Civil War Journal of Samuel Oliver Bereman, page 5
In the 4th Iowa Cavalry
June 1-June 15, 1863
Got the wounded boys on to the Hospital Boat "City of Memphis". They are doing very well. The boat leaves this evening for up river. We returned to our old camp, but found they had moved three miles towards Haines Bluff, where we arrived at one oclock. The part of the regt. that was out on the expedition had not returned yet.
Started towards sundown to join the rest of the regt. which we found camped 4 miles beyond the Bluff got here about 11 oclock at night. The regt. received new carbines today - the Union Rifle. Got twenty to the co. They will help us out considerable, as we had no guns at all before, but we hav'nt half enough yet.
Started out at three P.M. towards Mechanicksburg and traveled till 10 oclock at night. It is the hottest weather of the season, almost unendurable. But there is "no rest for the Soldier". Will. Atwood was killed today accidentally. My horse had strayed away & I asked Will if I could have his to go in search of him. I had just left his side when I heard the report of a pistol, and a cry of agony behind me. On turning I saw Atwood spring to his feet from the ground to which he had fallen - crying "Oh! I am wounded - I am killed - I am shot clear through - Lieut. pray for me-" and sank into Lieut. Hart's arms and never spoke again. He was shot clear through the middle of the breast, & died in a very short time. "In one short hour that pretty harmless boy was slain". It is hard to see ones comrades die in battle - but it seems that in some measure we are rewarded by a consciousness of duty performed, but it seems so much harder to see them fall by the hand of a dear friend. It seems so utterly wasted. Who can imagine the feelings of Stewart Terry, the one whose unlucky pistol made the fatal mistake? I heard him say, "Oh! I had ten times rather it had been me." We dug him a grave upon a high solitary mound, and laid him to rest. He was one of the bravest and best loved soldiers in the co.
"He sleeps in the far Sunny Southland
Our soldier boy fearless and brave
He faithfully fought 'neath our banner
The life of the nation to save."
Started on early. Arrived at Mechanickburg at 3 oclock P M. where we had a skirmish with some rebs. & chased them five miles on the gallop, came back to within two miles of town & camped. Were Joined by a Brigade of Infty & Artillery.
June 6th 1863
Lay in camp all day yesterday. Today the whole force started back - the 1st Battallion of our regt. in the advance. Marched 15 miles very hot.
Went on to Roache's Plantation where we were before starting out. In the afternoon late cos. C. & K. went out to Old Mr. Grant's - about 9 miles. Got back after night. Awful hot & dusty.
Laid by till nearly sundown, when the First Battallion were ordered to our old camp at Allens plantation. Went eight miles and were ordered back, got to camp at midnight.
Started out at noon and marched two miles south of Haines Bluff where we found Col. Swan with the 4th Battallion & went into camp.
Rained nearly all day. The regt. was ordered out on a one days scout. I didnt go - was not feeling very well. Went out and gathered a lot of blackberries in the P.M. By the way this is one of the greatest countries for blackberries I ever saw.
Went out with the regt. six miles & blockaded the road by felling trees across it. This is effectually done by choosing a defile or a steep ridge and as the timber is very thick, the trees are cut so as to fall across each other, and an army cannot pass without removing the obstruction. It is reported that Gen. Johnson[sic] with a large force of rebels are coming in from the rear to the rescue of their besieged friends. When we returned found our camp moved about a mile south.
Our Co. was ordered out on picket last night at 10 o'clock. Came in this morning and lay in camp all day.
June 13th 1863
Started out this morning before daylight and went out about five miles and tried to capture a rebel spy, but he "smelt a rat" and left the vicinity. Moved our camp a mile and a half north, we are now camped on Snyder's Bluff.
Layed in camp all day. Have'nt beard any firing at Vicksburg for several days. Heard that the enemy had a flag of truce up.
Our Co. was on patrol guard last night, rode all night without stopping. Went out about twelve miles and returned. Just at daylight as we were returning, Mat. Rofs and I who were in the rear guard, stoped at a farm house to get a skillet to cook bread in. The folks were not up yet - but so much the better for that. Mat. held my horse and kept guard while I "went for it." The kitchen was a little detatched from the main building. I found the door fast but succeeded in getting it opened just as the dogs - about half a dozzen came at me. I drew my revolver to defend myself & get inside the door when they left me "alone in my glory". There was no time for reflections, however, as the dogs had very likely aroused the folks. Seeing a very nice looking skillet on the hearth I snatched it up and took the back way for my horse which I reached just as some body came out of the house. We didnt stop to see who it was but putting spurs to our horses made good our retreat & soon overtook the company. Went into camp and had a good snooze. It is very wearisome indeed riding all night with out rest or stop.