Garth Hagerman Photo/Graphics

Civil War Journal of Samuel Oliver Bereman, page 13

In the 4th Iowa Cavalry
January 1, 1865s.o. bereman

January 1st 1865

On board the Steamer "Tycoon" enroute from Memphis Tenn. to Louisville Ky. I have lost my journal from last march until the present time so that I will have to write from memory the events which have transpired since that time. We were there at home on Veteran furlough where we enjoyed ourselves to the fullest extent - not withstanding the weather which was very disagreable as winter was just breaking up & it was very muddy & rainy nearly all the time we remained there. Our friends the citizens gave us a public dinner & quite made lions of us. But "time and tide wait for no man" - not even a soldier.

Our thirty days rolled around & we bid adieu to home and friends and took the war-path again. I must admit that I was more cast down upon leaving home this tirne than ever in my life before. The uncertainties of war were before us - three long years - and we knew something of what was expected of Veteran soldiers. However this was of short duration, for as soon as we were fairly in the field again things went on as lively as of old. I have been promoted to Sergt. since my reenlistment - perhaps that may have had something to do with reviving the spirits - who Knows?

Upon leaving home we proceeded to Davenport where we rendesvoused two days untill all the Regt, arrived, when we started down the Old "Father of Waters" for the "Seat of war". Nothing of interest transpired on the way down. We left those of the Regt, who did not reenlist & the recruits at Vicksburg & we expected to rejoin them but when we arrived at Memphis Tenn. we received orders to disembark which we did & went into camp about a mile & a half north east of the city - where we were joined by the detatchment at Vicksburg soon after. Memphis by the way is a most beautiful place abounding in grand residences & shrubbery of all kinds & is regularly laid out. We lay at this place all summer our time employed in picketing and scouting & on several occasions in company with infty. having some very interesting fights with the rebels, the most important of which I will try and enumerate.

We had made several unimportant expeditions into the interior of the State as also into Miss. During one of which, while nearly all of our forces were out Gen. Forrest of Ft. Pillow notoriety got in our rear & dashed into Memphis with a force of perhaps a thousand Cavalry. We were out-generaled. We who were on the expedition thought that we had Forrest in our front & were about to annihilate him. Gen. Wasburn commanding at Memphis thought the same. But one morning at daybreak he surprised the pickets & charged into the city. The Gen. & Staff went to the Gayrose House Washburn's Hd. Qrs. and registered their names, stole some of Gen. Washburn's clothes (he had fled to the fort which is convenient to the Hotel.) & charged around town until our forces gathered up & drove them out of the place.

A short time after this another expedition was sent out under command of Gen. Sturgis consisting of about 8,ooo infantry & cavalry & 22 pieces of artillery & nearly 200 wagons with supplies. I suppose there has not been since the war began a greater blunder than was made by this same Sturgis, Our Brigade of Cavalry were in front & coming upon a strong force of the enemy in good position whom we could not drive sent word to that effect to Sturgis asking for reenforcements, About a mile or so in our rear was a deep creek unfordable & very miry with only one bridge to cross on. The inftry. & train were rushed across this bridge before a line of battle was formed. Indeed there were I believe never more than one or two regts, in line at one time besides the Cav. which having "double quicked". The most of our dead & wounded were within or near our first line. Where they were taken care of they were going to bring the rebel dead but were fired upon by the rebs. when Gen, Smith sent word to "let them rot." It was very hot - August in Miss. We lay on our arms that night I passed by our field Hospital & saw quite a respectable pile of amputated arms & legs - although from our protected position, acting on the defensive & the rebels having to charge across open fields we did not lose one fourth the number of men that they did.

The next morning we (the cav. Brig.) were sent out in front to reconnoiter, We formed line in front of the Infty. who were in position behind their breastworks and advanced, We marched right over the battlefield of yesterday. I feel my inadequacy to describe the scene. Dead men strewed the ground in every direction in places they were litterally piled up. I saw as many as six on a square rod. And such horrible looking corpses. I never want to see again! As I said it was very hot, and although they had lain there only twenty four hours - yet they were so swolen, so horribly black, that it was difficult to conceive that they had ever been human beings. The fact of tneir being so black & swolen, some of them were actually as large as mules & resembled them some, was accounted for by our surgeons, who said they had been given whiskey with powder in it! - given by their demon leader Forrest to make demons of them! One need not stretch the imagination much to think they had been called from Plutonian regions for some infernal deed.

We came to the rebels within a mile, who seeing only cavalry, no doubt thought that we were sent out to cover the retreat & that our infantry had started back. After exchanging a few shots with them we began to fall back as we had orders to do and they began to follow up - just what we wanted. We fell back gradually - taking advantage of the ground to give them a volley occasionally. They began to press us more closely - began to rush up their artillery into position, we were near our reserve line of infantry - they opened their lines, we passed through, they closed again and another battle was fought on the same ground as the day before. A part of our regt. was dismounted and fought with the infantry. The rebels charged up to our lines but were driven back with terrible slaughter.

It did not last so long as the previous days fight - they were a little sobered. They withdrew before noon, again leaving us in possession of the field. We were out of provisions - we did not have so much train as Sturgis. Our wounded needed caring for better than they could be there. In the afternoon we started back to Memphis.

The rebels within an hour or so found that we had gone & true to their nature commenced to follow us up, By coming a byroad thus cutting off some distance they soon overtook us. Our regt. brought up the rear - as usual on a retreat. They commenced firing on our rear. Each co. in turn acted as rear guard. Taking advantage of the ground we would wait till they came within range, fire a volley or two into them & then fall back pass all the other companys and take another position facing the rear. Thus we kept them from hurrying us, But we soon came up with the command, who had gone in to camp at Four-mile creek. They were not expecting the rebels to follow us - thinking they had been to badly whipped.They had gone into camp & were cooking supper. It became necessary for us to hold the rebels - it would not do for them to come into our camp. As soon as we stopped retreating the rebels began to press us harder. More of them coming up we had more to contend with. We heard artillery running up in to line. "Prepare to fight on foot" came the order. When we hear that order we know we have to fight. Cavalry dismounted, cannot retreat.

Three-fourths of the men dismount, the other one fourth lead the horses to the rear. We quickly formed in "the ranks of war." Co. K's position was in the road - or across it rather. We were on the side of the hill looking up it. The rebels were forming on the top of the hill - looking down it. "Some one had blundered". We should have stopped on the hill, but did not know that our camp was so close at hand. There was a rail fence on one side of us, timber beyond We had no protection. Rebel artillery was seen coming up in to position in the road two hundred yds. from us.

Presence of mind is a jewel. Lieut. Vanorsdol gave orders to pull down the fence & make a barricade of it across the road. It was done almost as soon as said. The rails were laid in piles, end to end across the road. They were not high but we could lay behind them. They saved our lines. The firing was terrific. The range was short - the artillery was playing on our rail pile with grape & canister. It was too low for them - but they knocked off the top rails. Our ammunition was giving out - the enemy seeing our firing diminish were advancing. Col. Winslow told us to hold our positions five minutes & our infantry would be there. "Reinforcements". "They are coming." So were the rebels. They met at our rail pile.

A terrible fight ensued. Dead rebels were found laying across our barricade. Gen. Mawer rode along the line brandishing his sabre crying - "Iowa - Illinois - Ohio! remember Guntown - remember your homes - forward!" Guntown was the place of Sturgis defeat. There was a creek in our rear where all our train of wagons & ambulances with the wounded were. "Charge!" The Inftry charged up the hill carrying all before them. The rebels were completely routed, their artillery captured. We went into camp in peace we were troubled no more on our way back to Memphis.

Nearly a hundred rebels were left in front of our breastwork, which was filled with balls. We had only three or four men wounded in the co. One Church Rinant lost a foot - another Fred Tilman a finger The enemy lost perhaps more men in killed and wounded that we did at Guntown - though not so many prisoners. Other scouts were sent out from Memphis after this, but could never get another fight out of the rebs. Some times they would attack a picket post, or small squad of patrols, but on the approach of any force would always flee. Patrols were sent out every day eight or ten miles into the country. This was another "blunder". Only 25 men were sent out. They were sent every day - they went just so far & turned & came back. The rebels knew all about it. It was easy to prepare an ambuscade. Co. "A" of our regt was out on patrol. A regt of rebels were laying in ambush. Co. A. was cut off, surrounded - almost annihilated. Capt. Huff commanding the co. was dishonorably dismissed from service. Was he to blame? No.

About this time Gen. Price was commencing his raid into Mo. He was then near Little Rock Ark. on the 3rd of Sept. Our Brig of Cav. was ordered to march. We were ordered to leave our sabers at camp. (About one third of the regt. were to remain). We crossed the Miss. at Memphis and marched across the country towards Little Rock. We stopped at Brownsville, twenty five miles from Little Rock where we were Joined by a Div. of Inftry. under Gen. Mower - "fighting Joe" as we call him. We remained at this place a week waiting for our outfit. It was the meanest camping ground I ever saw. The land is very swampy - we had to use water that was not fit for a decent hog to wallow in.

Making strong coffee of it would not change the color at all. I should not mind it for a day or so - provided we were on the march & had an appetite - but laying in camp for a week or more on such diet was enough to make one sick - and it did. We sent back to Memphis six men from our co. alone who had got sick since we came there. I was sick myself, but would not go back. Gen. Price had passed on by here going north.

About the 18th of Sept. we started on his trail. It was cold at starting, but the rebels were taking their time so we soon began to gain on them. We crossed Little Red River at Searcy - our old camping ground in /62. We camped almost on the same ground where we had been camped then. I could not help comparing ourselves now with what we were then . How green we were then - How wise now.

While we were camped here 2 years ago one of the boys in the regt. had caught a young fawn and being tenderhearted gave it to a family who lived near our camp. The same fawn was there yet when we came along this time, but it had got to be quite a deer. Some of the boys in the same co. of the one who caught it then - caught again & coolly killed it, thinking no doubt that they had some claim to it. "Such is war."

Gen. Mower commanded the expedition, we were marching very hard for the Inftry although it was not hard for us. But we were getting into the Ozark Mountains. The mens shoes wore out - many of them were barefoot. We were nearly out of rations We had to leave the trail and strike for the Miss River - our nearest port. The weather was getting cold - October.

About this time Price attacked. Pilot Knob & Iron Mountain. We were on half rations, the country afforded nothing at all. Yes we found a turnip patch one day. It was well - we had nothing else that day. We reached the river at Cape Gerardo where some troops were stationed - drew some rations & clothing - stayed one day - the only rest we had had since leaving Brownsville. We then got on board transports & went to St. Louis & disembarked and went out to Benton Barreks. We laid here one day to get our horses shod. They needed it badly enough as coming through the Ozark Mountains they were nearly all more or less barefoot. We then started on the march towards Jefferson City - the Infty. going up the Mo. River by boats.

Gen. Price was moving - it was thought on Jefferson City. He had thus far had his own way living off the country - conscripting men - stealing horses - all his forces between (about 20,000) were mounted. On the way up we came across some militia men who had "insubordinated", They had enlisted for thirty days, their time was not quite out but would be in a short time, besides they were "State Militia" - & would not go out of their own State. Also some of them stated that they "had'nt had any meat for two days"! Of course we sympathised with the poor fellows - but it was a case of necessity - we wanted their services. Troops were scarce in that part of the country. Our regt. was detailed to "bring them to time." We loaded our carbines & surrounded them. Some of them had hid in the brush but we drove them all up together & cocked our guns. They were asked if they would take up their arms, some of them hesitated but they saw it was of no use so they gave up, and went with us.

It was getting cold We had been riding one day across a long prairie, It was a very cold windy disagreeable day, We had had no water for our horse all day, but in the middle of the afternoon we came to a creek fringed with a little timber. We fell out of ranks to water our horses, The creek had been up but was not very deep then except in holes - such as there are in all creeks.

I with several others had gone a little way up the creek to get a cleaner place to water. We came to quite a wide place & tolerably accessible & rode in. The banks were miry. My horse began to sink I tried to turn him out when he f1oundered around & at last fell in the water. Of course I fell in too for in his struggles my horse had broken the saddle girth & the saddle came off. The horse went out on the other side of the stream. Luckily one end of the halter was tied to the saddle, so that it was dragged out by the horse. But very unluckily my carbine was not tied to my saddle & so it dropped in the creek. Aside from being without a gun in close proximity to the game - I did not like to pay $25.00 for lossing it.

I crossed the stream in a narrow place & secured my horse. I was certainly in a bad plight to say the least. My blanket was soaked in water so were all my hardtack (five days rations) my saddle girth broken - my carbine some where in the bottom of the creek - myself already wet above the knees. The water was almost freezing. I did not like to lose my gun - I did not like to wet my clothes any more.

I pulled off my uniform clothes! Then "accoutened as I was (not) I plunged in "&c." Oh! how cold it was. It makes me shiver to think of it. But I "stemmed it with heart of controversy." "But ere I reached the point proposed" it came to my neck. Oh how cold! Ugh! I waded around until I felt something with my foot - I could not stoop down so I raised it with my foot till I could reach one end of it with my hand I grasped it. It was my gun - my beloved long lost carbine. I waded ashore my teeth chattering like an monkey. (Oh how cold it was!) I put on my uniform clothes - fixed my saddle girth - gave my horse to a comrade to lead & ran for a mile or two to keep from freezing.

I was awful cold but was happy - I had lost all my grub - my blankets were wet - but I had found my gun - my own carbine - my Spencer Carbine - my seven shooting carbine which was lost in the creek.

We were joined by some other cavalry before we got to Jefferson City. Major Gen. Pleasanton commanded the whole soon after Gen. Curtis was seen once or twice. The Infty never overtook us.

Gen. Price did not deem it best to take Jefferson City, although he passed in sight of it, We over took his rear between there & Lexington. At Independence we had a fight with a part of his force & captured several pieces of artillery. He had started towards Kansas City

was met by Gen. Blunt who had a small command of Kansas Militia & some regular troops. Blunt had'nt enough men to hold Price - but by felling trees across the road at different places (Blue River on a steep & rocky hill) he made a determined stand, we could hear them fighting in front while we were attacking in the rear, We thought we had "old Dap" but twas not so. Blunt gave way & Price moved on, we followed till ten oclock at night - fighting in the dark, (Several rebs were killed, several of our men wounded.) I slept within ten feet of a dead rebel. We held our horses by the bridle with out unsaddling &slept "on our arms".

Next morning we found Price had taken possession of Gen. Blunts barricade of trees at Blue River and kept us in check for a while. Some of the Militia were ordered to charge the rebels but they refused. Col. Winslow of my regt. commanding the Brig. sent for the "4th Iowa". The 3rd Battallion was dismounted & charged across the creek & up the hill & took the position driving the rebels back but losing nearly a dozzen men killed & wounded. Col. Winslow was wounded badly in the leg - (He has been lame with a fever sore on his leg - the same one in which he wounded, & had to ride in an ambulance until the fight commenced, when he mounted his horse) but did not leave the field till the rebels were all driven off.

Gen. Blunt was still in advance of Price & thinking that he was going to Kansas City turned in that direction to impede the rebels progress, but Price not liking to be between fires slipped out & turned southward on the prairie in the edge of Kansas. In the afternoon a part of our Brigade made a splendid charge on the open prairie, but co. "K" being detatched to support a battery I was not in it. Price was now going south at full speed.

The next day we lost a good part of by stopping to draw rations & went for more of our force to come up so that the rebels got the start of us. However we started after them about ten oclock & marched rapidly all day without stopping a moment - a good part of the time on the trot. We did not even stop when night came but marched all night - or until daybreak, when we over took the enemy.

They were camped on the Marias-de-Cygne creek. There was a high bluff ran along the creek on which a line of their pickets were stationed. It was drizzling rain & was quite dark yet. Skirmishes were sent out & we could mark their advance by the flash of their guns which reminded one of fireflies in the dark. It was thought inexpedient to attack them before daylight so that we had a rest of nearly an hour which we improved by laying down on the ground & going to sleep - still holding our horses. I was nearly played out. I had been unwell since leaving Brownsville Ark. & what with hard marching - loss of sleep (we had been on picket the night before this) & my ducking in that unknown creek, was hardly able to ride.

At daylight our Brigade being in the advance were ordered to take the fights. We were dismounted & took the position with a severe skirmish, but with slight loss, captured a piece of artillery, also a sutters wagon which was loaded with canned fruit confectionery & such things. I had not eaten anything for a day or two - I got a can of oyesters here & as we were told that we would be relieved for the present while some other troops took the advance, we thought we would make some coffee & "take some thing," but we had hardly got a fire kindled before "50 Horse" sounded & swallowing a raw oyster or two we started.

We went on the gallop for about five miles There were only two brigades of us here. We had pressed the rebels so close that they had to make a stand - save their train of wagons. Gen. Marmaduke & Cabell with their two Divisions were drawn up in line right on the open prairie close to a small creek - a branch of the Osage I think.

They had ten pieces of artillery which they opened on us before we got within range of muskets. They were all mounted. The formed a line about a quarter of a mile from their line and then "Charge!" was heard. It was repeated by field & line officers and then we started on the gallop. We had orders not to fire until within close range Every one could see that there could be no drawn battle there. There was no skulking, no hiding behind trees. Every movement - every man could be seen. The rebels had more than twice our number - besides the artillery of which we had none with us there. But we were better armed than them.

Commenced firing before we had got within good range, but we never faltered - kept on like an avalanche when within two hundred yards of them we opened on them with our Spencer carbins & revolvers. Every man had a dozzen shots without reloading. It must be terrifying to see 4 or 5 thousand horsemen coming with almost the speed of the wind yelling firing rushing like a tempest.

Before we had reached their line they began to break (melt away) - a gap here - another there - yonder on the left the line is bent back - now they give way all along the line & begin to run - attempt to get their guns away, they are shot down, we are within their line, we mingle, they rush pell mell, like a drove of cattle across the creek & away, away across the prairie - we follow on until our horses tired and jaded can run no farther - they do not mind the spur. Oh! "a kingdom" for a fresh horse! Tis too bad to see so many of them slipping away from us & to have no power to hinder them, and yet 1000 of them are behind us killed wounded & prisoners, among the latter both the Division commanders - Gen. Marmaduke & Cabell, all their artillery is taken.

It was a glorious fight. Major Pierce commanding the regt. is badly wounded (in the foot) - but he covered himself with glory & his saber with blood. (Our loss in the regt. is less than 50. A Lieut. in co F. killed, & perhaps twenty in the regt. killed & wounded.) After halting for an hour to breathe our horses & collect our scattered forces we started on after the fleeing rebels. We soon came in sight of them. It was now after noon.

The rebels were marching in several columns with their wagon trains in front of them - although in the hurry a good many wagons were abandoned, others were lightened of their load, Skillets, camp kettles, pans, buckets, and almost every conceivable article of camp equipage was strewn along the road, and had it not been for the open level prairie which allowed them to go so many abreast they had not got off so well. We had to make another run of several miles to come up with them

They saw us coming & formed their lines. This time they had their whole available force drawn up. We could see their whole command. They were drawn up in those lines, one behind another, & behind this was their wagons which kept moving on & a lot of stragglers - perhaps some of them wounded, sick, or scared. They had no artillery this time but several times the number of men that they had in the fore noon. We had less than in the other fight. We formed in line & charged them without coming to a halt. The first line was driven back like chaff before the wind. It was scattered & seemed swallowed up by the second. Our line now was very broken & we were in no shape to attack a fresh line of the enemy, but we kept advancing.

Their line being strengthened began to advance upon us. Ours began waves & to fall back. Some thing must be done. Many an anxious eye looked back for help but could see none For miles the beautiful undulating prairie, specked with stragglers with slow horses met the view but no help. We must help ourselves. It is easier to tell a good officer in the field than in the camp. "Fall in line men - fall in." came the order. A new line was beginning to be formed Every man fell in without regard to his own co. The line was formed and then we waited. The rebels came to a halt, but were not inclined to give way, on the contrary their line was being lengthed out - already much longer than ours. Squadrons were being attached to each flank, and at the same time advancing farther than their center. So that their line was almost a semicircle, while we were only the diamater whose either end did not touch the circle, we were half surrounded.

The advantage of Spencer Carbines is that they are capable of being fired very rapidly. The disadvantage is that you soon get out of amunition. We were nearly out. We had been firing more or less all day without being supplied at all. Some had half a dozzen rounds others none. It was known that we were out when those who had none began to try to borrow of their comrades. There was none to lend. A messenger was sent to the rear after some but it was no doubt miles & miles away. The rebels began to advance again. (they were now within long musket range and began to fire.) We did not return the fire. Our orders were that if they made a charge on us that we must meet them half-way. "We are almost out of amunition." to the Gen. Sanborne I think it was. ''Where are your sabers." "We were ordered to leave them in camp." "Club your guns then." some one shouted. " Artillery?" Where? "Reinforcements " Yes - looking back we could see our battery coming up on the gallop & behind it some more cavalry! We are saved!

The rebels stop advancing. Our artillery comes up & takes position behind us. Fortunately we are on lower ground, so they unlimber & commence firing over our heads We could see the shells after they passed, as they were going directly from us, like a black spot passing through the air, could see them burst in the rebel ranks - see men fall - horses rear & plunge. Their line began to give way - not in confusion, or flight - but retired regularly & in good order.

We followed them but did not risk another charge (attack them again). The sun was going down. They retired in four columns. Night shut them out of our view. Oh but it was grand sight - (sublime!) Ten thousand men in battle array, on the open plain their arms glittering in the declining sun, such a sight is not seen often in ones life. I did not regret it, though I was unable to unsaddle my horse. I had kept up from excitement, now it was gone my strength was gone.

We bivouaced on the prairie that night without fire or fool, holding our horses by the bridle & sleeping before them, on the ground. The next morning we started on south, I had my horse saddled and tried to ride, but had to get in to an ambulance. We camped at Ft. Scott about five miles from where we had camped the night before & lay there all day.

The next day the regt with the rest of the command went on after Price, but I being unable to ride was left at the Hospital which was so crowed that they had to put up tents to accommodate all the wounded who were being brought in.

The regt with the other can [on the other hand (?)] followed Price on down through Ark. & the Indian Territory until he crossed the Red Ark. river but did not have any more fighting after they left Ft. Scott. They saw some very hard times - the weather was very cold it snowed on them several times, they were out of rations & there was nothing in the country, their horses were broken down - many of them had to walk.

They stopped to rest one day & then started back to St. Louis. Arriving at Rolla their horses being worn out they took the cars to St. Louis where they arrived the last of November, having marched three thousand miles since leaving Memphis Tenn. 3 mos. before with only three days rest since leaving Brownsville Ark. They stayed at St. Louis about two weeks when they went to Louisville Ky.

Well I fared well enough in the Hospital, but dislike that kind of a life. It is very dull to say the least of it. I soon began to get better and to run around a little. I bought Scotts "Lady of the Lake" & read it. The Presidential election passed off while here - Abe Lincoln was elected. That helped me a great deal.

Within about three weeks with thirty other wounded & convalescents of whom I had charge, we started for our regts. There was an empty provision train of Gov. wagons on their return trip from Ft. Scott to Ft. Leaven-worth in which we took passage. Some of the number were added after I had drawn rations so that by the time we got to Lawrence, we were nearly out. I tried to draw some there but could not as they had none themselves. We were compelled to kill a hog or sheep occasionally.

We arrived at Ft. Leavenworth without any accident, except that one of the men deserted, & were put in to the attachees camp, a dirty cold miserable place. We were obliged to stay here several days before we could get transportation & then had to walk up the Mo. River to Weston, as boats could not run on account of the ice. We got on the train here & went to St. Joe. where we changed cars & got on to the Hannibal & St Joe R.R. (the roughest road in the world, by the way) went as far as Macon & changed cars again & to the Central Mo. Road, bound for St. Louis, crossed the Mo. River at St. Charles on a ferry-boat while we yet remained in the cars - the cars running on to the boat.) Got to St. Louis about 11 oclock at night without money & without friends, tried to get to sleep in the Depot but were not allowed to, so not knowing where to go, we lay down on the side walk near the Depot & until morning when we found a "soldiers home" where we got a splendid breakfast - for soldiers - & felt good.

I then reported to Hd. Qrs. for transportation, & were sent to Schofield Barracks until it could be got. This was the most outlandish place I had ever been in. It was more like a prison - the windows were grated with iron, the doors were locked - we had a small yard with a high wall round it was all the liberty we had, there was not even a straw to sleep on, & the cups were chained to the table - to keep us from steeling them I suppose - some thought it was to keep from loosing them in case we should swallow them. They called us stragglers & it made us mad.

It was here that I lost my Journal - I was lucky in not loosing my life. After being confined here for two or three days we started down the river to our regts.

Nothing of great interest transpired on the way down, except one night while we were laying up on account of blusting weather, some of the boys found a barrel of whiskey in an out house on shore & carried it on board - not the barrel but the wiskey - Canteens, cups, coffee pots, anything that would hold it was put in requisition. Consequently they were nearly all drunk. Another night (we were sleeping on the guards - not being allowed to sleep on the cabin floor) I over heard some substitutes who were on their way to join their regts talking about the hard life of a soldier. One of them had received $700.00 for acting as Substitute, & this was his first experience. He said "If I were out of this no man's $700.00 would get me in again!" He thought he was seeing hard service.

We arrived at Memphis (about) the 3rd of Dec & went out to our old camp where we found those of the regt. who had been left there. I was gone just three months - quite a long scout. They were engaged in building Barracks, as it was thought that we would winter there. But they were soon abandoned as we learned that we were going to leave soon.

Ford Nichols got a box of "good things" from home. He was in my mess. An expedition was sent out from Memphis which took all the availible men of the regt. They had gone into Miss. to harass old Hood on his retreat from Nashville - where he got so badly used up. I did not go with them. Bro. Billy was mustered out here on account of expiration of term of service, as also were all the soldiers who did not reenlist as Veterans. But we are a long while getting to Louisville, although we started less than a week ago. The weather has been quite cold a disagreeable coming up the river. We came up the Miss. to Cairo & from there up the Ohio. Today is the 1st day of the year & also the first day of the week. The day broke very foggy & dark but cleared up towards noon nice & bright. I take it as a good omen.

<PREVIOUS      NEXT>