Garth Hagerman Photo/Graphics
Garth Hagerman Photo/Graphics

Civil War Journal of Samuel Oliver Bereman, page 9

In the 4th Iowa Cavalry
October 4-December 10, 1863s.o. bereman

Oct. 4th

Our Co. was ordered to report to Gen. Tuttle for escort duty. I dont like that very well for he is the Democratic candidate for Gov. of Iowa. He is a good Gen. but I would not vote for him on that ticket at all. I dont think there is but one or two men in the co. who will vote for him.

October 5th 1863

The co. moved up today to Tuttle's Hd. Qrs. Sergt. Vernon & ten of us came on last night & went on up to Oakridge today about 8 miles, got back about sunset.

October 14th

Drew six days rations of hard tack, guess we are going out on a scout. We havent had much duty to do since we have been here. We like Gen. Tuttle better than we expected to.

Oct. 15th

Isaac Holt and I went down to Vicksburg with orders last night. Got back at 2 oclock. Gen. Logans Div. came out yesterday, and we all started out this morning on a scout. Gen. McPherson is along & is in command of the expedition. We are camped tonight at Brownville. Our boys who were taken prisoner at Bear Creek in June joined the co. today having been to Libby Prison & exchanged. There are also five who were on furlough that got back also which will help us out a great deal. We have plenty of fresh meat and potatoes for supper. We always live better on a scout than while laying in camp.

Oct. 16th

Only marched five miles today on account of the rebels. They have a very strong position in our front on at the crest of a high hill. The Cos. have been skirmishing with them all day. Our regt. lost several men killed & wounded. It is likely we will have a fight tomorrow unless the rebs leave tonight.

Oct. 17th

Gen. Tuttle's Div. made a flank movement today by making a detour of twelve miles to the right and coming in on the left of the rebels, seeing which they got up and skadaddled. We marched twelve miles and are only three miles in advance of where we were last night. Killed a lot of sheep for supper.

October 18th 1863

Started back towards Vicksburg this morning. Came by the way of Clinton. Camped tonight at Bolton Station. The Cav. were all in the rear and the 3rd Div. being in the advance, our co. was sent out as advance guard. We ran on to a squad of Johnny's and immediately gave chase running them half a mile but they got into the woods & escaped "mortally scared" but not much hurt. I don't think any of them were hit - although we fired on them till they were out of sight. Gen. Tuttle went back to Vicksburg last night with an escort of mounted Infty. & Gen. Mower is in command of the Div. The rebels are following us up - we could hear them firing in the rear all day.

Oct. 19th

Came on to the R.R. Bridge over Black river where we went into camp for the night.

Oct. 20th

Moved to Dr. Hebron's about six miles nearer to Vicksburg than our camp at Parson Jones. We have first rate quarters to stay in - is a vacant house. The regt. is camped within a quarter of a mile of us on Clear creek. Gen. Tuttle is here.

Oct. 31st

Went over to the regt. & mustered for pay. We muster for pay every two months but are not paid for six months some times. We are having a good time as escort. We have scarcely any thing at all to do, & we like Gen. Tuttle first rate. He is a very common appearing man with none of the hautier of Gen. Sherman.

Nov. 6th

Received orders to be ready to march tomorrow. Tuttle is going to leave with his Div. & talks of taking us along - not with standing Col. Winslow is trying hard to get us back to the regt. I hope I hope we will get to go & we will unless Winslow gets orders from higher authority than Tuttle. It is rumored that he went down to see Gen. McPherson last night after night about it.

November 7th 1863

We escorted the Gen. down to Vicksburg and then came back with orders to report to our regt. for duty! Well that is too bad! That is some of Winslow's work for when he undertakes any thing he generally succeeds. Gen. Tuttle upon hearing us made us a short speech thanking us kindly for our good service, saying that he would retain us if it were possible.

Nov. 8th

Went to work on our new barracks. We will not move over to the regt. until they are done. We have appropriated what used to be a large commissary building, large enough for the whole co. We had to move it half a mile.

Nov. 12th

Completed our barracks and moved over to the regt. We have very good quarters, and plenty of room.

Nov. 17th

Our co. on picket. We have to come down to it again. This looks a good deal like soldiering to what we have been used to for a while.

Nov. 25th

I have reinlisted as Veteran for "three years or during the war." It has just been two years since the regt. was sworn into the U.S. service. I guess I can stand it for three years more. I was on picket last night and came in wet & cold and sleepy. I thought it a good time to enlist while under no excitement. I was the third one in the co. to enlist.

Dec. 4th

Started on an expedition down the river this morning. There are eight boats loaded with troop infty. and Cav. We are on the Marine boat "Adams".

Dec. 5th

We got aboard the boats yesterday evening but didnt start till this morning. Arrived at Natchez about dark without any thing of interest.

Dec. 6th

Disembarked at daylight and started out in the country. Went about eight miles when we got on the track of some rebels, who it is reported were coming to attack Natchez but hearing of us the retreated. We followed the rebels untill 10 oclock at night when we ran onto their pickets. Dismounting we advanced on foot till we came within half a mile of their camp and forming in line we lay on our arms all night. It was very cold and having neither blankets nor fire we had a serious time of it, we were not allowed to sleep.

Dec. 7th

The enemy opened on us this morning with several pieces of Artillery and having a force of 3 000 men while we had only 500 cavalry, we had to make a retrograde movement. They followed us briskly for eight miles and were firing into our rear "right smart", when we met our Infty coming to our aid. We turned about and showed fight, but the rebs. had gained their point - they had got into another road & commenced a retreat. We followed them up for six or eight miles when we turned back, came to within eight miles of Natchez and went into camp. We had one man killed and four wounded and several horses lost.

Dec. 8th

Went on to within three miles of the city and camped. Rained nearly all night last night. Got very wet and cold and did'nt sleep much. Got up at two oclock and built on a big fire and tried to dry off.

Dec. 9th

Moved our camp over to the road north of the one we came in on two miles from Natchez. Drew five days rations, guess we are going to stay here awhile.

Dec. 10th

On picket last night. Jim Ritcheson and I went out and captured a couple of fine horses. We are camped in Col. Morton's house. The Col. is in the rebel army. I don't suppose he would like it very to have the Yankees in his fine house.