Garth Hagerman Photo/Graphics
Garth Hagerman Photo/Graphics

Civil War Journal of Samuel Oliver Bereman, page 6

In the 4th Iowa Cavalry
June 16-June 28, 1863s.o. bereman

June 16 1863

The regt. moved camp out to Clear Creek - about eight miles. Had some green corn for supper. Also some ripe peaches and pears & any amount of plums and blackberr1es.

June 17

Co. K. on picket last night again - as usual. Came back to camp today & drew 40 Sharp's Carbins to each co. in the regt. We are better prepared now to do the duty of soldiers.

June l8

Went with a part of the regt. under command of Col. Hammond. A. A. G. of Gen. Sherman & Staff on a scout to Black river. Had a little skirmish with some rebels & chased them five miles. Drove in a lot of cattle and sheep for the army to eat.

June 19

Sergt. Housel of co D. & eight men of this regt. Sol. Cavence & myself from co. K. were detailed as couriers for Gen. Sherman. Went with Col. Hammond across to Gen. Osterhaus Div. at Black river Bridge. Camped two miles from there on the road to Vicksburg. Well this is a new business for me. Don't know how I shall like it, but expect to like it very well. Just so I get enough to eat I'll get along.

June 20th

Came on to Sherman's Hd. Qrs. where we arrived about noon. Found him encamped on Walnut Hills within a quarter of a mile of our lines around the city. We heard the heaviest firing this morning we have heard yet. At a distance of twelve miles, the musketry was plainly heard.

June 21st

Lay in camp all day. We built us a shed to sleep under. Drew ten days rations. We get lightbread & ham and beans which are a great rarity with us. Think I shall like being Orderly first rate. There are half a dozzen other Orderlies here. They belong to Tilghman's Cav. the 1st Ill. The regt. were captured at Lexington Mo. & took the oath to never take up arms again.

June 22 1863

Went down to Chickasaw landing on the Yazoo to get my horse shod. When I returned I heard some very exciting news from our regt. A detail from four cos. A, I. K. & T. in all 120 men were out blockading the roads in the rear to keep Gen. Johnson[sic] out. While at work they were surprised and surrounded by 1200 rebels when a desperate conflict ensued, resulting in the entire defeat of our boys, but not untill they had fired away all their amunition - some of them even taking that from the cartridge boxes of their fallen comrades. Our whole loss in killed wounded & prisoners was 50 more than one third. Our co. lost two killed - John Yancy & Milton Frame - two Mortally wounded - Lieut. Gardner & James Moore, and seven prisoners. Co. A. had eight men killed on the field. The rebels lost 40 men killed and wounded. Our boys wanted to try their new Carbins. We also lost a small Howitzer which we captured at Jackson from the rebels. I was lucky in being detailed when I was or I might have been among the unfortunate - but brave boys who "Falling fought - and fighting fell." Milt. Frame was one of the best soldiers in the co. Brave self denying, cheerfully doing his duty at all times he was beloved by all who knew him. I had seen him tried before the war - having "crossed the mountains & the plains" with him in search of gold, where he was stricken down with the fever. But uncomplaining he lay for long weary days, except when in his delirium he called wildly for his mother. He was my mess mate. Lieut. Gardner was well beloved by all. He was shot through the head while in the act of leading the co. to the charge.

June 23rd 1863

I was on duty today - had to carry orders & dispatches to the different commands. We are detailed by turns the same as in the regt. & must be prepared for duty whenever called on. Gen. Sherman went out towards Black river with part of his Corps (the 15th) to fortify and guard the rear. Rebel Gen. Joe. Johnson[sic] has a large force organized across the river and we are expecting an attack from him. It rained hard Just at night about 11 oclock I was called on for duty. Heavy firing was heard around the lines & it was thought the besieged were going to try to break out. I was first sent over to Grant's Hd. Qrs. a quarter of a mile east of us. I was then sent to Steel's Hd. Qrs. (he commands the corps in Shermans absence) about a mile in our right. I was told to make all haste possible, but it was so extremely dark that I could with difficulty, aided by the occasional flashes of lightning see my way. I was urging forward my horse as fast as the case would admit, when he stumbled and fell throwing me violently over his head & himself turning a summersault. A flash of lightning revealed the "situation". I found myself lying on the ground perhaps a rod from my horse who had Just arisen with his face to the rear. I had no dlfficulty in catching him when we proceed on our way sadder if not wiser. Found Gen. Steele sound asleep & had to holler myself hoarse nearly before he could be awakened when the usual hurry and hustle occurred of sending orderlies to the different Div. Commanders to hold themselves in readyness for any emergency, and I returned but was immediately sent back to the same place with another order. This time it was not so urgent as before as the firing had in a measure slackened & I took my time. When I got back I was dismissed and went to bed satisfied that I had done a pretty good days work for the first day.

June 24th 1863

Went down to the Chickasaw landing today & came by the 25th Iowa. They are still in the rifle-pits and advancing slowly. They have become so used to the fighting that they do not mind it at all, they make it an every day business. James Stockton and Jacob Whippo both intimate friends of mine have been killed since I was there last.

June 25th

Went out the regt. Most of the men were out on a scout. Came back by the way of Haines Bluff, got back here at 10 oclock at night. As I would pass over some high range I could see "the rockets red glare. Bombs bursting in air" as they were hurled into the doomed city of Vicksburg. Especially plain could those huge mortar shells thrown from Young's Point across the Miss. nearly two miles from the city. Very heavy firing heard all afternoon.

June 28th

Went up to Mrs. Blakes towards Haines Bluff after some vegetables for Hd. Qrs. Didn't get very much.