Transcribed by Ed Vollertsen

Prepared for the internet by Norma Jennings

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force was sent out today to reconnoiter the enemy in force. A sharp firing was heard in that direction but I have not learned particulars.

Friday April 25th

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It commenced raining during the night and keeps it up with unabated vigor. Our reconnoitering party yesterday composed of infantry, cavalry and artillery to the number of about 1,000 men fell in with about an equal party of the enemy and after a short skirmish routed them with a loss on our side of one man killed and seven or eight wounded. We took prisoners beside their other loss the extent of which I did not learn. About 10 o'clock p.m. while the rain was pouring down and mud all around we received orders to strike our tents and be ready to move immediately which we did though by no means agreeable. Our new camping place is some three miles from the old. Our things had to be taken out packed and loaded in the rain and the Regiment had to march through rain and mud. The sick are left behind til tomorrow. Our Company wagon got mired in the mud and everything had to be unloaded. It did not get in til nearly dark, then our tents had to be pitched, suppers cooked and all such things done. Our situation was anything but agreeable sleeping in mud on a cold rainy night. I was still quite unwell myself but walked over rather than ask the dignitaries of our Regiment a chance to ride though I was fairly entitled to it. Soldiering is bad enough at best but is made worse by the negligence of officers whose only apparent use is to ornament the Regiment and draw salaries. They seem to consider the highest crime known under military law and I believe are glad when the sick die so they are relieved from the trouble. But we are fast finding out some of our officers that we supposed to men

Saturday April 26th

I had a hard night. Heard some firing during the night supposed it to have been the pickets but do not know. The weather was clear this morning and today it was oppressively warm yesterday my waiter was taken sick and I had to detail a man from the Company he is still sick. At 11 a.m. it was announced that the Inspector General would be here at 1 p.m. and the companies were ordered to prepare for inspection. The inspection is now going on. The whole Brigade was first drawn up in line of battle, then broke into column by company and is now being inspected by some very ornamental looking

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gentleman whom I presume to be General and staff. Well it is but little use to be a dog unless you can be a big dog. After inspection of arms and accontraments the Company books were called for and were examined. Ours were pronounced "well Kept." Nothing of particular interest transpiring.

Sunday April 27th

The morning dawned clear and pleasant after Company inspection in the morning our Chaplain held divine services in front of field officers quarters. He read at length some passages of scripture and offered some well timed and sensible comments on them. I was particularly interested I suppose we will have services every Sunday when it is possible. In the afternoon he called together as many as would come and held prayer meeting. This he purposed to do several times a week. I believe our Chaplain is a good man and he is plainly a working man. After tatoo at night and just

we (in our tent) were about returning to rest an order was sent around to Captains of Companies to inspect the arms and accontraments of the men and see that they were supplied withammunition as a night attack was apprehended. We roused the men from their beds and did as ordered, gave the men the order to rest on their arms and went to bed and slept as soundly and dreamed as sweetly as if no enemy were within a thousand miles of us.

Monday April 28th

No attack during the night. I think there will be none, but we will have to march on to Corinth if we want to fight. The Mayor told me yesterday that he had reason to suppose we would do this in a week. We are beginning to get tired of waiting. We know that there must be a fight and we want it over with, the sooner the better.

Tuesday April 29th

Early in the morning the road was lined with troops all taking the road to Corinth. Brigade after brigade infantry, squadrons after squadrons of cavalry and battery after battery of artillery crowded along the road during the entire day. Cannonading was heard in the direction of Corinth. About 10 o'clock the long roll was beat and the

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whole Brigade was called into line. I was quite weak and the `Colonel sent me an order to take command of the guard, relieve Lieutenant Throckmorton then in command and let him take charge of the Company. Our men were ordered to stack arms and get their canteens filled and 24 hour rations in their havorsacks and be ready to fall into line at the tap of the drum. This they did and at about 1 p.m. were given "forward march." I remained in charge of the camp. We supposed at the time that a decided advance on Corinth was intended. We afterwards learned our Brigade was sent out to support General Lewis Wallace who had made an attack on Purdy(a small town west of Corinth) to destroy the Memphis Railroad. After marching about 10 miles they were informed that General Wallace had succeeded without them and ordered "right about march" and returned to camp. It was already night so they encamped for the night as Officer of the Guard I had a pretty hard tour. Lay out on the wet ground until 9 o'clock when I felt very unwell and at the risk of arrest I went to my tent and laid down with my clothes still on giving the Sergeant orders to call me if I was needed. Fortunately, I was not called and got to sleep til about 5 a.m.


April 30th

  Our Regiment got in about 10 a.m. very tired the guard was not relieved so I had to stand another day. In the afternoon our Company was sent on picket guard. Throckmorton went with them. I omitted to state yesterday that S. G. Bridges a jeweler from Keokuk and a particular fried of the Regiment arrived here with a magnificent silk flag, his own gift to the Regiment such kindness touches our hearts for it shows us that we have friends are watching our movements with deep interest and are not willing to believe any slanderous report put in circulation against us. Mr. Bridges took our old flag back with him to present to the State Historical Society. Its tattered condition will be a sufficient evidence that we have been where balls flew thick and fast.

  Just before dark we were ordered to prepare 24 hour rations and be ready to fall into line of march tomorrow at 7 a.m. I spent the greater part of the night on the ground again. It goes very hard with me in the bad state of my health.

May 1, 1862

   Started early this morning, weather pleasant, moved about four miles. I was unable to march with the Regiment so I

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took my own time. I stopped to rest frequently and got into camp about noon very much exhausted and quite unwell. Our Company fell into line with us on the road. Our teams did not get in til the middle of the afternoon so we had to do without dinner. At last we got our tents pitched and everything in good shape for the night. I passed a restless night and threatened with a bilious attack have quite a few all night. Our Company ground is in a beautiful grove and our march was through pleasant, shady trees without any under brush. But we can't enjoy it. Our movements are restricted within narrow limits and if any time we feel tempted to it our systems relax and give ourselves up to enjoy the Pleasures of the scenery or of the cool refreshing breeze the brief stern word of command and from some part of the camp recalls us to the fact that we are soldiers in an enemy's country and for the present we must have no feelings for pleasure, but giving up all selfish feeling, hold ourselves in readiness for hard and dangerous duty. No one but he who has tried it knows the privations and hardships of the soldiers they richly desire the nations gratitude.


May 2nd

   Weather still pleasant. We have for a time been attached toa Brigade, commanded temporarily by Colonel Crocker of the Iowa 13th and composed of four Iowa Regiments (i.e) the 11th,the 13th, the 15, and the 16th. We had been in General McKeen's Division but now in General Sherman's (Port Royal Sherman). I am quite unwell and taking medicine today. I have to get back up and fix it for myself and I can not help thinking that if I were at home the careful hand of my wife would prepare it and I might rest myself in bed. But here we must work sick or well. Since Monday last I had not had a chance til today to write a word in my journal and today I am not able were it at all probable that I should have another chance. But Tomorrow we move. We are said to be within seven and a half miles of Corinth. The next move will perhaps take us within cannon range and then the work of devastation and death will commence. Who will survive that bloody contest no one knows and it is not unlikely that this may be the last that I shall ever write in this journal. But if I should fall I want my family to know that I have tried faithfully to discharge my duty and the heinous pain that I suffer in view of the uncertainty is when I think of them. As long as my heart beats it will beat for my dear wife and children and if it is decreed that I must fall on the battle field of Corinth may heaven protect them. We received today what we suppose to be reliable information in that York Town is taken. If we succeed at Corinth as we hope to I can not see how it is possible for the war to last much longer. Indeed I hope we may soon be permitted in peace to visit our homes and families. It may not be out of place to mention that since the Battle of Pittsburg I have only once taken my clothes off to sleep. I hardly think I shall know how to behave myself if ever I get back home.


May 6th

   Since last Friday I have been unable to write and am still quite feeble we moved our camp seven miles on Saturday. I walked the entire distance. It was too much for me and completely prostrated me. On our route we passed through deserted Rebel camps. They left in such haste that they left blankets mattresses, clothing, provisions and ammunition in large quantities. Saturday evening General Pope took Farmington a small town some four miles from Corinth with 1,500 prisoners we could distinctly hear the cannonading which commenced at 5:15 p.m. and lasted near an hour. We are in Mississippi at Montrey where Beauregard dated his dispatch to General Grant asking permission to come and bury his


The whole country is swarming with soldiers all on the move and everything indicates that a strike will very soon be made. It is said that General Curtis has arrived with about 60,000men including the 4th Iowa Infantry some say the 4thCavalry too but I think that is a mistake. Hospital of 6th Division Army of Tennessee.



May 11, 1862

I have again been compelled by the state of my health to neglect my journal. Since writing the last I was taken way from camp and brought to the place where I have much better care taken of me. I am still quite weak. Have to walk with a stick and keep to my bed the greater part of the time. Captain Blackmar is here laid up with his back. Yesterday the order came to break up this hospital. The sick will be taken down the river, the convalescent will be taken to Hamburg some miles above and those able will return to camp. I suppose I will have to go back soon. I dread it for I am not able. Yesterday fighting was going on all day with the enemy on the left of our lines. Reports say we had 150 men wounded.

   Yesterday I sent in my resignation as First Lieutenant and asked a discharge from the service I doubt whether it will be accepted it has caused me a struggle to do this but I believe it is best. I am not able for duty have not been and not likely to be. It is of no use for me to stay doing nothing while my system is running down all the time. The weather is getting intensely hot and water is getting scarce good water we have never had in Tennessee.



May 13th, 1862

    Still unwell but better than I have been. I am quite weak and afraid that my back will fail entirely. I am very anxious to hear from camp. I think I shall go out and report for duty the first chance. I will probably have one today or tomorrow got three letters last night from my wife and from my sister and one from my friend Noah. I must answer some of them this morning. The weather is very hot hot enough for July up in Iowa.

    The report this evening is that Corinth is evacuated if so there will be another general movement of the Army. I sent my waiter out to camp yesterday to see if there is any mail for us. He has not returned, I do not know what detains him.

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May 14, 1862


   Morning fine but very warm the mosquitoes trouble me. I am trying to get to camp today. Do not know whether I will succeed. Waiter not yet returned. Afternoon the same day. I have had no chance to get to camp. Have just returned from the bedside of one of our sick Marion Harman. He has typhoid fever I think is out of his head and will not recover I greatly fear. Poor fellow he has a wife and children at home whose hopes for life will in great measure be blasted. In the evening my waiter got back. The surgeon promises me an ambulance to take me to camp tomorrow.



May 15th

   Go out to camp today. About 12 miles. Weather warm and roads very dusty. On the road saw 16 teams of six mules each run away and cause a general smash up. Two of them took the road down a steep hill through the timber and came very near running into us but our driver turned out in time to save us. When I got to camp I found that our men had been called into line of battle about two hours previously and had gone out with some probability of a battle. About 2 o'clock they came back with the report that Corinth was evacuated. It is stated that Generals Buell and Mitchell had orders to advance on Corinth and if they met an enemy stand their ground., if not go and take possession of the place. Our men were to support them in case they were needed. After waiting under arms for about four hours word was received that Corinth had been evacuated and they were ordered back to camp and dismissed. They broke ranks with a shout. It is thought by many that we will never have another battle with them. I sincerely hope it may be so. Resignation I sent in some days since was never placed in the Colonel's hands and I this evening wrote out a new one and handed it in. I think it will succeed but I can not know with certainty for several days. There can certainly be no dishonor attached to resigning when after facing the enemy six weeks expecting a battle we find them gone and no probability of a fight. Passed a very restless night. I do not think I went to sleep at all.


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May 16th

   A heavy firing is heard in the morning and we begin to indulge some suspicions that Corinth is not evacuated after all. We have orders for our Regiment to be ready at 9 o'clock with one days rations to go out on picket guard but from the heavy firing we expect a general engagement. When we got out we find out that we are for picket duty but there is considerable skirmishing among the pickets during the two companies of our Regiment are deployed through the woods in advance, the rest of us held in reserve. Our Regiment is not engaged during the day. We lie on our arms all night. Are close enough as we lie in the open air to hear the Rebel drums and rattling of the cars on the track. I pass another very estless night. We are pretty sure now that Corinth was not evacuated. All a hoax.


May 17th


Get word from camp that there is an order to strike tents and move at 8 o'clock and about 9 a.m. our Division is marching by our position. Not knowing that our baggage was brought forward by the wagons we are marched back to camp get there and find everything taken. Rest there about an hour and then make a forward moving ourselves. After marching about a mile a heavy firing begins and is kept up with but little intermission during the afternoon. It seems to extend along the whole line and we suppose the engagement to be general. Some of our boys immediately became quite unwell and others health improved. We advanced about a mile further and drawn up in line of battle in the brush with a battery of artillery in front of us and are held there as reserve during a great part of the afternoon. Are not engaged. A little before sundown the firing mostly ceased and move a little further and camp and our tents and provisions are brought up. We suffer very much during the afternoon from heat and want of water. We camp at night in line of battle with two lines in front and two in the rear of us. The artillery which we are to support is just in front of us. We suppose a battle to be fairly begun and expected to be followed up tomorrow. Lie on our arms all night. I still have a dim suspicion that the enemy have mostly evacuated Corinth leaving only a sufficient force to retard our progress until the main force gets well out of the way. This however is only conjecture but I think we will know soon I am very weary and get a good night's rest.

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Sunday May 18th

I awake very much refreshed and in place of being roused by the roar of cannon and the music of long roll everything is quiet. Everything looks as if we might have a very peaceful Sabbath day. I hope it may be so. I think the soldiers harassed as he is by uncertainty and kept in a continual state of doubt should have one day of rest. There is not even picket firing at least we hear none which is something unusual and confirms me in my belief that enemy are evacuating Corinth and have even withdrawn the most of the remnants of their forces. I still don't feel sure. If the Army is still there the fighting must be at hand. We are by the best accounts not more than three miles from Corinth and there are two lines in advance of us. We still have to go out on inspection at 10 a.m. and I sincerely hope that may be all the duty we will be called on to do today. We have just been called on for a detail of ten men for a fatigue party. I do not know whether they are intended for preparing roads in advance of us or some duty about the camp. I suspect their business will be to throw up bridge works. I can get no definite information in reference to the fighting yesterday. Suppose I will know nothing until I see it in the papers. That is the way we are generally informed in regard to our own movements. The fatigue party sent out this morning are engaged in building breastworks in front of our lines. Forces are still being moved up from our rear. Every movement seemed to be made with utmost caution as if there were a certainty that the enemy were in Corinth and an attack on us anticipated. The artillery horses are constantly kept harnessed and saddled. All this does not convince me that there will be a fight but only that General Halleck does not know exactly whether the enemy have gone or not and he does not intend to be surprised. We all have the utmost confidence in him. I wish we could say the same of all the officers under him.


Occasional cannonading has been heard during the afternoon about a mile to the front of us I don't know what it means but if the enemy have not evacuated Corinth I think the battle will open up soon in all probability tomorrow. If I had my resignation back I should not send it for some days as the time I handed it in I thought Corinth evacuated and no chance for a fight for some time to come perhaps not at all.

As it is I am badly situated. My resignation is probably by this time approved but will perhaps not reach me for a day or two. If I go into battle and get wounded or taken prisoner my pay will be stopped because I will no longer belong to the Army. Should I be killed or disabled for life suppose I or my heirs would be entitled to no pension as I will be out of

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the service at the time and not entitled to pensions other than a citizen going into battle. I am in a state of suspense These things make me feel very uncomfortable but I suppose a few days at most will terminate my suspense. If my dear family were only provided for I have no disposition to quit the service. In the evening breastworks not completed. Will take til 3 o'clock tomorrow morning to complete enough to cover the battery. About 7 p.m. we are ordered to make a new detail to relieve the men who have been at work during the day. We do so but they are marched up to the Colonel's tent and discharged and we are instructed that we will probably be called on for a detailed in the morning. Some conjecture that it is the design of General  Halleck to surround and starve the enemy out. It is stated that he had them surrounded except five miles on the opposite side from us and we are to be held here to drive them back in case they try to break through. I would like to believe this statement but hardly dare to do so.

Comments: Colonel Reid informed me that my remarks on this page in reference to provision are wrong if I not into engagement before I received acceptance of my resignation my pension is alright and I will stand as if I had not tendered my resignation so if there is a battle, here goes.....May 2, 1862

May 19th

 Had another first rate night's rest. Yesterday evening late we were ordered carefully to inspect the guns of our men and see that they had 50 rounds of ammunition, two days rations ahead and prepared for an early march this morning. This morning I see no particular indications of an immediate fight though we can't tell and may be ordered into line any moment. There has been some firing going on this morning but not more than usual and I have heard no cannonading at all. It is now just 5:30a.m. and we will have to wait with patience the events of the day. I have had no breakfast. Am sitting on the trunk writing on a box and smoking my pipe. I am in a state of great suspense. I have heard that my resignation is returned accepted. I do not know whether this is true if it is in the Adjutants hands and I will have not been notified of it. I would like to know the truth. I am the third officer in the Regiment who has resigned. Another Captain sent in his resignation last night make the fourth. In less than one month I believe half of the officers in the Regiment all resigned. At 8:30a.m. we are ordered to have everything ready to move camp at 10. There are only two wagons here the rest have been sent back to the river for supplies. Those two begin at the right wing and load the luggage of Companies A

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The firing ceased before dark, rested on our arms and slept soundly.

May 20th

Had quite a shower during the night and still raining some this morning. A good deal of picket firing this morning but no cannonading. The cars at Cornith seem to be unusually busy this morning running to and fro and whistling all the time. I should not be surprised if the Secesh are getting away as fast as possible, but can't tell. Heard an aid de camp say last night that they have their line of battle formed 1 1/2 miles from us. Well a day or two will tell the story. Take my place as Officer of guard Put in a tiresome day at guard house. Considerable picket firing during the day but in the main everything is quiet. Rains some in the afternoon and quite hard during the night. Get three letters in the evening two from my dear wife and one from my Father. No stir of any kind.

May 21st

Orders issued early this morning to be prepared with two days rations in their haversacks and be ready to march at moments notice. I had the Company formed, stack arms, and rest which means they may fall out of line but must hold themselves in readiness to come back at a moments warning at the word attention. We may have a fight or may not. My impression is that we are not going to make a general attack but I think likely it is intended to make a reconnaissance in force which it is anticipated may bring on an attack. I am almost getting tired of this continued suspense. We know nothing 10 minutes ahead but that is one of the trials incident to a soldiers life. If we do get into a battle and fall, good bye my dear wife and children. If I, I die loving you as I have always loved you only it seems to me morefervently. It seems to me I could die more cheerfully if could only see you a few moments to speak a few loving words to you but Dear I have to leave it to you to imagine what I feel and what I would say for I cannot express e multitude of emotions that come crowding on my mind. But this much I assure you, I am not afraid to die for my country. Good bye dear, good bye. May God take care of you and the little ones. 12 1/2 o'clock.


Not gone out yet, think it doubtful whether we do today. For a short time this morning there was a heavy cannonading on our line a mile or two to the right of us but it seemed to provoke no answering fire. There has been at times during theday a sharp firing of musketry not far from us but I presume it was our own pickets. I think now that the intention is to advance and close in on the enemy and the firing today was to see whether there is any enemy concealed in the woods. It was thought possible that the movement might bring on a general engagement and we are being held in readiness in case of an attack. We will soon become so accustomed to being called in line of battle that it will cause but little more excitement than going out on dress parade. I still think it somewhat doubtful whether we have a battle here. If we do have it may be a month though l think it will be in a few days if at all. Evening. There has been some heavy firing at different times during the day. Report says that the firing this morning was caused by a Rebel Battery throwing a shell into our lines and killing three men. Our guns opened out on the Rebels who incontimently skidadled leaving some say three some say five guns which we forthwith and due regard to the rights of property took possession of. Everything seems calm now. I go to bed early. Get a good nights rest. I have been regularly sleepy headed for 4 or 5 nights. I can sleep soundly and comfortably with the guns booming all around and the comfortable reflections staring me in the face that a shell may enter our camp at any time and very unceremoniously disturb my slumber. Well so long as they don't come I shall not mind it.

May 22nd

Morning dawned clear and bright. The night was cool and heavy dew fell. All is quiet just now but there was a great deal of firing during the night. This morning there was a heavy firing heard, some cannonading just before reveille. The bugle of the artillery near us sounded the alarm and called to harness. Our drums made a mistake and in place of beating an alarm, beat the reveille. So our orderlies called the men into line, called roll and dismissed them.

The firing stopped and they were allowed to remain dismissed. I slept through all and did not wake till an hour or so afterward. The firing has begun again. We will hardly get through the day without being called into line though I do not much apprehend a fight unless the Rebels attack us which I hardly think they will have the impudence to do. If they try it once I think they will get their sufficiency of it. We are strongly fortified here and at every move we make we fortify. We are ready for the enemy all the time. General Halleck seems to understand his business. He is very cautious. He intends to have Corinth and will have it and the

End of diary