page 48

Chapter III


Tune (Marching Along)

(1) Our armies are gathering from near and from far.

The loud drum is beating the call for the war.

The conflict is raging, twill be fearful not long.

(chorus) Marching along, we are marching along.

The conflict is raging twill be fearful not long;

We'll gird on our armor and be marching along.

(2) The foe is before us in battle array.

But we will not waver or turn from the way.

In our cans there is strength, be this ever our song.

With courage and hope we are marching along.

(chorus) We are marching along etc.

(3) We've enrolled for the war and we'll camp on the field.

While our country's in danger we never will yield.

Our well ordered columns both trusty and strong.

Our foes shall dismay as were marching along.

(chorus) marching along etc.

(4) By bright deeds of valor green laurels will gain.

And redeem our loved country from treason's foul stain.

There's one thing assures us, we cannot go wrong.

Of trusting in Heaven while marching along.

(chorus) marching along etc.

(5) Our hearts they are true to no foe will we yield.

From the sway of rebellion our land we will shield.

For freedom contending this shall ere be our song.

We'll gird on our armor and be marching along.

(chorus) marching along etc.

page 49

Chapter IV


Pittsburg Landing Saturday April 12, 1862

My Dear wife

I can hardly write at all but I cannot resist the temptation to begin a letter to you though I don't know whether you will be able to read it. I don't expect to get it finished for several days because it is a long painful effort for me to write. Every letter is formed as slowly as if I were a school boy taking my first lessons. I asked Captain Blackmar to write to you several days ago-suppose he has done so, I wrote a few lines with a pencil day before yesterday. I could not then write with a pen at all. Yesterday I asked young Stone to write to you. He told me he had done sc. So I expect they have told you all about how we are flying right by the enemy daily expecting a battle and I cannot bear to think of going into battle again without first writing to you dear because I may never write to you again. I expect the Captain and young Stone have told you all we know about the battle so I will tell you more particularly about myself. Our boat arrived at Pittsburg Landing Sunday April 6 at 4:30A.M. I got up early and finished a letter to you and packed my trunk, ready to leave the boat. I couldn't see any signs of leaving so I took my writing materials and was about to begin another letter to you when Major Belknap told me the enemy had attacked us and we were ordered onto the field. I tell you the truth dear there was no alarm so far as I was concerned, I was glad of it. It was the opportunity we had long wished for. I took off my uniform coat and put on a blouse top, ripped the bugle off my cap, filled my canteen with water, put a few crackers in my pocket (I had no breakfast) fastened up my trunk and was ready. Captain Blackmar was acting officer of the day and it was thought that he would not go out so I called the Company in line, examined their guns and gave them cartridges. A great many were sick. We only had about 48 out. I told them what we had to do and what I would expect of them. About this time the Captain came and took command. We marched up on the hill and halted and drew up the Regiment in line of battle, the colonel, Lt. Colonel and Major road along and talked to the boys. With few expectations the boys were cheerful and full of spirits. Deransel was on duty at the boat and did not go out in the morning. Van did not go out at all.



We were left on the hill an hour waiting orders. We could hear the reports of volleys of musketry following each other in quick succession and the heavy booming of cannons. The wounded were brought past us by loads some horribly mangled. At sight of these, some of the boys nerves quivered a little but most of them stood firm.

At last the word came "right-face; forward march" and the column moved forward with firm tread, hope and determination marked on every face. Would you know Maggie what I thought of? I thought of you, I had always intended to have a letter written to you, to be sent in case I was killed but it was so unexpected I did not get it done. I went to the Captain told him if I fell to write to you but before I could finish my feelings were to strong my voice gave way and I rushed back to place at the side of the camp. Maggie was it unmanly? I could not help it when I thought of my wife and little ones I might never see again, but I was resolved to do my duty. On the road out (it was 3 miles) Colonel Dewey road along the lines, shaking hands with most of the officers and a great many men. He came to me, offered his hand "God Bless you Phil". Maggie, from that moment I loved him. He proved himself a man in the hour of trial and is the only field officer that is worthy to hold his position. We were deceived in men before. We know them now. When I got to the field there was no discipline at all. Colonel Reid first confused the boys by giving wrong orders. He once gave an order when he wanted the men to face the enemy and fire so that it brought in line with their backs to the foe and right under a gauling fire. It was not their fault they obeyed his orders. As soon as the proper command was given they faced right and fired without flinching. This was the command we got all the way through when we got in it. The Colonel would say fire, we would give the command to the company and they took deliberate aim and blazed away like good fellows and then he would say stop firing, as you are shooting our own men. This was not the case, but it confused the men, my private opinion is he didn't know which end was up and I hope the next battle we go into he may be to sick to go out. The last hour we were out I never saw a field officer. Each company acted independently. Captain Blackmar was wounded and taken away. I was hurt so I could not use a weapon, but at the time I did not suffer any pain. We were under a heavy front and flank fire from musketry, grape, round shot and shell. The ball whizzed past us and tore the trees almost around. A shell burst on an encampment just in the rear of us and set the tents on fire, they blazed up furiously. Men were falling on every side two or three at a time. Three of our own company were already dead and many wounded.

Two of our Regiments over on the right had given way, most of our own Regiment had gone. Should we stay there? I looked



Camp near Cornith

May 16, 1862

My Darling wife,

Cornith is not evacuated. Again we have orders to fall into line at 9 A.M. about a half an hour from now and from the sound of the firing I think likely there will be a general battle. God knows whether I will come out alive but I go cheerfully and trust that if I fall the God of the widow


Sunday May 18, 1862

My dear wife,

At the time of writing the above I felt sure that we were just going into a bloody battle. It proved not to be the case. We were used only for pickets. Two companies of our regiment were deployed through the woods in front of us and the rest of us held in reserve. There was considerable picket fighting during the day but we were not engaged. We lay on our arms at night with a coutrement buckled on but there was no alarm. We have moved since I last wrote about a mile nearer Corinth and are now I think within the range of heavy guns. Forces are still being moved up from our rear. Corinth is now supposed not to be evacuated. Still I halfway think it is and that they are only keeping a' sufficient force there to harass us and keep up appearances. In this way they can retard us and keep us back till they get well out of the way. Still there may be a fight and if there is one at all I think likely it will begin tomorrow morning and it may begin any moment. You have heard enough of my conjuctures however in regard to the probable time of the battle to know that all is very uncertain. If there is no battle tomorrow I will probably be out of it for I will likely get my discharge tomorrow evening though perhaps not till the next day. When we are called into line I will have little or no time to write to you so it is best I write now. Would you know how a soldier feels on the eve of battle? He thinks of home Dear Maggie at least I do, I will think of my dear wife that may soon be a widow and the little ones that may soon be fatherless. Oh my dear wife I never realized the inexpressable love that I feel for my family till I felt I might be on the eve of being taken away from them. At such a time it is hard to feel that my first duty I owe is to my country. I feel as if I owe it to my family. Could I have my business all settled and you free from any danger of want I shall feel different but I know you will be left in a great measure helpless, that you will have troubles and trials that you little dream of and that I myself can form no estimate


of. These things trouble me dearest, but if I am taken away I know you will do your best though how you will get along I can hardly imagine myself. There is a being who rules us all for our good. May He protect you. This may be the last line you will ever see from my hand. There is considerable firing this evening and early morning light may find us on our way to the field. One thing rest assured, as long as my life blood circulates through my body I will not cease to think of you and our little darlings. When I have been in danger and expecting every moment to fall I thought of you. It is hard to stop writing when I think that I may never see you again or write you another letter but I may want someone else to finish this letter so I will leave room. Ever ever your loving husband and of our little ones the loving father.


We are starting for the field. If I never see you more kiss the little ones for me and farewell a long farewell, a final kiss to you dear. Your husband

Sat. May 24, 1862

Dearest Maggie

No general battle yet and no immediate prospect of any. My resignation is accepted. I expect to start home in a few days. I am trying to get my pay. Should a battle begin before I leave I shall stay and see it through though I do not expect it. I may have business to detain me in St. Louis a day or two, but unless I meet with some detention that I cannot foresee I shall be home to stay in three or four days after this reaches you. I feel somewhat disappointed for I have always looked forward to the time when I might come home with the company. I feel as if my military career is ending rather ungloriously but I cannot yet get the consent of my mind to leave you longer in your dependant and friendless situation. My hearth is very poor. I was better for about a week but am worse again. Since the middle of last month I have not been able for duty more than 8 days altogether and indeed the greater part of that time I was half fit. I am quite unwell now, took a dose calomet yesterday and last night I and to take a dose of oil. I hope that the trip home with change of air and better diet may improve my health. Deransel is getting rugged and in fine spirits. My leaving does not seem to trouble him at all. Wats is still lame, I'm afraid always will be but otherwise in good health.I am not able to write more you need not write to me anymore I shall not write again to you unless something detains me till I see you. Goodbye. Philand the fatherless will protect you and them. Kiss our little ones for me and remember if I die I die like a man and my last thoughts were of you and the little ones. May God protect you through life and defend our country this day. As long as life lasts I will remain your loving husband.



Head Quarters 4th Iowa BatteryThibodaux, La. Dec. 24th 1864

My darling Wife

I am seated as usual in the evening in my had room writing by the light of my lamp. The weather is quite pleasant again except that there are indications of rain. A very little fireis sufficient.


Eight years ago at this time you and I dear were sitting bya big log fire at your father's house. We were spending our first evening as husband and wife. How well I remember every incident of that day and at the different hours of this day I have thought how I was employed eight years ago at that hour. When eating breakfast I thought this time eight years since I was in a sleigh going to meet my bride. About 9 o'clock I arrived and how well dearest I remember my feelings when I first saw you attired in your bridal dress. I sat by your side in that little back room with my eyes riveted on you noting every rush of your appearance from your becoming headdress to the little garter which so temptingly and I am afraid with some little share of vanity peeped from beneath the embroidered skirt. I was happy indeed and still I could not realize that the lovely thing at my side was actually so soon to be my wife my own all my own. We ate dinner today about the same hour that we did on that day. And then when the guests went out to depart and saw Mat get in the sleigh with father and drive away it seemed so strange that I should not go and that I was going to remain from that time with Maggie. That her home would be my home, her palace of repose mine also and that thereafter I might love her without having to place any bar on my demonstrations of affections. Oh how proud I was before all the guests there assembled of my beautiful wife. Soon the time came for us to start to your fathers and how glad I was to be off for we were alone for the first time that day and for the first time that day I put my arms around you and kissed you darling. Happy as I was the day seemed long and the evening also for I had no chance to be alone with my darling. All seemed curious, strange. I could not realize it and felt as if I was in dream land. In our conversations what air castles we built and what fond dreams of the future we entertained. But tis for none of us to read the future and this is fortunate. Of those who met with us at the different places we met during the few days succeeding where are they now. Of those at dinner with us eight years ago today, John Raines and Uncle Elipha Lewis, at least and perhaps others have crossed the river to the unknown country. Of those who were with us in the evening a Dear Brother, Deransel fills the honored grave of a gallant soldier. Of those who dined with us at fathers, my own Dear Mother sweetly sleeps in her last resting place. And where are the rest? Scattered, scattered many of us never to meet again till this mortal shall have put on immortality. Mat and Fanny, one at that time a young lady and the other a child



are both widows. And of the gay party that met us at John Wilsons many are no more. At least one and she one of the brightest and best, Kitty Argyle, married and died. But we are spared and of the imperishable jewels that have been given us since then we have been called on to render none of them back. And though we have had troubles and misfortunes and even now are far from each other we have no cause to repine. In the tenderest spot of all we have not been touched. While many who started in life to all appearance loving as warmly as we have disagreed, quarreled and even separated, nothing has come between us and the fire of our love burns warm and bright as it did on the day when we were united. I have devoted every unoccupied moment of this day to thoughts of you darling and I can say this evening that I am more than ever satisfied with the step that I took eight years ago and I believe even our honeymoon is not yet over. I look forward with strong hopes ere many months roll round of seeing you and when by your side with my arm around you we will forget the trials and difficulties of the past. Today I took my flute and played "do they miss me at home?" "Sweet Home" and "when this cruel war is over." They made me feel sad and I wound up with "Bonnie Blue Flag", The Marseilles and "We'll rally round the flag" to raise my patriotic ardor a little. Tonight I am writing with the two pictures that I have Maggie laying before me. I have looked at them long and lovingly and Oh! how I wish it was Maggies self instead of her picture so near me.

I had hoped to receive a letter from you on this day but there was no boat down. One came down today and perhaps I will receive the letter as a Christmas present.

I am invited out to dine tomorrow and while I would rather stay at home and think about my wife and little ones I must go for it is an invitation that I cannot slight. But wherever I am I will think of you darling. When I used to be permitted to spend this eve at home how much interest we took in preparing our gifts for our little ones. I expect tonight the little stockings, four in number are hung in conspicuous places where Santa Claus cannot fail to see them. How I wish I could be there to help you fill them. I have not passed this eve with you for four years. The last time was in our own little cottage. Mr. Wing was with us and helped us fill the candy for our little folks. Well I trust the time is now at hand when we may meet together again. How nice it would be if one year from this day we could meet Wing and his wife at our house. More unlikely things then that have happened and he says in his letters to me that he will come and see us.

I sincerely trust that next anniversary of this day I will spend at home surrounded by those I love and with no thoughts


page 56

to disturb or in any way mar the serenity of our happiness. And that we may feel that our separation is over and that the coming days of the years of our life will be spent together as is right with those whom God has joined together.

Be that as it may, if I live I shall see you between this time and that.

Now darling cheer up your lonely heart. Rest assured that your husbands love and anxious thoughts constantly hover about you. Kiss all our little ones for me and tell them their Christmas gifts as well as one for Ma will be forthcoming between this and spring. Good night Dearest, pleasant dreams. Affectionately Phil