Cowan’s Civil War Diary
Transcribed by Juanita Lewis
the diary of James H Cowan, born March 10, 1840. He was married to
Hannah E Stacy and was a brother-in-law of Emanuel Stacy, Charles
Stacy’s father and grandfather of Dick Stacy, Adel, Dallas Co,
In the front of the diary is written “James H.
Cowan, Co H, 1st Iowa Cavalry, Cross Hollows, Arkansas,
October 27, 1862.”
diary was taken to the “Antiques Roadshow” in Des Moines,
Iowa on July 17, 1999 by Lacy Lewis to be appraised by the Roadshow
appraisers when they were in Des Moines to tape their Television
program. The appraiser told Lacy that the 1st Iowa Cavalry was one of
the fighting-est units; that the book was in excellent condition, was
excellent because it told history, not just that it rained, was hot
or some of the every day personal activities. The quality of the
writing and neatness were excellent. The average Civil War Diary
would bring, at auction, about $500 to $800. This book was of such
good quality, condition, etc. that it would bring between $1,000 and
This is volume No. 2. It starts out, the commencement of another book, Sept. 19, 1862. (Some words may seem like they are misspelled, but this is the way Mr. Cowan has written them.)
Sept. 19th. We started north, crossed Grand River where we got some more horses that wore tied in the brush. We then had ten horses. We then returned to Clinton. We had ten prisoners. Captain Anderson gave me a horse in place of the one that I had shot. We had orders to march the next morning.
Sept. 20th, We started on the march. We took the road to Springfield, marched about 17 miles and camped close to Mr. Good’s for the night.
Sept. 21st We were on the march. I was on the advance guard front through Osceola and camped 15 miles south of there..
Sept. 22nd We left camp at daylight, went through Humansville. There was several of us stopped there to get our horses shod. I got shoes on my mare. We camped within 19 miles of a little town by the name of Stogden on the Danque River?. I drew a blanket.
Sept. 23rd We wore on the march by daylight, past through Stogden, crossed the Ozark River and camped at 3 o clock on a little creek where there was plenty of water.
Sept. 24th We took up our line of march at daylight. We left the Springfield road and took the Sarcoxie road. We marched 5 or 6 miles and camped. I was on horse guard.
Sept. 25th We did not move camp today, let our horses rest. I went to help load some hay. In the evening the mail came to camp. Received a letter from Hannah E. Stacy and one from father. At roll call we were ordered to be in readiness to march, half past 5 o’clock in the morning.
Sept. 26th We started at daylight. Marched 3 miles when one of the state militia came to our command and wanted re-enforcements as they thought that they had some bushwhackers where they could be caught. There was 4 men sent from each company under Captain Mc Queen. We marched all day and to ___________as the MO bushwhackers had left and gone south. We came to camp. The regiment had camped within 9 miles of Springfield.
Sept 27th We wore up by time and on the march by daylight. Came to Springfield at 9 o’clock. At our camp went over to the 14th Iowa. There is between l0,000 and 15,000 troops here. The 18th, 17th and 20th Iowa’s.
Sept. 28th It is Sunday. I went over to the 18th camp. Wrote a letter to Jim Hardy and H E .Stacy. Springfield is a nice place and is the county seat of Greene County.
Sept 29th We received marching orders and was to be ready to go at 2 o’clock. We was detailed for a guard for the 29th Iowa train which had to wait till dark to get rations. We got started from Springfield at dark and no one knowing the road, we got lost and staid lost to Springfield. We had no supplies.
Sept 30th Was up at daylight, fed our horses and got on the right road and followed up the rest of the command. Past through a little town by the name of Little York and came to where the command was close to Willson Creek where General Lyons was killed.
Oct. 1st We were ordered to have three days rations cooked and got our orders to march at hour and started. There is 4 regiments of Infantry, the 18th and 19th Iowa’s, 37th Illinois and the 28th Indiana, 1st Iowa Cavalry, one battalion of the 1st Missouri Cavalry. Generals Scofield and Tottin (?) wore with us. We marched 10 or 12 miles and camped at a splendid spring. There is report in camp that the enemy are within 40 miles of here and that they had a fight with some U S troops and the battle was to much for our troops and they had to retreat.
Oct. 2nd Revelle was blowed at 5 o’clock. On our way we crossed two small prairies and the rest of the road lays through the brush. At 5 o’ clock the Cavalry stopped and fed their horses some oats. We camped at dark on a little creek called Spring Creek. After a march of about 10 miles we past through Mt. Vernon, the county seat of Lawrence County.
Oct 3rd We wore ready to march at daylight but didn’t start till dark, marched all night.
Oct 4th At daylight we past through Jolleyville where the advance guard caught some of the enemy pickets at Newtonia, Missouri. Expected to find the enemy, but as Generals Blunt and Brown was on the other side of them and we wore a coming in on the east, they got up and left on the double quick. Our artillery gave them a few parting shots as they went through the timber. There was some prisoners caught and a few of them killed. We camped clost to Newtonia where the enemy had been and waited for our train as it was left behind.
Oct. 5th Laid in camp at night. Our train came up.
Oct. 6th We wore ordered to cook three days of rations. Wrote a letter to H E Stacy and one to father.
Oct. 7th We were ordered to be ready to march by ten o clock and got ready and thought that we wore a going but we only had brigade drill and then camped where we wore before.
Oct. 8th It rained all day. I done nothing but cook. We were ordered to be ready to start by daylight the next morning.
Oct. 9th We wore on the march by 7 o’clock. We took a route east direction. Marched 12 miles and camped clost to a little town called Gadville. It rained all day and night. We wore ordered to have our arms where we could get them at a moments warning.
Oct. 10th At daylight Co.H was ordered to be in the saddle in 5 minutes. We went on a reconnoitering expedition. Co’s F and D wore along. Went to Cassville, 12 miles from where we wore camped. Caught one man on the road there. Found all quiet at Cassville. Returned to camp.
Oct. 11th It is a nice day. I washed some at night. Got orders to march at 6 o clock in the morning.
Oct. 12th We marched from Gadville to Cassville. Camped east of town.
Oct, 13th Washed some clothes. Wrote a letter to H E Stacy.
Oct. 14th Went over to the 18th Iowa.
Oct. 15th Received a letter from C. J. Cowan and one from M. E. Bates and one from H E Stacy.
Oct. 16th Wrote a letter to C.J Cowan and one to H E Stacy.
Oct. 17th Was ordered to march. Started about 10 o clock. Marched 8 miles then camped on Flat Creek. Wore ordered to cook two days rations. Capt Wescott took command of Co H.
Oct. 18th We wore on the march by 8 o clock. Past through Keetsville where the fight with Price and Curtis commenced last spring. Past over part of the road that the rebels took to Pea Ridge. Marched about 20 miles. Camped on Shugar creek at sundown. Our advance guard ran on the rebel pickets and drove them back killing one of them. There was a heavy picket guard put out. Co. of our regiment and at a time Co H was out in the after part of the night. Everything was quiet. Had no forage for our horses.
Oct. 19th All quiet until in the afternoon when there was an alarm raised and we were soon in the saddle. But it was nothing but some of the 7th MO, shooting off their guns. Wrote a letter to father.
Oct. 20 Staid in camp on Shugar Creek. Wrote a letter to George Cowan. Received a letter from H E
Stacy. At sundown we wore ordered to march immediately. We wore soon on the road. Marched all night past where Douds ? command were camped and clost to the Pea Ridge battle ground, past Elk Horn tavern.
Oct. 21st Marched on to White River and camped for the night. We had crossed Pea Ridge Mountains.
Oct. 22nd We wore on the march soon after daylight. Past Van Winkle Mill. At sundown we stopped to feed and get a bite to eat and then started west and marched till 3 o clock and laid down and slept till morning.
Oct. 23rd Got some breakfast and fed our horses and started on again. Marched to town and was within 2 miles of Crosshollows where we thought that the enemy was, but like every place else, they were gone. We past down the hollow and our cavalry brigade. Camped 2 miles east of the hollow at a mill and the 18th Iowa infantry and the 7th Wisconsin camped at the hollows. I was on picket guard
Oct. 24th Was relieved from guard at 6 o clock. Drew a pair of boots.
Oct. 25th Wrote a letter to H E Stacy. Wrote a letter for Jacob Rhodes. Major Anderson went on a scout.
Oct. 26th Washed some clothes at night. The pickets had a skirmish as some of the enemy’s scouts run on to them.
Oct. 27th Went up to Cross Hollows at night. There we wore ordered to be ready to march at 9 o clock. We wore on the road by that time. Took the road south. There was the 1st Iowa cavalry, the 7th Mo. Cavalry and part of the 1st Mo. Cavalry. We marched all night.
Oct. 28th At 5 o clock we run on the enemy’s pickets and there wore 12 shots fired, but no one was hurt. We heard the cannon off to the right. We marched on 4 or 5 miles when one advance ran on to their pickets, or rather their rear guard for they had left there. Was some brisk firing for about an hour. When they left there was 10 or 12 of them killed. We marched towards Fayetteville and fed our horses where Tollens and Browns commands wore camped. We then returned to camp at Crosshollows at 11 o clock at night. Sergeant Dickison was killed by some bush whackers. He was on forage expedition. It was bout ten miles from camp.
Oct. 29th I was on forage guard. We went out on the road the Dickison was shot on. There was no ambulance sent out for him. There was a detail sent out for the wagon as there was a team with him and the bush whackers took the mules and run the wagon over a high bluff. In the evening Dickison was buried.
Oct. 30th The bugle sounded to arms at five o clock. We soon had our horses saddled and ready for action, but there was nothing but a picket fight. One of Co. H was wounded. I was on forage guard. Got a letter from H and one from George.
Oct. 31st Was mustered for pay in the afternoon. Co H was detailed for picket guard. We went over 10 miles from camp on White River at Carley’s Ford. Relieved Co H. All quiet through the night. There was only 20 of us there.
Nov 1st There was 4 men sent to camp for rations and some more men. There was some rebels seen scouting. At night there was 9 more men came out from camp. Received a letter from Margaret. I am on first relief.
Nov. 2nd We wore relieved by Co G and went to camp and got a good nights sleep. The first battalion left Crosshollows for Elk Horn.
Nov. 3rd Co H was detailed for picket to relieve a Co of the 7th____________at Little Crossing on the White River. 17 miles from camp. All quiet through the night.
Nov. 4th There was 4 of the boy went to camp to bring out the relief but the command had started for Elk Horn Tavern and we wore ordered to report there.
Nov. 5th We started on the march at 8 o clock. Took the road for Cassville, Mo, past through Keetsville (?) where Sergeant W.H. Harris died as he had been sick for some time. We camped 2 miles west of Cassville. William Harris was buried at Cassville on a high hill by himself.
Nov.. 6th We wore on the march soon after daylight. Took the road to Springfield. I stopped at Cassville and cut the name of William Harris and the Co and the Regt that he belonged to on the head board of his grave so that passers by would know who died there. We marched very slow as there was a creek to cross 11 times and the infantry had to fix a place to cross on at every crossing. We camped on Cane Creek at 12 o clock at night. After a march of 28 miles our train that went to Springfield from Crosshollows was here.
Nov. 7th Wrote a letter to H E Stacy and one to Margaret and one to George. I am on stable guard.
Nov. 8th At noon there was a detail of Co, s H, F & G and one Co. of the 1st MO cavalry for re-enforcements for same. Some rebels had attack some state militia and some of the 10th H cavalry at a place called Clark’s Mills. It is about 20 miles east of here. We started at noon. Marched to Ozark and staid. This morning Major Anderson was in command. There is some of the 18th H, S, M, at Ozark, but the most of them had gone to Clark’s Mills.
Nov. 9th At daylight marched to Lawrence Mills where there was some militia. We learned that the rebels had gone south again after getting some arms. It is 15 miles from here, where they had the light burdens lost & his horse.
Nov. 10th Soon after daylight we started back. We marched 7 or 8 miles and stopped and fed our horses. Reached Ozark at dark and camped. At 9 o clock the 9th Iowa and 37th Ill came to Ozark and camped.
Nov. 11th We heard that General Herrons division was coming to Ozark. We went about 7 miles from town and fed our horses. Returned to town and our division was coming in, set camp. It rained today.
Nov. 12th Wrote a letter to father and one to H E Stacy The 9th Ill came to Ozark at night. There was a detail of 40 men from each co. of our regt., and some of the 1st MO and some of the 7th MO and 4 pieces of Artillery with 7 days rations. We started at 11 o clock and took a road the runs east. Marched all night.
Nov. 13th We stopped to get something to eat and fed our horses. We marched all day and camped within 8 miles of Hartsville. I was on stable guard. We had good feed, such as sheaf oats and corn.
Nov. 14th Didn’t move camp today. Went after forage.
Nov. 15 There was 12 men from each co. of our regt. sent on a scout under Major Caldwell. They took the mountain store road. Soon after they wore gone, the rest of us started back with two pieces of artillery. I was on picket guard. It rained that night.
Nov. 16th It rained all forenoon. In the evening there was 5 of us went half a mile from the picket fort and got our supplies at a Union man’s house. His name is Wilbur (?) Brinker. Was relieved at dark. The scout came in tonight. They wore at Clark’s Mill.
Nov. 17th We started for Ozark. Marched to White Oak Springs. Stopped to get something to eat and fed our horses. I rode in the wagon as I was not well. We marched on fast through Ozark and caught up with the command 3 miles west of Ozark. It rained in the later part of the night and we had no tents as the wagons did not come up.
Nov. 18th Wakened up and found our blankets soaking wet and no fire to dry them by. We got on the march by 12 o clock. Marched, our regiment was in advance. We marched 8 miles and camped on James River. The teams came up and we set our tent. Received a letter from father. It rained all night.
Nov. 19th Woke up this morning and found the tent nearly full of water and still raining. I was on a detail to go with the Colonel to find a camp ground. We found a good place in the timber. Moved camp. Went and got some oats. It cleared up in the afternoon. We voted for a Sergeant. _________Hay was elected.
Nov. 20th Was a nice day. Wrote a letter to H E Stacy and one to father.
Nov. 21st At night there was a false alarm raised and had us all out in line. Received orders to march at 8 o clock in the morning.
Nov. 22nd We moved 4 miles on the road to Springfield and camped clost to Willson Creek.
Nov. 23rd It is Sunday, but I did not know it till noon. Washed some clothes. In the afternoon went to meeting.
Nov. 24th Was on forage guard. Brought half a bushel of meal. At night all the available men was detailed for a scout with five days rations.
Nov. 25th We started at sunrise, past through Ozark. There was 3 regiments of us, the 10th Ill, 8th MO and the 1st Iowa, all cavalry. At Ozark we took a southern route to Yellville in Arkansas. Camped at a little place by the name of Taney City after a march of 40 miles.
Nov. 26th Was on the road soon after daylight. Past through Forsyth. Crossed White River, came over mountains. Marched 3 mile and camped in ARK. The picket guard took a prisoner.
Nov. 27th Revelle was sounded at 17 o clock. We soon saddled our horses and started for Yellville. Halted a short time at a mill. At daylight we marched into Yellville at 8 o clock in the morning. Caught 60 prisoners and a lot of arms. Destroyed some stores and burnt the town. Fed our horses and took the road back to camp. Marched about 15 miles and camped for the night.
Nov. 28th We wore on the road soon after daylight. Took another road that was about 10 miles nearer. Past through Debuque. (?) Stopped and fed our horses. Came to a mill where some men ran and the advance guard fired on them.. Took some flour and meal. Camped at Taney City. The 10th ILL and 8th MO did not come up that night as they did not keep up with us.
Nov. 29th We wore up bright and early. Came back through Ozark and fed our horses, about half way from Ozark to camp. Arrived at camp at 9 o clock at night after a march or 200 miles in five days. Received a letter from H E S and one from home.
Nov. 30th It is Sunday. Took a ride in the country. Wrote a letter to H E S. Received a letter from home.
Dec. 1st Laid in camp. Was expecting the recruits but they didn’t come.
Dec. 2n The recruits came at last. We wore glad to see them. I was on stable guard.
Dec. 3rd Wrote a letter to H E Stacy. We struck camp at 12 o clock. Took the road to Cassville. Marched 15 miles on to Crane Creek and laid in the brush as the train did not come up till late.
Dec. 4th Boots and saddles was sounded before daylight and we started. Marched to within 2 miles of Cassville and camped. Went after forage on horseback. We set our tents, as the train came up in good time.
Dec. 5th We wore on the march soon after 5 o clock. Past through Cassville. Co H was in the rear of the regiment. We past through Keetsville and on past Elk Horn Tavern and to Shugar Oak and camped on the old battleground.
Dec 6th We wore on the march by 8 o clock. The 2nd battalion of our regiment was rear guard. Past through Cross hollows and about 8 miles stopped and fed and get some supper. We then marched to Fayettville, Ark. At 12 o clock I made us fires and laid down and slept till morning. Heard that Blunt was in need of re-enforcements on the road to Cane Hill.
Dec 7th Today is Sunday. We are still in the rear of the train. Moved on soon after daylight. Marched about 6 miles when we heard the roar of cannon in the advance as the rebels had got in the rear of Blunt and General Herrons command came on to them. The train was stopped and headed back as the rebels had taken the 1st ARK’s train and drove them from it. There was some brisk firing done. General Tattery command, came up and past by the cannon. Kept up a constant roar for about two hours, when it slacked till after noon, then they went at it in earnest. General Blunt came in on the enemy’s right and was about an hour before sundown when the battle was ended in our favor. The rebels retreated to the field and our troops occupied the ground. All was quiet through the night.
Dec. 8th The train moved back to Fayetteville where we staid all day. They sent our wounded to Fayetteville at night. The train was ordered up to the command. We arrived on the battlefield at 11 o clock. We lost about 7 or 8 hundred in killed and wounded. It is thought that the rebels lost some where about 1500 in killed and wounded.
Dec. 9th I took a ride over the battlefield this morning and saw the dead as they wore gathered up. There was a squad of rebels came in with flag of truce to bury their dead. They had carried their wounded off the field in the afternoon. We moved our camp about half a mile up the creek.
Dec. 10th Wrote a letter to H E Stacy, one to Bettie Searcy and one to father.
Dec. 11th There was a detail of 15 men from our company to go to meet a train that was coming from Springfield. I was on forage guard. Went three or 4 miles and got sheaf oats and a hog.
Dec. 12th Laid around camp. In the afternoon was on a detail to stop shooting around camp.
Dec. 13th Was on the forage guard. It rained and we got wet.
Dec. 14th Went and got some straw for to sleep on. It was still raining today. The detail that went to meet the train came in today.
Dec. 15th Wrote a letter to Sarah Searcy. Was on camp guard. Bought a note on Benjamin Sherman and a revolver of J W B .
Dec. 16th Nothing of importance happened.
Dec. 17th Laid around camp.
Dec. 18 There was 8 of us—5 went to get a hog. Rode 4 or 5 miles before we found one. Got one, returned to camp. I was on stable guard.
Dec. 19 Laid around camp. Traded for a watch. Traded a revolver for it.
Dec 20 Wrote a letter to father. We moved camp one mile into the brush where there was no mud. Had a nice place when we cleared it up.
Dec. 21 It is Sunday. Went to preaching at 9 o clock. In the afternoon wrote a letter to H E S. Was on guard at camp.
Dec 22 We made a manger for our horses. Drilled in the forenoon and on horseback in the afternoon. Received orders to prepare for grand review on tomorrow by General Blunt.
Dec 23 It was raining this morning. There was no review. It rained all day.
Dec 24 There was 5 men from each company of our regiment detailed to go with Major Anderson on a scout. We past through Fayetteville. Took the road east. Went 4 or 5 miles and stopped for the rest of the night.
Dec 25 Today is Christmas. Was up before daylight and on the road past Stoney Point, where we had a skirmish with the rebels on the 28th of October. We marched till 8 o clock and stopped and fed and got our breakfast. We then started on our way back by another road. Crossed White River. Stopped within 8 miles of Fayetteville That is the way some of us spent our Christmas.
Dec 26 Washed some clothes. Wrote a letter to H E S. Got my horse shod on one foot. Received orders to be ready to march on the morrow morning with a days ration and a peck of corn for the horse.
Dec 27 We started at 7 o clock. Took the road to Van Buren on the Arkansas River. We marched about 15 miles and stopped and fed and got supplies. We marched till 1 o clock that night when we camped for the rest of the night.
Dec 28 We started on at daylight. Our regiment was in the advance of General Herron’s division to meet with General Blunt’s command. His advance guard took the lead and we after them. There was two howitzers in the advance. There was some pickets taken clost to where we wore camped at Dripping Springs. There was 12 hundred rebels camped but when they found that we was coming they got up and left. Left some of their tents. There was some skirmishes on the way to Van Buren. On we went into town. Saw train leaving town when we arrived on the bluff and some boats on the river that wore leaving. We took one and took about 60 wagons. We fed our horses and got some dinner. Raised the Stars and Stripes over the town. When the rebels placed two pieces of cannon on the opposite side of the river and shelled the town we fell back on the bluff and at that time the infantry and artillery came up and soon sent the rebels from their positions and shelled their camp that was 5 miles down the river and took 3 more boats and night set in and all was quiet.
Dec 29 There was a scout sent out to get mules and horses. We got some good mules and horses and one hundred head of cattle that the rebels had for beef. Returned to Van Buren and the troops wore on their way back. We marched until about midnight and stopped till morning.
Dec 30 Came back to where we fed the first day and camped for the night. Was on picket guard.
Dec 31 Returned to camp. Was mustered for pay.
January 1, 1863 General Herron gave some of the regiments a treat.
Jan 2 Laid around camp. Received a letter from C T Cowan, one from father.
Jan 3 Received a letter from H E Stacy.
Jan 4 Wrote a letter to C T C and P A Neville and one to H E Stacy. In the evening there was a scout of 90 men from each company of our regiment and some of the 8th MO under Major Anderson. We took the road to Huntsville. Marched all night.
Jan 5 Stopped and fed and got our breakfast. March to Huntsville. Saw lots of conscripts that had deserted the rebel ranks. We marched to Kingston where we expected to find some rebels, but they wore gone. At 11 o clock we stopped for the night.
Jan 6 Returned to Huntsville. Caught some rebels, one captain and a lieutenant. Came to Huntsville.
Jan 7 There was a scout sent out. Went to a mill, took some meal. Sent a guard of men to camp with it. The rest of the scout came into camp in the evening, then rest of the command came in from Fayetteville.
Jan 8 Was appointed Corporal.
Jan 9 There was 30 men of Co. H and about 500 in all of our regiment went on a scout under command of Major Colwell. We took the road east to Kingston. Past through that place and camped about 3 miles from there. Took several prisoners. Captain Jinks shot a man clost to town. It was after dark. He went to town and the man tried to take him prisoner and he shot him.
Jan 10 We crossed one of the largest mountains that ever I saw. Came to Buffalo Creek Took several prisoners. Went up the creek 7 miles and burnt the saltpeter works. Took 13 prisoners. There got some shugar. We fed our horses. Came back to the foot of the mountains. A squad of men went down the creek 4 or 5 miles and burnt some more of their saltpeter works as the rebel government was running . Then we crossed over the mountains to King River Valley and camped clost to Kingston Co. Was on picket guard.
Jan 11 Returned to Huntsville. The third Div. had gone east. We struck out after them. Camped on King River 5 miles north of Kingston..
Jan 12 We started soon after daylight. Came up with the command at Carlton. We had 32 prisoners altogether and as many horses and mules. Camped at Carlton at night. There was a detail of all the available men and horses to go on a scout to start in the morning.
Jan 13 We started soon after daylight with 4 days rations. There was the 1st Iowa Cavalry and the 1st and 8th Missouri Cavalry. We took the road east past through a small place by the name of Bellefountain. Took 8 prisoners, one captain among them. We camped after dark within ten miles of Yellville. It was raining. Slept on some logs. It rained all night.
Jan 14 Started at daylight, past through Yellville, on east to Tolber’s Ferry on White River where the rebels was making saltpeter. Took some prisoners, two lieutenants and a colonel. He was on his way home. He had a Federal uniform on., he was paroled. It rained all day and at night turned to snowing. Snowed all night. Co H got a house to sleep in.
Jan 15 It was still snowing. We started back towards camp. Past north of Yellville. Camped at Bellefountain. It was cold. Some of us got into a smokehouse and slept.
Jan 16 Returned to camp at one o’ clock. It was very cold. There was orders to move camp today but the order was countermanded, We received orders to march at 9 o’clock in the morning.
Jan 17 9 o’clock came but we did not move. At 12 o’clock the bugle sounded strike tents. Down they came. Everything was loaded into the wagons. Marched 10 miles north and camped on Long Creek. Went for forage on horseback.
Jan 18 The 1st Iowa Cavalry was rear guard of the division. The camp commenced to move at 8 o’clock, but we did not get underway until 12. We went very slow till we got 5 miles from camp. We then struck a high ridge road. We got along fine till dark, then it was so dark that the teams could not get along. Some of them camped. We went into camp on the ridge in the ________. Could not get any wetter. It was raining. Did not set our tents.
Jan 19 We wore next to the advance today. Marched 17 miles. Came to White River. Could not cross as it was to deep to ford it. Camped in the timber about 1 quarter of a mile from it. It rained all afternoon.
Jan 20 Laid in camp. There is a ferry boat here and they went to repairing it so that we could get across. We are opposite to Forsyth.
Jan 21 We had nothing to eat as we wore on half rations. At night we drew one days rations of flour. Some of our boys wore out for forage. Came across some bushwhackers and they shot 8 of them. There was some of the troops a crossing the river. One of the 1st MO was drowned. Drew one days ration of flour.
Jan 22 We wore still crossing the river. I washed some clothes. One of Co A , 1st IA Cavalry was drowned.
Jan 23 Co C went up the river and swam their horses. Had nothing to eat today. Received a letter from H E S and one from father. Drew one day ration of hard bread. Wrote a letter to H E S. Tuttle shot a bushwhacker. He was in a cave.
Jan 24 Wrote a letter to father. The 1st IA Cavalry had the ferry boat.
Jan 25 Nearly all of our regiment was across the river as they ran the boat all night. Co H was the last to cross. We got over at 11 o clock. Was on picket guard. We went down the river two miles. It rained all night.
Jan 26 It was still raining. It rained all day. Some of us got our breakfast at the house that we was at. We was relieved at dark. It cleared up and turned cold.
Jan 27 Drew rations for 5 days. It was still cold. There was a guard sent to a mill 4 or 5 miles from camp. Wrote two letters for S S Bates.
Jan 28 Got a pair of shoes. Drove on my old mare. We hauled two loads of wood. Wrote a letter for S S Bates.
Jan 29 There was orders to move on the morning of the 30th, but at night the order was countermanded. Received some mail.
Jan 30 Laid around camp.
Jan 31 There was inspection this morning. Our horses wore inspected. Took a ride out from camp. At 5 o clock there was a detail of 22 men from the 1st IA Cavalry went to Springfield. I was on it. We took 8 of the 8th MO that was under arrest. We went to Ozark again at 1 o clock. Staid there till morning.
Feb 1 We went to Springfield after stopping to feed. We wore sent to straighten camp. Drew two days rations. Got soft bread.
Feb 2 Got a pass. Went to town and to the 18th IA Vol. Got my dinner with them. Saw Levi Spurling. He was at the hospital. He was wounded in the fight that they had at this place. Went to the 18th and staid all night.
Feb 3 Saw Capt. Wescott. Got 5 dollars of him. Got my picture taken. Sent it to H E Stacy. We started for camp. Came to Ozark. Staid there all night.
Feb 4 It was snowing this morning. Struck out for camp. Arrived there at 5 o clock. It snowed all day. Received a letter from Searcy and one from H E Stacy. Heard that Sarah Searcy was very sick and Jennett George also.
Feb 5 Wrote a letter to H E Stacy and one to Bettie Searcy. In the afternoon there was a scout went out. There was 200 men. 100 from our regt., and 100 from the 8th MO.
Feb 6 Laid around camp. Nothing of any importance.
Feb 7 Received a letter from father. Wrote a letter to father. Traded my old mare to John Dull for a pony as she got hurt. There was a detail went to Springfield.
Feb 8 It is Sunday. Signed the pay rolls for two months pay.
Feb 9 Wrote a letter for Joseph Stogers to his wife. Wrote a few lines to her myself.
Feb 10 Nothing of any importance happened.
Feb 11 Wrote a letter to Horace Walters, New York. There was a large mail came to camp but there was nothing for me. Wrote a letter for S S Bates.
Feb 12 Was on picket. I was on the Springfield road. There was 18 of us. The regt. drew their pay. Lieutenant Whirennan drew pay for them that was not there.
Feb 13 We was relieved. Came to camp. Got my pay, $50.40cts. Settled up with all the boys. Wrote a letter for S S Bates and wrote to father.
Feb 14 Wrote a letter to H E Stacy. Wrote one to Riley Smith and wrote one for Joseph Stogers to his wife. Lieutenant Whiremman paid us some money that was coming to us for rations that we sold to the quartermaster last summer. It was $4.10cts.
Feb 15 Today is Sunday, laid around camp.
Feb 16 We started on the march. Took a northeast direction. Marched 17 miles and camped on Swan Creek. Drew rations. I was with the teams.
Feb 17 Was on the road soon after 7 o clock. Went up Swan Creek, past through a small village by the name of Swanville. We marched 15 miles and camped on Swan Creek.
Feb 18 We left Swan Creek. Crossed flat piece of timber. The road was awful. Came to Finley Creek and camped. Did not get into camp till dusk.
Feb 19 Was on forage guard. Went with the last team. We did not go more than three miles from camp. It rained some this forenoon and turned cold. Wrote a letter to Catherine Byars.
Feb 20 Bought me a pair of boots. Got them at the _uttler of the 4th ILL.
Feb 21 Got up this morning and it was snowing. It snowed all day. Drew a pair of pants.
Feb 22 It is Sunday and is Washington’s birthday but there was no excitement today. Received a letter from Margaret and one from father.
Feb 23 Wrote a letter to father, one to Margaret, one to George and one to H E Stacy. Wrote one for Joseph Stogers.
Feb 24 Wrote a letter for Joseph Stogers to his wife. Wrote one to Catherine Gray.
Feb 25 Laid around camp.
Feb 26 Bought me a horse of David Webster. Paid him 50 dollars down and gave him my note for $50.00. Borrowed $50.00 of Blair Sytzal.
Feb 27 Was on picket at post No 1. At night it rained.
Feb 28 Was relieved from picket. Was mustered for pay.
Mar 1 It is Sunday. Washed some clothes.
Mar 2 We wore ordered to move camp today and every available man was to take 4 days rations. We started at 8 o clock. Marched about 20 miles and camped. That is the 1st IA Cavalry and part of the 8th MO. Came on a squad of the rest of the troops.
Mar 3 We started at 7 o clock . Marched to mountain store and camped. Went after forage on horseback.
Mar 4 There was 5 of us out after forage and found a man in the brush. He had a fire and was asleep. We brought him to camp. The rest of the division came up today with the train.
Mar 5 I was on picket guard. Was south of camp. At night it rained.
Mar 6 It is still raining. Was relieved at 9 o clock. Went to camp. It rained all day.
Mar 7 Laid around camp.
Mar 8 Was on forage guard. Traveled all day and came nearly to camp before we got our forage. Got a load of corn and some rye.
Mar 9 Wrote a letter to father and one to H E Stacy.
Mar 10 There was a detail started to Rollo at 8 o clock this morning. Received a letter from father and two from George.
Mar 11 Was on picket at night. There was 3 or 4 shots at some men that wore trying to creep up on the ________ and he saw them and shot. It was on the post next to the one I was on.
Mar 12 Was relieved and came to camp.
Mar 13 Wrote a letter to George and one to father. In the afternoon played a game of ball.
Mar 14 Played a game of ball in the afternoon. Bill rode my horse on forage guard.
Mar 15 Was on picket guard on post no. 7 with some of the Co.’s G & F. Received a letter from home.
Mar 16 Today is my birthday. I am 23 years old today. Was relieved from picket at 8 o clock as the command marched at that time. We took the road to Rollo. We marched about 20 miles and camped on the Gasconade. Went about one and a half miles for corn. The train came in before dark.
Mar 17 We started at 7 o clock. Our regiment was in the advance. Marched 23 miles. We left the road and went to the right and camped. Went three miles for corn.
Mar 18 We started at 7 o clock. We took the road to Salem. Marched about 15 miles and camped. Went 4 miles for forage.
Mar 19 Took the road at 7 o clock. We went nearly north all day. Crossed a large creek. Carried the infantry across the creek on our horses. We marched 15 miles and camped in Gladen Valley. Got sheaf oats for our horses.
Mar 20 Was on forage guard. We got corn and wheat of a man that said he was not a Union man. In the afternoon we got some more sheaf oats. At night there was a detail of all the available men that was in camp for a scout. I was on it.
Mar 21 We started at 6 o clock. There was the 8th MO Cavalry and the 9th Wisconsin Cavalry and the 1st IA Cavalry and two pieces of artillery. We went toward West Plains. At 2 o clock we stopped and fed. We marched about 35 miles and camped at 9 o clock clost to a mill. Had no forage for our horses.
Mar 22 We wore on the march at daylight. Went about 8 miles and stopped and fed. I got some breakfast. We staid here all day and night. At night it rained. I slept in the house as I was not very well.
Mar 23 There was 75 men detailed from the regt. and about the same of the 8th MO for a scout with 4 days rations. Capt.Warenand was in command of our squad. We took an easterly direction. Marched 4 or 5 miles and stopped and fed. We then went 4 miles farther and camped. It rained all day. We had a dry place to sleep in the stable. Got some meat at the house where we stopped.
Mar 24 We did not move camp today. There was a scout of 22 men sent out south. It turned cold. Berington was kicked by his horse. The scout came in, in the evening.
Mar 25 We took up our line of march this morning. Took a northeast course. Got with the 8th Mo. Marched 30 miles and camped in Spring Valley. Two of Co. F was missing. I was on picket.
Mar 26 We started east down Spring Valley to look for Co. F boys. Went ten miles down the valley. Heard nothing of them. We then took north across the mountains to camp. Crossed over into Current Valley. Saw the __________after some bush whackers. We caught one of them. He lived in Currant Valley. We fed our horses and got some dinner. Took the man with us and came to camp. In the evening received a letter from H E Stacy. Drew a revolver.
Mar 27 It is raining today. Wrote a letter to H E S. Wrote one to Riley Smith and one for S S Bales.
Mar 28 Got my horse shod on his fore feet.
Mar 29 It is Sunday. Laid around camp.
Mar 30 We took up the line of march at 8 o clock. Took the road to Salem, marched about 12 miles and camped in the brush. Went two miles for forage.
Mar 31 We marched within 13 miles of Rollo and camped at Lake Springs. Past through Salem. I was on picket guard. Got sheaf oats for my mare.
Apr. 1 Received two letters from home and two papers as father is sending the Burlington Hawkeye. Wrote a letter home.
Apr 2 Laid around camp. The teams went to Rollo for forage.
Apr 3 We drilled in the forenoon with carbines and in the afternoon with sabers. The teams came in from Rollo with oats and timothy hay.
Apr 4 Drilled in the forenoon with carbines and in the afternoon cleaned up camp.
Apr 5 Was on picket. It is Sunday.
Apr 6 There was grand review of the division as General Herron came to the division. He is in command of the army of the frontier.
Apr 7 We drilled in the forenoon with the carbine and in the afternoon with saber.
Apr 8 Drilled in the forenoon. It is nice spring weather. In the afternoon hauled a load of wood. Wrote a letter to H E S and A J Cowan.
Apr 9 Nothing of importance.
Apr 10 In the afternoon we drilled on horseback. Lieutenant Mc Cormack drilled us.
Apr 11 It is Saturday. Cleaned up camp. In the afternoon the paymaster came to the division.
Apr 12 It is Sunday. There was inspection. Received a letter from home and a paper.
Apr 13 Received a letter from Robert Harris and one from Cornelias Cowan.
Apr 14 Nothing of any importance.
Apr 15 Received a letter from Margaret Cowan.
Apr 16 We was paid up to the first of March. I drew $100.00. I sent 90 dollars of bills money home by David Lefler as he was going home on a furlough.
Apr 17 We drilled in the forenoon but there was no drill in the afternoon as there was only a small squad.
Apr 18 We had a good drill in the forenoon. Mounted but no drill in the afternoon. It rained in the evening.
Apr 19 It is Sunday. There was an inspection at 10 o clock. Wrote a letter to R B Harris and one to C J Cowan and one home.
Apr 20 I went to Rollo. Took a two horse team. Got some things for myself and for other in the Co. Got back to camp at 9 o clock at night.
Apr 21 We wore ordered to be ready to march at 8 o clock, but 8 o clock came and we wore still in the same camp at 4 o clock in the afternoon. All the available Cav. force in the 2nd and 3rd division started for Pilot Knob as word came in that old Marmaduke was marching on that place. We took 5 days rations. We marched 12 miles and camped clost to Salem. Had no forage for our horses.
Apr 22 Wrote to Cowan. Was sick and was sent back to camp. We marched at daylight. We marched till 7 o clock and stopped and fed. Our regt. was in advance. We marched about 20 miles and camped on a creek. Got corn for to feed.
Apr 23 We started soon after daylight. Our regt. was in the rear. General Van Dever took ten men from each co. of our regt. for a body guard and went on to the Knobb.
We got in about 2 o clock after a march of 25 miles. There is a good many troops at this place. Part of the 3rd IA cav. is here. The troops here are all ready for an attach as old Marmaduke is not far off. He drove some of the militia in a day or two ago.
Apr 24 At 4 o clock this morning boots and saddles was sounded. We kept our saddles on our horse until noon, then unsaddled till evening. We wore then ordered to march at 8 o clock but didn’t move. There is a re port in camp that the rebels came in with a flag of truce. Drew 3 days rations.
Apr 25 Boots and saddles were sounded at 4 o clock. At 12 o clock there was a large cavalry force started out to overtake the rebels. The 1st IA cavalry was in the advance. We marched to Fredricktown and camped. Co H was on picket. Go G caught a man they thought was a rebel spy. There was some more troops came up in the night We marched 20 miles today.
Apr 26 Today is Sunday. We wore on the march soon after daylight. We did not have time to feed. We halted to feed at 2 o clock. We got some sheaf oats and corn. We heard some cannon-ading on toward Cape Giraudeau, which, as we afterwards learned, was at that place as old Marmaduke attached that place. We marched on till dark and got clost to Jackson where we run on to two regts. of rebels. The 1st Iowa cavalry charges into their camp and run them off. We had two howitzers with us that spread fire on the rebels before we charged on them. We laid on our arms all night and the rebels fell back to Jackson. We marched today 40 miles.
Apr 27 Soon after daylight we moved into town about 8 miles where the rebels was waiting for us but a few shells from a battery soon set them on the run south. We moved on after them. As we past through town we learned that there was 2,000 of them, but that they wore not all armed. We marched about 6 miles and stopped to fix up a bridge as the rebels had tore it up. There was corn there and we fed. The 3rd IA cavalry moved on. Got the bridge fixed up and at 9 o clock moved on. About this time we heard the roar of the cannon in the advance as the rebels had made a stand. The 3rd IA cavalry had charged on them before any support came up and wore drove back by superior numbers. But our artillery coming up shell the rebels and drove them back. Our regt. wore then ordered to the front to flank. We went some 3 miles and came to White Water, but the rebels had destroyed the bridge. We wore ordered back out and met General Mc Neil coming from Cape Giraudeau with re-enforcements. We came back to where our artillery had taken positions and camped after a march of about 15 miles. It rained nearly all night.
Apr 28 We run out of rations. There was a train came in from Cape Giraudeau. We drew 3 days rations. We moved on. At 12 o clock General McNeil had built the bridge across White Water. We had to haul the artillery and wagons across by hand as it was to slick that a horse could hardly stand. At 6 o clock there was four of us of our co. sent back to Cape Giraudeau with a dispatch to hurry up the infantry. We wore 18 miles from the Cape. We met the 37th Ill, 5 miles from the Cape on the road. Colonel Hook sent two of the boys back with a dispatch to General Van Dever and Nelson Modale and went on through to the Cape. We rode 18 miles in 2 hours. Gave the dispatch to Colonel Bowen, 1st Nebraska. We staid all night.
Apr 29 The 1st Nebraska left the Cape at 7 o clock. We got some shoeing done and started at half past 9 o clock. Marched 25 miles before we overtook the 1st Neb. We camped with them. Saw John Murfey. He is a Lieut.
Apr 30 We started on soon after daylight. The infantry started about an hour before we did. We overtook the other two boys as they had got the H Co, Ill cavalry to take on the dispatch. Saw where the artillery had left some of their cassions. We caught up with the command at Castor River. We had to ford it and it was the worst ford that ever I crossed in my life. The advance had a skirmish with the rear guard of the rebels at Bloomfield, but they cannot stand to have shells throwed in among them. We past through town and stopped and fed. Staid there till sundown and then moved on about 5 miles and laid on our arms.
This was the end of the second volume of the diary. Do not know where the first or any other volumes are.
The following was taken from the files of THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR SOLDIERS
JAMES H COWAN---Claimed residence in Stacyville, Iowa
Enlistment date 13 June 1861 Rank, Private Age 21
Promoted to full 8th Corporal on 01 Jan 1863
Promoted to full 7th Corporal on 01 Mar 1863
Promoted to full 5th Corporal on 19 May 1863
Promoted to full 4th Corporal on 01 June 1863
Promoted to full 3rd Corporal on 04Nov 1863
Promoted to full 2nd Sergeant on 31` Oct 1864
Promoted to full Qtr Master Sergt. on 01 July1865 (Company Q M Sergt.)
Served Iowa. Enlisted H Co, 1st Cavalry, Regt, IA
Mustered out at Austin, TX on 15 Feb. 1866
Stacyville, Iowa is located in Mitchell County just south of the Minnesota border.
DATABASE-----AMERICAN CIVAL WAR SOLDIER’S ----- IOWANS
James H Cowan
William H Cowan