CIVIL WAR JOURNAL OF JAMES B. LOCKNEY

WIS. 28th REGMT., CO. G

January 1864

Copyright 1986, 1997-2016 [James R. Shirey]. All rights reserved.


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Diary for 1864


Pine Bluff, Arkansas
January 1st, Friday 1864

This morning I finished my letter & mailed it to Matt. This makes three letters, two of them double postage & one single that this mail takes from me.  I finished my guard at six O'clock and as soon as I came to camp, I went to bed & slept till 11 A.M.  Then I arose & soon after I ate some breakfast.  I slept none at all during the night, for it was so cold I feared to expose myself to it.  The day was clear bright, but very cold all day so that it was hard to keep comfortable.  We ate two meals today.  The cold is so severe that with great difficulty one can write even in the barracks.  I went down to the steamboat, she starts up the river this evening.  I saw some of the officers getting whiskey from the Post Commissary.  Each one gets but 1/2 gallon & this they think is very little.  Last night Moore halted & detained Col. Jenkins till the Sergt came.  For his determination the Sutler gave him a can of peaches worth $1.50.  There were some of the 9th Wis that came down as guard on the boat.  The whole number of guards on the boat was fifty.  Some of the boys got some drink & the effects we are compelled to witness are most disgusting.  Lieut. Turner among others got some drink.  I saw some of other Co's taking water pails for whiskey for their companies.  Today I read Harper's Weekly dated Dec 19th.  In it were illustrations of the fights near Chattanooga.  There seems to be considerable stir if not tumult in town tonight.  Since Christmas there were several dances in town chiefly of Blacks in which the soldiers mix very freely, so much so as to be disgusting to me.  Capt. Stephens, Co. C goes home to Wis. on furlough.  Alas how degraded are our Com officers & the women of this town by what I hear.  9 O'clock.  It is very cold.

 

On guard in Pine Bluff, Ark
January 2d, Saturday 1863 [sic-1864]

Last night I & Hinkley had a good warm sleep but it was nearly midnight before we stopped talking & singing.  Geo. Church & McKown had some whiskey & plainly they showed its effects so degrading, so hateful to the beholders.  Geo. had a lingo of mean and indecent talk which I once very successfully interrupted by beginning to sing the "Battle Cry", Year of In Belo [?]" in which Owen, Findley & Tho's Edwards heartily joined.  After dark, Col. Gray had someone call for Orderly Sergt. Gilbert to go to his headquarters.  He went & returned in one hour or 1 1/2.  He told us a sad story of human crime & degredation and in high & low officials of our Regt, Gray said he wanted every one to drink some of his three kinds of drink, which he called Hell fire, Oreck fire, & beer. (Alas poor dear Cold Water was treated with chilling neglect)  Gilbert said he positively refused any of the three kinds, but drank water.  He said hospital Steward Charles Frisly was not there & the boys say he is a temperate person.  Also Sert. Major McGill, Co.D was not seen, though he drinks.  Adj Albert S. Hendrick gives up the strict temperance way in which he says he was raised & now drinks freely.  He may think he must please Gray at any cost.  Capt's & Lieuts. were drunk as they will could be.  Our own dear Tichenor despises all such & nobly keeps away from all such.  Thank God for one good officer in our Company.  Gray said he had drank as many as 50 times.  So beastly was he that the front of his pantaloons was unbuttoned half way down.  I met him this A.M. & wished to be unnoticed by him, but he said "Good morning, Mack." to which I answered "good morning--but my name isn't Mac".  He said "he knew it wasn't."  I regret that he is such a man as I can feel no respect for.
There was some shots discharged last night & some tumult prevailed.  McKee was Sergt of Guard, & some of the boys on duty got drunk & others got tipsey.  If Darling had not been drunk I would not be on guard today.  This P.M. we hunted about town for negro women that cooked for soldiers & I took six such to the contraband camp.  Alas! how wretched & degraded nearly all of those are, how destitute & ignorant citizens & officers may retains such for cooks.
The weather did moderate very much during the last 24 hours.  Today was cloudy & calm & not very cold.  So little snow fell day before yesterday that all the ground was not covered, today thawed little in sheltered places.  I have a slight cold.

 

In Camp at Pine Bluff, Jefferson Co, Ark
January 3d, Sunday 1864

Last night I did not sleep till two Oclock A.M.  I read some in Harper's Weekly of Dec 12 & wrote some in my diary.  I was waked at 6 O'clock A.M. from a sweet, peaceful & quiet sleep, & was on post at the hospital, a tavern or Hotel before the War.  It rained a little shower before daylight while it froze & this made an ice all over the ground & it was very slippery all day.  It rained quite heavy showers during the P.M. and mizzled nearly all the rest of the day.  I felt quite sleepy & heavy most of the day.  Last evening some of the boys got a large stove in or at a church nearby & set it up in the barracks & it does good service heating the room.  The day as not cold, but dreary.  I visited Abare at the hospital today, he says he gains slowly.  Goelzer came from the hospital today & is to remain in the Company.  Today three were excused by the doctor in our Co.  Moore had a chill & fever yesterday P.M.  Today he is around as usual.  Rations were drawn yesterday & today for 10 days.  Day before yesterday I read the first chapter of the Gospel of St. Matthew.  Sergt W.T. Donaldson reported to the Co. for duty today.  I did not go to any church today.  We ate two meals.  Hinkley did not feel very well this morning early.  The river is higher today than any time before since we came & it is filled with cakes of floating ice.  Sweet potatoes now are scarce & of poor quality.  This evening I read 2d & 3d Chap. of Matthew.  Lieut. Tichenor came in this evening & he sat down by me and told me a great many incidents of his early years as when he attended school at the College in Waukesha.  This P.M.  Lt. Tichenor read an order from Gen. Schofield Com. Dept. of  Mo. authorizing enlistments in the Veteran Corps.  This caused considerable excitements among the boys, many of whom expressed their determination to reenlist for three years from the present time.  To all enlisting, furloughs for 30 days will be granted as soon as consistent with the interests of the service. The time for receiving the full Gov. bounty of $402 is limited to the 5 of this month.  The Cavalry I believe will very generally enlist, that is the 1st Indiana & 5th Kansas at this place.  There is much uncertainty felt as to whether our regt can yet enlist as we have yet nearly 20 months to serve.  I tried to find some nice fresh pork to buy but failed.  I bought two fish[?]

 

In Camp at Pine Bluff, Ark
January 4th, Monday 1864

This morning was unpleasant, being cold & raw.  During the night it rained light or mizzled, & froze which made the ground glary all over and very slippery.  The pines about our camp are heavily laden with treasures of glistening jewels, which would so beautifully reflect the sunlight should we be favored with a clear sky & bright warm sun tomorrow.  The river is filled with flakes of ice of every size & shape, all crowding their way on to the wide, deep-sounding sea.  As I stood on its bank today early, those flakes of ice reminded me of the course & influence of every human being as we pass on our way through life to the great & shoreless Sea of Eternity.  I would [pray] to God that each person followed as truly his appointed ways each of those flakes does!  How happy & blessed & enlightened would all the world be.  Then no poorhouses, nor prisons, nor distilleries & liquor shops, nor dens of crime & infamy would curse the Earth--no lies nor oaths & blasphemies would be heard, no deceived & deserted.  Loving maiden would mourn the treachery by which her whole life will be now clouded forever & her fondest hopes blasted forever.  No laborer would be cheated out of his hard earned wages & no defraud would glory & exult & show off in his ill gotten gains.  There would be few poor, ignorant, & cripples now so numerous in every land.  No slaves & no tyrants!  No law suits by which so many now are cheated of their just due & no vast & cruel civil or religious wars which have so many times in all ages caused such a waste of human life, peace & happiness.  But alas! now so saddening is the state of human society even in the most Christian & enlightened nations that I am very often made sadly reflecting on these things & almost made to wish that I never had been born.  But once on Life's Sea, there is nothing left or required but to do the best we can!
Thos. Edwards is returned to duty in the Co.  Sergt Alb. Foster wrote a piece in verse about (Gen.) Thornton & (his Capt.) Owen Findley & a time they had New Years.  A little snow whirled in the air about noon.  I & Hinkley were for a load of wood this P.M.  This evening some of the boys of our Co. have a little spree time--or dance in the guard room.  Higly asked me to go down, he fiddled for them.

 

On Provost Guard at Pine Bluff
January 5th, Tuesday 1863 [sic]

Last evening we fell out for roll call, it was cold.  We had a light lit long after the taps were beat.  I & a few others wrote some, while most of the boys were busy playing cards, checkers &c.  I wished to sleep early as I was detailed for guard today, but as I & Gilbert both felt wakeful & our bunks were end to end & our heads near together, we did not sleep till past 11 O'Clock, so that we had more than an hours talk after quiet began to rule.  This morning was nearly clear before sunrise & I expected a clear day, but the sky was soon clouded and then grew heavier toward noon when some snowflakes swung about in the air slowly made their way to the ground.  The air was too cold for much snow as but little fell.  I was on the third relief & went on post at noon for two hours & again at 6 P.M.  One of the 5th Kansas Cav told me that about 50 in their Regt. had enlisted in the Veteran Corps for three years from the present time.  More would enlist but that they do not like to enlist again under their present officers, as like ourselves, they do not like them generally.  He told me that the boys like Col. Powel Clayton well as a leader in battle, but they think he is too partial to the rebels, as granting protection papers to those evidently rebels.  Clayton, during the troubles in Kansas & the Mo. Border in 1856 was a leader of a party of Border Ruffians, while Major Walker of the same Regt. was quite active among the Free State men for whom he did much service.  My informant thought Clayton was working to obtain promotion to a Brig. Generalship.  I was speaking to a citizen who had been conscripted in June '62, he was in the rebel service 16 months & was very unwilling to serve, but very glad to get away to our protection.  He wished for the overthrow of slavery like very many I meet, as he thought it would be for the interest of the country & of all the great body of the people.
I got a copy of "The Southern Girl's Song" from a 5th Kansas boy, also a Union song "The Flag of Our Country".  I wrote some in a letter to Maria.  About two weeks ago we heard that Hinds of our Co died Dec. 4th at Memphis.  I have some cough & a slight cold.  I read a part of Christ's Sermon on the Mount.

 

Camp at Pine Bluff, Jefferson Co, Ark.
January Wednesday 6th, 1863 [sic]

Last night I slept from 9 P.M. to 12 when I went on post for two hours and then slept till 6 O'Clock A.M. when I stood on post till 8, when the new guard came & relieved us.  The night was quite cold, but not quite so severe as some nights past.  A few stars could be seen as the broken clouds passed slowly over the face of Heaven and about daylight the sky was nearly clear all over.  Again did the clouds overshadow the sky & ruled the degree of light we enjoyed all the day.  During the P.M. there was a good degree of sunshine which to me was very welcome as for several days past our room was very dark.  When fast bound in the warm and sweet embrace of sleep, dreaming of sweet Peace & those so dear to us, but who are now so far away, how disenchanting it is to be so suddenly summoned as if it were from Heaven to the cold realities of this rough, real, every-day  matter-of-fact World, to content again with the difficulties in our way & the many hindrances which stand between us & the performance of the stern duties which we as men just perform or desert the cause of truth, of Religion & of God!  And how many sentinels every night feel this privation in all its force, waked from dreaming of home & friends to the more real work of watching closely on all sides & listening to every noise, thinking the while of the days & events past as contrasted with the present and letting one's thoughts stray forward into the future and dwell with pleasure & hope on the various sunny spots which fancy discovers in it various & widespread domain.  How often is the mind of the fathers & husbands, now far away from their loved ones, filled with the almost celestial happiness which they so long for, when they shall be welcomed with out-spread arms, and eyes filled with tears of love & joy at the happy meeting!  How many a son so vividly experiences the joy of being clasped in a fond Mother's loving embrace & again the joy of clasping to his bosom the maiden whose image has so often filled his very soul with a strong hope a noble purpose to be true & pure & brave, and a passionate joy next to that in which surpasseth all understanding.
I have read some today & copied two songs, on Rebel & one Union.  We drew some fresh pork today.  The ground is glary.  River high & filled with floating ice.  I feel very well.

 

In camp at Pine Bluff, Jefferson Co, Ark.
January 7th Thursday, 1864

Last night the boys had a funny and pleasant pastime in Playing Officer from the rank of Corporal to that of officer of the day, all of which was managed very harmoniously and with great imitative power.  They began early in the evening & was chiefly managed by Owen Findley, Thomas Edwards, Christopher Jacobi, Dan'l McNeill &c.  The boys in all their plays preserve very good humor & quiet temper, but as I do not take much part in such pastime, I am often disturbed & annoyed by their wrestlings & jostling.  Generally I take it well, but as some have no regard for the ways or wants or convenience of others, I sometimes feel much annoyed & even vexed.  After that was over Findley gave us some of his powers in mimicking the fox squirrel & woodchuck, cats squealing & fighting, whippoorwill & c.  Henry Draper imitated the Blue Jay & crows like a cock or rooster, or cackles like a hen.  This is sometimes positively irresistible but alas, is often mixed or connected with vulgarity & obscenity.  I did not get to sleep till long after taps when Seymour told me some horrid ways of some in our neighborhood in Wis.
We do not rise now to roll call as there is none in the morning.  It was late when we arose this morning about 7 1/2 O'Clock.  The day was quite cold wherever the wind blew.  At M, it thawed a little in sheltered places.  I did not leave a bout camp all day.  Hinkley & I baked about 20 good large biscuit in our oven.  We ate our 2d & last meal at 4 P.M.  Gilbert went with some of the boys for two loads of wood.  Yesterday the boys resolved & declared their purpose that a corporal should go along with them for wood.  This is no more than fair as the complement of non commissioned officers in our Co is full & but Geo Peck absent sick up the river.  About 15 days ago we had to give up our breastplates, which are eagles.  Many of the boys threw theirs away on the march from Helena to Little Rock.  I did not lose or throw away any of my plates or accoutrements.  I have finished a large sheet of letter paper interlined to Maria.  This evening I read 8th cap. Matthew.  My cold & cough still continue.  Our stove helps much to warm our room.

 

On Guard in town
January 8th Friday, 1864

Last evening was cold & cloudy at roll call, but soon after the sky was clear & starry.  We sat up till about 10 O'Clock many playing cards but several studied & some wrote.  Lieut. Tichnor came in & kindly reminded me that it was time to have lights out & after that he had a wrestle with one of the boys.  How I wish Turner was kind as he, for I would rather fear Turner would put one on extra duty, if he took a notion to do so, but Tichenor would not do so, if one was not very tardy or negligent.  The only time I was ever on extra duty was on the old Plantation near Helena last February.  This was for speaking in the ranks to one of the boys near me while the Co was on Inspection one Sabbath morning.  I forgot the rule forbidding speaking & so I did not feel guilty.
I cough some  We waked up after daylight this morning & found it cold & the sky clear.  The sunshine was bright all day & in sheltered places it was quite warm & considerable thawing took place.  As usual we ate two meals.  I am no. 3 on the third relief, my post is at the tavern, now used as hospital for 1st Ind & 5 Kansas.  There are few sick in any of the Regt's.  This evening notices were posted about town for a meeting of the citizens of this Co, for the purpose of electing delegates to attend the state convention (said to be) now in session at Little Rock.  The notices are dated 8th inst. & the meeting called to meet at the court house next Saturday (I suppose tomorrow).  Geo Church was on duty today & felt well in the P.M., but at noon he was taken sick with the ague.  Today I wrote a part of letter to Matt.  This evening the boys had a dance in our guard room, some of the Cav boys were in ..  McKee & McNeill board out & give away their rations & a dollar a week each.  They have good board, milk, butter, warm biscuit &c at every meal.  The boys pay very high for the luxury of useless or extravagant habits as plug tobacco costs $1.25 to $1.50 a [blank].  I have heard during the last month of some soldiers offering $8 to 10 a gallon for whisky & $4 for a canteen full, or three pints.  The greatest difficulty is that they cannot get much even at those enormous prices.  One of the cooks in our Co paid .35 or 40 cts for a second hand primmer [?] & some of the boys teach him.

 

In camp at Pine Bluff Ark.
January 9th Saturday, 1864

Last night I was on post from 6 to 8 .M.  The boys had a dance in the guard room & some of the Kansas boys joined them, & some of them played the fiddle.  Very good feeling exists among the boys so far as I have heard.  Some of the boys say that the Kansas boys Co D would like to get back as Provost guard, but they say they are glad to be out of it.  Last night I slept about  5 hours on the floor, but having a rubber and wool blanket under me & two wool blankets over me.  The night was clear, cold, calm & the sky was starry.  What a high old time the boys would have dancing were there a plenty or any females to take part, but 'tis better that our sisters, wives & loves are safe in the free peaceful North.  I read the 8 to 12 inclu. Chapters of Matthew's Gospel & in John's Gos.  I read the familiar school lesson of Christ's cure of the man born blind.  Hinkley slept some this morning till about 10, but I did not try to--
The day was clear & bright & thawed some.  Yesterday noon in the shade the mercury stood at about 2 degrees above freezing point & this morning at 12 below.  I wrote some during the P.M. & at 3 o'clock I attended the meeting of the citizens of this Co or a few of them in the Court House for the purpose of appointing delegates from this Co to the State Union Convention now in session a Little Rock.  There were more citizens in town than usual, but I think there were not 50 present in the Hall.  A few resolutions having the true ring in them were read & adopted.  Short speeches were made by the Chairman & two of the four or five delegates appointed.  Thank God they are now determined to rid themselves of the curse of slavery for they realized that the state could never be flourishing, happy, highly improved, & her people really happy, enlightened, elevated, or the Nation have true & lasting peace while slavery has a foothold in any part of it.  The curse they said could not live in the border slave states & they rejoiced at it.  The Slave Democracy that ruled the state for the last 27 years or ever since its admission as a state came in for its full condemnation.  The speakers advised all to join the Union army & help drive the rebs from the state & nation.  Some 3 or 4 citizens had a slight skirmish in the street & when taken before the Provost Marshal three were fined $10 each.  Telegraph says steamboat started down the river from Little Rock, but found the river blocked with ice & returned.  I mailed two letters tonight.

 

In camp at Pine Bluff
January 10th Sunday, 1864

Last night I finished & mailed a letter to Maria and one to Matt in which I inclosed a sheet of large letter paper interlined & three sheets of my diary on commercial note interlined.  I carried my letters to the Adj. office & there were some of our Regt band playing some instruments.  The hospital steward played the fiddle, another a guitar, one a fife &c.  I saw the Atlantic Monthly for Oct & would like to have a chance to read it.  I have the Nov. No.  So far I have taken no mag. or paper since I enlisted, but others have very many sent to them.  I would like to take one or two, but have not yet & may not.  I slept well & warm & we waked up about daylight & rose.  We had inspection at 10 o'clock, when I & four or five others went to the Presbyterian Church, where, after waiting a while services began.  The preacher was the one I heard before & practice does not improve him much.  His text was Jer. Chap. 17 ver 9  "The Heart is deceitful above all things."  At the close, he asked a contribution from those who were willing to help support him as minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  As I have not a high sense of his merits or abilities, I did not pay anything.  Two weeks ago today we were at the Catholic Church & the priest in a sectarian spirit denounced the Protestant Ministers of this place as being leaders in the secession movement & a great part of the cause of bringing this trouble & ruin on the country.  I think some of the rebs heard it & told the minister of it, so he tried to pay it back with interest as he spoke of cross, pictures, & wafer worship.  This minister I think is at heart a rebel, for he prayed for their friends, but not for those present, nearly all of whom were of our army, 6 or 8 women & 3 or  male citizens.  Some of the officers & a few of the boys paid some in the Catholic Church was a collection & I paid 10 cts for they at least are mostly loyal.  We baked some biscuits & had a good P.M. meal about 3 O'clock.  I copied a letter of Wm. Wirt to his daughter Laura dated at Richmond Sept 13, 1811.  It is one of the best letters I ever read.  I will send it to my Maria.  We hear of the capture & arrival in town of ____ prisoners.  The day was sunny & warm.  There was much thawing so as to make mud.  My cold is passing off so I raise pretty freely.   I read the Art in Atlantic on the growth of French naval power in [?] No.  The escort started with the mail to Little Rock early this morning.

 

In Camp Pine Bluff, Arkansas
January 11th Monday, 1864

Last night we had lights lit long after taps at 8 and after many were abed & a few asleep about 6 of us sat about the fire, warming ourselves preparatory to going to bed, including Moore, McKee, & myself when a talk spring up among the others in which some of those abed participated about Abolitionists, Copperheads, Rebels, Slavery, the war &c.  I intended to read while & warmed my feet, but did not successfully resist the temptation to join in the debate, in the course of which some were a little abusive & heated.  I was so fortunate as to be able to feel good-naturedly all the time, or nearly all the time so I did not try to give offense to anyone & I think I succeeded pretty well.  McKee wanted to know if I were such a strong Union man why I did not sooner enlist.  I did not feel that I owed him a direct or any other answer;  but I gave all to understand afterward that I had resolved never to enlist while our Army made it a part of its work to catch & restore fugitive slaves to their late masters & I thanked God that was not practiced during the last year.  Moore thought none were abolitionists, but those who wished the slaves freed and scattered wherever they wished to go.  He always wished slavery destroyed, but the slaves not permitted to go No.  I thought him an abolitionist, who would have slavery destroyed even should the slaves be somewhat restricted in their range & denied the privilege of voting but endowed with their Natural rights, as domestic & marriage rights, & wages for labor.  Nearly or quite all were Abolitionists of this kind.  Toward the last the temperance question was referred to incidentally, McKee & others would raise the crop that would yield them most profit if it helped the liquor traffic or not, some would not do so.
We rose after daylight.  The day was clear & pleasant above but muddy below.  Hinkley & I washed some clothes.  Our Co signed the payroll today.  Hinkley is on guard.  Gilbert saw 14 Rebel prisoners today in the jail who were brought in yesterday & today.  They were Texans.  One told him that Kirby Smith lately had his headquarters at Camden & is probably now there.  Half rations were drawn today for 10 days.  Sunday P.M.  I had a good full wash all over.  We drew no flour, but a barrel was bought with Co fund.  I read the 13 & 14 chapters of Matthew's Gospel .  I am very well.

 

On Provost Duty in town
January 12th Tuesday, 1864

Last night as my bedmate & Gilbert were on duty we slept together in our bed & we slept very warm & comfortable till daylight as we all lay abed while Orderly called the roll, in bed also.  Yesterday Lieut. Turner having previously as certained that, a few of the boys, as Sergt McKee, Corp D. McNeill were boarding out, peremptonily ordered it to be stopped by all in our Co.  A few days ago Lt. Co. Gray gave each Co. Commander orders to let those of his Co board out or not.  I believe no other Co is hindered in this respect & his arbitrary order was the cause of reviving much bitter feeling & many curses & execrations against him!  As the boys like it well, considering it more economicall & very much more convenient & comfortable than doing their own cooking in camp, as well as affording it in much better fare, and in no way interferes with the performance of their duties.  I cannot see why he will not allow it.  He may think it more soldier-like for the boys to practice living in camp as himself does, never boarding out as other Com. Officers do.  While on the Yazoo Pass Ex. he very seldom if ever boarded in the cabin like the Officers, as I think he considered that way effeminate.  He now has Cullen, Church, & Mucky to mess with him & they do the cooking.  Fitzgerold has been Co Clerk since we were at Little Rock, as E.S. Bastin had been some time at Helena & as we came along, but as he was often unwell & so unfit for the place as Turner thought he often feigned sick & was playing off, he dismissed him.  At Clarendon, Lieut. had a sick time but determined to keep up in any case while he possibly could.
Today was some cloudy & mostly sun-shiny, the air was soft & pleasant, so that the living took place where the sun did not shine.  I am on the first relief No.2 & will come off at 4 tomorrow AM.  This AM I saw two fugitives from the outside brought up by one of the pickets who took them to the provost office.  They probably came & surrendered themselves.  This P.M. I heard one of the members of the home guard or militia tell of his trials & adventures in getting away from the rebel conscription.  The rebs. took dishes, pins, needles, thread &c from his family & even some clothes for infants & very young children.  What unionists have suffered here...

 

January 13th Wednesday, 1864

Last night I was on post from 8 to 10 PM and from 2 to 4 this AM.  The night was rather mild and the sky clear & starry.  Soon after I went on post, I heard a long continued wailing or crying in Widow Roane's house, about 15 rods distant from my usual beat.  At first I imagined it might be a negro or late slave child who had been punished, but at last I thought I should go & find what was the cause of it.  When I approached the house I found the wailing was in the house & was made  by one of the daughters of the family.  I listened for a long time outside the fence about 15 feet from the room in which the family lived & where the light was & whence the noise proceeded.  She was desperately agitated & began with a loud scream, talking at the same time very rapidly so that I could not understand much of what she said.  Her utterance was very rapid, but among other things I heard her repeat "O Mother!  Why did I not think (or think of it) when I was a woman"!  She also complained about being watched like a dog--& they would not let her go out without watching her-& if they would not hold her head or hold her down she would be quiet & still."  She would sometimes be quiet for a few moments, & soon burst forth again.  This was the saddest scene I ever witnessed & the cries the most piercing & saddening I ever heard in my life.  Her story as I heard it is simply this:  Early in the war her lover went as Col. in the Rebel army & went to Va. where he was killed soon after.  She was a person I should think of slight figure & very sensitive as well as very passionate & devoted.  The shock caused by so severe a blow on such a nature may be imagined.  Sometime after, while this place was occupied by the Rebels her affections were sought & won by a Texan Capt. but during the month of Sept. when our Cav. came here & the Rebs retreated she fled with her Capt. lover toward Red River.  Ere long she found her husband had deceived her having a wife still living near the Red River or in Texas.  I rejoiced as I turned away that I believed in the existence of an eternal Hell, where such may be adequately punished.
I slept from 4 to 10 AM.  The day was pleasant & sunny.  I heard 8 prisoners were brought in today.  We got four loaves of bread today & a little fresh beef.

 

Camp Pine Bluff, Arkansas
January 14th Thursday, 1864

Yesterday about noon, Velty was on duty and being busy in our barracks with many others playing cards, was not ready for duty when the time came for his relief to go on post.  He did not want to go till he got through with his game.  For this reason an order was suddenly issued by one of our Lieuts. positively forbidding any more playing with cards for fun or money, which was very much against the liking of the boys, except Moore, Hinkley & I, none of us feeling any interest in the nuisance.  I say nuisance, for often the tables & seats were so filled that one could not get a chance to sit to read or even to eat at the Co table.  Gilbert did not play, but often watched the games with deep interest, so he could tell when tricks & games were won &c.  The boys were also ordered not to play in the guard room down town.  I was absent when the (to me) welcome change took place, & the boys said that Lt. Tichenor took up a pack off the table, that belonged to Muckey took them to Lt. Turner who ordered them to throw them in the fire, so I heard. Tichenor say they were burned--  During the evening Bowers was down for supper as he too was on guard.  He talked about having a game of Euchre, and Tichenor was in at the time.  He thought Bowers said so to mock his action in the matter of the cards.  After some talk-rather disrespectful-, Lieut ordered Bowers under arrest when he was relieved of duty as while one is under arrest he is confined strictly to the limits of the camp in all parts of which or at least in his own Co. quarters he is unrestricted but is not subject to any duty.  Some of what Bowers said was "that if he (Tichenor) did not like to hear him talk about card playing, he need not come where he would hear it."  This PM Bowers was arraigned before a court marshal & Sergt Gilbert & Corp E.N. Walden were summoned as witnesses.  The court consisted of Capt. Williams Co A, Capt Montieth, F [Co F] Smith capt of I Co; [blank area] Lieut, Murray, Co H was Judge Advocate.  The result is not yet known.  The result of these events having their origin in gambling by Velty's persistence in delaying when he should have stopped promptly are much to the disadvantage of our Co's enjoyments, as all our privileges are very materially abridged though many others will feel it more than those who cause it.  Now for the first time all those on duty each day, 9 men: one Sergt & two Corp's must go to the guard room at 8 AM & remain there constantly, but a short time for meals & as the fast stroke at the privileges we enjoyed & I valued highly was that of reading & writing after taps at 8 PM but this evening Turner ordered all lights out at taps.  I cannot understand why the whole Co. is banned or punished when a a few transgress rules or neglect their duties & in cases too where there is no combination among the boys or connivance on the part of others, for in all these cases I think the delinquent should be punished or required to do extra duty, which would be so much in favor of those obedient & prompt.  Now those innocent & regular in the performance of their duties feel the restrictions very severely, while those guilty do not feel it in the least, as Velty is a reckless Devil-may-care sort of person, caring little for himself & less for all others.  He was always careless & reckless since we first went into Camp Washburn, Bowers told the court that Tichenor often played cards with the boys in the barracks long after taps, which I know to be a fact, as he used to be very pleasant & familiar with all the boys had many packs of Union cards, all different from the old kind but in the No. of figures.  They are the prettiest I ever saw, but now they are at a very great discount, though each pack cost a dollar.
Today the air is mild, but the sun does not shine clear, there is a little thawing.  The bluebirds are flying about in all their old sprightliness & blueness of plumage.
The 7th Mo. Cav. reached this place about M. from Little Rock.  I spoke to one who told me he was born & raised in Racine, Wis. where his people now live.  I taught my little pupils Samuel & Agnes today, so I daily break the old slave laws forbidding the instruction of slaves.  12 or 15 prisoners were brought in today, so now there are about [ ] in the jail.  A light shower fell about 5 PM but the night was clear & starry.  Wicket is not well.  I saw Ira Woodcock--he is very well.  Today I bought a copy of Byron's Works complete in good shape for $1.50  Gilbert bought a copy of Moore, like mine for $1.25.  Both are 8 vo & 5 or 6 steel plates in each.
A year ago today was my last in Wis.  I was in Milwaukee & satisfied myself that we should start for the South next day.  I rode to Bell's with S.R. Hunkins, & then crossed to Woodcocks, where I saw some of my old school girls:  Evaline & Frances.  Matt I think was in town with some load, but was not ready to come out early.  The day was quite cold with some snow on the ground, but not enough for sleighing.  I had not been in camp since & Dec 4th, was very fortunate that I did not go with the Reg't when they started Dec. 20 as I had not sufficiently recovered from my attack of Eusipilas [Erysipelas?].  The Regt reached Helena Jan'y [ ], started on the White River Ex. [    ] and were now at St Charles where they found no enemies.

 

On guard in Pine Bluff Arkansas
January 15th Friday, 1864

Last night, Gilbert & I slept together, as our mates were on guard.  We had a long talk as I think it was 11 O'Clock or later ere we fell asleep.  We spoke with sincere regret of the degraded condition of woman, every where in the world, even in the most Christian & civilized state of society which the world exhibits.  Not but that men are utterly heartless & unprincipled in very many instances, but woman is the most lovely & pure & true , confiding, faithful & devoted, in fact the very embodiment of all that's admirable lovely, and adorable in the visible creation, the very flower of the human race;  whose heart in its uncorrupted state, aids all noble projects, & beats so regularly for the promotion of all refining & purifying & happifying ways that affect man's welfare.  But when defiled & betrayed as she is so often by man's treachery & faithlessness, when self respect & purity are lost & hope is gone forever, then who so miserable, who so despised, so weak, so corrupted & corrupting, so utterly wrecked & shattered & ruined as the fairest, loveliest gem with which God has blessed Earth.  According to what he & I hear & judge by what we see, we decided that probably not more than 1/5 or 1/10 of the females in this town who are grown up & unmarried, or whose husbands are dead or absent in the rebel army, but that their virtue is held at a low price, and often sold for filthy Sucre.  This is unspeakably saddening, and seems to be much more common than in any town in which we have yet been.  Thanks to God, this with us is heresay [sic] & surmise, but cannot be doubted.  How heartily would I believe & wish it all a lie.  Today while on guard I saw a beautiful, healthy, strong looking young woman, rosy with abundant health & to all appearance lovable, more like the best type of Northern young maidens, but such is the general depravity that even she was not above suspicion!  May God preserve those yet uncontaminated!
The morning was rosy & the day clear & warm.  I was on the 3d relief.  I saw 6 prisoners brought in the fruit of a scout 25 miles out. There are now 37 of them in the jail.  Owen, Findley & Boweres were arrested today for playing cards behind our barracks.  Steamboat came from Little Rock & I got 2 letters from Maria & Matt.  All well.

 

Memories of a year ago, Jany 15-'63

What thoughts must ever crowd my memory whenever I think of the last parting with those dearest to me of all the persons that I ever saw.  A year ago last evening I reached home about dark.  The place which had been most dear to me & where welcomes ever awaited my coming during the last 22 long & eventful years.  My comrades of the Wis 28th Inf, Regt of Vols. had left the 20 Dec & here was I nearly a month behind;  often had I wished to be with them & now at last the morrow, I hoped, would find me on the way.  Often had I wished to be with them to partake of their privations, dangers, & struggles, though I knew I could have but little share or sympathy with many of their joys, jokes, & vulgar sports, and as often had my dear old father & mother told me that I was better off where I was & that I would have chance enough to bear the hardships of War!  Well, I knew that too, but I had enlisted to be with them & help along the cause & I could not do that while at home.  I started in a short time after to see my dear sisters & Anthony & their families.  On the way I stopped a short time at Barbers [?] where Miss P.A.E--our teacher boarded & that was the last time I saw her.  May she be happy as she is good, true & pure!  About 7 1/2 P.M. I reached the place where sister Mary & her little ones had to call home.  Goff was abed as he did not feel well from a cold.  I entered his bed chamber & heard his wish that I might be & do well.  Mary Ann & Theresa were abed & did not speak much though they could not refrain from weeping as in some measure realizing that they now saw one whom they often welcomed, perhaps for the last time.  About Matt & Eliza I do not distinctly remember more than that I saw them.  My dear Sister Mary wept bitterly at the thought that she must now take a last farewell of her soldier Brother about to start for the seat of vast & destructive warfare, where so many had already bled & died for the cause of which he was now a determined, hearty & sworn defender.  But what could we but mingle our tears, each give & receive a hearty parting kiss, repeat Good Bye's & God be with you's & the one start on his nightly round, while the other reluctantly closed the door & sat down with her grief, which she was not yet ready to allow to depart!  Soon I reached the home I had helped to prepare where Anthony & his wife & their dear little one lived which I found all dark & silent, as the Angel of sleep had take charge of all around.  Soon however the barking of Towser[?] & my knocking on the door awakened & roused A. & Catherine.
Soon a fire warmed the room, and after a short time passed in conversation, it was agreed that Anthony & Matt should go to town with me and bidding Good Bye to Sister Catharine & kissing lovely little Winnifred, who had been waked from sweet & quiet sleep, but who could not realize what was going on.  I parted those again to arouse by my last visit till the end of the war or for nearly three long years, [to] another household, all of whom were to me most dear.  When I reached Brother Brogan's home, it was five minutes after or before midnight.  Soon were the two parents & their 8 or 9 little & large ones dressed & I was again in the midst in earnest converse with them about some of our mistakes & misunderstandings during the 6 or 8 preceding years, I hope they all understood what I wished was to have a fair & plain explanation of all that in the past caused any unkind words or feelings if any such there were & which at any time in the past might have divided us.  I think we did not sing any of our old familiar & loved songs, in which we so often joined during the last 6 or 8 years past.  I think we had a hospitable though frugal meal early in the morning which I would not refuse as none knew when  could again join those at table, whose genuine & hearty welcome had so often greeted me.  Five or six O'clock came suddenly upon us and the parting must come!  We were all too much friends to be stern, restrained & self controlled, all too human, too rich in good nature, in real love & fond feeling to keep eyes dry & faces long & straight.  Tears, hot & burning, streamed from mutual eyes.  I said in my tears & between--repeated kisses to Maria that I did not know how to part from her!! and I shook truly.  At last hands were repeatedly grasped, sister Ellen & her little girls fondly kissed, and at last I was out in the open air & vainly wishing that distance could not hinder us from seeing those we love.  I reached home sleepless & after daylight & soon started with the team to visit Gilbert's people & to take what they wished to Seymour.  I ate apples with Myron & Miss Luriette had me to fill all my pockets with good apples, at the end of 1/2 hour I shook hands with all of the family, but two of the girls, Misses Sarah & Melinda who were absent from home, or only the first Delia kindly said she hoped we'd meet again, & the old Gentleman & lady wished me well & I think the old lady was tearful as she thought of her loved son & whom I would meet so soon.  Seymour's wife sent a letter to him by me & wept bitterly.
Now my few friends and all my relatives but my parents & brothers were parted perhaps for the last time, but as I reached home I felt that still the hardest part of my task was yet to be performed. During my absence dear Old Mother had packed my knapsack, & as a few things were packed in the buggy.  Mother would have me to eat some even though I did not feel hungry, but as I ate early before daylight, I think I consented to comply with her wish.  At last 10 O'clock came & passed, & yet we had not started, though the train would start at 2 P.M.  What must have been the feelings of my Dear Old Parents, & especially my Mother during the last eighteen hours;  or since they could hope no longer that I was to stay a while yet with them.  At last all was ready & the last kiss from my dear Old mother's pale cold lips was fondly given, father & John were parted & soon Anthony, Matt & myself were seated in the buggy & bound toward town.  We passed the time pleasantly as the team made as good time as the rough state of the roads allowed & reached town but a short time ere the train would start as it was all made up & the engine was steaming & ready to strain at every point as impatient to bear the few who were left away to their comrades far away.  Soon I saw those who had been left gathering about Capt Enos & Lt Col Whittaker were seen ready to go.  Soon the state of affairs had advanced so that that I felt it safest to take my place on the train as it might start any moment & I was anxious nay determined not to miss going this time, for what in all the State would I consent to remain at home now as I was fit for duty.  Probably, nay certainly nothing.  Now were seen tears streaming from bothers' eyes & trickling down their cheeks, which with all their wish & efforts to hide them, still would not remain hidden.  Thank God that we may be more son & brother, than stern Man!  Ere this, Matt had given me 4 or 5 dollars which came handy for use though one can either live or die without money.  At last the last shake of hands was given, Good Byes exchanged when the train started & rapidly bore us away over the ice-covered urn[?] of the lake, when I took a last look at the city of Milwaukee, which was soon lost to view & the night closed around us on soil of Ill.

 

In camp at Pine Bluff, Ark
January 16th Saturday, 1864

Last evening we received our first mail since 30 ult.  I got one from Matt written 19 & 20 ult & mailed at Hales Corners [Wisconsin] 21.  They had deep snow, it being 18 inches on a level & old fashioned drifts.  They were all well, Father & Mother having usual health.  Maria wrote on 21st mailed in Milwaukee 24, they are all well, she having regained her usual health & strength.  They had letters from Matt & John in California, she writes they sent me good wishes &c.  Thomas goes to Lincoln's Commercial College in Mil. & comes home every Saturday evening.  It was so stormy she did not go to school a few days.  She studied music a little, as her teacher, Mr Falkner wishes to have her learn it & she desires to do so.  She gets along well in arithmetic.  May Heaven bless those, my two chief correspondents & all!
Last night I was on post from 8 to 10 & I came off at 2 AM today.  I slept about 7 hours & felt refreshed all day.  A new change has taken place so that but one is on duty at a time during the day, but 3 as usual at night.  During the last two or 3 days, Co D, 5 Kansas Cav has been on duty as Provost guards outside the breastworks;  our Co being inside---While on post from 8 to 10 last  night I heard the mournful wailing of that maiden as two nights ago.  One of the boys said he would give $40 or $50 for a good fair shot at him who married her he having another wife & so ruined her mind & her life & health.  I would give as much if I had the chance to shoot him for this crime.  Last evening I saw a young alligator that was caught in the small lake south of the town.  It was about 4-1/2 feet long, but about 5 or 6 inches in deameter through the body.  This is the first I ever saw.  I did not hear its weight.  R.D. Lewis, S. Turner & Safford of our Co came down on the boat, besides some for the other Co's one for B.R. &c.  Today Foster & Hinkley fixed our cook shed, made a table &c, on which 6 or 8 can eat, with seats &c.  We intend to have so many in one mess & to cook by turns &c.  I wrote three pages interlined in a letter to Matt.  Papers say Wilson of Mass has a bill in Congress to increase the pay to soldiers.  Another boat came down tonight but brought no mail.  The two runaway slaves we had as cooks during the last month found employment elsewhere, so they left us.

 

In camp Pine Bluff, Arkansas
January 17th Sunday, 1864

Last night I wrote what I could till taps when our lights had to be quenched, but I asked Lt. Tichmon for leave to have a light till I could fill up my diary for the last two days.  He granted me permission, so I got away in a corner & wrote for an hour or more.  I had a good sleep & rose at roll call, so Hinkley & I had a good full wash in the open air, in cold water right from the river.  It was very refreshing, before breakfast.  We had breakfast in our mess room, which will be very convenient in dry, warm weather.  The A.M. was pleasant & dry, but about noon it began to rain & continued till near night.  Seymour & I went to the Catholic Church and [the rain] stopped during the whole service.  The text was in John's Gospel, about the Marriage in Cana of Gallilee [sic] & the discourse, on the Marriage relation, was both sound in some points & very sharp in other cases, containing much good advice to young men as well as young women in regard to the selection of a true honest & industrious life partner than one that was showy, fashionable & idle.  At one time he made the whole assembly laugh by his comic though apt illustration.  Those present behaved very well, though composed 9/10 of soldiers & 3/4 of those present not members of that denomination.  On our way to camp we met Higley taking the mail to the office or boat.  As I had two sheets nearly finished I took them down to the boat & asked one of the boys to take the letters, one to Maria & one for Matt, to the clerk's or Capt's office, which he did.  Going to the boat & back was a very wet & muddy way, as the frost in coming out of the ground---120 of the 25th Ohio battery have enlisted in the veteran service, of which one sect or two pieces came with us from L. Rock & remained here since nearly all those lately belonging to this sect. went up on the boat, going home on furlough.  She started about 3 O'clock this P.M.  We ate dinner at 4 P.M.  Foster & Griffing were cooks today.  The boat that brought our last mail went down the river & took back a load of corn &c today.  This A.M. Gilbert read to me many extracts from his letters of which he got 7 by the last mail.  Sylvanus says that Alexis Heaton must have lost four inches of fat off his ribs, so scared was he by being drafted!  King was on guard today, but became so unwell that I was detailed in his place before dark.  I am well

 

In camp Pine Bluff, Arkansas
January 18th Monday, 1864

Last night I was on post from 6-40 to 8 O'clock when all three posts were occupied till 6 this A.M.  I was waked at midnight from a sweet sound sleep & stood on post 2 1/2 hours, also 40 minutes this morning.  The night was cloudy & dreary, but as the moon shone it was not dark.  I slept about 7 1/2 hours in all.  The day was bright & sunny & the air not cold.  [William] Clark & [Harlen] Wells cooked today & if nothing unusual happens, Hinkley & I will tomorrow.  R[ichard].D. Lewis ate breakfast & dinner but did not feel well enough to eat supper.  He has a bad cold & is not at all robust.  Our Co. is now dividing into large messes, besides ours of 8, one has 9 and another 6.  We drew 10 days full rations, we got 1/2 flour & 1/2 crackers.  One of the messes have hired a colored boy to help cooking, each of 9 agreed to pay him 1.00 a month.  On account of the absence or departure of nearly all the boys belonging to the section of the 25th Ohio but here a detail of [blank] from our Regt was made to help work the two guns. There was a detail of [blank] made from our [blank] to guard [blank] prisoners that were sent on the boat up the River to Little Rock this P.M.  She started away about 4 P.M.  We had inspection today at 2 P.M. after which we had a short drill after which we discharged all our guns that were loaded.  Ammunition was distributed so as to give each 40 rounds.  There is considerable apprehension of an attack here tomorrow, as yesterday heard there were 4000 rebs on this side of the Saline River at 3 or 4 places & more crossing.  Rumors are rife that today they are from 8 or 10 miles in some places [?] to 20 in other places.  Night before last one of our scout parties was out on the Monticelo road & being but 20 in no were chased 8 or 10 miles by a large party of the enemy.  Some were compelled to take the bush as their horses were tired, but most of the party came in safe.  Everything is ready to give Old man Price & his forced soldiers a very hard & hot, but hospitable reception.  Some think they may be advancing only for the purpose of conscripting.  It is hard for us to fight men, who, had they their choice would be with us & against the rebels of which there are very many in the enemy's ranks.  I sold my Byron today as I got 50 more than I paid.  We had roll call about sundown, also at usual time.  I sent a letter home with [Richard?] Griffing.  Thank God I & we are here today.
Ready for a fight
King is about today, as usual & well.

 

In camp Pine Bluff, Arkansas
January 19th Tuesday, 1864

Last night I shaded my candle in a corner by putting up my rubber blanket & I wrote [?] pages of a letter interlined to Maria, as I thought we might have a fight with the Rebels today as we heard many reports in regard to the enemy advancing on this place.  Of the reliability of very many of those rumors, we who have little access to means of information can not form any accurate opinion.  We hear Col. Clayton went out with a part of the Cav. toward Monticello at midnight last night.  We also hear that the bodies of two members of the 5th Kansas were found hanging to the limbs of trees yesterday.  They (I heard) were men who joined the Regt. since it came to this place.  I heard Clayton determined on bitter retaliation, which is not improbable.  Those two might have been conscripts in the Rebel ranks, & deserters to our ranks in which they served with the deter--to clear their lands of the cause of Rebellion & to establish what the vast majority of the people long for, viz Equality, which never was here in all the past.
This P.M. I & others of our Co & Regt attended a meeting held in the Baptist Church, which is now not used but for public & negro meetings, for the purpose of raising one or two Co's for the 4th Ark Cav.  J Dembey was the only speaker.  He told us he was a watchmaker by trade, had never owned cotton or negroes, but had always worked for his own living.  He lived near this place before the war & was a supporter of Douglas in 1860.  He had always opposed secession & went to the U.S. Army ere it reached Helena in the summer of 1862 & enlisted as a private & advised others to do the same.  He had little confidence or respect for the Rebel Gen & late convert to the Union cause viz Ganett [?] & regarded him as a place seeker.  He advised all loyal men of this state to enlist in Ark. regts & for three years as he thought the war would last more than one year more.  He truly & ably pictured the hypocritical loyalty of many professed Union men.  He is an able man of rather clear views.
Hinkley & I cooked today & did it to the satisfaction of the rest of our Mess.  The day was sunny & pleasant.  Hinkley made some good biscuit on short cake for supper.  King is unwell today.  Lewis is some better.  I am well.  Six of our Co & Lt Turner & Sergt Griffing went on the boat yesterday as guard....they took about 20 prisoners mination[?]. 

 

In camp Pine Bluff, Arkansas
January 20th Wednesday, 1864

Last night after roll call I went to see the preperation making for the fight if the rebs came this morning.  I found many negroes & others at work placing bales of cotton so as to protect those working the guns, so that the embrazures were covered leaving full place for the working of the cannon.  This was continued during the day.  There is a chink or horizontal opening about 4 or 5 inches wide left under the bales & between them & the surface of the earthworks.  This is for the use of small arms & will afford great protection, against all kinds of shot.  About 10 P.M. last night an order was sent around for all the Co's to fall out at reveille under arms & continue so till 1/2 hour after sunrise.  We fell out at about 5 o'clock & stacked arms when most of us & of the Co went to sleep.  I slept till about 7 1/2 when I & Hinkley were waked for breakfast, which was ready.
The day was bright , clear & pleasant.  It was really a delightful day.  The river rose very fast last night & today, so it is now as high as any other time since we came here.  I wrote some in a letter, read the first 2 1/2 pages in Young's "Night Thoughts", also in the Nov. Atlantic "The Formation of Glaciers" by Agassiz.  I went to see guard mounting this morning.  The pickets were about 90 to 95. All told I counted 76 privates, there were 2 Capts & 2 Liets on the Grand Guard. I wrote till about 11 o'clock last night when I took some pills, which operated twice before daylight.  If I had more I would take some as I have not taken any since we left Helena, but I have no more but I can get some from Doctor.  Higley & Lewis cooked breakfast & dinner & Foster helped them to get supper.  We had some pretty good pancakes.  Yesterday Bowers & Owen Finley were released from jail.  We hear that Bowers has been sentenced to 10 days hard labor & to lose 1/2 month's wages.  Today cards were used in our quarters by the boys, but dominoes have become the favorite game.  I rejoice at this.  Last night at midnight the Cavalry under Clayton came in.  They had some severe fighting with 1000 to 1500 rebs about 16 miles miles from here on the Monticello road, which were forced back 8 or 10 miles, all of which way they sternly contested, rallying every 40 to 80 rods.  Our loss was 3 to 5 killed & but few wounded.  Loss of the enemy not known.  There was an accidental discharge of the signal gun at 10 o'clock P.M.  All our Regt fell into line.  Sunday I finished reading Matthew's Gospel & yesterday began St Marks.  There are negro meetings now held in the Baptist Church every night.  

 

On provost duty in Pine Bluff, Arkansas
January 21st Thursday, 1864

Last night I slept with Higley as Hinkley was on guard.  I went to sleep about 9 O'clock & slept soundly till a short time before daylight.  We had roll call while yet abed, & we rose about daylight.  I had but short time for breakfast but I ate a plenty in time for duty.  The day was bright and warm, as pleasant as I ever saw a day in all my life.  In some places the mud is deep in the st's for as some speculated much in cotton teams hand it from one place to another, where it is piled up.  Those who work at it get $2.00 a day of 8 hours.  Some soldiers get a chance to work at it but mostly citizens are hired & negroes do the hauling.  Yesterday & day before I heard there was some panic in the cotton market here, as an attack was expected.  I wish the U.S. Government would lay its iron hands on the millions worth of it here & hold it till the owners prove their right to it & their loyalty.  The river still continues to rise rapidly.   Week or 10 days ago we heard 8 or 10 tons of express freight was detained at Memphis for our regiment, cause lack of boats for conveying Gov freight which always has the preference  (While I write Ellis White plays Miss McLeods Reel,  the boys are dancing).  Oh Mother, how I think of thee for this was one of the tunes.
Sergt. McKee during the last two days was detailed to take the census of the town & ascertain what property is owned by rebels.  Yesterday Dr Hawes told us of a condition of degredation of three white girls, one of them 14 or 16 years only, which was far sadder and deeper & darker than anything I ever heard before.  Chas Stanhope, fifer of Co A told me today that he saw them & said one of them was a bright well looking girl, the youngest & all seemed as if in times past they might have been members of the some of the "first families of Ark".  But now, Alas!  how are the stars dimmed forever!  How woman so fallen, so far below the brutes.  He said they would swear & blackguard him when he tried to find out some of their history, or to persuade them to do better.  They chewed tobacco he said!
I was on post from 12 M till 2 PM.  Lewis is on guard today for the first time since last May!  Today I read to the end of the first book of Young's Night Thought.  Also to the 8 chapter of Mark.  The formation of a Co here progresses very slowly so far!  

 

Camp at Pine Bluff, Arkansas
January 22d Friday, 1864

Last night I was on post from 10 to 12, and I slept from about 12 1/2 till 4 AM.  I had a pleasant calm sleep on my rubber on the floor with my wool blanket over me.  When waked, I felt refreshed, so that I did not sleep anymore.  I came off post at 6 while it was yet night which was very clear, calm, bright & pleasant, though a little frosty.  Between 11 & 12 while on post nearly all the Cav. started out, taking with them three days rations & six howitzers.  They were to go on the Monticello road & rumor says they were to have help from the Cav. at Little Rock.  The day was one of the pleasantest I ever saw in  every way at this season of the year!  This AM I & one of Co C helped one of the speculators in cotton here to weigh three bales of cotton & we piled it.  For this he payed us 1/2 dollar each.  It took us no more than an hour.  After dinner I went down to work, but could find no job.  While down there I met Ira Woodcock & we stood near the Court House & talked a while & while there near the residence of Widow Roane, our attention was attracted by a bright smart looking little girl.  From her color & personal appearance, no one I think could detect any trace of African blood, but said I to Ira, "that may be a little slave girl"  He answered doubtingly, for he thought it could not be so.  Still as she was alone in the street & no one taking care of her & in very common & rather course clothes, I all the more suspected the existence of the sad fact.  I felt attracted to approach her & cautiously to find out the truth, so we both went to her & asked her name, but she with a sweet gentleness told us she had no name.  At this we wondered & at first believed it, but we asked her where she lived & she said in that house--Widow Roane's.  She had a lump of candy which she was eating.  After asking various questions, I very reluctantly asked her if she was a slave & to this question so all important to her life & happiness the true but sad answer was Yes!  She had a name which she told us, ______ Alameda & she being but 10 or 12 years old was so treated, she told us she had never been punished or whipped & she had no wish to be free!  She would not live north it was so cold!  I saw her mother a very bright looking mild woman.
The wounded Militia Capt died yesterday & was buried this P.M.  He was a Free Mason.  

 

 

Pine Bluff, Arkansas
January 23 Saturday, 1864

Last night I did not write long after taps, and I slept very well till roll call this morning, so that I did not hear the drums beat, but was waked in time to answer "here", when the orderly came to 'Loughney'.  I rose about daylight and a pleasanter morning I seldom saw.  The day was so pleasant, warm enough, so bright, so clear, cloudless, that I will not try to describe it.  And this evening & tonight!  words fail, or rather my command of it is too deficient.  When the bright warm sun sunk in the West, the grandly gorgeous full moon in the east was exposed by the power of God, just above the horizon, to my wondering & admiring gaze & what could I but wonder at the wonderful beauty of God's works of nature as He made Her full of grace & goodness.  How I wish that the climate in the free North was so mild & pleasant as that in this hitherto Slave-cursed land!  But now while the weather here is so pleasant, our friends in Wis. & all the way to the Atlantic, have deep snows & drifts & bitterly cold & comfortless weather.  Here while we scarce feel frosty cold for two weeks during the whole year, the hands & feet & noses of little school boys & girls bitterly feel the cold nearly everyday for four or six months each year.  How easily & successfully farm work & other kinds of work may be prosecuted here while stock require little or no feed, instead of feeding all stock in the North from 4 to seven months. ------  During the 2 first weeks of this month some did skate a little on ice, but sleighs could be of no use for want of snow.
This morning after breakfast, Hinkley & I went down town hoping to find a job so that we could earn some.  About 9 1/2 o'clock we both found a chance at helping to weigh & pile bales of cotton.  We stopped at M for about an hour & had to wait till about 1 1/2  before we began work.   We quit at 4 1/2 P.M. for roll call & supper, after which we worked no more, & he--Mills, paid us $2 each, two of Co C. helped us & recd the same pay.  We forgot to ask permission of Lt. Tichenor, & he had a little talk with us in regard to our absence, without leave from camp.  What made the case worse was that it came our turn to go for wood, so he said we must get 3 loads of wood, which we are very willing to do.  He was kind & said he would let us away to work but it was necessary to know where we would be.  Bales weigh from 375 to 580 & rarely 600 lbs.  I think they average about 480 lbs.
Supplementary record to yesterdays Diary.
Many things I see & hear that please me not, yet voice[?] as presented here has no attractive charm, but on the contrary, her visage is almost always repulsive.  True, some well looking, yea, really attractive women sometimes are seen attired in rich & sometimes gaudy attire & those I could not help admiring & desiring their acquaintance were it not for the suspicion that is attached to nearly every woman in this town;  but when I think of the deep & dark degradation 'r which so many are living or rather dying that while I gaze upon their outward loveliness, my heart is made heavy & sad to think of the perversion & pollution within;  & my thoughts wander to the Free & Icy North where I trust some one tried to be true & pure in speech & act & thought; & the hope I have yet to possess her love.  Keeps a resolve alive & active within me as well as known duty to God & myself to try to be true & pure in fact; so that should the day so longed for come when acquire possession of the most desired treasure via a woman's trust & truth & crowning love.  I & she and God shall know that I am not a counterfeit!  By desiring the acquaintance of some women here I wish not to be understood, that this would be in any easy for sinful purposes, but rather the reverse so I would have some refining & elevating influence to which I might flee from the awful blasphemous & disgusting vulgarities of camp.  How I long for the quiet & peace & purity & retirement of a pleasant home yet to be of which I think with delight and almost ecstatic pleasure & with which my mind is so often filled.  How encouraging & necessary to us is Hope even though our dreams & desires so often disappoint us!  In fact I feel that were the opportunities & facilities for and securities for sinful indulgence largely multiplied, that I could not & would not even then disgrace myself and more especially my relatives & friends whose approval and friendship I desire to merit, by doing that of which I would be ashamed if they knew all about my conduct.  I very often think of the promise made by Gen. James Montgomery (he who was killed before Quebec during the revolutionary War) to his wife as I read in Halis U.S. History at school.  His parting words were "you shall never blush for your Montgomery!"  I very often compare the conduct of some of our officers with such a promise as this which he who made very probably conscientiously observed;  for we may judge his life was that of a true as well as brave man.
For some time past have I bound myself to myself & to my fellow beings, as well as to God so to try to behave that they shall have no real cause to be ashamed of me or to blush for my conduct.  God & I know that I sometimes fail. Once I remember about a week ago in regard to strict purity of thought one day on guard Alas! when one calmly reflects on the fruitlessness of evil & the regret that inseparable from it & the wish that one had not permitted himself to be induce from strict rectitude, then we may realize how foolish;  how silly was our conduct.  When we compare the consequences of sin with the happiness, the peace & quiet of being conscious of having done right how great is the difference of the pleasure of mind in one case & the sorrow in the other!
Now all this time I have been wandering and what I started to write about is another & different matter!  Yesterday while Hinkley & I were working weighing & piling cotton, we came to camp at dinner time and we were greeted by very many of the boys with taunts & terms of derision, as they affected to think it disgraceful & dishonorable of us to be so employed, working as they said "for some of the greatest secish in town."  Of all this we of course took no notice, for we both differed very much all along, from the most of the boys.  They declared that not for $5 a day would they work for the Secish".  We knew that all of those, whose loyalty to idleness rather than right liberty was thus so exhibited, had in times past & that during the last two months, played cards & dice to win their comrades' money, which thank God we were altogether too cowardly to do, or rather too truly brave.  We are both determined to earn all we can in this or any other right way & I shall not be surprised to see some of those same ones try to get some money in this way they now so pretend to condemn, unless perchance they get some money by means of poker, Euchre, or some other game.  True it is that there is a war waged between principles, older than man & extending to all parts of God's wide domain.  How mean! how contemptible for those who in times past worked for their living on a farm & other such occupations to think they should not work here, while such work does not interfere with their duties as soldiers.  But this is consistent with many of their ways & opinions, as many seem to think that while on is a soldier, he need not be a man, for many intimate that they must & will not act at home as they do here Vain hope.
Written Sunday Jany, 24 1864

 

Camp at Pine Bluff, Ark
January 24th Sunday, 1864

Last night some of the boys went over to the Negro meeting in the Baptist Church and according to their own report of their own conduct, there it was certainly to their own shame & disgraces though perhaps they are about as mean as they can easily get to be, one of them O-- F-- told about pulling a negroe's watch from his pocket with the intention of stealing it from him if he could but it was fastened so he could not get it away.  The Negro asked him what he was doing when he felt the jerk when the White Gentleman calmly answered that he looked at his watch to see what time it was.  It was a valuable watch and could O--F-- have got it he certainly meant to keep it, for he could not return it if he would, as he would not know the person.  Others said the soldiers tripped the negro women as they came out of the church and behaved general in the most shameless manner.  Our boys said some Corps & Sergts were the rudest, some of those were of Co A.  So far as I have seen, the negroes always act quietly & decently, very respectfully to Whites & they greet each other very kindly & earnestly with many inquiries as to each others welfare &c.
Today was very pleasant, clear, & a little breezy.  The river fell since last evening & for several days past has been entirely free of ice.  I did not go to church but some of the boys did.  They said much of the gayety & beauty of the town were out, so I missed one chance to see & admire southern race & beauty.  My treasure I think is in the Free North & there is my heart!  Foster & Clark did the cooking of our P.M. meal, which we ate about 3 1/2 o'clock.  Foster made two dry apple pies which were pretty good, & some cakes he made were not so good as all those Hinkley made.  Hinkley & I cooked breakfast which was late for going on guard, & we had a good full wash early in the tent.  About 4 P.M. there was dress parade & I stood behind the line & took the No in each of the Cos, as given by the different orderlies of Cos.  The whole was 321.  Sergt Eldridge Co B was by request of Capt reduced to the ranks.  [J or G]. F. Bowers sentence to 10 days labor & lose $6.50 was read.  Lieut Tichenor misunderstood my case & Hinkley's & released us from the task of getting wood.  He is a good, kind fellow.  I am well.

 

On guard, Pine Bluff, Ark
January 25th Monday, 1864

Yesterday & today were as pleasant days as any person could wish for.  Today was calmer & warmer and the pleasantist I think.  I asked Lieut. Tichenor if I being on guard, could work if I found a chance, but he thought I had better not do it while on duty.  I was on guard from 12 M to 2 PM.  I selected 4 or 5 vols in Yell's library adjoining our guard room, one was the Madison Papers & another 1st vol of Diplomatic Comes [?] of the Amer. Rev.  The scout that went out at midnight the last time I was on guard went as far as the Saaline River, 25 or 30 miles from here, ut found no enemy.  They saw some on the other side of the river.  There are rumors that the Rebel leader of Lawrance notoriety Quantral was lately south of us & it was said would try to cross the Ark below us, to annoy the R.R. from Little Rock to Duvall's Bluff.  I think this is improbable.
Now I must record what I regret ever happened, viz, that I have at this present time a scratch or scab on my nose.  Last Saturday night I took off my shoes & stockings & pantaloons preparatory to lying down in bed.  I went to the fireplace  to warm my feet & while standing there in no ones way & saying little or noting to anyone, Daniel McNeills came along determined to trouble me & he pulled & called to Greene who was in bed near the fire to rise & help him to bother me.  While he was so engaged, I went out where several of the boys were standing about the door in the pleasant moon light talking, Gilbert, Tichenor among them.  McNeills followed me out & placed himself at the door for the purpose of obstructing my way in.  Thus far I had taken no notice of him whatever, but when I approached the door he stood fast & would not allow me to enter.  I felt he had annoyed me too often as an ill mannered puppy would trouble one for me to trifle with him, or be trifled with by him any longer!  so I made him to move from the door in a way that he little might have expected.  I struck him in some way with my fists, how or where I scarcely no or at the time knew.  This I do know, that I made no skillful or scienced blow or parries as a practiced fighter would, for it is the only time that I remember during the last half of my life that I struck at a person with my fist for any effective purpose & I hope no such necessity will ever happen to me again.  In the scuffle he hit me once which I think made the mark on my face.  I was not violent or mad any of the time but I felt that I must try force at last to make him to respect my personal rights, as I had always done by him. Ever since last spring at Helena he has very often annoyed me in a great variety of ways and so far I always took his abuse patiently however much against my feelings hoping that he would sometime think of his unprovoked insolence & correct his ways.  But this he seems in no way likely to do so I feel that there is but one way left & that is to defend myself here after from his abuse, as I feel perfectly well able to do so!  Yet I feel that this is the last alternative & very disagreeable to me to adopt it.  Had I my daily dress on I could have & I think would have defended myself much more effectively than I did.  All this is said in no boastful spirit, but the occasion which forces me to have such thoughts has not been brought about by me but rather very much against my will and by means beyond my control.  I am forced to think him the most ill-mannered person in the Co. not caring for any person or any occasion, further than the cap**ia[?] or whim that takes possession of his mind.  In vulgarity & profanity he is equal to the most depraved in our Co. or nearly so.  While I fight for National & natural rights as a soldier, I am in no way inclined to surrender my personal rights as a human being, nor shall I do so till compelled by force which I cannot successfully resist or overcome.  This I think is the first mark of the kind I ever had but I think & hope I shall not have more than one more such affair happen in order to teach him to behave more properly.  The day we began to cut the logs for our barracks.  I kicked him once but did not hurt him & for a time he let me alone.  I never had any disagreement of a serious character or trouble with any of the other boys.
This evening the boat came down from Little Rock which place she left Saturday P.M.  We got a mail of moderate size.  I was so fortunate as to get four letters, all well filled;  three from Matt & one from Thomas & Maria.  Oh, what a rich treasure those were to me, bringing good news from home & love to me!  They were to, Jany. 2d, Mother wrote a whole sheet full.  Dec 29 she said she was pretty well & father too but John fails fast.  They had immense snows & the coldest weather they ever knew in Wis.  Our boys came on the boat.  Lieut. Turner is mustered out of our Co & is commissioned Capt of a Co. in 4th Ark Cav.  Some of the boys rejoice & more are sorry.  I hope it's for the best.

 

Camp at Pine Bluff, Ark
January 26th Tuesday, 1864

Last night I was on post from 8 to 10 P.M. & from 2 to 3 A.M.  The night was clear, bright & pleasant & calm.  I slept about 6 hours & felt well refreshed by so much rest.  I tried to get a job at cotton this A.M. but failed to do so.  Hinkley worked yesterday & today.  He & I cooked breakfast & I helped at dinner & supper.  This A.M. I & many others attended an auction in town at the home of _____ Snow, the sale today was of a part of a library, all of which was to be sold but it was delayed as the prices obtained were not such as to satisfy the owner, though they were quite fair considering the unsettled state of the country & that but few citizens would buy any.  I purchased "The Son's of Temperance Offering" for 1850 by T.S. Arthur & "The Gift" for 1839.  For the first I paid 1.00 & the other 50 cts.  I may buy some more if I get them at a fair price, as many of the boys buy some.  I think we can send such home by express.
Among the additions to our Co is Sandy Cameron, who came down yesterday, which was the first time we saw him since the morning of the 4th of July, when he was taken prisoner at Helena.  The way in which he happened to be captured is quite mysterious, whether he was asleep or not he does not know.  Since he & Gelzer were released.  They were taken to Little Rock where they reached on the 20 July, detained prisoners a  month & reached our boats at the mouth of the Ark. River Aug 25 where they were release & given to our authorities.  The whole No. released at that time & place was 170.  Cameron has been at home a long time since & he left Wis. about six weeks ago.  At Little Rock they suffered from want of sufficient clothing for a change & were tormented by vermin & lice from which they had no means of keeping clear.----Lieut. Tichenor does not feel very well.  This P.M. I & many others saw the most revolting & disgusting & saddening scene I ever beheld.  The three girls wandering, friendless, & lost of whom Dr Hawes told the other day & who were taken to he other side of the river day before yesterday appeared opposite our camp & exposed their persons to the gaze of so many soldiers.  Some of the soldiers crossed in a boat 25 to 40 & paid them small sums of money to induce them to do what every human creature should blush & weep for!  Alas how welcome should death be rather than disgrace & infamy.  May my dearest die rather than brave virtue's ways.

 

In Camp at Pine Bluff
January 27th Wednesday, 1864

Yesterday evening at roll call as the boys in the several Co's fell in, Lt. Col. E.B. Gray passed in front on the street at the distance of 15 to 20 rods on horseback & in company with a lady, who lives or temporarily stops in town.   She may be a widow in fact, for her husband may be dead, or in fancy for he may now be an officer or soldier in the Rebel Army.  I was rather pleased to hear the boys repeat a derisive shout which greeted them both as they passed & I doubt not he at least fully understood for whom it was intended.  Low-lived & unprincipled as very many of the boys are, they nevertheless retain a sense in some slight degree of the wrong done to a man's family & wife at home (though he be but an excuse or very poor apology of a man) by this unbridled & shameless association with other women, at least while he yet bears the relation of Husband & Father to others at home & while his wife may be entirely ignorant of his conduct which is so very liable to suspicion as to his fidelity & while she may be true & faithful to her marriage vow.  I was very glad to see him thus rebuked, though I did not join my voice with the others.
The night was very calm, clear & bright.  We slept well & I waked & rose this morning about 4 1/2 O'Clock & wrote a full page interlined & finished a letter to Maria.  I mailed a letter to her & one to Matt.  On each I paid double postage.  The boat went down the river this A.M. for a load of forage.  Last night at roll call Smart Velty & Owen Tindley were missing and as it was supposed they crossed the river to the Co. of those three lost girls, those of our Co. on guard were stationed along the river bank to try to catch them when they came across, if it were they that took the boat from this side of the river.  Some were sent across at the ferry who went up on the other side & took the boat across.  If it were they that took the boat, no one has found out about it for they denied it this morning, though their word is not very reliable.
This morning I & Gilbert bought 5 books- he three & I two.  We paid a dollar for each.  The two I bought cost $7.50 or over when new.  One is "Leaflets of Memory" & the other "Footprints of Truth".  They are both illustrated with engravings.  Gilbert bought Rollin's ancient History 2 vols & Mrs Ellis' Select Works.  Our late Lieut. Turner now Capt is busy finishing his accounts as commander of our Co. Since late May.  Tichenor had a catarrh on his left thumb & he does not feel well.  I was very well. 

 

On Provost Guard in Pine Bluff, Ark
January 28th Thursday, 1864

Yesterday I lounged about town a short time in the A.M. to see what new things were to be seen, but I found very little of interest.  It is not often even while on duty in town, that I go away from the guard room.  I entered the gambling saloon which was the second time that I ever was in it, the other time was first when we came here , when I as now went to feed my curiosity & wonder at the infatuation that causes people who are ordinarily sensible or at least who wish to be considered such, to waste precious time & money too, in idle empty silly amusements as if only on purpose to kill life or time.  I found three billiard tables in the large room & a table on which another game was played which I was told was called pool.  I never saw it played before.  The table was like that for billiards but had no pockets at the corners or along the sides.  In the center of the table 5 or 6 little pegs were set up on the ends.  Those were like the plainest men or sticks rather that are used in chess & there were balls used like those for billiards.  The game seemed to be to have the balls knock those sticks down when the balls were made to strike one another, but the balls were not directed in their course toward or against the sticks.  There was an arbitrary way of counting each ones gain & marbles being a simple No. as 1 or 2 &c were used to determine who should roll first & to determine each ones turn.  I think as many as 2 to 15 could play & each ones count or gain was kept on a square board with holes in rows like those used for tallies to counting bushels of grain or a thrashing machine.  Many Cav. boys were playing pool. & of course money could be lost very rapidly.  Lt. Col. Gray & Lt. Col. Genkins of 1st Ind Cav. were busy at billiards while some of our regt. occupied another table as soon as vacated by others.  Alas, what a waste of time & money as if those knew enough & had no other wants.  Mail went up the river today & perhaps brought no words to cheer & comfort those at home, who wait & wish anxious in the day & sleepless in the long silent hours of the night for a love message from those who find time to play games.  Oh, Heaven speed is the good time coming.  This A.M. Walden, McKee & Moore were appointed a committee by Turner's request to examine as to the disposition made by him of our Co. fund.  They found all correct $58.25 on hand.  Abare is now back in the Co.  Private Jas Fitzgerold, late Co clerk in our Co goes out & is to be Orderly Sergt in Co. R. 2d Ark Colored Regt.  The day was warm & pleasant, but some clouds.

 

Camp at Pine Bluff, Ark
January 29th Friday, 1864

Last evening was cloudy & threatened rain, but the clouds passed over early in the night & the sky was clear & starry.  I went on post at 6 & came off at 8 P.M.  I lay down to sleep at 10 & slept till 12 at midnight when I was waked & was on post till 2 A.M. when I again slept till 7 & went on post till 8.  The night was very pleasant & warm & moonlit by the gibbous Luna.  I saw sheet lightning during the night & King said it indicated warm weather.  Today was changeful sometimes shady & again the sun shone clear.
Today I bought a dollar's worth of books.  I have 7 no.s of the 1st vol of "Natural History for Youth"  pub in London & New York & illustrated with many colored engravings of beasts, birds &c with some text;  also 3 no.s of Vol 2 of the same work.  For those I paid 6-1/2 cts each.  The first cost was 25 cts.  I also got "The Gift of Friendship" for 59 cts & a novel by the author of Jane Eyre...  Hinkley bought 8 or 10 books, besides 3 vols of Rollin's Ancient history.  I wish I could get all the no's of Nat. History as it would be a valuable & beautiful work.  We intend to send those things home by express in a box.  I think I will divide mine among a few of those I left.  If I never return they may recall memories of me when I have passed away, & should I return I will not regret the expense incurred as the influence they will exert cannot be else than good. This A.M. I & Gilbert looked over an old copy he bought of Griswold's Poets & poetry of America, & he read very many of the best & prettiest pieces by many authors.   I hope if I ever get home safe & well to have a copy of the work if I can find one new or old.  The work was published in 1842 & may now be out of print.  In the Vol. of Graham's Mag. I bought yesterday are some of the most beautiful plates in steel that I ever saw.  One of these is 'The Bird & Blossom' representing a beautiful mother with a clear intellectual, pure & noble expression of countenance & her lovely child.  The Mother's face is I think the most beautiful I ever saw in life or on paper.  How truly lovely & lovable must be the creator of all Beauty--God, since so many we see or of those in the world are so pure & beautiful.
Yesterday Sergt. Foster, the treasurer of our mess sold 5 lbs of coffee that we saved during the 10 or 12 days before, he got a dollar a pound.  We can save enough to pay for all the fresh meat &c we need to buy.  Our meals are very good & comfortable.

 

Camp at Pine Bluff, Ark
January 30th Saturday, 1864

Last night was cloudy & threatened rain & about 9 O'clock there was fitful lightning flashes in the west.  No rain fell & the weather is cloudy, though little cooler than the days past during the last week.  We did not rise this morning till broad daylight though we had roll call while yet in bed.  I slept well last night.  At 10 A.M. there was a monthly inspection in our Regt.  The inspectors were Lt. Col. Gray |our Chief Peacock | OAS Kendrick, adj.  It took about an hour & passed off without anything wonderful taking place.  Last evening we discharged our guns, that is all of them that were loaded.  We loaded ours the last time I was on guard & the picket guns are always loaded on post.  Yesterday I had Gunder Co H. peg my shoes as the soles were getting a little loose.  I paid him 25 cts.  No pegs are here to be found, so shoemakers have to make what they use.  While I can, that is while the weather keeps dry I will wear my old boots.  The fitful river has lowered rapidly during the present week & is now quite low.  This A.M. Gilbert & I went again to look at Snow's books & I bought 'The Mourner's Book' of 320 pages for 25 cts.  Also, 'Poets & poetry of England' by Griswold.  There are selections from 75 different Authors who were born between 1750 & 1810 or 20.  I paid 75 cts for the book, so that I paid but a cent for each poet's pieces of which some wrote 20 or 30.  The binding is broken & wrecked so that it will have to be rebound if it & I ever get home safely.  It is a companion book to his 'Poets & Poetry of America', which Gilbert bought.  I would like to have the two in strong uniform binding.  Today I read the 14th chapter of Mark's Gospel, in which is narrated the Passion & trial of Christ.  How sad it is to thing that all the three disciples, Peter, John & James slept while he wanted them to watch with him, how almost perfidious we may think it in them to sleep at the time when he bore the sins of the world upon his mind & his human spirit was oppressed by the knowledge of his approaching dissolution.  Who but must feel saddened at the thought that the world was about to put him to death after a short & inoffensive life, who did no injustice to any, & who had performed so many acts of the greatest mercy for so many deformed  diseased persons.  How much we think Peter was wanting in heroic daring, even in the most ordinary manly truth so easily & often to deny his Lord & Master.  Who has not done so often!

 

Camp at Pine Bluff, Arkansas
January 31st Sunday, 1864

Last night I read the two last chapt's of St. Mark's Gospel in which the trial of Christ is finished & his death and resurrection are spoken of.  How one who has been a soldier can realize in some measure how Christ might have suffered at the hands of the brutal soldiery as they mockingly crowned him with the thorny crown & cruelly dressed him in a purple garb, and scornfully saluted him, with the title King of the Jews!  What hateful obscenity & awful blasphemies were his entertainment during the long hours of that memorable night and what underserved cruelty he fore at the hands of an infuriated mob, till his death during the P.M. of the day following .  And all this too with but few sympathetic friends & those also subject to insult & abuse.  What must have been his feeling toward his dearly loved mother as she accompanied him whither sour she could.  And the beloved Disciple who was here after to be her son & who accompanied him faithfully, how he lamented the suffering of his Lord & Master.  Today I read the two first chapters of Luke's Gospel.  The day was a fitful & changing one, the morning was cloudy & there was but little sunshine at all & that was after noon for about an hour.  About 3 P.M. rain fell & continued till near dark when it ceased.  The drums are beating roll call & for some time past the boys have been busy boasting about chopping & cradling &c in the most extravagant manly making the room an annoying bedlam, where as E.J. Loomis used to say in school, "one can not hear himself think."  Roll call is over & the sky is nearly clear & many stars are shining.  I feel sick at heart of this tumult & noise.  At our bunk, Hinkley & I have a candle lit for our own use as we often buy some when those we draw are burned and we try to have the place still & quiet, though very often some others crowd in & annoy us.  Those too are person who generally spend their time & money gambling or gaming, and who seldom bring a candle or a book (unless it be a trashy novel), but they enjoy playing cards for pies &c.  This evening I felt vexed at what I can not help & in my sorrow I willingly let a few tears fall when I had to think of the usual peace & quiet & privacy of home, where none might disturb & none intrude.  How my very soul yearns for the happy sweetly peaceful home which I hope will yet be mine "when this cruel War is over" & our foes are all destroyed.  How I long for the time when I may there work contentious[?] worship God in my own way, & give to a forid[?] devoted, loved & intelligent & true wife, all the love or worship that can be spared by or from God, without infringing on his law, or violating our duty to his divine Majesty.  How I would sit with a loved one tonight & tell her of my want at this present time of her pitying love & sympathy, more precious than all the treasures of Golcomda or the countless wealth of California's or Mexico's mines.  How I would listen to words of tenderness & cheer to soft & sweet songs which would waft my spirit to the realms of bliss & strengthen me to bear the petty numerous annoyances which we cannot avoid in our passage through this world, which God made so beautiful, but which is so disfigured & saddened by sin & the sorrow which it causes.
This A.M. I & Gilbert attended at the Presbyterian Church.  The text was in 1st Cor, Chap 2 v.14 & the discourse was very much composed of incorrect scientific statements & very dull & inapt the logical statements.  As there were but few women present & the lady who played on the piano being absent, the singing was not pleasing.  There were but few persons present, less than at any time before when I was there.  The minister prayed for those present, which was different from his usual practice.  I saw a young maiden who came in company with a man who I was told was a rebel who attended the few rebels left here who were wounded in the fight here Oct 25th.  She was one of the freshest, fairest & clearest looking person that I have seen anywhere in the south.  She has well molded & clearly cut features, and being not more than about 18 yrs she has an innocent expression of countenance, which does not indicate very great talents, though those may be fair, but not developed much as she has very little of the appearance of deep & earnest thought.  She is such a person I think as might love truly & earnestly & God grant she may not be deceived or betrayed.  How I wish she had the good influences & educational advantages to some families of the Free North.  Ord. Sergt. Cowing of Co. R lately promoted to 1st Lieut. came out today in full trim, as officer of the day.  We had a meat pie for dinner P.M.
The last of this first month of the year which I hope as in common with millions of others will end the War by the triumph of right & truth & liberty over privilege & aristocratic power & old & strongly organized oppression which has so long ruled our land & so powerfully  swayed its destinies, finds me well and in good spirit & hope.  By what we have heard, the weather in the Free but icy north, as well as at this place was the coldest known for 20 or 30 years past.  Here at one time during the cold time about the first of the month the thermometer indicated 7 [degrees] below freezing point & it must have been at one time 12 or 15 degrees below.  Again during the warm pleasant weather it was as high above, mild & balmy during the day as much of our May time in Wis.  During the last month & the first half of this there were many social entertainments as dances by the Hacks, in which many of our soldiers of our Regt & of the Cav joined with a heartiness (as I have heard) that truly surprises me.  What to me seems unaccountable is that many of the real or so-called widow & some young women marry our soldiers since we came to this place.  I am more surprised at this as I cannot think the soldiers in most cases intend the relation to be a permanent one;  but considering the character of very many of the soldiers of which I know & that of the women, or very many of them, according to what we hear but which I wish I could doubt, one is prepared to hear & believe anything without wonder!  Military operations are suspended everywhere in the east as well as here in the west except scouting, which at this place has been quite active.  Everywhere active preparations are going on for heavy & decisive movements as early as the weather & the condition of the roads will allow.  Many of the Regts in every department of the service.  Inf, Cav, & Art. have reenlisted for three years or during the war in wherever the position & interests of the service allow those have been furloughed home for 30 days or more.  Some Regts. have reenlisted in a body with fur if any exceptions.  This fact must greatly discourage our foes, N & S.  May God grant that the Right may rule & Peace be ours during the present year to stay with forever!  J.B.L.

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last modified: 11/1/2016