Civil War Journal of Samuel Oliver Bereman, page 3
In the 4th Iowa Cavalry
April 7-May 15, 1863
Col. Swan had been home. He returned today bringing with him 100 more new horses, pretty well supld.
Mustered for pay today. We have Just finished some new quarters and moved into them. Were too close together & moved out to get more room. Our present quarters are made of poplar logs covered with clapboards & are in two rows each co. presenting quite a military appearance.
I was on patrol guard last night. Had to ride nearly all night back and forth between the picket posts, which were about three miles apart. Sometimes I would pass through some thickly wooded hill where every thing was as dark and still as death. Then again I would pass over high upland where the dismal hooting of the owl contrasted strangely with the mournful cry of the whipporwile. Then amidst the pleasant song of the musquitoes I would listen intently for the stiring notes of the rebel shotguns. I got badly wounded in the mouth this morning by a horse getting loose with a pole to his halter. Had to get the Surgeon to sew the gash up in my lip. I can hardly talk or eat. Lieut. Gardner started home today on furlough.
We were paid off today for 4 months, got $52.00. Sent $30.00 home by express. Were paid up to the first of March. Some talk of us leaving here soon. I wish we would. I'm tired of this place.
Received marching orders today. Are to leave for down river on the first transports. It is supposed we are going to Vicksburg - if we can get there. Bored up our overcoats and expressed them home Just a year & a half since I enlisted - so my time is just half out.
Went down to the river this morning & got aboard boats. Cos "C'.' ''I." & "K." are on the "Omaha". Started down at 1 oclock - Ho' for Vicksburg! Everybody are in good spirits.
Sanded at Millikens Bend at two oclock. It is about 20 miles above Vicksburg. Went out half a mile and camped in Millikens orchard. It is a very fine plantation & dwelling house but uncle Sams boys will soon take the polish off it. There is quite an army here and have been here some time. Apart of it have gone by a circuitous rout to a point below Vicksburg where it is intended to cross the river. We are in Louisiana now.
Started on the march around to Grand Gulf - the point below where we intend to cross the river. On marched 14 miles - camped two miles beyond the town of Ritchmond. We laid at the Bend three days, during which time the regt. went on a scout up the river. I started with them, but got sick and came back the second day. Saw some very beautiful and rich country.
Camped tonight on lake St. Joseph - a small crescent shaped lake about 20 miles long - but only two or three wide. It is a very beautiful and rich country about here. There are some of the finest dwelling houses along the lake that I ever saw. Of course they all (or have been - rich slave holders. But generaly abs greatulate when they hear of _ coming. We are camped on one Col. Bowies plantation. It has been almost a palace. Magnificent gardens of evergreens, flowers - shrubbing - fountains & every thing that money could buy or labor accomplish was here profusely lavashed. The house was burned by our soldiers. There remained an old greyheaded couple of slaves - too old to follow the army. They told us something of their master who had fled at our approach. They told us the Col. had said he meant to make his place as near like heaven as possible - for he never expected to get there'
Got to the crossing of the river opposite Grand Gulf. Saw the 25th Iowa. Several of our Gun Boats & also Transports have ran the blockade at Vicksburg & are on hand to help us cross. Crossed the Miss. in the evening, went 4 miles & camped. There has been quite a fight at the landing on this side a few days ago. The enemy had considerable works & several big guns planted, but they couldnt stand the Gunboats.
Lay in camp all day yesterday. Today we marched about 30 miles in a N.E. direction and camped at Cayuga P.O. within three miles of the advance of our army. It seems to be the policy to come around in rear of Vicksburg and lay siege to it.
We are camped tonight a mile in advance of the center Column of Grants army at Auburn. We came very near being cut off today by several regis. of Rebs & a battery. They came up behind us on a by-road as we were in the advance but just as they struck the main road, Gen. Steels Division arrived & so they got back. Ours is the only regt. of Cav.* with the army so we will have the advance all to ourselves.
* With the exception of a Battallion of the 6th Mo. "Bonus Battallion".
Started on this morning, & went three miles when we came to Fourteen mile creek. Found the bridge burned and about 700 rebs on the other side in the wood. We formed in line and had quite a skirmish with them - losing one man killed & three wounded. Major Winslow had his horse shot under him. After we had routed them, three cos. of us were sent back to destroy a ferry across Black River. The ferry is on a road leading from Vicksburg in to the road the army is on. It is very warm and dusty.
Went on down to the ferry this morning and had a small skirmish with the rebels across the river. Found no ferry boat so we started back. Marched 12 miles and camped with the 25th Iowa. Went down to see the boys in that Regt & they gave us som hard tack, very acceptable as we were out.
Raining this morning. Marched 18 miles to Raymond where the advance had a fight with the enemy. We lost 100 men killed and wounded. The rebels had 300 killed and wounded & 300 taken prisoners. Camped in the fair ground.
Got to Jackson today about noon & camped in a beautiful grove in the suburbs of the city. The advance had another fight here yesterday. Dont know how many lost on either side. The left wing of the army left us at Raymond and are now at Clinton between here and Vicksburg. We are getting scarce of something to eat. We drew three days rations at Grand Gulf which is all we have had since crossing the river. The co. drew one hard tack to the man today - but I was away & didnt get mine. This is one of the most beautiful cities I have seen in the South.