latter told the bar keeper to give them some drink with which he complied.  Owen saw the soldier drink first.  When the officer (who belonged to one of the Regts here) filled the tumbler & was at the point of raising it off the bar to his lips when suddenly, Owen who acted as if he now for the first time knew what was going on, ordered him not to drink that!  At this shoulderstraps was very much surprised & said that the private soldier had just drank & why could he not?  Guard ans that he had not seen the soldier drink & persisting in his refusal to let his officership drink, he went off swearing angrily at the orders & perhaps him who gave them!  While I was on post some of the Cav. boys came and made the most silly excuses to get aboard the boat.  Some wanted to see the boat:, another wanted to get a drink of water!  But of course nobody was deceived in this way.  The hands belonging to the boats were busy unloading freight, those are chiefly if not exclusively Irishmen & negroes, all working together with little apparent distinction.  Some of the Negro soldiers were detailed to help unload at which some of them worked well & others lazily.
It is so cold that I wear my dress coat & overcoat & yet in the night my shoulders are cold.
Steamer "Progress" went 8 or 10 miles down the river to unload the Lady Hinds that sunk & returned P.M.

 

Pine Bluff, Jefferson Co, Ark.
February 20th Saturday 1864

Yesterday P.M. I went on guard at 2 o'clock just as Harlen Wells came off & just then one of the officers of the Progress asked Foster who was sergt of the guard, to place a guard over the damaged Sutler goods which they had just brought from the S. Hinds.  Wells watched it till I came off post at 4 when I offered to take his place while he went to supper.   Some teams drew off a few loads of the articles, but as most of it was to remain, Wells, Foster, & I decided that we would take the job to guard it till 10 today & we asked Hinkley to join us, who very willingly did so.  As we were on guard as usual besides this additional duty we were all four of us without sleep all night, but from one to 2 hours apiece, W. H. & I got $5 each for our share & I do not know how much F got, but he got as much making in all at least $20.  Yesterday I paid 50 cts for a dozen apples & ate them all except one that I gave a colored soldier who was working & whom I saw 2 or 3 mo. ago when on picket.  As those were the first apples here since we came in Nov, all were greedy for them.  But while on guard, as part of the stuff was green apples, I & nearly all our Co ate all we wished from some bbl that were broken open.  Those damaged goods fall now to the Ins. Companies, who will have the saved goods sold, as they must make good the entire loss.  Much of the stuff floated off in the river when the boat sunk.  This A.M. Gunboat No. 37 & 5 or six transports started for Little Rock.  Also the little Leon went ahead of the others taking our mail &c.  I sent a letter (or rather A's letter & sheets of my diary) to Matt.  Lieut Tichenor is sick today, I heard some of our Co say, from eating too many apples.  As 3 or four of the boats got unloaded yesterday, many hands were very busy today rolling cotton to the boats.  Some of the boys got 50 cts an hour, but as it was 8 A.M. when Hinkley & I came off guard, after which we had to eat breakfast, we were not early enough to get that wages, we worked for a man who paid us (& our two mates in Co B) 2.50 each for our day's work.  All four of us worked together, as we like each other well.  The day is much pleasanter than yesterday, clear & bright.  There is much dust rolling cotton as the ground is dry.  Yesterday I bought Harpers Weekly of 3 inst fro which I paid 25 cts.  I also sold a half dollar in silver for 1.00 in greenbacks.  I paid no extra price for the silver.  Apples by the barrel sell at 15.00 to $17.00 & many are retailing them at large profit.

 

Pine Bluff, Arkansas
February, Sunday 21st 1864

Last night after quitting work, we made up our minds to work after supper for a few hours, so at 6 1/2 Oclock, H&I & two of Co B went down & worked 3 1/2 hours each, for which we recd $1.75 apiece.  A part of the time we rolled cotton from the top of the bank some 40 feet above the water to the side of the boat, as she lay opposite in the river.  The night was moonlight & pleasantly warm.  We were all four of us none of the gambling class.  A few Cav. boys worked as long as we did.  H& I got to sleep about 11 P.M. & slept till 7 this  A.M. when we had breakfast (a slim one as we had no bread but crackers) & while some went on guard I made ready for it by cleaning my gun.  I was on the 3d relief, so I went a short time to the Presbyterian Church where I heard the choir sing two hymns, also heard a prayer & listened to a part of the discourse and came away in time to go on duty.  One of the Piccessung [?] was very touching & tender, on the subject of Christ's last words on the Cross, viz:  "It is finished."  The minister asked two citizens present to collect in their hats what the congregation would give & this was done before the discourse began.  I did not give anything for I believe he was a Rebel & is not much unionist yet, besides being a person of very little ability.  There were more citizens (ladies) present than at any other time I was there.  There are very many soldiers, negroes & some citizens at work today rolling & loading cotton, I would not do this for any money, for much as I like what it will purchase, I am not ready to do any & all things to get it; though on the whole it is a more useful & honorable & (I think) less sinful way to get money than by gambling.  Three boats are nearly or quite finished loading each having from 250 to 450 bales on.  Freight from here to Memphis is $25 to 40 a bale.
Lieut. is sick today with ague & fever.  There was a small mail brought from Little Rock Friday, but I got none, but very little later than my 2d last letter of 1st inst.  Dress parade this P.M. at 5 Oclock.
Today begins the last half of our term of three years.

 

Pine Bluff, Arkansas.
February, Monday 22nd 1864

This is Washington's Birthday
Last night I was on guard from 6 to 8 Oclock P.M. and from 2 to 5 this morning on the steamer Progress.  The night was calm & the air soft & pleasant.  The sky was clouded most of the night, but the day came on clear & bright.  I slept well during 5 or 6 hours & waked up at 8 this A.M.  The day was dry, clear, & warm.  After noon at 2 Oclock the thermometer indicated 82 degrees in the shade & about 95 in the sun; so that the air was too warm to allow a person to wear his coat for comfort.  About dark last evening while I was on guard, the muskittoe gunboat No 10 came up the river & anchored in the middle of the stream.  She started down the river this A.M. & before noon word was brought that she was sunk, having struck a snag about 4 or 5 miles from this place.  This was unexpected & rather unfortunate, so one of the boats was ordered to unload her cotton & go take the guns &c of the gunboat off, so that she could be raised.  How limited is our vision & how ignorant of the occurrences of tomorrow!  How little have we at best to be proud of & alas!  How much to make us humble and repentant.  This A.M. I got 4 lbs coffee in Co K & sold it for a dollar a pound, having paid 75 cts.  I went about a good deal in our regt to get some more, but I failed to find any.  I could sell 10 to 20 lb more at the same price.  This P.M. I sold 20 lb of Co rice for 11 cts a lb, making 3 cts gain on each pound.  This A.M. I saw many straps of the higher grade in a new drinking saloon & among them Lt. Col. E.B Gray, hollering & knobbing their drink.  I heard him praise the ale.  Tonight the same quality of gentry, in conjunction with the elite of Pine Bluff have a ball in Rogers' Hall.  I suppose it is a very drunken affair in which Northern & Southern rottenness & profligacy & infidelity to marital vows to those far away will have large sway.
While at roll call 16 new volunteers for 28 W.V. came into camp.  The Straps have a detail of 18 men pour our Regt to guard their Route.  The Progress went to the gunboat this P.M. at about 4 O'clock.  River is too low for boats to run safely.  I did little today, but go about.  I ate no dinner though I feel well.

 

Camp at Pine Bluff, Ark.
February 23rd Tuesday 1864

I wrote a little piece today & am well.
Last night after I quit writing I took a walk all alone in the pleasant moonlight to take a look at what could be seen of the gorgeous affair got up by the officers of the Wis 28th.  It was nearly 9 oclock & I stood with some of the 1st Ind on the steps of the court house & saw some whirling in the mazy [merry?] dance.  About 9 I saw Col. Gray & Adj A.S.Kendrick pass along with each a lady on his arm.  The latter of those is unmarried, but I could not help thinking how this conduct of our Com. Officer in our Regt accords with his duty to his wife & children at home.  I was speaking today about this with H-- who is married, & he said that some husbands & wives agree when parting to disregard the duties & fidelity each owes to the other during the term of their separation.  This is so beastly & degraded, so opposed to all truth in this most sacred relation & to the marriage vows or promises, so conducive to infidelity in society & so undermining all virtue & morality that I wished I could doubt the truth of his statement.  But he is a man of some experience & considerable veracity that with what knowledge I have acquired of the depravity of society my wish is vain; & I am made sad when the question recurs to my mind.  Where have religion, virtue, civilization, their home & in what land do they abide?  I heard that the affair broke up at 4 this morning.  A few days ago Abare bought a barrel of apples for $17.00 & sold them so as to make $2.2 on them.  Yesterday, McKee, Gilbert, and some others bought six barrels at 22 a barrel & finished selling one bbl today.  I am the more surprised at this as G-- disclaimed against A-- for selling his at so high a price, & also again at rolling cotton & doing work for the southern people, thus proving we were Mussils [?] as the southern people called us of the North.   Well I do not heed such things much nor will I .  Others have their ways & I will keep mine till I see those of others are better.
Day is warm & clear, night beautiful.!  Yesterday P.M. & this, there was Battalion drill for two hours each time.  This P.M. four Rebels pri. were brought in with a drum &c.
I took four pills at M.  They had a good effect.
Gunboat No. 10 is a total wreck, her guns & plating &c taken off & she abandoned.

Camp at Pine Bluff, Arkansas 71
February 24th Wednesday 1864

Last evening I had a small blank book which I bought in Milwaukee, all filled (having used it as a diary from Aug 11 to Nov 1st) & as I intend to send it to Wis. I felt sorry to part with it because of old association.  One night Maria wrote in it the words 'Forget me not' & signed her name.  While under the influence of this feeling I wrote 7 or 8 verses & added some today to make 13 stanzas in all.  I never wrote so many before on one subject & I found but little difficulty in composing those. ( I write in the commissary tent, all alone, as it is after taps & all is still in the barracks of our Co.  I hear the negroes men & women singing, loud & clear, religious hymns in long metre.  Now they have stopped.  A shot has just been discharged 80 or 120 rods distant.  It may be some drunken Cav. man trying to scare the negroes, so they would stop singing).  Today I looked for a job in the morning, but found none.  I made a wooden cotton needle of hickory with which to work if I got a job.  Down at the landing, I saw the six guns, which were taken off the wrecked gunboat, also their carriages.  They are 20 pound smoothbore Dahlgren pieces, each dated 1862 & weighing from 1303 to 1320 lbs.  The Muskittoe gunboats are chiefly old transports sheeted between the 1st and 2nd decks with boiler iron which makes them proof against musket & rifle shot.  There was a scout of 20 Cav. going across the river to help get cotton.  They knew not how far they would go, but had 4 days rations along.  Some of them liked to go, others did not like to go as a cotton guard.  They often get $15 to $20 dollars a day each for going out as guards.  Often the cotton is loose & must be baled.  The upper story of the court house is fitted up for theatrical performances.  The Cav. that occupied it having left it for that purpose.  I was in it this A.M.  Arrangements are nearly complete, stage , seats &c.  Apples are selling all through town, often poor in quality & always high in price.  I rose this morning when sun was 1/2 hour high & heard the robin, bluebird &c, the negroes said they heard the turtle dove.  Battallion drill 2 to 4 P.M.  No dress parade.  Our Co guard, the boats, & a detail from Regt act as Provost guard in town.  Day is clear, warm & pleasant.

Provost Guard at Pine Bluff, Ark
February 24th Thursday 1864

Last night I slept alone, as Hinkley was on guard & I could find no lone one like myself that I could sleep with.  I slept well till after sunrise when I arose, & after breakfast got ready for guard.  Lewis & I are on the final relief.  Today the detail of 9 privates, 2 corporals furnished during the last 4 or 5 days from the Regt, was placed on duty on the boats & our Co is again [on] guard in the streets.  Some of our boys get drunk when they can as was Corp Geo. Church last Sunday.  One evening last week after I had been at work all day, I wished to have a little sport so not knowing any of the boys of our Co had been drinking, I came among the boys staggering like a drunken person.  This I did without thinking that anyone could or would take offense at it or that such a 'cap would fit' anyone.  Soon I stopped without causing anyone any trouble as coming against them, when ere five or ten minutes had passed.  I heard Peter Darling of our Co. (from Vernon) staggering a little & swearing most fiercely, as he thought I had been mimmicing him!  I told him that I had no knowledge of his drinking and did not wish to have anyone think that I tried to mock or provoke him.  This for a time satisfied him.  He would not doubt what I said, for often when some of the other boys said what he doubted, I heard him say that he could believe it if I said it was so!  Soon again he came to me with the same idea in his mind & he wished to know again if I meant him, saying if I did not he & I were good friends &c giving me his hand for a new pledge of friendship.  He wished that I would not stagger around so anymore so as not to offend any of the boys, as they did not like to see themselves as others see them.  I said that I could not agree to that for as I meant no offense to any person, I should walk in & out & stagger about as I pleased as I thought that was my business only--so long as I did not interfere with the rights of others.  He said 'All right Mr Loughney' and was satisfied.
Day was pleasant & warm, air smoky & sky in the evening some cloudy.  Thermometer in the sunshine stood at 82 degrees.  Negroes work in the streets digging ditches both sides.  Sergt McKee, Ri. Moore & McKown have charge of them  Drill in Regt P.M.  New recruits drill daily seperately.  All things go pleasantly with me.  I have a slight cold, it troubles me of little, so I am well.

missing Feb 25, 26, 27, 28, 29

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