JOURNAL OF PHILIP H. GOODE
Transcribed by Ed Vollertsen
Prepared for the internet by Norma Jennings
|March 15, 1862|
The 15th Regiment is still at Keokuk. After remaining Inactive some five months we are still at Keokuk but the time of our departure is at hand. The ice has during so many months blockaded the river and cut off communications from below is almost gone. The river is clear at this point and all the way below town. A few days at most will remove this. A boat came up today within sight of town but after battering at the ice a while gave up the the undertaking and went back. Our experience so far in military life has had neither hardships nor dangers connected with it but soon it will be different. We are going to the scene of the conflict, there to face the enemy. How will we conduct ourselves: Will we be able to place the fame of our Regiment side-by-side with that of hte glorious Iowa Second, I believe that it is the firm determination of all of us to act like men and like patriots and all of us feel a strong desire to prove our claim to merit on the field of battle.
But it is a serious thing to face death in any form. When I think of my own home the dear wife and helpless little ones shrink from the uncertainty of a soldiers fate. This evening I have been looking to receive a letter from the one dearer than all others to me, my affectionate wife. I have not received it. My thoughts involuntarily turns in the direction of home. Shall I ever see those dear ones more? Or have I kidded them and spoken my farewell for the last time in this world. God alone knows and while I feel a strong desire to be spared to rear my own little ones and enjoy the sweet companionship of my wife I am equally desirous to do my duty as a citizen and as a soldier. I am not insensible to danger but I believe the man is truly brave who while he realized the danger he incurs has nerve enough to do his duty. May the time soon come when the necessity for shedding blood will no longer exist in our beloved and once happy United Country.
|March 16, 1862|
The day of rest, but not rest for the soldier. Inspection guard mounting and dress parade must go on Sunday or not.
The river is at last open and the Hannibal City a St. Louis packet came up this evening. The Dr. i. Vernon is expected up is expected up tonight. It was announced to us on dress parade this evening that we will leave on Tuesday morning. Hurrah for Dixie and prospect of getting down into Secesh* at last we are ordered to cook three days rations tomorrow and have everything in readiness for marching.
In vain Secessia boasts her fair (sable fair).
Their white-eyed beauties and their kinky hair
In vain exalted chivalry she charms
And at supremacy for cotton aims.
Secessia weep thy chivalry no more
Secessia weep king cotton's lost his power
Remble Secessia for thy boasted sway
the mud sills armed are eager for the fray
The sound of the whistle notifies me that the steamer Dr i Vernon has arrived from St. Luis. She will probably have to take us down the river. Tis 12 o'clock and I retire to rest but before I go my thoughts turn to home and hte fear ones there may they rest in peace and security.
|March 17, 1862|
Beautiful day. Arrangements for our departure are rapidly being made and the packing for removal is going on briskly. About noon we are informed that we can not get off tomorrow but will get off Wednesday morning. It is a disappointment to us. I hope we may get off at the time fixed. I went to a concert tonight and after the concert to an oyster supper at the residence of H. H. Sullivan, Esquire, now Sutter to our Regiment. Had a very pleasant time. all the officers of the 15th and a part of its officers of the 17th Regiment were there. Also, Lieutenant Charles J. Ball 13th Regiment Infantry Regular Army.
The mumps have broken out among the 17th Regiment and I suppose they will go through ours.
I received a letter this morning from my dear wife. It was a very welcome one to me for I had not heard from her for more than a week. All well at home and for that I am thankful. I had almost omitted to state that we lost another man today. His name was Johnson from Freemont Count, disease measles. He was buried at 4 p.m.
|March 18, 1862|
Our last day in Keokuk it was announced to us this evening at dress parade that we will start without fail tomorrow, the boys appeared on dress parade with knap sacks, canteens, and haversacks. They made a good appearance. An immense concourse of citizens were assembled to witness our last dress parade. The people of this place have been very kind to us and seem to feel really sad at our departure. Well they may for many brave fellows will start for Dixie tomorrow never to return. Many hearts now "beating with high hope" and anticipating glory's achievement sin a few months, perhaps a few weeks, "will molder cold and low". At night I attended an oyster supper given by Lieutenant Charles Ball and Captain Pike Hand to the officers of the 15th. The evening past pleasantly and livened by jokes retorts boasts and responses and we did not breakup till 3 o'clock in the morning.
|Steamer Jeannie Deane|
|March 19, 1862|
The long look for time has come at last and we are on the road. This morning all was hurry and bustled until we were ready to start about 10 o'clock a.m. it commenced raining and continued to do so til 4 p.m. The men were drawn up in line in front of quarters ready to start and at 4 precisely we embarked. Not withstanding the mud and rain the street along the river was crowded with people to witness our departure and we feel assured that we carry with us the best wishes of the good people of Keokuk. We were escorted to the river by the 17th Regiment who expect soon to follow us. The weather is cold cloudy and every way disagreeable
|March 20, 1862|
At daylight this morning our steamer was opposite Alton, Illinois and about 8 a.m. we reached Saint Louis, the 23rd Missouri Regiment arrived just in advance of us on the Warsau and lay just above us at the landing. They gave us three rousing choruses as we past which were returned with interest by our boys. The 21st Missouri (Colonel Moore's) lay below us on the Steamer J. C. Simms. They had embarked for the "Land of Dixie" and are engaged in loading their luggage About 10 a.m. we left the boat and formed in line on the levy, we marched through the city and out to Benton Barricks (sic) a distance of about four miles. As we marched through the city we were cheered on all sides and the windows were filled with ladies waving their handkerchiefs to us.
The barracks are situated on a rather low and very flat piece of ground. It is at present quite muddy and as I understand been more so. The houses are one story built on the outside of the ground and facing to the center enclosing about 200 acres of ground. They were intended to accommodate 10,000 men. There are at present only 8,000including cavalry, artillery, and infantry.
We had to stand out in the center for about two hours before quarters were found for us.
Colonel Bonneville of the Regular Army is in command an old man said to be a good officer.
The weather is rainy and disagreeable.
The weather still rainy and very muddy' Captain Blackmar went to the city today nothing of much occurred in the earlypart of the day. In the evening Captain Blackmar returned with a telegram from General Kirkwood announcing that our First Lieutenant James G. Day is commissioned Captain of Company C, Captain Simpson having resigned. This has been expected by us for some time. I received the appointment of First Lieutenant in place of Day. Tonight we held an election in our Company for Second Lieutenant. Our Ordinate Sergeant Job Throckmorton was elected almost unanimously. Speeches were made to the Company by Captain Day, myself and
Lieutenant Throckmorton. After each of which the boys cheered loudly. I regret that Day must leave us but I believe it is better for all our intercourse with each other has been pleasant and I think we have enjoyed the confidence and esteem of the Company. I trust that in our new positions we will be equally fortunate. Lieutenant Throckmorton discharged arduous duties of Ordinance Sergeant faithfully and well and I believe will make a good commissioned officer. I rejoice in his good fortune. Our elections to fill the place of Orderly Sergeant is deferred until tomorrow morning. At 10 o'clock at night Captain Blackmar, Captain Day and myself went up to Colonel Reid's head-quarters and announced the results of the elections and the Colonel wrote immediately to Governor Kirkwood applying for a commission for me as First Lieutenant and for Second Lieutenant.
The 16th Iowa Regiment landed from a steamer about dark tonight and attempted to. make their way through the mud and rain to the barracks. They lost their way wandered around and came in in small parties about 12 o'clock very muddy looking objects.
This morning we had an election for Orderly Sergeant which resulted in the election of Warner Mueller a first rate fellow and an experienced soldier, having fought under Seyon at Springfield, Missouri.
I this morning learned that a soldier was poisoned by eating an orange which he had purchased of a huckster woman. He was taken sick immediately after eating it and died before they could get him to the hospital. The orange was examined and found to contain poison. There are hundreds of huckster women all through the barracks selling apples, oranges, cookies, pies but a man risks his life if he eats anything they sell. I wonder that the Commander allows them to come in at all.
This morning a soldier picked up an apple on the sidewalk and was about to eat it when he discovered that it was plugged on one side the plug was drawn out and it was found that poison had been inserted. We will have to be very careful what we eat or will half of us be poisoned by this Secesh.
Today a Cavalry soldier while drilling in front of our quarters was thrown from his horse and his neck was broken he died instantly.
Up to this time we have been boarding with the men having as yet no cooking arrangements of our own today I commenced boarding with Colonel Sullivan (our Sutler) he has a "contra-band" for a cook .that does things up in very good shape. The 25th Regiment of Missouri Volunteers is under marching orders and leaves tonight at 12 o'clock. Captain Blackmar went to the city again today he will not be back until tomorrow. I have command of the Company.
We are almost beginning to forget there is a Sabbath. At 9 1/2 a.m. the Captain had not yet returned and I took charge of the Company at inspection. The boys mostly spent the day playing ball. Our Chaplin remained in Keokuk in charge of the hospital where we left the sick of our Regiment so we can have no Regimental services. I'm sorry for it for I think the boys begin to need some religious restraint.
A number of ladies came out today. I think of home the dear wife and children that I left there and feel a strong inclination to give up military life and go home to the loved ones that miss me there. But I believe duty calls me the other way. Oh how I will rejoice when the war is over and we get back to home comforts and better influences than those which now surround us. I fear the morals of the boys will suffer by the indolent life we have been leading. Weather cool, prospect of clearing off.
Weather cool and cloudy mud beginning to dry up rapidly. It is reported this morning that one of the guards was shot Iast night by a concealed foe but I do not know as to its truth. Today we commissioned the regular routine of daily duty and drill. Morning Company drilled from 545to 7 a. m. Squad drilled from 8 to 9:30 a.m. Battalion or Company drilled from 2 to 4 p.m, dress parade is at sunset.
Today Battalion drill was omitted and we had Company drill instead. We appeared on Dress Parade at Benton Barracks for the first time today. Our Regiment drew a large crowd of spectators and was unexpectantly pronounced the best in the barracks. A number of persons mistook us as regulars from the regularity and precision of our drill. Not an officer in the Regiment but was proud of his men.
This evening a week has elapsed since I heard from home. What can be the matter? I can not but believe that my wife writes regularly but from some cause I get no letters from her. Well soldier's luck. I feel uneasy but will have to content myself. Nobody but a soldier knows how a soldier's heart warms over a letter from home. I hope I may get one tomorrow.
This morning broke clear and pleasant but before noon the sky was over cast with clouds. No rain however and I think the prospect is good for better weather.
I learned that two soldiers from the 16th Iowa Infantry were poisoned yesterday by eating apples purchased of huckster women. We had Battalion drill today Colonel Dewy was absent and Captain Blackmar took command of the right wing and I commanded the Company
Major William H English of the 4th Iowa Infantry was here today he is just off the field and looks healthy. He brought300 secesh prisoners taken at Pea Ridge. Our arms and tents arrived today there is every indication that we will be expected to take the field soon Our arms are the best quality of Springfield muskets. They will be distributed tomorrow. The character of the Iowa Regiments stands high here. No letters from home yet. I will certainly at one tomorrow.
Day fine. Our wagons were brought out today. The mules also and drivers detailed from different Companies. Nothing else of note. No letter from home yet. I feel very much troubled about it. Can anything be the matter with my family?
Regiment drilling in the morning. Our drivers are actively engaged in breaking and training our mules. Our ammunitions arrived this morning. Two men from the 16th Iowa Regiment were poisoned a few days since eating apple but did not die. Yesterday our surgeon informed me that three men from the 29th Missouri were quartered just above us were poisoned in the same way and nothing but prompt medical treatment saved their lives. Nothing of particular interest occurring. Weather still fine. This morning about a dozen of the men we left at Keokuk in hospital came down. They reported three men from our Company dead, the rest recovering. The sick that we brought with us are recovering rapidly and the general health of the Regiment is much better than when we came here.
Nothing of interest occurred during this early part of the day. Those of us that needed clothing for the campaign drew what they wanted. We are now well clothed, well armed and fully equipped for a march. In the afternoon we had hard thunder showers.
This evening on Dress Parade Colonel Dewy informed that we were under marching orders and we have orders to prepare as rapidly as possible. The armament was received with hardy cheers from the officers and men. We do not know where we will go but expect soon to be where fighting is going on. I have still had no letter from home and I greatly fear that I will have to leave for the field without hearing any more from my dear family. If it is so I will have to submit but it is hard to do. There are many privations connected with a soldier's life but the hardest thing for me to bear is the uncertainty of hearing from home I hope all is right there. No one but the husband of a loving wife can appreciate the feeling of loneliness and anxiety that expresses me this evening. Good night dear wife good night dear children. Should anything serious befall you it would break my heart. Well some time I hope to be with you again.
We learned this morning that we will start Tuesday morning. Our destination said to be Tennessee River to join General Grant's Command. All is excitement in the Regiment. The Iowa 16th and the Missouri 23rd are also under marching orders and will start about the same time. It is said that five batteries of artillery go with us.
In the afternoon I got a pass and went down to Saint Louis. Saw some of Freemont's fortications and other sights. Put us for the night at the Monroe House.
Got up early and started for the barracks as our pass only extended until 9 a.m. Found the boys busy cooking up four days rations in advance. Received a letter from my wife at last dated March 14th, 15 days on the road. I hope I may not always have to wait so long for letters. Well it is some satisfaction to know that my family were well 15 days ago but it leaves a large margin for anxiety and suspense. Captain Blackmar and myself were busy a very late hour at night making up payroll reports and getting the Company books in order.
Our last day at Benton Barracks in all probability the next place we stop will be in the enemy's country. Everything is boxed up, marked and loaded in the wagons and on the way to the river. I had to see to doing all this as Captain Blackmar was busy writing. He has now gone down to the city and I am left in command of the Company. Not much to do however but wait til morning when we expect to go down to the river and all of us embark. Tis a tiresome business this waiting for orders to move but it is part of a soldiers duty.
|Tuesday, April 1st|
At the early hour this morning we were ready to start for the river. Captain Blackmar and Sergeant Throckmorton were both unwell and went down on the car to the landing so I was the only commissioned officer left with the Company.
We had to wait for a long time before the call beat to fall into line which was at 11:25 a.m. Three other regiments, the Iowa 16th, the Missouri 23rd, and a Wisconsin Regiment also fell into line with us and marched down. Also five batteries of artillery. In all there was a column considerably over a mile long. We did not get on board til 2 p.m. and the boat did not start til 5 p.m. Four other boats go down the river with us to take the other regiments and battery. We left landing first. Our boat the Minehaha is a large boat and runs tolerably well but she is very heavily loaded and quite old. We are crowded together on board like so many hogs. It was with greatest difficulty that the officers could get state rooms. Shortly after dark while the boat was going at full speed we she struck a sandbar with so much force as to nearly throw down all who were standing in the cabin.
I was somewhat apprehensive that she might be injured but she backed off and went ahead all right. About 9 p.m. one of her tiller ropes gave out and she had to run into shore to get it fixed. This could not have been more than 40 miles below
St. Louis. While lying there the other boats passed. When the boys went to bed the boat was literally covered with sleeping men. You could not walk through the cabin or around on the deck without stepping on them. We could hardly get to our room for the crowd at the door. I went to bed about 10 o'clock. Boat still tied up at shore.
|Wednesday, April 2nd|
When I waked this morning the boat was under way but I learned had not been long. Nothing of note occurred during the early part of the day. As I walk about over the boat I cannot help reflecting on the uncertainty of our fate as soldiers. I look round at the boys vigorous with health, young, full of hope and eager to meet the foe. How many of the boys will return, certainly not all. Then who will be the missing ones? Perhaps some of my best friends, perhaps myself. I feel sad when I think of the strong probability that ere a month many of us will sleep the sleep that knows no waking but so we will die gloriously and fill a soldiers
grave. It is comparatively easy when prostrated by disease and suffering intense physical pain to look on death with resignations as a relief from present ills but when the man healthy and vigorous with many ties to bind him to life thinks seriously of the subject he cannot but feel a strong desire to live if not incompatible with the interests of his country.
About 3 p.m. our tiller rope broke again. The boat attempted to land but found the water too shallow so she had to lie out in stream until the tiller rope was fixed. About 7 p.m. we passed Cape Girardeau, Mo. where several battles were fought between Jeff Thompson and our forces. The place is still fortified and from the boat we could distinctly see the heavy earthworks and the cannon peeping over the embrasures. A gun was fired for us to round to which of course we did without delay as the 2nd gun would have carried a shot.
We reached Cairo about 5 p.m. and remained through the night discharging and receiving freight. Just as we were turning from the Mississippi to come into the Ohio we were very nearly run down by a steam tug. The tug was going up the river and signaled us to take to the left. The Minnehaha responded to the signal and took to the left. The tug took to the right and this threw us right together. The tug reversed her engines and we passed in front of her bow without a foots distance between us, Night before last there was a very heavy storm at and above Cairo. At Cairo nearly all the steam and wharf boats were blown across the river and several sunk. I saw one steamer being close to shore partly sunken. While we were there the Steamer Illinois came in without her chimneys having lost them overboard in the storm. Her decks were broken in and the cabin almost totally destroyed. Other boats showed symptoms of having suffered severely. There are a number of cannons at Cairo but no fortifications. There are at present two regiments of soldiers at Cairo and one at Bird's Point in Missouri. I saw a great number of large bomb shells, grape canister, and round shot on the wharf boat. I laid in some provisions such as crackers, cheese, and bologna sausage for the trip ahead of us.
Started from Cairo about 8 a.m. The Ohio River is very high and quite muddy, is not the dear tranquil stream it generally is but I feel a strange attachment to it. It is the stream
near which I was born and many of the happiest hours of my childhood were spent upon its banks. But my present troup it is a sad one sad because I can not help thinking of the very melancholy circumstances which occasions it. About 4 p.m. reached Paducah, Kentucky which is just at the mouth of the Tennessee River. The boat had considerable amount of freight for this place and remained over night. I took a stroll through the city. It is a place of 8,000 inhabitants and once fortified by the secessionist but it is now in the hands of the Union men. Nothing however but the presence of our troops keeps the Rebels in line. The place is full of them. The people generally look sulky and dissatisfied, very much as if they are under the influence of bayonets and would cut our throats if they could. I enjoyed it hugely for I have suffered from them when they had power, now their own mouths are closed and I must say their vexation is only half concealed. I like to hear them holler for the Union when they hate to but they are afraid to do anything else.
Saint Louis as well as Cairo is under martial law but one does not realize it as fully as at Paducah. In Paducah armed sentinels pass the streets day and night. Half the houses in the place have guards before the door. The churches are closed so far as the legitimate use is concerned and transformed into hospitals or arsenals. Business is entirely suspended and fine hotels and business blocks are used for hospitals or some other government purpose. There seems to be a reign of terror in the place. In the evening I had the pleasure of hearing an address from Honorable Ethridge of Tennessee. It was by no means distinguished for deep reasoning or solid argument but seems to be an effort on his part to serving himself for some injuries received at their hands.
His language was strong and forceable and I never heard such a skating as the Rebels got and the beauty of it all was there were many present to hear it and they had to submit for Uncle Sam's boys were there. Our pilots were not acquainted with the Tennessee River so we shipped a pilot at this place. I was introduced to Mr. Ethridge had the pleasure of grasping his hand and interchanging a few words with him. Steamer Minnehaha
|Friday, April 4th|
Did not leave Paducah til evening. I saw large stacks of guns, a great quantity of clothing and ammunition several pieces of artillery that were taken from the Rebels at Fort Donaldson. All were marked CSA. A report reached us morning that a fight is already going on between our forces.
and the Rebels at or near Cornith.
Nothing worthy of note took place in the rest of the day and I retired to bed with the boat still running but she afterward lay til morning.
|Saturday, April 5th|
This morning our four day rations which the men prepared before leaving Benton Barracks were exhausted. They had enough for breakfast but have had nothing since but dry crackers and it is now 2 p.m. Quite early this morning passed Fort Henry the boat stopped a little while but long enough for us to get off. The place does not look like a strong one or capable of having being made strong. It is a low flat piece of ground with no defenses but earth works. The buildings are small log cabins and show the marks bomb shells. Our troops do not use them but are quart~ tents. I was anxious to get off and pick up some relics of the battle but had not time. A little above Fort Henry on the opposite side of the river is Fort Hymen on the line between Tennessee. It was commenced by the Rebels but fell into our hands before they had time to complete it never finished by us. It is a stronger point than Henry being higher ground. There are a number of men (I could not ascertain the number) stationed there. Our boat has stopped for the men to draw and cook rations. Captain Blackmar is officer of the day and I will have to go and see to it. Saw two men plowing in the field one with a mule the other with cattle. The man with the cattle runs for the brush, the boys got the cattle and went to plowing. The other man was scared too badly to run. The boat lay by for about two hours. At night a guard of 60 men was detailed and stationed on the hurricane deck to act in case we were fired i No disturbance.
|Sunday, April 6, 1862|
Reached this place about 430a.m. soon after daylight heavy cannonading was heard on our line and we were to take the field. We were drawn up in line, ammunition .served out and we started for the scene of action. led into an ambush and the Regiment suffered severly they held their ground gallantly under a galling fire from the front and right flank. Our Colonel, Major and Adjutant wounded. The Lieutenant Colonel had his horse shot Captain Blackmar was disabled by a shot from a cannon ball.
and taken off the field. I took command I received a shot in my right hand which shattered my one finger and otherwise disabled my hand. A Regiment over to the right of us broke and ran, then another, then our Regiment began to retreat Company at a time and at last all went, our Company being one of the last to leave the field. In our Company we lost three killed, 14 wounded, one mortally, two dangerously. The Regiment lost 32 commissioned officers in the fight 2 were killed15 wounded and 2 of the wounded taken prisoners.
At the river our Regiment rallied and went back and maintained their position during the fight. I was unable to go back. There were some dozen large steam boats at the landing. The ground was covered all around the landing with wounded and dying who had been brought in. I went on board the Minnehaha. Surgeons so busy I could not get my hand dressed. Ah, the sights on that boat. Men mangled in every conceivable way groaning and many of them yielding up their last breath. I sat on top of the boat and watched the progress of the battle. The gun boats Tylor and Lexington were just above us in the river and thru shells into the enemy. As night closed in the firing ceased and the report came in that we were gaining ground on the enemy. I suffered too much to sleep. Spent the night up in the pilot house of the boat. Rained hard all night. One of the gun boats occasionally thru a shell into the enemy to keep them uneasy and to soldiers from time to time fired random shots.
|April 7, 1862|
Early in the morning the firing commenced again in earnest.Buell’s men had come in during the night and were largely reinforced. Our boys went back with a will and firing with telling effect on the enemy. I had one of my fingers amputated. The boat without my being aware of it left the landing and started for Savannah seven miles below to leave the sick so I was unintentionally taken along. The sick and the wounded were taken off at Savannah and placed in tents. As the boat would not return til morning I spent the night onshore in a tent. Rained all night.
|April 8, 1862|
This morning early I got aboard the boat to return to Pittsburg but the boat did not start until 10 a.m. When we reached Pittsburg we learned that the Rebels were defeated
with great loss and were being hotly pursued by our cavalry.
I learned that our Regiment had moved about two miles from the river. Found some of our Company at the river sick. I got them a tent to sleep in. Rained all night.
|April 9, 1862|
Got a place for some of our sick on the boat to be taken to the hospital. Sent the rest to camp. About noon went out to camp myself found our tents just arriving. The boys had been sleeping in the rain without blankets or tents. I had tents put up immediately but we had to sleep in the mud without blankets.
Moved our camp about 200 yards to dry piece of ground. Great many of the boys sick rained nearly all day.
My trunk was sent to me by Captain Blackmar from Savannah and with it the Company books so I suppose he will not be with us soon. In the evening had dress parade.
Nothing of note. Rained all day.
Weather fine I had the boys open the tents and spread theirblankets to dry. A great deal of artillery was taken out during the day to worry the enemy positions. We will undoubtedly have another battle within a few days. Dress parade again this evening. Rained some during the night.
|April 14, 1862|
Weather fine, health of Company improving. Is reported we are to move tomorrow five miles and take places in the advance guard. Artillery still passing us all day. The battle can't be far off and to judge from our preparation the victory can't be doubtful. It is reported that 2,500Rebel prisoners were brought in this evening. Eighteen Rebel deserters came into camp this evening. Said they had been pressed into service and that they were Union men. They took the oath of allegiance and were mustered into U.S. Service.
The middle of the month but little over two weeks and April will be passed but before it passes many great and startling events must take place. The battle which is to decide the war must be fought. We will undoubtedly gain it but before the month of May is ushered in many brave fellows will sleep the sleep that knows no waking. An order has just reached me from the Colonel to have the tents struck and everything ready to move by 11 o'clock today so I must stop writing and go to work.
Moved out at the hour. I left Lieutenant Throckmorton in charge of the Company and I remained to take charge of our sick and provide them transportation. I did not reach the new camp til 4 p.m. Found the tents up and things in good shape. We are now in General McKeen's Division and Colonel Reid his Brevet Brigadier General commanding our Brogade. We are the advance guard of our forces and are within a half a mile of the picket line. When I begin to write I never know what the role will call us into to line before I get through. Our present camp is a beautiful place, dry and comfortable. A great many of the Rebels killed in battle were buried here. One grave is right at the corner of our tent and others scattered all around. Company A and Company D are detailed for picket guard tonight. Weather fine. It may be well to state that Colonel Reid does not owe his elevation to any brilliant conduct on the field but to the fact that he is Senior Colonel, verifying the adage "the bigger the foot the better the luck."
|April 16, 1862|
This morning a Rebel was taken prisoner lurking inside our lines. He was suspected of being a spy and was sent to Saint Louis in charge of a guard. Much to our surprise rations were issued for ten days. There is a difference of opinion as to the meaning of this but I suppose it to mean that we will stay here ten days. The weather is very sultry.
|April 17, 1862|
The weather is very warm. Troops are passing up the river and it is supposed by many that the design is to surround the Rebel forces and compel a surrender with as little loss of life as possible. The Secesh buried at the corner of our tent is beginning to emit a very disagreeable odor. We had some more dirt thrown on him today. I suppose he was not put more than a foot under ground. That is the way the boys buried them. Our own men they put a little deeper and stick up a board to mark the spot. Our Sutler who has been at the river moved out today. I had been doing without tobacco for several days. Went out and got supply for chewing and smoking. Also got a bottle of lemon syrup and a jar damson's preserves. I have felt as it I was almost starved for something better than hard bread and fat meat. Oh, well soldiering is a pretty hard business just at the present but I guess we can stand it, til we get the Secesh disposed of any how. My hand is slowly getting better. The inflammation is subsiding but it is not healing much. Yesterday received a letter from my wife urging me to resign. Several days previous I received one of a similar character. What shall I do? The reasons she gives for my coming home are good ones. My family is helpless and without friends. They need me at home but I can not resign honorably while there is daily probability of a battle. I have promised her that as soon as the active duties of the campaign are over I will resign, go home and leave family no more. I think the time is at hand when the hard fighting of the war will be over. Then I believe that my service will no longer be needed here and it will be my duty to go home and take care of the family that God has given me.
Day very sultry. We are notified to be ready for inspection
this afternoon. Lieutenant Throckmorton and myself spent the morning making out lists of the clothing, pay for the boys of our Company who are wounded or sick and detached from the Company. I learned yesterday that S.W. Scott one of our boys who was wounded in the battle died at Savannah last Friday from his wounds. Poor fellow another soldier gone.
Had Regimental inspection this afternoon. Commenced raining hard about 4 p.m. Water runs into our tent badly have to make our bed down on the wet ground.
|April 19, 1862|
Still raining. Lieutenant Throckmorton, Officer of the Guard so I am without help again in the Company when I am hardly able to take care of myself. My hand is still very much disabled and is likely to be for some time. General Wood's Division said to number 8 000 men moved forward yesterday and took up their position half a mile in advance of us so we are no longer on the post. Major Belknap has been place in charge of a Wisconsin Regiment. In the evening I feel quite unwell. Go to bed in the mud quite early. Ate no supper. Still raining it is reported that we have marching orders but the time is not stated.
The Holy Sabbath Day but one would hardly realize its here. I had wholly forgotten it myself until I was reminded of it by another person. Every day is alike to soldiers. Two weeks ago today the Battle of Pittsburg commenced. What will another two weeks bring forth. It is still raining and very muddy. It is reported that Captain Blackmar is at Pittsburg Landing and an ambulance has gone for him. I'm glad of it. I am not able to take charge of the company. I will feel quite unwell. Ate but little breakfast this morning. Day before yesterday some Secesh fired into one of our boats between this place and Savannah. Three of them were captured. General Hallick sentenced them to death and I suppose they were shot yesterday but I did not learn certainly. This will probably make the Rebels a little more careful what they shoot at. Captain Blackmar Arrived in the evening but is wholly unable for duty. I am still quite unwell. Eat no supper. Still raining hard.
|April 21st, 1862|
Still raining. I am detailed Officer of the Guard. This is what comes of reporting for duty. Well I have learned something. I am quite sick no breakfast raining hard all day. Some of our boys are quite sick. They get no attention whatever from the surgeon. I am afraid we shall lose some of them. During the day I am called on to arrest two men from Company B charged with desertion. Quite a serious charge if sustained the penalty is death. I am very unwell not at all fit for duty.
Report myself unable for duty. Quite unwell eat hardly anything. Reported that General Pope has arrived with about20,000 reinforcements and as many more to arrive in a few days.
Still unable for duty. Nothing of note occurs. Keep to my bed pretty much all day. Clears off today.
Still quite unwell. Tomorrow we are to move our camp. A police guard was sent by day to clear the ground for encampment. The boys are excused from drill today and are busy washing their clothes. A great many of the boys are sick and the blues seem to be prevalent among officers and men. I believe that if the boys were at home feeling as they do now it would be a hard matter to get them into the service again. But why should we feel discouraged. The future opens bright before us and though we do have to undergo hardships and endure privations our Country is worth it all. Let us cheer-fully go forward, perform our whole duty and time will bring our reward, if indeed we are not already rewarded by the proud consciousness of being the defenders of our Country.