CIVIL WAR JOURNAL OF JAMES B. LOCKNEY
WIS. 28th REGMT., CO. G
Copyright © 1986, 1997-2021 [James R. Shirey]. All rights reserved.
Little Rock, Arkansas
January 1st, Sunday 1865
Last night I was on guard from 5 ½ to 6 Oclock. I had a slight trial of tooth ache, but not severe as the night before when the pain in one of my back teeth of my under jaw on the right side of my face. Though slight - I suppose - compared with some cases yet I gave up writing & lay down earlier than usual. I soon fell asleep & that was the end of my aching till last night. In the winter of 1861-2 I had what they called ‘the Jumping Toothache’ which troubled me a few days—few indeed have been afflicted less in this way than I & some of my Brothers. The night was clear, calm, & cold. the new moon was beautiful & shone f bright & alongside was the clea<?> evening star. Venus? Mercury? or Saturn? which is it? Well, I can ascertain sometime. Perhaps She who will be my future Wife will be able & glad yet to tell me. Lewis & I lay outside together. We had two rubbers & one wool blanket under us & wearing our great coats-with three woolen ones over us. We had a good sleep, warm & quiet. I was waked about midnight by the noise the boys made for they talked some of waking all to watch the new year in & the Old Year out. Again I slept, but we were waked at 1 AM by Grand Rounds. The officer took two bottles of liquor to treat the whole guard , some 18 or 20 in no. I was sorry to see ‘Good Will on Earth toward Men’ take such detested form. So I left the ranks, hoping for a ‘better time to come.’ Lewis & two or three others were so good as to refuse such a dangerous token of friendship. I was on post this morning from 5-20 to 7-20 when I came to camp & had breakfast & returned to the picket post. I took some soup out to Lewis. I read the book of Esther before leaving post. We were relieved about 10 O’clock. After reaching camp, I had to cook dinner & supper, so that I was prevented from going to church, reading, or writing, all of which I had a wish to do. The sun struggled among clouds all day. Air was milder than usual & calm. I saw Capt. Bastin thes P.M. I am well.
‘Tis night – New Years – past 9 O’clock;
while I set among my comrades, some sitting about the fire indulging their
rough tricks & jokes, while the others are abed, some of whom have just
been waked to assist in the games. The details for duty tomorrow have been made
& they are unusually large. So that scarcely any fit for duty will be left
in camp. The real difficulty is to find one in the mess of 14 to cook tomorrow.
Little intemperance has been indulged in for money is too scarce for that use,
& all the money to be had is needed for the purchase of bread or tobacco,
or both. This is one good result, at this time, of the delay of the payment of
the troops, but alas! Liquor is in plenty & pay is sure to come sometime,
& then appetite may run wild.
The health of our Regt. is good, better than it often is & so I think generally of our troops here. But few report on sick list & I think very few are in hospital. Deaths are rare, so we seldom hear the solemn funeral tune & the slow paced friendly party going with the remains of a comrade to the hastily-dug open grave. Two things favorable to the preservation of a good state of health are our rations rather short & duty nearly every day. Water from the rocky spring is plenty, while all the streams are flowing in their pebbly channels. The boys count this the third New Year time in Dixie – the 2d for me - & all our old members confidently express their wish – nay resolve that it will be the last for them. I say I hope it will be the last that our Country’s cause will require us to be South.
Personally I am in the enjoyment of good health, but I might be better than I am if I followed a course of conduct, in some respects, better than I done during the last 15 to 18 years. Alas!! how much better I might have done had I the knowledge at the age of 12 or 15 that I now possess!! or what would I not give – that I have or hope for – could I but live the last half of my life over again!!! yet all considered I have cause to rejoice that I am no worse mentally, morally or physically than I am- cause to thank God!! Ere the end of the present year I shall have begun my fourth decade—if I live. All my relatives yet survive – but who know of Michael!! [brother??] May God be praised---
Our Union yet lives & Freedom steadily gains. Tis past M O’clock for I heard the ***** clock ring.
Little Rock, Arkansas, U.S.
January 2d Monday 1865
I often think how different are the seasons in this latitude from that of Wis.Last night was clear & frosty & the surface of the ground was rough & hard this morning, but soon the warm sun arose & made the day to be like Thanksgiving Day in 1854 which was so pleasant that I ever remember it for on that day I had no school & it was in my first school term which I began Nov. 13th.I think & that was on Thursday 24 all of which day I passed at my boarding place & my sister’s home.How great should be the effort of parents to make home happy for in all our later years how gladly we think of the past & compare all that is joyous, lovely or pleasant with our happy times when fond hearts & ready hands vied with each other in striving to make us more happy.But this effort to increase happiness & joy should be every one’s object that forms a member of any household—or even if he be but a stranger—but it is theirs most distinctively. I & two others reported early at our new campground & we were joined about 7 ½ by others from the several Co’s. We waited for 8 or 10 teams at Ft. Steely & when they came we started for the woods on the Benton road. After some blunders we got where the logs were, & loaded the teams & got back about 3 P.M.I believe the logs were for our barracks.Lieut. SeymourCo. I was in command.The post was thawed so that the roads were soft & wet.I saw many of the 33d Iowa chopping oak into cord wood for which they get $2 a cord.This is for citizens that haul wood to sell.I wish we could get such a chance & I think I would earn some money. An order was lately issued to allow each Co. only one Sergt. to every 16 privates & one Corp. for every 8 pri.A drawing took place today in our Co. by which McNeill is reduced to Corp., & Corp’s. Moore, Darling, & Edwards are reduced to privates. This at last is sensible. Today I paid E.B. Smith an old debt.I am well.
Little Rock, Arkansas
January 3d Tuesday 1865
This again was another of those beautiful bright days like the pleasantist days of spring in the North, but which are so often felt here even in the winter time.I wish I could find a section of the U.S. that is healthy & fertile soil, favorable to the growth of fruit & in which the winters were no more severe, nor any longer than in this section of this state. The fatigue detail was very light in our Co. today, but nearly all were helping to raise the barracks both of which are nearly full side wall high.This A.M. early I got 20 cts from each of 8 or 10 of our mess for another bread purchase.For this reason I did not go over to the new camp till P.M.I got 10 large loaves of bread for $2.00this left me two loaves for I find my bread lasts better & is more healthy I think than when it is fresh.While at the post commissary I found that there was some dry apples in the commissary & after dinner I got a requisition for 20 lbs. at 10 cts a lb.This evening I got the order, so I can get it in the morning.I wish we could get a plenty of fruit, for I would greatly prefer it to salt meat & some other things that we drew. Co. K[R?] does guard duty at the Arsenal 7 is for the present detached from the Regt.They have an easy place doing no fatigue duty.The Capt. Billings of the Co. went to Wis. several months ago & many think he will stop over his furlough or leave of absence so that he will be mustered out of the service.in this case the Lieut. will become Capt.I heard today that an offer was made to Lt. Gilbert to be Adj. of our Regt.I got a Harper’s Weekly of Dec 31.In it I read that Admiral Porter’s fleet left Hampton Roads on 13 ult. It consisted of 65 war vessels, six of which are Iron-clads.Butler’s troops go to co-operate, requiring more than a hundred transports for their conveyance.The fleet mounts 820.Hood has published an official report in which he admits the loss of 1000 Pris. – but claims a victory!! at Franklin, Tenn.Our Minister to France, hon. Wm. S. Dayton died in Paris Dec. 1. I wrote a part of a letter last night to Matt.I read some today. co. E. moved today.I am well.I bought a qt. bottle of Arnold’s Fluid for $2.00
Camp at Little Rock
January 4th Wednesday 1865
Yesterday P.M. a detail of about 50 men from our Regt. & 4 from our Co. was sent in command of Capt. Tichenor to guard a steam boat down the river 30 miles to get a quantity of brick wanted here for some use.The order was to go with 3 day’s rations.Yesterday P.M. I saw two little girls returning from school & I had a short talk with the largest who is about 10 yrs. old.She pointed out the room in which the school is kept by Miss ----- & she had in her hand two books so loved of old & familiar to me, viz Elementary Spelling book & McGuffey’s 2d reader.She was a rather bright & clever child & to my inquiry if she liked to go to school, she answered affirmatively. All this pleased me for I see & hear so much of the coarse ways of soldiers that it affords me relief to speak to some other & less worldly person.how much I thank God for the better prospects that open before the youth of the late 15 slave states than ever was enjoyed by their ancestors & for which we sighed & wished & prayed – but four short years ago, but dared not hope to see in our day or generation.Oh! who would reestablish Slavery & blast all the prospects & fond hopes of tens of millions of people, & all their countless progeny. & only for the sake of a few aspiring politicians or proud Aristocrats! The day was bright & pleasant, calm was the air & the gentle blue bird was sittering her low notes, as if in joy & thanks for so beautiful a day& in anticipation of the sweet spring time for which she is waiting & hoping. We started early to the new camp ground & went from there on Div. guard.Mounting I went about a little in the General Hosp. & into the library & reading room.I am on Picket with Jones & McKown & Darling.All well
Little Rock, Arkansas
January 5th Thursday 1865
Capt & party sent for brick returned
today. How liable are our intentions to be frustrated as well by means within
our control or that of others, as by those natural & beyond the reach of
human power.Yesterday was so mild that I expected another like it today, but
what was my surprise to be waked about daylight by the pattering of rain on our
blankets as we lay outside the building.Wm. Boyce & Jones & I lay
together & seldom had I a sweeter or pleasanter sleep than from 10 P.M. to
2 A.M. & from about 4 till the rain waked us. The night was calm & very
mild & the sky was clear till about 3 ½ or 4 O’clock.During the evening we
sat around the fire, & while some read or told vulgar stories & others
boasted of some of their thefts while in camp, Washburn & when allowed to
go to town & of other acts of shame, I read three Christmas stories in the
‘Weekly’ of Dec. 31st & also in the Book of Job to the 10th
Chap.This I continued today to the 20th inclusive.I have always
liked the style of this truly poetic part of the Scripture, so epigrammatic
& sententious, so dignifiedat times rising to the grand & sublime. This
& the parts written by Solomon or attributed to him as proverbs &
Ecclesiasicus &c. is the part of the Old Testament that I like best while
in the New I admire the grand yet simple beauty of Christ’s Sermon on
Heavy fatigue party reported but were forced to return.The rain continued till noon & after that showers fell at intervals till night.The guards & pickets went to the place where Div. Guard mounting takes place, when after waiting a while word was sent for the details to march to the several posts of duty which delayed the relief till about 10 O’clock.Thus two hours in the rain could have been prevented by sending word by an orderly that no guard mounting would take place.when we reached camp Jones & I ate some bread & stewed apples, the first we had had in many a day.I wrote three full pages in “Memories’ today, finishing the 50th page, or just ¼ of my book.Higley came with the Pine Bluff Mare[?]All well.
Little Rock, Arkansas
January 6th Friday 1865
Last night was rainy & this morning
also.Wet soft snow fell from about 7 to noon. The detail for fatigue to work on
Ft. Solomon reported at about 6 ½ A.M. but returned soon after by reason of the
storm.McKown & I from our Co. & about 20 from the Regt. were detailed
to report at 7 to go to the woods for logs.We found 10 teams waiting for us
& we went out regardless of the blowing wet snow.Some of the boys
complained about going, but I could not join in this.I often try to cheer those
depressed & to shame those grumbling, by saying that I am glad it is all
for the Union & ourselves, & not for any King.This always has
some force with most, while a few are so bent on finding fault that nothing can
keep them from doing so.I sometimes hear a few say that they would let the
country & its – our – cause go to H—l rather than to serve another day if
they could get out of the service!!I often rejoice that I have not been so
badly cheated as others seem to have been when they enlisted, for I did
not expect as good & easy times as we have had, nor have we yet seen ¼ of
the fighting that I expected to see during the first year.
We loaded the wagons with logs—the last I think we may need to draw & I got back to our quarters about 3 P.M. Snow stopped falling at noon & the air grew clear & cold.So that it is freezing tonight.I found two letters waiting for me. One from Anthony of Dec 25 in which he says all were well.The weather he said for the last week had been intensely cold.he was on the road teaming nearly every day. his loads of wood bring $9 or $10 each.Their two little ones were well, but he does not speak of Catharine his wife.M.E. wrote on 17th when all were well. She told me of the farm they bought & that the boys had sent $2041 home.She goes to the school.I wrote her answer P.M.We had stewed apples for supper.All’s well.
Little Rock, Ark
January 7th Saturday 1865
I read in Job today.During the last two nights, I did not sleep so soundly as usual. Today was sunny & bright, but the air was not so clear, nor the sky so cloudless as generally.I was on the fatigue detail reporting at 6 ½ O’clock.We worked on Fort Solomon this A.M. & P.M.I worked a part of the time with a pick & a part with the shovel, or spade rather, for shovels are not used in the Army.I saw some of the boys of the battery in the fort.Battery is from Ill.Packing shot, shell & cannister in the casons, & I found much information of interest, new to me.the battery is of 3 inch cast iron, rifled guns, throwing an oblong or long shot weighing 14 lbs.I saw the tables for the use of the artillerists which was a curiosity to me. I saw the pendulum by which the elevation of the funs is regulated, & by which regulating the range so far as this can be done by the elevation of the piece is very easily done. The charge of powder is 1 lb. though this is sometimes doubled.The time of flight at 1° is 1 second & the distance either 250 or 380 yards.The range varies from this to 6200 yds. for which the time of flight is 31 seconds & a small fraction.I think I would like the artillery service, as well for the scientific principles involved as for the easy duty & much leisure afforded. We heard a vague rumor yesterday P.M. that a rebel Gen. with his command was coming here to give themselves up.Today this is apparently confirmed, for we hear a Col. – but acting Brig. Gen. – with 1500 men is outside our lines on Benton road. that an inquiry as to the terms on which the Gen. would be received was sent to Washington, & rations for 10 days was sent yesterday to our new-found friends.If this be true, which I hope it is, it is one of the unmistakable signs of the fast approaching end of the War.I heard the train from Ft. Smith was coming in today.I heard a large no. of officers has lately been discharged in various ways, some honorably, others dishonorably.Lieut. Chandler, Co. H. lately returned from Wis. & went North – discharged.I am very well.The Colonel’s name is Logan.Moore sold flour for 12 ½ cts. lb.
Camp at Little Rock
January 8th Sunday 1865
Day was dark & cloudy.Today I was on
guard at the H’dQrtrs of Col. Macky, acting Brig. Gen. & Com [of] our
Brigade, the 1st of the 1st Div. in 7th Army
corps.I write this at 8 O’clock P.M. in the stable or horse barn & by the
light of a candle I have brought from camp.I have written none during the day,
though I intended to write several pages in my Memories.I read a short time in
St. Louis Dem. of 31 ult.Some reports say the vast Armada against Wilmington has
proved, in the main, a failure, & that the project has been abandoned for
the present.Fort Fisher, one of the strong defenses of the place was captured
by the fleet.I feel much regret & surprise at such a result of one of our
greatest naval efforts, but I hope the case is not so disastrous as stated.I
trust that Grant & old
Ben. Butler – the Beast! – are playing their part of
a deep game, for which Lee & Old Jeff. may not be ready (when I got this
far Corp. Cullen would not allow me to keep the candle lit any longer – for
fear of some one coming & blaming him!!well there’s a better time coming!!!
After guard mounting I went to camp & from there to the Catholic Church a short time ere services began.The same unwieldy person that I saw there more than a year ago was present, & his duties seemed to be to take care of some & leave others to take care of themselves.I was of the latter class.I went there expecting to hear some music that would please me, but was disappointed for there was no vocal or instrumental music.The usual prayers for the authorities &c. was read hastily, in such a way as to be scarcely understood by me, though not long ago I knew them by heart.The priest read them facing the congregation.In striking contrast with all this was the management of affairs in Presbyterian Church in which I stopped during the evening service while on my way from camp to H’dQrtrs.There everyone was to led to a seat & no one left standing.There was music.Discourse was on prayer.I said my prayers before lying down.I am well.
Little Rock, Ark.
January 9th Monday 1865
Last night I slept from 9 to 1 A.M.I was on post till 3 when I again lay down & slept till 8 O’clock this morning.It rained the last half of the night till about daylight & nearly all day.The flow of water in the stream near our camp reminds me of the Piece written by Southy – I think – in McGuffy’s Fifth reader where the water is described as falling Helter skelter, hurry skurry—the crags & rocks among for the bed is narrow rocky & winding as well as quite steep.Owing to the rain very little was done on our barracks for the chimney could not be built, nor the mudding finished.Frames for the bunks were made in both parts & I think I will be well pleased with the part of the Co. that will be in the same one with me. There may be some card playing, but not much I think.So far not a card have I seen in this shanty where 14 of us have been five weeks, nor a game played.Nearly every evening our table is crowded with some of the boys writing. Of course I do one share of this & not a small share either.We had a good soup made of desicated vegetables & split peas, for dinner & there was a dish of stewed for supper, but I & several others did not eat supper.Our shares will be good in the morning.Sergt. Donaldson was cook.More & some others are on picket & they must have a dreary time of it. The boys got a table last night – gobbled it – it is a good one & on it I write.Captures of boards also are frequent, for Union soldiers should have comfortable quarters, & boards help.Co. B. moved to the new camp today & ours is the only one left.Mail came this P.M. & I got one letter from Matt of Dec 26.All were well & Maria was still at Father’s.At the last he says “yesterday Mother’s head ached some all day.Today she is rendering tallow”Wm. Durrlegry[?] who was deaf & dumb was at Father’s night of 26th.I am very well.
Camp at Little Rock
January 10th Tuesday 1865
Yesterday I began reading the Psalms & went as far as the 10th.I very much like reading Job, Psalms, & the writings of Solomon.I found Numbers very tedious, so many proper names difficult to pronounce & so much repetition that possesses but little interest.All of our Co. not on duty have been working on the barracks.Gill & Clark built the chimney & the job is quite severe.The sun shines bright & clear, but the wind blew high most of the day.The boys were busy making the frames for bunks, Hinkley has been on daily duty nearly all of the time since we began cutting logs & lately R.D. Lewis has been detailed to superintend the building of the barracks.Heaton has been detailed Regt’al carpenter & for a month past has been making window sash.So far but one window is allowed for each room & we do not expect to have any more.There are 12 bunks in our room, each for two men & in each room will be two messes.The boys got a good plain table last night about 6 x 2 ½ feet.This was drawn or confiscated!I dug some ditches part way about or room, carried some mud & did a little share in common with the rest.There is one less in our mess now, for Jacobi, who has been sick so as to be unable to be out of his bunk was taken to Hospital this P.M.He got a letter from his father’s people in Germany, by the last mail & it made him glad.He is a gentle sort of person, but has keen perceptibilities & would, I think, be a good mechanic or artist if taught & experienced. Matt says he visited Thomas’ school on 26th.Maria came home – to Father’s – with him.a few days later he says, Maria was up first this morning, getting breakfast. Last night I wrote a full sheet of note paper to Anthony.It was late when I lay down, but I had a good sleep. Tonight is cold & frosty. I am very well.
Camp at Little Rock
January 11th Wednesday 1865
Last evening we had a sharp, though, short argument with Sergt. W.T. Donaldson of our mess, & Co.It sprung from some word said, or statement made in regard to ‘god. W.T.D. said he denied the existence of God.Some asked one question & again another, so that each one opened on him – alone – with the best gun & sharpest-pointed shot in his Battery.In speaking of Nature, I asked him what he had to say as to the origin or first cause of all Nature or creation as we see it. he did not know what to say about this.I asked him if nature or Creation made itself & maintained & regulated itself? or did not Some Superior Power make, sustain, & regulate the invisible, as well as the visible creation?Well our talk ended as such talks commonly end, without conviction or agreement on any side, but all were united as one against the unbeliever or as he calls his class—Liberalists.D--- has read much on this subject.he was once a member of the Methodist church, but left it because he could not adhere to the opinions of that organization. We have had no roll call in about two weeks & this we find to be quite a convenience for we sleep as late as we wish if not on duty.But this cannot last much longer, for when we are with the Regt. this will be changed. I was detailed on fatigue with Jones, McKown, & Layhie, but only the first was wanted. The boys finished the chimney P.M. & many fixed their bunks.If teams were to be had our Co. would have moved today.A detail was out today for logs for Capts. house. Some were roofing the house for Gray.A detail of 50 or 60 was called this P.M. to go to Ft. Smith on a boat -The men are from our Regt. Last night I filled another sheet of note to Anthony.Today was bright & pleasant.I was in the Hospital today & saw Jacobi & Sergt. Rogers.Our mess bought 8 or 10 loaves of bread & drew some.
Camp at Little Rock
January 12th Thursday 1865
It was late when I lay down last night.The full moon shone all night & made it almost like day.All the grandeur of an early spring day.North was exhibited today for the air was mild & calm, the sky clear, & the sunshine strong & pleasant.What a joy was it to see the sun rise above the horizon, from the site of Ft. Solomeon on which 50 of our Regt. beheld the grand spectacle though perhaps with no feelings of grateful admiration.The detail from our Co. called for one more man than could be furnished.Capt. Tichenor was in command & all went on much more pleasantly than the last time I was there when Capt. Kenyon, Co. E was in command.Our Capt. did not find fault nor tried to urge the boys, but often took a pick & worked a while.He is liked better by the boys of every Co. than any other officer in the Regt. excepting Lieut’s Coates, Co. A, Semour, Co. I, & Heartwell of I.(The latter went to Pine Bluff, lately being detailed on Gen. Clayton’s staff in the Engineer Dept.)Most of the men came to camp.Hinkly & I stopped where we worked & ate dinner & after that read.I read at intervals past the 50 Psalm.I like the Psalms very much. – The engineer said it would require about two months to finish the work on the fort, working as we do by detail from each Regt. in turn.We left camp to report at New camp at 6:30 & on my way I mailed one letter to Matt & one to Anthony.There is frost every night, & the thawing makes mud on the surface.How glad the boys are to count our time but 9 nine months more till our time for Muster out!!Tonight I calculated the no. of days & find it to be 273!How soon we will be but 100 days near!!Some of the boys got their things moved today, & such stop in the New quarters, but most are in the old.Heaton was cook today, but he got no dinner.So those who came to camp were dissatisfied.
Little Rock, Ark
January 13th Friday 1865
This 13th day of the month will ever be a day of note in the lives of the members of our Regt. that may survive at the end of our term of service.How we often look to nine months from this day, as the joyous day that will terminate one long three years term of service, for we long to join our friends & relatives from whom we have been so long separated. This is the cheering thought many a time when heavy thoughts weigh upon the mind & hardship more mental than physical is met, such as supercilious & unreasonable treatment from so called Superior! True it is that the cause of God, Liberty, & Justice may require us to enter the service again, but this is hardly probable & if this be required, we will be ready for it for now we know it is easier to do a soldier’s duty than to fear to do one’s duty in the ranks of War. I was on a detail to guard a train of wagons sent out for lumber to the sawmill where I went soon after we came here.There were about 50 out.Capt. Kenyon was in Com.We reported at the Arsenal, where we had to wait about an hour. This was the first time I ever was in the grounds & I was glad to gain admittance.I found there were several batteries in order, ready for instant use.They range from the heavy 20 lb. Parrot gun of a long range to the light 12 lb. brass howitzer for Cavalry use or the smaller rifled steel gun that throw a 6 or 8 lb ball.In all there are some 35 guns in the yard.The way we went & returned was the roughest I ever saw, being stony a part of the way & rutty the rest.We got back about 4 ½ P.M. & found all the Co. had moved;the boys had laid a floor of boards in our room which makes it very comfortable.We never before had so good quarters, though at Pine Bluff we liked it better, divided according to our tastes as we were.Hinkley was on Picket, but came in late P.M. as he did not feel well.Mail came P.M. & I got a letter from Matt finished New Years.All were well.Weather was severe & steady.Taxes on 80 [acres] in Greenfield [Wisconsin] was $104.I am well.
Little Rock, Ark
January 14th Saturday 1865
While the ways & views of men are ever varying, the goodness & mercy of God never fail.Last night we had quite a time dividing sugar & coffee for Hinkley, Heaton, & myself as we do not use either of those articles.We now have saved coffee since 10th ult. & sugar from 20th.The sugar we drew last time on 10th is so good that we will keep it to use. What we saved was so poor that I did not like it to eat with my bread, but the others use it for sweetening their tea & coffee, & so inveterate is the habit with some in our mess that they think very little of those drinks unless sweet.Moore & Turner spoke to Heaton very sharp saying they would not mess with him unless he did his full share of cooking & other work.It is true that since we came here H__ did very little work in the mess, once having McNeill to cook for him, but always saying he had no time, while in fact he had more time than any other one in the mess.T__ remarked that H__ must keep cleaner than he does.I sometimes wonder how negligent he is in regard to personal cleanliness, though one of those ever ready to remark about others.Thus he does not ‘see himself as others see him.’Some building still goes on in camp, one house for Col. & our Captain’s is now in progress.I think our Co. has as good quarters & more comfortable, than any other Co. for we have the smallest Co. except K in the Regt.Capt. Bastin was mustered out about two weeks ago.Young is a curious, whimsical person, inconsiderate & impulsive as many I ever saw.He found much fault about dividing our sugar, saying we should mess together.He had more fault to find than any one else.The day was sunny, but the sky was not quite clear.we had a battalion drill this P.M.I finished our bunk this A.M. & made it very comfortable.Hinkley came off Picket last evening & has been unwell today.I ate heartily of dried vegetables & boiled fresh beef for dinner & was not hungry for supper, so I ate none. I am very well.
Little Rock, Ark
January 15th Sunday, 1865
Last night our room was cold & the wind blew so as to blow our candles.I lit one of my own candles & wrote till late.I slept soundly in the night & waked so as to hear the first taps of the bass drum.Our Co. did not fall out for roll call, so some of the boys lay till breakfast was ready.Last night I went to our old campground, chiefly for the purpose of seeing an old citizen who bought flour from us before we left that camp.He was a native of Va. being brought up near Petersburg.For many years before the War, he had been much among the Indian Nations west of the state—Cherokees, Choctaws, & Creeks.I asked him somewhat particularly as to the social condition of those Indian tribes, espec. the first of the above.he said they had the best tract of country that he had seen in all his travels from Va.They live very much as the most civilized farming communities of whites.Education is general among them, while some of the young men got college instruction & many of the young women finished their education at Ft. Smith.They have excellent stock of all kinds, except horses.The other Nations named above are not so forevart[?], but all are in a better state than I had supposed.Most of the people of those tribes are in part white blood, & a person of pure Indian parentage is seldom found.For a time they tried a civil Magistrate as Governor, but had lately adopted the Chief system.This man had been long among them as mail Agt. & later a trader.He was a Union man & was forced to leave his home a year ago in Pury Co. & his young 2d wife & children followed him here.The little ones coame to me & I gladly lifted them as high as I could, much to their delight.Today was bright & pleasant.I went to Pres. Chuch A.M. & was well pleased.Dress parade at 4 P.M.I wrote 2 ½ pages in my Memories.all well!!
Little Rock, Ark
January 16th Monday, 1865
Word was sent in at time for Roll Call for the cooks in our two messes in our room to rise & the others might lie till breakfast was ready.The boys pronounced this ‘sensible’ & gladly acceded.I & King were the cooks today, so last night we cut off some salt pork which we put to soak all night.Breakfast was ready in an hour—at 6-- & some of those on duty were to report at 6 ½ A.M.Our fare is quite simple—fried meat, coffee for Breakfast & dinner, & tea is liked best for supper.At the latter meal we lately have served dry apples, but those being hot from the boil are not so palatable as if cold.I was fortunate in having finished my dishes when a detail was sent for four men for fatigue.I was the only one from G.We had a short job to do.The doctor’s horse had broken his tyings in an old log shanty nearby & tore down some of the logs & a part of the roof.We made it good enough to do in about two hours, when we rejoiced that we had got a title to as much credit on the Duty Roster as those who were working this A.M. & P.M. on Fort Solomon & little indeed did any of us care if the work of our hands were not of a permanent kind for as some of the boys way in fact most say it—‘Only seven months longer!!’When it is said by someone ’9 months longer!!’ from the 13th inst. This is not well received, evidently showing the wish in the minds of all to reach sweet Home once more.The detail from our Co. on the Ft. was 11 from our Co. & about 150 from the Regt.Capt. Murray was in Com. & Lieut. Gilbert assisted.I hear the boys showed Capt. M__ their dislike in various ways.Lt. is generally well liked by the men. From 30 to 40 men were at work on our Parade ground grubbing stumps.I washed some clothes this P.M.Our new Sutler, Tichenor, our Capt.’s uncle brought on a stock & opened today.Capt was unwell yesterday & today.Hinkley is unwell in camp.Day was bright & sky clear.
Little Rock, Ark
January 17th Tuesday, 1865
Last night it was 10 O’clock before I lay down. I slept well till reveille when I arose. The nights are now calm, clear, & beautifully bright, the moon rising about midnight & shining till succeeded by the daylight. The weather is all that any could wish, frost being felt every night, but this is thawed during the day. The air is clear & cold enough to be healthy but not to cause any inconvenience. We had quite a time preparing for inspection, which was to take place this A.M. Some of the boys prepared for it last evening & also this morning, but I did all my work this morning & got ready in good season. We were out in “Heavy Marching Order” in true style, though in a way that we would not like to follow for a long distance. The inspection was Capt. Baines of 27th Wis. Inf. & I hear he is acting Inspecting Gen. of our Division. He was very particular about the guns, but did not find fault with any in our Co. He did remark the lack of buttons on some coats, &c. It was about noon when we were dismissed & long after or past one O’clock when the pickets were relieved & reached camp. I expected to write this P.M., but was wanted to get stone for Capt’s. chimney. This took all the available time of the P.M. The roof is on & one day more will finish it. The Corp’s & Sergt’s chiefly did the work & today is the first work I did on the building. This & Capt. Slawson’s are the last done, while in some other companies or rather in most others the Capt’s was the first done. It is much to be regretted Capt. Slawson is so enslaved by the dreadful habit of drink for he has many traits that I like. He is familiar & unlike many, not at all distant or haughty even to a private. Day before yesterday our Capt. was quite sick & feverish, but today he is well & going about as usual. Capt. Stephens or Stevens, was in officers hospital two or three weeks, but is now doing duty in his Co. Jacobi is still in hospital & Hinkley is still unwell in our quarters. Bowers is also on sick report. I am well.
Camp at Little Rock
January 18th Wednesday 1865
As our officer’s quarters are not finished, Lt. Gilbert slept with some of the boys in our room, whose mate might happen to be on duty, as on picket. His presence among us is quite pleasant so far as I know, and sometimes we have high debate in which he often takes part. We have no formal debating organization, but a subject may be referred to by anyone, & by him or others be quickly shaped so as to draw in most of those present on either side. Thus one night recently Lieut. & I were opposed to Sergt. Donaldson in regard to what satisfied the demands of the law as a marriage ceremony & also to the necessity of a Certificate of Marriage being registered. In the former he argued no public acceptance was required each of the other, as husband & wife, nor were witnesses required or if any two such were present, no certificate was required. In this we beat him till he felt & acknowledged it. Last night we nearly all of us had something to say on the matter—talked long & loud on a subject often referred to before viz. the comparative weight of responsibility that Co. officers & non commissioned officers & privates have to bear in the discharge of their respective duties, as well as the comparative difficulty & hardship to be endured in the discharge of those duties. Gilbert has always argued that the officer in Com. of a picket or other guard performs more severe duty or has a harder time of it while on that duty, even though he may always sit by the fire & keep warm or lie down & sleep in his blankets & under shelter if there be any—because of the Weight of Responsibility that rests on him as Commander of the force, than the private whose sweetest sleep is often broken at any hour when he has to go & stand in the dark, be it wet or cold for two long hours, where he may not always walk a beat or have a fire at any time in the night. He is always alone in his view of this case. Hinkley & I had a wash by the fire late last night. Gelzer, Lewis, & I are on picket near penitentiary. Day is clear & bright, sunshine is warm. Our Regt. has drawn several new wagons & teams. I wrote a page & a half to Maria interlined. I have a pleasant place to write in the open air. I sent a letter to Matt this A.M. Mail came, but none to me. I am well.
Little Rock, Ark
January 19th Thursday, 1865
Last night Gelzer & I were on post from 8 ½ to 10 ½ o’clock. The sky was clear, & the stars shown very bright, a gentle breeze blew & it had a slight chilling feeling. We lay down when we heard the town clock strike 11 with three wool blankets over us. We slept warm & very comfortably till 3 or 4 A.M. when we were waked to ‘fall in’ for the Officer of the Day. After that I slept till about 7 O’clock. We were relieved soon after 8 & ate breakfast when we got to camp. Capt. Slawson of B. Co. was the officer in command. I was sorry to smell whiskey about him last night & I heard him tell of Lieut. Bennet sending out some to him. Today was very pleasant, bright sunshine, calm, & the air gentle & soft. I did a short chore on capt’s. house before noon, & they occupy it tonight. I got a pass from Capt. & had it signed by Adj. I took our coffee & sugar to sell. I disposed of 8 lbs. of coffee at .75 a lb. It belonged to Heaton, Hinkley, & me & yields us to 2.00 each. The people to whom I sold it are Union people from Ft. Smith, which left the place recently because of the report of evacuating the place. By what they told me & my own judgment, they are much more intelligent than the common class of southerners, quiet & an appearance of simple honest worth. They are crowded very much, 8 or 10 grown persons besides several children living in very small space. I sold 55 cts. worth of sugar to a sick Negro woman. I asked some other Negro women if they wished to buy sugar & one of them returned an obscene answer. This was the first instance of the kind I ever saw, though I heard the boys speak of such cases that they met. I cannot doubt but that many of those have become degraded to the lowest depth of vileness, or as low as persons of their intelligence can become & all this chiefly or wholly by the influence of their association with our white soldiers. I had a good treat when I reached camp at 5—A letter of 8 & 9 inst from Mother who wrote three pages & the last was filled by Maria. All were well & so am I.
Camp at Little Rock
January 20th Friday 1865
What a beautiful picture is drawn by dear Maria of Domestic Peace & happiness at my old home as presented on the night of Monday Jany. 9th inst. & all this though giant war has raged in some parts of our land nearly four years. She says: This has been a very pleasant day.The winter has been very pleasant so far. Grand Ma is sitting in the rocking chair knitting, Uncle matt is sitting near the stand with a slate & pencil.Uncle John is lying on the lounge.Grand Pa is sitting by the stove thinking, & Thomas—her brother—is reading in the Bible by the stand-- & she adds so kindly “So you see if you were here, what a (pretty) nice group there would be!” How gladly would I form a part of that group, if it could be so. How precious an addition is this well drawn scene, to the kind, fond words of a Mother’s heart, when past three score & ten & so strongly anxious for the return of one now absent from her those two long years. Oh! how glad will it be to meet again in life & health & Liberty! Yesterday for the first time in my life did I see the process of casting going on. I never before saw molten iron poured into the moulds soon after it was discharged from the fierce furnace. I think the small works of this kind in the city are run for the use of U.S. Army. Many very large shops for the manufacture & repair of wagons &c. One square is occupied on all sides by a blacksmith shop where perhaps 100 men or more can work, on another side a carpenter show, the third side for harness work, & the 4th side for a paint shop, &c -- I did not sleep well last night. Day was pleasant & bright. I was on fatigue about 1 ½ hours this A.M. Our Regt. was in line on parade ground from 9 ½ A.M. to noon waiting to be reviewed by Gen. Reynolds. He came about 1 o’clock. I wrote 2 ½ pages in ‘Memories’ this P.M. Rations were drawn for 11 days, flour for 4 days, bread for 8. All’s well.
Camp at Little Rock
January 21st Saturday 1865
I had a sound sleep last night. No roll call this morning. The details were light, but 2 or 3 from each Co. for fatigue. The air was very misty & thick in the A.M., about noon the fog rose & the P.M. was cloudy & seemed to threaten rain but none fell till night & then but a few drops. Moore & I went about some in A.M. to find a place where we could sell our flour for a –bit- or 12 ½ cts a lb. Some were afraid to buy, as there are orders against soldiers selling to citizens, & which direct what soldiers have to dispose of will be returned to Post Commissary & the price goes into Co. fund—I think—. This, soldiers do not like so well, so the rule is often disregarded. The penalty makes it rather risky for citizens to buy in this way, as if found out they may lose their money & what they purchased for it & be subject to suspicion for violating the orders issued. I found a place where I could get 10 cts a lb. but Moore got 12 ½. We had about 40 lbs. for 8 of us.
Yesterday some changes were made in our Co. Vosburg was detailed cook for those in the other room, & E.:P. Hinkley for the 21 in our room. H. Stutsman was detailed to take charge of the Co. Commissary & to be acting Com. Sergt. Today the change was continued & the status of the Corp’s. & Sergts. settled definitely. Walden, Darling, T. Edwards, & J. Cullen were reduced from Corps. to privates & by his own request, Sergt. Donaldson to the same rank & he is now Clerk for Co., in which capacity he has acted nearly a year. Sergt. D. McNeill was reduced to Corp. & was detailed today in the Color guard, but he said he would prefer to take his place in the ranks as private & was resolved to do so. At noon we recd. orders to march tomorrow with 10 or 12 days rations & Co. cartridges to each man. We had inspection at 4 P.M. I wrote to Maria & to Mother. I am well.
On the March
January 22nd Sunday 1865
Last evening on inspection, Dr. Smith went along the ranks of each Co. & scanned the men to select those unfit for the march. Three or four in our Co. were ordered not to go so that 8 or 10 of our Co. are left in camp. It is the same in other Companies, none but those in first rate order go with us. Those having loaded guns were ordered to the front of the regt. & as mine was loaded since the last time I was on Picket, I was one. We closed ranks & fired by file, two at a time. We aimed at a stump some 40 rods distant & not a 1/6 to 1/8 of us hit it. I did not see where my ball hit, but Lt. Col. Gray said I made a good shot. There was much packing up & preparing till after 9 o’clock Wm. Smith & others wrote till late, he & myself till 11 P.M. I finished a letter to Mother & one to Maria in answer to their last to me. I slept well till a short time before Reveille, which was at 5 A.M. Day opened cloudy & threatening, rain fell, but did not long continue. It was about 9 A.M. when we fell in & glad were we –I-- when the drum sounded time for the march. Previous to this & after I was ready, I went to the hospital & saw those sick there. I found about a dozen there, all sitting up & merry except two or three. As it was several days since I had seen Jacobi, it was to see him particularly that I went. While there, Gray came in & had a word of cheer & sympathy for the boys. We marched to the College square where we were delayed 1 ½ or 2 hours. Our Brig. – 9th & 28th Wis., 33rd Iowa, 50th 43rd Ill., 50th Ind., & the Pioneer Battalion, 18th Ill—with 25th Ohio Battery of 6-3 inch rifled guns were in position. Gen. Reynolds was about on horseback examining everything. We marched about 8 miles & camped about 4 P.M. near where a rebel party burned a sawmill run by citizens Friday 3 o’clock A.M. Snow fell in the evening.
On the March
January 23rd Monday 1865
Last night I lay on the outside & the snow sifted onto the blankets that covered me. I spoke with one of the mill hands who escaped capture by fleeing from his bed, & making his way to our pickets. There were about 75 hands at the mill & this one only escaped. He said it was Webb’s party that took the party of workmen. One old man 60 to 70 yrs. old was allowed to return, having been taken 18 or 20 miles. All of those taken had been in the rebel army, so it may go hard with many of them. The man to whom I spoke was an amiable person as I should judge by his appearance; how I would hate to shoot at such a person! Oh, how cruel is war!! The day was bright & sunny, but much of the snow did not thaw. We marched about 12 miles & stopped early in the P.M. The road was soft & in many places muddy. The air is sharp & frosty. We were busy till night fixing shelters of brush & pine tops. W.H. & E.B., Smith, Snider, Blum, Inhre, & I slept together last night, & worked together today. Rations are plenty enough to do with economy. I heard today that four barrels of pork & a hhd[?] of [sugar (crossed out)] pork were thrown off one of our wagons today, in all about 1250 lbs. & were lost. Much difficulty is found in getting the wagon train along, & this appears to be the reason that we go no faster. The supply train consists of about 175 wagons, besides from 6 to 10 for each of the Regts or perhaps 50 more. There are 15 ambulances along. All this makes quite a long train in addition to the Battery. This goes in the lightest trim, but one box being brought of each caisson instead of two as usual. For each piece 150 rounds of shot & shell are taken. There is still much speculation as to our destination. My boots were frozen this morning. I am well.
On the March
January 24th Tuesday 1865
I lay down about 8 last night, & as I had a rubber on my feet, they kept warm all night long. Yesterday morning I was waked by the cold in my feet. I & Lewis were detailed for Picket tonight, & we went with the rest of the Pickets in the advance. The ground was frozen hard on the surface, but not deep, so that in many places the wheels broke through. The air was cold & frosty & we often started fires when we stopped to warm ourselves. Lieut. Coates was in command. Day was bright, & warm about noon so that in the P.M. our way was wet & muddy. It was with great labor that the train was got along, & in many places the ruts were hub deep. We started about daylight, but this was one or two hours earlier than the rear. Our rations are relished & very little that is fit to eat is allowed to waste. Our ½ of the Co. sold our flour before starting & bought a box of hard bread—50 lbs. for $4.00; & each in our mess bought ½ or a whole loaf of soft bread. When the box was opened some of the tack was found to be musty & unfit to eat, so that this caused about ¼ or 1/6 of all to be wasted. We went into camp about 2 or 3 P.M. & the pickets were placed around the line so that ere dark we had beds made & wood for fire secured. As we had no ax, I went to 50 Ind. & borrowed one in Co. A. I found the boys very accommodating & this was a source of much pleasure to me, for it seems to make the sunshine of life. I read to the 135 Psalm. When the Pickets were waiting to be stationed, Col. Gray came up & in tone as if to grind me to powder he addressed me to know what I was doing there? Soon he found his mistakes & great was the shout & sport of the boys at his expense. I was in my right place.
Camp at Pine Bluff
January 25th Wednesday 1865
War —like poverty— makes strange companions. Tonight I write up my diary for two last days & today & a leaf [?] to Matt in a house ½ mile from the town & 60 rods from camp. I am surrounded by southern citizens, but I think none of them dare to attempt any violence. The owner —Mayhew— & all treat me very politely. I sit in a room in which a few are conversing, & one who was a Slave master – & they stop with him yet – has been telling me of his troubles & Loyalty? Last night I was on post four hours, & Lewis & I slept 3 ½ hours warm & pleasant. I used my blankets on Post & I felt the cold but little. The air was still & frost was severe. We started about Daylight & reached town about 3 P.M. We passed through town & outside the Pickets along the Mt. Elba road. We have an open & rather ugly place to camp, but we do not expect to stay long here. We hear two Regts. of Inf. join us here, also a Battery & some Cav. This P.M. the Pontoon Battalion came up & went into camp near us. Brig. Gen. Carr is in Chief command of our expedition. Col. Mackey, A. Brig. Gen. Commands the Infantry. I find there are but four pieces of the battery with us & two more are to join us here.
I heard a narrative of Gen. Reynolds which appears to be characteristic of the man, & this shows him to be superior to most of his class. While going about he came to the head of our Regt. & began asking many questions about the articles one soldier, whom he took as a specimen took with him. He was answered by the soldier in a satisfactory manner till he came to the no. of caps in his box. 28th did not know how many caps in his box. Gen. R. said pleasantly he should know this & that every soldier should count his caps as often as he said his prayers & that should be twice every day.
On the March to Mt. Elba
January 26th Thursday 1865
Last evening, McKee came up to our camp & I sent by him & Gilbert, who went with him to town about dark for 3 lbs. of sugar for me & Lewis. The sugar we use is so dark & bitter that I do not use it, so I wanted to get some that I could eat with my hard bread as I seldom use sugar in tea or coffee. Gilbert returned & had the sugar with him at midnight. I returned to camp about ½ past 9 & warmed & dried my boots & st5ckings & feet & lay down at 10. I slept well till 12 when I was waked by Moore to go to town for soft bread, which he and others tried to get at Post Bakery before dark, but they failed as the bread was not then baked. Henry Draper went from our camp with five of us to sell us the bread, as he has been in charge of the Bakery for some months past. We got 50 loaves each containing two rations. We found McKee asleep & waked him with much difficulty. Those two have as pleasant places as could be desired by anyone & enjoy almost all the comforts of Home. We all went up to their room & chatted awhile. They had orders to join our Co. & to go with us on the march, but are allowed to stay till matters are arranged & we have returned from this scout. I & all like Draper especially, & I only wish he could retain his place till our term is out. He showed us his account of sales for December amounting to more than $900. A citizen had the place before him & though it is presumed he sold more than Draper yet he never exceeded $400 or $500 as one month’s exhibit!! McKee made us a present of the sugar. This is a rich return for a little I did for him at Little Rock more than a year ago. Henry showed us a Photograph of his sister May. I slept till about Daylight when we – 28th– started early in advance. Day was warm [crossed out] & pleasantly bright but air was cold. We marched 12 miles & went into camp early. I have written this page by light of the fire. I gave a letter to Draper which he said he would mail today. It is for Matt. I have a slight cold, but feel well.
On the March to Mt. Elba
January 27th Friday 1865
A busy scene was presented about our Camp for an hour or two, all were so busy securing nails, logs &c. for fire & shingles & boards to make shelter & bunks. Our camp was at the house of an old settler, but the place was deserted & tenantless. Two or three out buildings were soon torn to pieces & divided among many hundred, each getting what he could. The family residence was occupied as officers’ quarters, & so was saved. All had plenty for fire all night, & much was yet left in the morning. Lewis & I slept warm & comfortable all night. He was waked once by the heat of our dry rail fire. We both have colds, & we cough some, & do not find this addition to our army troubles at all desirable. We had pine tops on the ground, & dry oak leaves over this for our bed. For supper & breakfast we boiled two pots of coffee & fried some pork each time. A clear stream of water was nearby & many such are crossed each day. Water is cold & frosty & the snow still lies scattered over the ground. Q.M. Sergt. Hawkes issued from 50 to 100 prs of boots & shoes to our regt. as several had great need of a new supply. Those were issued to him by Capt. Barnes Q.M. at Pine Bluff as an accommodation to our regt. because of past friendship. We started early & found the road much better than we expected for it was hard & firm where the mud was thick & deep last March & April when we were out. The pontoon train went ahead of all this morning except the Cav. that keep in the advance of all. Last night I finished reading the Psalms. I also washed my feet, which stand the march well. I have my portfolio with me & in it more than a quire of paper, Envelopes, Stamps, Gold Pen, Ink bottle &c. all of this makes me no more trouble & costs much less than Pipes & tobacco to others. On the way many hogs in lean order were butchered by the boys & loaded into the wagons. Co. B. has a dog called Calamity that catches the hogs & holds them. Shooting is forbidden, but shots are sometimes heard along the way. The A.M. was cloudy, in the P.M. the clouds grew thin & scattered & some sunshine brightened the scene. Waste & desolation prevail all the way from Little Rock & many houses inhabited last spring are now tenantless. Some of those went toward Texas, while others went among the Yankees for security. Co. B. was unable to get any bread as the Capt. was in town carousing. He followed us out yesterday several hours late & was unable to walk. Too Bad! We reached Mt. Elba about 3 ½ or 4 P.M. & went into the camp. All well.
Waiting at Mt. Elba
January 28th Saturday 1865
Yesterday we passed over the ground on which we met the rebel foe on the 30th of last March. Near the road is the grave of our comrade Thos. Greene. His last long resting place is under a white oak tree, but we did not see any mound nor anything else to mark the place. At a distance on low ground is a space covered with fence rails in a square & under those lie from 12 to 20 rebels who were killed in the fight. All this casts a sadness over the place which was diminished only by the lines of Cav. men that stood along the way as we marched past. Those said they had been in some two or three hours, & had time to have cooked something to eat & were to start across the river in an hour, or as soon as the pontoon bridge was laid. We saw a group of prisoners under guard & we soon heard the advance. Cav. had a little fight with some 50 to 75 rebels & captured 10, killed three & had one of our men killed, the rest of the party escaped. The bridge is made of frames that are made to form the framework of the boats with canvas covering thus forming a strong boat 16 to 20 feet long, 5 or 6 feet wide & 3 to 3½ feet deep. On those rest timbers which bear the floor or roadway. This makes a firm track & is the first of this kind of pontoon that I have seen. The usual activity prevailed in securing a supply of logs for fuel, as no rails were near us. We soon had log heaps to cook our food & to warm us. The evening was cloudy & threatened rain, I thought, & many thought yesterday that a change was taking place in the weather & we feared rain would follow the cold frosty spell of weather we lately had. Before we lay down the sky cleared off & stars were bright & there was quite a severe frost. Today is bright & breezy. The Cav. crossed last evening & came to a camp held by a small party, all of whom escaped but the officer in command. Foraging parties were sent out early with one wagon for each Regt.,That from our Regt, went out 5 or 6 miles across the river. They got hogs, poultry, &c. finding a great plenty of bacon, sweet potatoes, &c. The impression now is that we will not cross the river or go farther, but are very apt to return to Pine Bluff very soon. Lewis & I slept together & were warm & comfortable all night. Night before last I sold one of the four loaves of bread that I got at Pine Bluff to Alonzo Monroe, as he could not get any. I thought I could better do with three loaves than he could with none. The officers have tents along, so have the battery boys. Many have sore eyes from the smoke & exposure.
Waiting at Mt. Elba
January 29th Sunday 1865
In the army a person is liable to many vexations, for one can scarcely be entirely alone, for many relations exist by means of which ill-temper & unreasonableness are often shown & with many fault finding in regard to the share done by others & boasting of what themselves do is common. I think I have always done a full share of some kind of work in every mess of which I was ever a member & yet few are the instances in which someone did not complain. Day before yesterday evening I was so disgusted by what some in our mess said that I hastily declared I would give ½ all I was or would be worth to a substitute rather than be subjected to the abuse of others in the army. Yesterday we chopped old dead trees that stand in the fields after the Southern way of clearing land & we carried pieces from 6 to 10 feet long & as heavy as from 4 to 6 of us could bear a distance of 20 to 30 rods. Today was pleasanter so we did not require so much wood to burn, & we had some fence rails drawn to us in one of the baggage wagons. Since we left Little Rock several of our Co. have had attacks of sickness. Gelzer, Layhee, Chas. Findley, & Cameron have had chills, but they manage to keep along & do some duty. Yesterday C. Findley went on picket, but feeling sick last night he came in & I was sent out in his place. The night was the pleasantest & calmest since we started. I was out as vidette from 1 ½ to 2 ½ this A.M. & from 6 ½ to 7 ½. I had several hours sleep, but was waked sometimes to cough & raise phlegm & saliva. My cold is broken but is yet disagreeable & troublesome. I wish I had some liquoria root or extract as I think it would help me. While I write 4 ½ P.M. the Cav. are crossing to this side on the pontoon bridge. We may start back tomorrow. All wish we would do so for rations were wasted & stolen at first & now are quite scarce. The excitement in camp today was hunting for wild rose briar roots & making tobacco pipes of all sizes & shapes from them. Some prize those highly, & tell their intention to take or send the pipes home &c. I rejoice that no such trash troubles me. The day was clear & bright. Last evening I exchanged three hard tack for about ½ loaf of soft bread. Tack gets to be scarce, meat is plenty, fresh and salt. Our Co. is better supplied than any other in the Regt. I think this because of the bread we got at Pine Bluff. Coffee, sugar, &c. are scarce. I read to 17 Chap in Proverbs. I was on post at sunrise & we were relieved early. How I long for the Happy Days of Bliss to come when I will not be a soldier.
On the march back
January 30th Monday 1865
Last night we sat about our warm bright fire having arranged our blankets & beds of fire weeds dry & dry long grass so as to secure a warm sound sleep. Capt. told me that our Regt’l. Adj.—now A.A.A. Gen. A.S. Kendrick said to him & others of our officers that Gen. Dana had a force of 40 to 50,000 with which he started from Gains Landing on the West side of the Miss. River making his way as fast as possible to Shereveporte, La. This was sayso among officers, & it seems our feint coming here was only to divide the forces of the enemy. I very much doubt the advance of any such force as that stated, & in fact no army at all may be moving in that direction. We slept warm & soundly & were early on the alert & ready to march at daylight. Lieut. Glibert rode in the ambulance & I think will ride all the way back. Capt. is on picket in advance, so orderly leads the Co. I heard the total no. of prisoners taken is about 50 while we lost but one man killed. The roads are in fair order but not so good as on our way out. As we passed on the way we saw many buildings burning. Those had been fired by some of the soldiers that were ahead of ours. When we reached camp we heard a report was made to Act. Brig. Gen. Macky that the buildings were fired by our Regt. This was evidently a mistake. There was a two story frame building about four miles from Mt. Elba of which the first floor was used for a church, & the upper was used by the Free Masons. When we passed no smoke or fire was seen, but we heard this & the frame school house were both burned. All right-minded men will regret the destruction of buildings used for religious or school purposes, for this is directly contrary to our ruling professions. A member of Co. F told us that much of the land between Pine Bluff & Mt. Elba was yet government land. He said the soil would yield good crops if well cultivated, though we think it poor. McKee & Draper are to join the Co. on 8th inst.
On the March to Pine Bluff
January 31st Tuesday 1865
Last night Lewis & I had a good sleep in our warm, well made bed of leaves which, though not dry, still made a good substitute for a straw tick. Of two rubbers we made a good roof & the third one was under us. We were sheltered at the end by some pine boughs which kept the cold air off. The night was calm & dry, but we were all ready for a shower. Last night Donaldson wrote a requisition for 140 rations of soft bread & I had Capt. sign it this morning before starting. This is all for our Co. & I think this is better than other companies fare. I got three loaves for myself while each of the others get but two. I feel quite greedy for soft bread & great was my pleasure when I saw the large pile. We started early & found the way muddy & very laborious, but not so bad as last spring. We reached Pine Bluff at one P.M. & rested about ½ hour. We then marched through town, & out about two miles on the Little Rock road where we halted & went into camp just beyond J. Demby’s place. I believe his family occupy the house, but himself lives in Little Rock where he struggles along with much labor---I pledge--- in the editing & publication of a monthly journal of 16 to 24 pages-12 mo. It is called the Hone Kgis –or Egis--. The object of the editor seems to be to labor for the creation of a sound & healthy public sentiment, truly Union & Patriotic & favoring the best interests of all men. It is especially devoted to the wants & interests of the People & State of Arkansas. When we reached the picket line, Donaldson went to the post bakery, & secured our bread just in time, for others were near in his rear on a similar errand. I tried to get a pass to go from camp to town but failed, much to my satisfaction when the bread came. The 62nd did all the picketing &c while the 126 & 106 were absent with us. I tried to buy a loaf of bread from one of the pickets for 25cts, but failed as they complain of short rations. Day was pleasant, but cloudy. I am very well.
General Remarks for January
The first month of this strange new year is
gone & still victory continues to cheer all loyal hearts, & to make
more certain the approach of long-desired lovely Peace. How glad will it be to welcome Her to
our land in such a way that She may abide with us forever!! How gay & lovely are all the graces
& heavenly beauties that form Her harmonious train: for there are Purity & Joy,
Industry & Intelligence, Plenty to all the deserving, domestic security
& all the bliss that our state in this life allows. During all the fall & winter,
victories have followed in rapid succession, & all to our armies &
fleets. West of the Miss. was the
disastrous defeat that Price met within Mo., the Eastern Campaign gave us Ft’s.
Gains & Morgan at Mobile. The
fall of Atlanta, & Sherman’s
victorious march through to the sea coast, & the capture of Savannah, &
the surrounding defences, Thomas’ masterly defeat of the fiery boastful Hood,
& the great capture made of the guns & equipments of the rebel
foe. Last but not least comes the
capture of Ft. Fisher which commands the entrence of Cape Fear River on which
Wilmington stands; with from 50 to
75 cannon & from 1500 to 2500 prisoners. This took place on the 15th inst. Rear Admiral David D. Porter commanded
the Fleet & Brev.
Maj. Gen. Alfred H. Terry com. the land forces. Thus happily was our late defeat suddenly turned into
victory, ere people had ceased to wonder at the cause. Maj. Gen. Ord commands
the Army of the James, lately com. by Maj. Gen. B. Butler. The latter pub[lished] a farewell
address to the army in which he made statements derogatory to the Government,
& very much against his past bright name.
What glad good news come to me from home, for there health & peace & plenty abide; & life is still spared to all my relatives & to my Old Parents.
The prospect brightens for the triumph of Union & Freedom in all our land. I expect Peace the present year.
last modified: 4/21/2018