CIVIL WAR LETTER
Addressed to John Connrardig from Cascase Twp(?) Dubuque Co., Iowa.|
I started (this letter) on 25 February & ended it the same day 1865.
Hind Quarters First Brigade White. 1st separate Division -----Army of the Cornyareldt.
I Johann Connrardig enlisted under Lehman (?) S. Streib in Dubuque on Tuesday 30 April 1862 for 3 years in the 16th U.S.Infantry Co. A 2nd Bn.
On 1 May we left Dubuque for Camp Thomas(?) Columbus O. Here we exercised (drilled) every day for 6 hours. Here we stayed until 27 May. This camp we departed for Columbus Ky. Here we ran into a catastrophe, for 30 of our men. It was hot and the weather was unbearable as we were out in the sun every day. Here we exercised 6 hours every day, even after we had stood guard, every 3rd day we had to stand on guard. and during and working on the railroads. And we had little to eat only tack and spoiled(?) sow belli.
I can tell you we had a Captain who was often inhuman. In two years time he made $2000. He killed 15 (or abused them) to such an extent they were given their discharges, for he drilled them until they were through.
Thank God, I was able to endure it for 2 years like also my good buddies. If we had been very submissivelike lambs we would have stoned our captain like a murderer. All my buddies thought they could not endure if[sic it] for 3 years, I thought so too. Of course, if I would enlist again I would do it different. It is good if the captain has much authority and the soldier ought to do what he orders but not to walk into the water when he orders it.
I can fully believe what kind of captain he is. He is a pig belonging to the Brtha conspiracy(?). He is a robber he is an unreasonable ass. He lives in Chillecothe O. He is a greedy man. He also has land in Iowa in Mt. Seager or Sager(?) Clayton Co Iowa. It is fortunate for Uncle Sam that he had a big reserve(?) in men and material.
On 20 January 1865(?) we departed for Chattanooga Tenn to Lookout Mt. It was now 21 January 1864, whence we departed for Memphis with Gen A J Schmidt. From there we went up the Mississippi up to Cairo. Here we board[ed] the cars for Odem. Then we went to ____ and then back to Chattanooga. Here we had better than ever before. At that time I was place in the kitchen where I had to do the cooking for our Company with a colored man who was with our outfit just like a white man. He was under the supervision of Captain Solomon Robinson as slave. From Chattanooga we went to ____ to Mt Teller Ring(?) Here we stayed 2 days then back to Tunnel Hill. Here we stayed 1 day. We moved on and camped anew here we lost one man he was shot through the breast. On 26 February we went back to Teller or Tunnel Hill. Here we were 3 days, then we departed for Packers Gap, here we stayed 3 days, from there we went to Griswell(?) Ga. Here we camped for 2 months til 3 May. Here we made exeriences [sic ?experiences] with respect to food, we killed a number of hogs(?) the fat kind. On May 3 the entire army moved on back to Tunnel Hill. Here we camped till 12 May then we moved on to Smoke Creek Gap and on to Snooker (?) Valley. At this time I was down with fever. Here w[e] had casualties, 3 men out of our regiment doing guard work.
The soldiers here moved on. We were left behind and no sustenance/ for ourselves. Here we stayed for 6 days. When this time had elapsed we had consumed the pork where we had greedy people. The hard tack was still left which tasted good.
But our people were on the offensive and I was at that time left behind but only because I was sick. On 21 May we moved on to ____ Ga. and we took refuge in a church (?) with our knapsack, for our brigade was intact or remained intact. It was the first time that I was sick, but I was not in the hospital. On 4 July I weighed only 87 lbs, wenn [sic when] I have my normal wieght [sic weight] I weigh 165 lbs. So you can all understand that I was not well. Every day I took 5 dozen(?]) quinine and in every dozen there were 5 grains, and this kept up for one whole month. If I had not been strong like a lion I would soon have been in the grave and in eternal life, whence my brother who also was in the army has gone. For the doctors which are in the army are worse than butchers. A butcher has more consideration than a doctor in the army has. If they can only bring a person to his death they are bent on that.
On 15 July we had orders as far as our company is concerned to move on to Marietta Ga. as well as with our corpses(?) Here it happened as we had crossed the border 2 miles that the train carrying 18 cars on which we were traveling collided with another train from Marietta. I with 3 from Michigan, yet luck was with with us, only one man broke his leg/another his arm. We [were] sitting against the wall [and] had our heads bruised. The trains came together with much damage. There was enough hard tack and sow belli there. We were here 1 1/2 days. Then we went back to Marietta. Here I had a enjoyable time3 placed in a rebel bakery shop (AND here we stored our knapsacks.
Every day I could go to the store or PX(?) and buy what I wished but not for cash. One could get as much salt coffee and soda as one wished. If we only see living(?) persons. I have already seen very much. But nothing but children who can hardly walk they come to beg(?) they came 7 miles also with the old women. They came everyday. We received so much for 1/2 lb of salt and coffee.
You can certainly understand and believe that it is hard for such people, naked, hungry, pitiful, as though God had forsaken them and they cannot look anyone in the face. At Marietta we camped with our gear for 4 months as soon as the fighting had subsided. The soldiers were discharged and paid. On 28 September we boarded the cars and moved on to Chattanooga again to Lookout Mt in Tennessee. I was also released at Maritta Ga. I liked it in the army and stayed with it yet till 4 October.
Inspection was held on 4 October, to pick the cleanest and most honest (ambitious) soldier for Proras(?) guard. At that time the 1st Sergeant asked me to come forward and I have nothing against the brigade Heunde Quarters where I stood guard every week. It was a good time for that. Oft I stood guard for half the night.
We now again are on full rations. Thank God! I am thankful that I could make such good use of my time. It is already a year ago that I received any pay (from the army). Since I have been in the army I have saved very little.
Only $65, I had to spend much on rations. Yet when my time is out then I will make each year $125 and many are not of that mind to save, I am not one of them. It has done me much good to be in the army, more than I could have learned if I had [gone] to school 10 years. I was blind now I can see, I have been deaf now I can hear or have heard, I was awkward now I have learned to be graceful. Just as a good and decent Union soldier ought to be for his dear and wonderful father land.
I Johan Connrardig wenn ich noc mal gehen soll so gehe ich fur das gute [if I am to go again I'll go for the good] for my father land and I would not go into the regular army again but only as a volunteer, otherwise one had peace only a little while. In the regular army there is much drilling in good and bad weather. Clean and tidy one must be else you are strung up with your hair on a tree. If that is sufficient then the offender is courtmartialed, his pay is withheld, he is on the blacklist he is shamed for 6 to 10 months when the punishment last from 3 to 60 days. Much depends on your captain as far as your liking to be in the army.
I will end my communication with many thousand regards for the soldiers. Only great respects for you all and I remain your respectful soldier Johann Connrardig of Co A 2nd Bn 16th US Inf. a citizen on May 1, 1865.
|Click on each image to enlarge|
Contributed by Johann's gr-gr-granddaughter, Susie Simpson, January, 2015. The original letter was handwritten in German and Susie's grandfather had it translated into English. Images of the typed translation are above.
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