Letters Written by:
Cpl. Alonzo Miller, Co. 'A',
12th Wisconsin Infantry,
Forces' Brigade Leggett's
Division, Blairs' 17th Army Corps
Red River Expedition in Spring of 1864, Arrived Rome, GA. June 5,
In Line Kennesaw Mountain June 10, 1864
Originals loaned by:
Clarence J. Stolt, Prescott, Wisc.
Copied by KMNBP November 1947
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
NATIONAL PARK SERVICE
National Battlefield Park
* * *
After Private Alonzo Miller joined the 12th Wisconsin Infantry, this organization participated in three Campaigns: The Atlanta Campaign, the Savannah Campaign, and the Campaign of the Carolinas.
He gives vivid descriptions of his experiences in his letters and his diaries, and these notes are intended to further describe or tie-in his accounts to the Official Records of the War of the Rebellion. The Campaigns will be discussed in chronological order.
The 12th Wisconsin Infantry was in Forces' 1st Brigade, Leggett's 3rd Division of Blair's 17th Army Corps. The routes and battles of the 17th Army Corps are shown in the Atlas to accompany the Official Records, Plates 59 and 60.
The reports of General Blair covering the Atlanta Campaign will be found in the Official Records, Series I, Volume 38, Part 3, pages 539-555.
Miller's letter of June 14th describes Blair's approach to Brush Mountain near Kennesaw Mountain. In his letters of June 18th and 20th he describes the Federal attack and capture of Brush Mountain which was occupied by this organization from June 19th - July 2, 1864. Miller's letter of July 9th describes the attack made on the heavy Confederate fortifications at the Chattahochee River. His letter of July 24th describes the advance from Decatur toward Atlanta, and the battle of Atlanta which was, as he says, an extremely hard found engagement.
At this point a letter or two is missing, but the diary extracts for July 28th give the description of the Battle of Ezra Church in which the 12th Wisconsin helped to repulse a Confederate assault on the Army of Tennessee. His letter of September 9th describes the Battle of Jonesboro August 31st, September 1st, and mentions the fact that he received a slight wound.
The 17th Army Corps joined Sherman's army on the 10th of June and began combat. From the date until the close of the Campaign the 12th Wisconsin participated in every major battle except the Battle of Peachtree Creek so that Private Miller certainly received a warm welcome when he joined the Army.
STAY IN ATLANTA:
After the fall of this city Sherman rested his troops and was watching the Confederate General Hood to see what moves he might make. Hood moved north, hoping that Sherman would follow. Sherman did follow for a time and this march north is described in Private Miller's letter of October 17th and October 31st, 1864. The Regiment returned to Atlanta on November 5th, and immediately began preparations for the Savannah Campaign. Sherman's movement north had involved long marches but very little fighting.
Due to the absence of mail facilities Private Miller wrote only one letter during the Savannah Campaign which was December 18, 1864. He wrote a letter from Savannah dated December 27th so that to cover the Savannah Campaign it is desirable to make reference to the diary which he kept during this period.
The Savannah Campaign is shown on Atlas Plates 69 and 70, and the reports of General Blair are to be found in the Official Records, Series I, Volume 44, page 147-148.
The 12th Wisconsin continued to serve in Force's Brigade as during the Atlanta Campaign. The 12th moved to Atlanta 10 AM on morning of November 13th and at 8 AM on November 15th began the Savannah Campaign, or the March to the Sea. Bad weather caused slow marching for several days but by November 22nd the 12th Wisconsin had reached Gordon Station east of Macon, Georgia. General Blair reports more Railroad was destroyed on the 24th and 25th. On November 25th the Oconee River was reached and a small Confederate force was found on the other side of the River guarding the bridge. This Confederate force was pushed away without too much trouble. For quite an interval of days, marching and destruction of the Railroad were the order of the day. On December 9th some guns were fired at the advancing Federals and on December 10th the Confederates stopped the Federal advance near Savannah.
Private Miller in his letter of December 18th describes the destruction of the Railroad from Gordon to the vicinity of Savannah, and bemoans the fact that he is on a rice diet due to the fact that Federal supplies are low and rice from local plantations is the principal food available. Private Miller also mentions the fact that some Federal prisoners had been enlisted in the Confederate Army, and that they deserted to the Federal Army near Savannah. A description of foraging during the Savannah Campaign is given here and he mentions the fact that the 17th Army Corps killed 100 horses one morning rather than leave them for Confederate use. These horses were killed in the vicinity of a private home and the owner protested that he would have to leave home.
On December 21st the troops marched into Savannah. In his letter of December 27th he describes, on entering the city, they reach town and go to the wharf in an attempt to capture the pontoon bridge which the Confederates had thrown together to escape from the city. Just as they arrived at the wharf the Confederates cut loose the other end of the bridge and the Federals settled down in Savannah to rest and recruit for a time. Diary entries during the stay at Savannah refer to the fact that the soldiers had seafood to eat, which, do doubt was a pleasant novelty.
CAMPAIGN OF THE CAROLINAS:
Organization of the same. Blair's report, Official Records, Series I, Volume 47, Part I, page 374 forward. Atlas Plate No. 79, drawing 3, shows location of rivers and towns.
Diary entries for January record the movement by boat to Beaufort, South Carolina and the movement to rejoin the remainder of Sherman's Army on the 13th of January. The organization struggled through swamps and adverse weather. On February 6th Private Miller records that he was on picket duty near a house. He further records that they had 4 chickens and 3 geese for supper, and 3 geese for breakfast. His letter of March 12th describes the capture of Orangeburg and in his letter of March 14th he says: "all the other towns we have burned to the ground, all the building."
He speaks of playing ball and I hope we can get a more detailed description of the game that was played at this time from some other source.
On March 20th and 21st he speaks of participating in the battle of Bentonville, North Carolina, and mentions the hard fighting there. For all practical purposes this marked the close of the Campaign of the Carolinas because Johnston surrendered to Sherman on April 26th. The remainder of the account consists of the march to Washington, the guard review of the Army, and the return home, arriving in Prescott on July 24, 1865.
Oneida County, N.Y.
February 24, 1864.
We think now we shall make a move with our forces westward, in a few days. Have got our trunk packed, and if the weather is favorable think we shall go to Syracuse day after tomorrow. Should have gone the last of last week, but it was stormy and Albert had got some cold and coughed some. He is better now. His health has been tolerable good this winter. I guess he is fleshier than you ever saw him. He gained flesh in the fall and fore part of winter very fast. Has not altered much lately. He weighs 162 lbs.
We shall stop in Syracuse a few days, and again in Rochester, probably a week or more, and then on to Chicago. Mr. Billings says what you did was all right about the taxes. He says he has nothing to do about it. He leaves it altogether to Albert to Manage. So, if there is anything that you think ought to be attended to you can attend to it for Albert. If you want any information or direction about it, write to Albert. Albert says he is perfectly satisfied with what you have done with Billing's affairs and his too.
We are much obliged to you for keeping us informed of matters there. We are always very glad to get a letter from you and Sarah too. I ought to have written to you sooner and I meant to have done so, but I have had quite a number of letters to write, since I wrote you. Albert wont write so I have it all to do. I had to write to Dexter and Sabra and 3 or 4 letters to cousins. I am glad Sarah is content there. I was some afraid she would be lonesome in the winter, thought she would better contented in the spring or summer. When you write again, you or Sarah, please tell how Sarah Hamblein's health is. Give my love to her, when you see her. Do you see Levi's folks, how are they? How is Levi this winter? And Silva Bailey, remember me to her and Monroe's family, and your Father and mother, our compliments to them. And finally, our respects to all inquiring friends. Next time you write, direct to care of Dexter B. Bailey, 829 West Washington St., Chicago, Ill. Well it is most bed time, so good night.
Agnes M. B. Smith
I now will try to write and let you and the rest know that my health is middling good and where I have been and where I am now. Tuesday, the 16th, we filled our haversack with crackers and cheese and canteen with water. My knapsack with what I had I put in one chicken which was roasted nicely. I will tell you how I came by my chicken. Five of the boys went out to jawhawk or steal them, which was 49 chickens, one Guinne, one Turkey, and one Pea hen. The cook and members of theirs sat up all night and dressed and roasted them. This is all been the night before we started away from camp Randall. Mine was not eaten until we got below Memphis. Tuesday was very cold. About one o'clock we all went to headquarters and stayed around there about one hour. Then we marched down to the depot, got aboard the cars. I frosted my finger and thumb. One man froze his ears to his head. The cars were the poorest kind of cars, lights out. We changed cars at Jonesville and went to Chicago. Got there about 12 o'clock in the night. We had one Captain Suster (?) with us all, something like four hundred left camp Randall and come to Chicago. There we divided. The Captain gave orders for all to stay in the cars until he ordered otherwise. Captain came to our car, told us to fall out. We did so, and formed a line. Just then the steam engines went along to the fire. I saw the fire. It was a large tannery. The engines were too late. The fire had got the start of them. It was filled with dry hides and leather. The lost was estimated at $30,000. Well all that were in the cars with me went to the soldier's home there. We stayed all night. In the morning the other carload came. They stayed in the car all night. It was real cold. They blame the captain. We got our breakfast there. It was nice and we were treated the best of any place since we left home. About eight o'clock we get on the cars and went across Lake Michigan. It looked natural to me. Some were on the Illinois Central Railroad then and I did not change cars until we got to Cairo. I never saw such level country all one day and night and it prairie (?). In the morning I began to see some timber of different kinds. I left the snow before I got to Chicago. I got to Cairo at 12 or noon. We went to the Soldier's home, a poor miserable hole. The turned us out about 9 PM. I went on the C. E. Hillman, that is the name of the boat. I follow suit and made Jap and my bed by placing some sacks of corn on the floor of the miserable dirty deck, or where the stinking deck hands sleep. I sleep badly. In the morning I had one cup of coffee, some hard tack with bugs in them, and some raw ham, and same for dinner. I give up eating meat. We left Cairo Friday half past four p.m. I went and got a coffee pot and for supper I made some coffee to suit myself and the rest, then I made our bed of corn on the floor. About 3 o'clock in the morning they took on some hogs to sweeten the boat where we slept. In the first place, the boat was pressed to take us to Memphis. The Captain of the boat got mad about it and said he had rather take on cattle and hogs then to have soldiers aboard, but our Captain stood up for his rights and if we had been up when the hogs or brought aboard they would have been thrown overboard.
Saturday while the boat was taking on wood I went ashore in Tennessee to cut down a tree and played there some time. We went down the river. The boat stopped again. I got some cotton just as it was growing and saw Fort Pillow and lots of southerners along the way. We got to Memphis by sunrise. Sunday we went ashore. I went around the city for it is a nice place. I went in the Park which was nice. Black squirrels running around, the grass was green with evergreen trees of different kinds. There were seats in the park. We could set. It was guarded all the time. I went and helped get the rations for 5 days. We got soft bread which made better living, then we went aboard the Westmoreland and went up by the pilot house. We started at 5 o'clock P.M. for Dixie. I slept up by the pilot house and slept well only I got up once and fought fire that fell on us when they turned.
In the morning I was still going down the river. I saw two gun boats going up the river, one war Commodores. It had lots of flags on of different colors. It looked nice while the boat was wooding up. I went in a nigger camp. They seem to be enjoying themselves. They cut wood for the boats. The government pays them one dollar a cord. They are on the island No. 66. In the eve we took a peep. The bats flew about the water. I made our bed in the work room. I did not rest very well. The air was too close.
I was sailing down the river and washed one shirt and my socks. When they were getting wood I got a peach blossom. I will send it to you. I saw three teams plowing. We got to Vicksburg at half past 4 p.m. It is an awful looking place. It is worse looking than Clifton. I've never seen such rough looking country. I cannot tell how rough it is. We march 8 miles to a place called Black River where 12th Regiment is camped or the old camp ground. We got there about 11 o'clock p.m. We had a tent given to 4 of us. I slept nicely.
The first thing I heard was the drum beating for them to get up. I got up, went and washed me, got some breakfast and found a cap and hammer. All the rest of the boys were gone. I took dinner with Jap, then I took a nap. Got my supper or the wench did. It was fried hard tack, beef and coffee. Then I pitched quarters till dark. I read Chizwitt till 9, then wen to bed. In the morn, after breakfast, we went and got some joing grass which was dry to make a bed. Bartlett is on picket duty today. Leander D. Davis is in the hospital at Vicksburg. He is home sick more than anything else. Jap is well except a cold. I am disappointed with him. He has not got spunk enough to carry a flea or to look out for himself. I have to look out for him. Its real warm here, I am sitting all alone in the shade of a tree. The birds are singing. When I get used to the weather a little more and get rid of my cold I will like to stay here. My love to all. Good bye, this is from your brother.
March 8th, 1864
Dear Father and the Rest,
I will sit myself down to answer you kind letter which I received today. Today finds myself well and enjoying good health and enjoying soldier's life the best I know how. The Old Regiment came home or back to camp last Friday. They turned us out of their tents so we sleep around any where on the ground. I am getting used to it so I do not mind it when it does not rain, and that is not very often. I have been out on picket once or for one twenty-four hours, that was to guard cattle which the boys had taken from the Rebs. It kept 15 of us busy. I did not sleep any at night. The cattle were very uneasy. That night I got a letter from Perry stating that he was well and enjoying good health. He said he had plenty of work. He was building a large carriage house. He thinks he will have to go to war for they are taking all of the able-bodied men. Said that he would enlist if the Rebs did not shoot so careless. HE can get a big bounty, but his little girl he does not want to leave. Well the boys came back in good spirits and say that it the biggest expedition that they ever went on. They destroyed a good deal of property, tore up railroad, burnt engines and town. Some of the boys got nice blankets, others dresses. Oh, everything that was of any use to them. One got an Odd Fellow's badge. It is a splendid one. The darkies followed them in by hundreds and citizens also, with their nice carriages. They have nothing to eat. The camp is lively now. You better believe the first thing in the morning. The brass bands plays three time to wake us up, then roll call, then breakfast which was coffee, beef steak, bread. I have enough to eat for I do not have much to do for exercise, but my health has not been better since last 4th of July I can say that I am alright, but it may be my turn to go in the hospital next. There are four of our squad that started with us from Prescott, one is Erastus Farnsworth, Prat Whiley, Joseph Suverant and I am sorry to say J. T. George is there, but keep this still for a while for he did not want me to say anything about it. He went in the 28th day of February. He has been real sick. I was afraid he would not live, but today he is a little better. He has the lung fever. I have done the best that I could do, but they will not allow me in much now, but they may go to grass, I will go. His courage is not strong enough for a soldier. I have looked out for him all the way so far. Cornelius Meachum is a hard boy. He was drunk as a fool last night. Yesterday the boys were all up at 5 o'clock with the equipment all on for battle. The Rebs were within 220 miles of us by noon. It all did away. We have nice weather here as I could wish for. We are camped in a nursery of apple and peach trees. This planer had one hundred acres and now it is all spoiled. The Rebs may as well give up for we will clean them out. They begin to know it too. The two Holmans are here as big as ever, Sanford a man that used to work for Moyer, and old man Gripensan. The veterans think of going home before long, but we can't tell where we will have to go and I do not care much. I am ready for anything so long as my health holds good. You said you found no vest in that box I sent. Mind I sold that cap that I took for my fur cap. We expect to have our tents pretty soon.
I wrote to Sarah not many days ago and to Griffe. The talk is that there is going to be an expedition up Red River soon.
Please write as often as you can and as long as you can, and I would like to know what you did about the money. I will close by sending my love to you and the rest. Good bye. This is from your true son,
I will write to you. Jap has been writing to some one of you, and gave me the privilege (?) of writing so I will write to you and tell you how Jap acts here. He is as lazy as ever and wants some one to look after him all the time. He has got out of the hospital and is around. I have taken the best care of him that I could. I saved 4 pounds of coffee and traded it for dried apple pie which Jap ate them all up. They were very good. He is afraid he will not got in office. Well we are or remain in Mississippi and our camp is named Camp Lewis, or the camp where we are or regiment is. I have enjoyed myself nicely. My health is good so that I go whom it comes my turn on picket, that is once a week and it suits me for it is exercise. We have to go two miles and stay twenty-four hours. I have to stand, that is on guard, one hour in the day time and one in the night. There has been some Rebs brought in by us but our boys have not taken any yet, but while ladies and gents come to us and one of us is sent in with them to headquarters to guard or show them the way. I think that is wrong for they go out and tell the Rebs how we are situated. When the wenches come in we get some milk by paying ten cents a pint. It is quite a treat to have milk to put in one's coffee, I can tell you. All we have to eat is bread, pork by roasting it on a stick and coffee to drink, but it is good, that is when we are on picket. We have white darkies to cook for us now. There is Lum Bartlet Wright, they were so fast and foremost and wanted to be first, now let them try it. If they do not get sick of it I will treat for I am glad to get rid of it. The boys do not like their actions much. When we draw clothing they stand and pick and pick for the best and will not give the rest a chance, and they get thrown at them time and again. I have some hopes that we will come a little near home. We have got orders to prepare to start any time. We had 18 new recruits come last Saturday for Co. "A" from Pierce County. Whitlock was one and others from Prescott. I have tended Church when I could. The House is build of shakes, that is split from logs. It is 98 by 38 and it will hold 4 hundred men. They have had a revival and some 370 have joined the Army Church. They have some good meetings. I am looking for a letter from some one of you, Sarah especially for I wrote to her last and it was some time ago. I will stop for paper is coming short. Please write, some one let me know how you are. Good bye, this is from your son,
REFERENCE: Official Records, Series I, Volume 32, Part I, page 238. General Crocker commanding the 4th Division, 17th Army Corps says he returned from the Meridian Campaign and camped at Hebron's plantation, 10 miles east of Vicksburg.
At that time the 12th Wisconsin was in Gresham's 3rd Brigade of the 4th Division.
We suspect Miller was a recruit and did not take part in the Meridian Campaign.
REFERENCE: Atlas Plate 51, drawing No. 1, east and slightly north of Vicksburg and west of the Clear Creek - this may be, or is near the site of Camp Lewis.
As I am coming a little nearer home and have a few leisure minutes, I will occupy them in writing to home and let you know where I am and what I am doing. We left Camp Lewis April 1st at noon and went to Vicksburg which we reached a 9 o'clock p.m. and went aboard the boat by the name of John R. Roe. I was one of 4 that guarded a wagon in, the wagon turned over once and one regiment got ahead of us but others met with the same fate and we run by them and got in ahead of our regiment. I got my knapsack. I went aboard and made my bed upon the upper deck by the smoke pipe and sleep well. The boat did not get loaded that night. In the morning I went ashore and around town which has been a nice city once but now not. It is the roughest place that I ever saw. You have heard how our troops dug trenches so to take the Rebs, it is. So it was during work, I should have thought. We left Vicksburg 10 o'clock A.M. The boat is heavily loaded. She has 3 hundred hogsheads of sugar, the same of molasses, 3 hundred horses and mules, one hundred wagons and nearly a regiment of soldiers with all their camp equipage, and some cotton. She has on seventy-five hundred tons. The boys have jayhawked lots of sugar and emptied 3 or 4 barrels of molasses. Soldiers guarded it and soldiers jayhawked it, that is the way it goes. I was on guard yesterday and last night, but I did not stop the boys. They want sugar, so let them have all they can get, I say. It rained last night but I kept dry except my gun, that got it.
We stopped at Memphis the day before yesterday in the morning and went ashore and put 3 letters in the Post Office and looked around the city. It is quite a large place and a business place that I have been in for some time except Chicago. I bought one pound of butter for 25. It was good butter, and eight pounds of dried beef for 5 cents a pound. Yesterday while the boat was wooding I went ashore and found a mock orange and saved some seeds. I will send some home. I got it in Arkansas. Save them in remembrance of the place. This morning we passed a place called Hickman. It was something - a place 40 miles from Cairo, 20 miles from Columbus where we stopped a few minutes. It is a snug little town. The boat left some of the boys. I have not seen but one plantation that I like the looks of. It was below New Madrid. It had I should think one hundred sheep, 20 horses and the fields were fenced in with rail fence, the land level. I do not think much of the south so far as I have seen Wisconsin in my preference. We will stop at Cairo and we will be there in an hour or two and where next I can't tell. My health is good yet. The last letter that I received from home I got March 8. Jap has filled this up, so good-bye.
Lonnie wants me to write while he is fixing up things preparatory to our leaving the boat at Cairo. We have had quite a long ride on "The Father of Waters" ever since last Friday Eve, we have been on the boat. I like to ride on the boat as a general thing, but in this case it has been rather too long for comfort to say the least. Am at present writing this sitting on a knapsack and using for a table the top of my cap, so please pardon the writing. My health is improving so that now I'm able to eat my regular grub, if that word may be admissible, and expect to take my chances with the rest of the boys. The Government has seen fit to take us from Vicksburg, Miss. and I expect that we shall go into the Army of the Cumberland on to the Potomac, at any rate we are going up northwards where the "Yankees" live.
I will try my pen in writing to you. I am well and trying to get along the best I can and I hope you are the same. You spoke of my writing and telling the dates of your letters. I got one last night. It was dated April 18, and I have not received any before that since the 8th of March. I answered it the same day. I have not received but three in all. I have written six. You can see by the number and this one makes seven. I wrote to Sarah when I first got in Camp Lewis and one to father, one sheet to mother, and one on the boat coming up to Cairo. I should think Sarah might write to me as well as to…. for he gets such long letters and written so fine. When I write home I expect you all to see it or hear it read and you can take turns in writing to me. I would like an answer to all of my letters. I intend to write as often as I can home. I have written 21 letters since I have been in the Army or left home and would have written more but I have had to take care of Jap. He is quite a baby. He does not know how to get along and would not stir if I did not get him made once in a while. I have to look out for him. So far he wants to be an officer and talks about it as much as ever, but he will learn. I suppose he has written about the boys being gone. I came very near having to go, but Captain could not get transportation for only two. I was glad I went out hunting the day before yesterday and yesterday. I went north about six miles on the railroad, then struck across to the Miss. River. I see how the poor whites live. Their house is built in this matter - 4 post set in the ground and poles put across, then boards laid on for a roof, no sides to keep the sun out. They have hung up a blanket. The beds were the same way. It is worse living than soldiering. One man died that day. They dug his grave in the woods a little ways from the house, took and put him in and covered him up. I saw 4 shanties a little way a part. One house 4 men came out and all looked strong enough to work. They live in thick timber. It looks too bad to see them lazy men when they the citizens are paying one dollar a cord for chopping wood and the Government is paying 60 dollars a month and their board to work for her at any kind of work. The citizen pays $2.50 for carpenters, that’s what Reubin Turner told me last Sunday. I had quite a talk with him about one thing and another. It did not shoot anything the first day. I saw a flock of wild hogs. They are as shy as deer. Yesterday we, that is Walker and Bearsley, started in the morning and shot a black loon and one gray squirrel. Bearsley shot one hog. They took half and brought it to camp, nearly 7 miles. I have got so that I can shoot and plumb the mark. They over shoot. There is plenty of game about 8 miles above here and it goes very well to have some fresh meat. The boys have to cook for themselves. I cook for Jap and myself for he does not know how to do the very least thing. This morning I made pancakes. We have to make our own bread. I wish you would tell me how to make salt risen so I can make some bread. I got along first rate considering the things I have to use, that is one sheet iron basin and a frying pan, but I can borrow a dutch oven to bake biscuits in. We bought a teapot. I think what I make is as good as the last bread we drew. It was so sour that I tasted mine and put sugar on so I could eat it. Father Maxson did not pay you enough. It is $10.70 instead of $8 by the Colonel's reckoning. I can't see into it. Sarah you can tell Jennie not to worry, the war will come back soon, but maybe Jap would like some of that ginger bread or that paper. I can't tell you much about my Friend only he does not like to have me know so much more than himself. I will say more some other time. That picture was sent to Maxson to put in the P.O. and is to remain there for some time so that the people might see their friends. As for Jap sending home for money, that is farce (?) I guess he has some now. I know I have and what I have he has. So far I am most out. When the veteran come back maybe they will have the payday back with them. Jap wants or would like to have Father to see Maxson and have him pay his board, that is due to Mrs. Jonson. I must close. Good bye, this from your true brother,
Direct as follows: Co. A, 12 Reg. Wis. Vol. Infantry, via Cairo, Ill. I have got all that have been directed that way, and write the directions in every letter.
I will try to write a short letter as we are about to leave this place, to where I do not know. There are as many stories as there are men. I received last night two papers Sarah sent and last Saturday night I got a letter that was dated March 16. It has been somewhere else, but it got to me at last, and I was glad to receive it, let it be ever so old. I think I have received all your letters. I received that one Father, directed to Madison in good time. It went to Camp Lewis. The boys are out drilling. I did not go or feel quite right, but nothing serious. I can say soldier life is not as hard as I expected, but it is not such a life as I wish to live. If I was up at Mr. Smith's it would suite me better, but as it is I shall make the best of it.
Bartlett is in the hospital and is quite low. There was one death yesterday in our Regiment, and it is the first one that has been in Camp or the Regiment. It was some one that I did not know. Mr. C. Wright got mad at me yesterday and I told him to hold on. It was a small thing to get mad at. It was about the fire where I was cooking. He thought he would drive me away. He got made because I would not leave. He was about to tell me I lied, but I … him. He told me I lied before, but I won't take it from him again. He or Lamb (?) will get knocked down yet. They cannot rule the camp. I am not the first one that had a quarrel with them. Wright took hold of Jap and was going to clean him out, but Jap is too much for him. Jap is growing fast. He eats like sixty and does not have courage to stir to exercise it off. I will not let him be in the tent all the time. I do not like to cook a bit. I got my bread backed by a lady. She made good bread - the best I have eaten since I left home. I cooked some pork and bans yesterday and stewed some dried apples. They are 10 cents a pound. We have used nearly 5 pounds since we have been here. I was on guard last Monday to guard horses. Last Friday night I was guard over some wagons. It rained like sixty. I got in one of the wagons and sat there all my boat, or time. The place is quite a busy place. Just now troops are coming in all the time as the cars do not run any further. Well, I can't tell much about it, only it is a mudhole. I went to church last Sunday. It seemed real nice to go and hear preaching once more. We have papers, tracts and books from the Christian Commission Society.
The war movements you can hear more about then I can. The boys while up to Paducah saw some Rebs. I had a chance to hear some big guns fired and saw some plunder that the Rebs did. There was one on our side killed. They say it is the prettiest place they have been. When the Rebs came into the city citizens ran for the boats. There were quite a number lying at the shore. The boats were loaded and they moved to the opposite shore. Some came to Cairo while others went back after the fight was over. Some got piano strings to make pail bails. One house they went into everything was left, piano, sofas, and chairs, etc. They went into drum on the piano and knocked things about. C. Wright came back sick, Lester also.
Father I have just sent my overcoat to you and you can do with it as you like. Wear it or keep it till I come home. We, that is four of us, E. Farnsworth, R. Wood, Jap and mine, they are done up and put in a bag. You pay the expressage, that is $1.75. Pay it to Mr. Cray for we have sent them to him and we will make it right with you. Jap is writing to Mr. Cray. He will tell him about it so he will understand it. We are ordered off in an hour. I will have to go this time. Tell Sarah not to say anything about what I write home about Jap for some have come back already and if I hear any more I shall not write any more letters to her. That's all. It was in fun. This is all I can think of this time, so good bye, this is from your true son,
I suppose you would like to know where I am. I am, today, as you see, in the City of Athens, Alabama. Who would have thought I would be in this place last Christmas, when I was in St. Paul. The last letter I wrote home was when I was at Clifton, Tennessee. We stayed there 4 days then we started on a march at 6 o'clock p.m. We marched 5 miles, then stopped for the night, then in the morning about 6 we started again. We marched until noon. We stopped by a nice stream where we could wash and that we did freely. In the afternoon we marched 5 miles and camped in a pennyroyal field in which we made our bed of. It was last year's growth and dead. We passed through some nice farming country and saw some splendid orchards. We marched 18 miles. The second days march we started at six o'clock. The roads were stony. It was hard on both. I wore the iron on my heels through and on one sole. The boys began to get tired of their knapsacks or they began to grow heavy. Some throw them away, others their things, such as they could spare, overcoats, drawers, shirts, if they had any more than one. I threw away one shirt, one pair of drawers and sold one pair of socks. The rest I carried through with me. It made my shoulders sore, but they have got well now. We marched until noon. We stopped by a creek, got dinner, then on till sundown. We passed two large orchards. The boys began to want some fresh - some got sheep, others goose, ducks, chickens. We began to live. I had plenty of salt so I got plenty of fresh by trade. There we slept on stalks and woods. We marched 18 miles. The third morning we started at quarter past 5. This was Sunday. We marched until three o'clock P.M. before we got dinner. The field we stopped in there was a flock of hogs. The boys pitched into them, killed and ate. That was hard on us, but we did not stop long. We marched until 11 o'clock in the eve. There were a good many sore feet. My feet stood it nicely. We made the distance of 28 miles. We stopped in a town called Pulaski. The fourth morning we started at 10 A.M. We were the rear guard and had to stop often to let the wagons get ahead so we got rested. The roads were very unlevel and bad. We passed some splendid farms but no farmers. I tell you, you do not know anything about this war up there. It will ruin the south, I am willing. We stopped at dark. We traveled 15 miles. The fifth morning it rained in the forenoon. We laid still, only boys killed cattle. They would chase them with mules. We had all the beef we wanted. It stopped raining at noon so on we went and crossed into Alabama. We marched a little while when it commenced raining like sixty. It came down in streams and did not stop till dark. The roads were mud knee deep and the top of the ground was a sea, but on we keep - the wagons would get stuck, then we would have to stop and help them out. We all got wet through and through. We stopped at dark. I was put out on picket all night, but could not see any Rebs. I was promoted to Corporal for that night. We marched 13 1/2 miles.
The next morning we got up out of the mud and marched to where we are camped which was 1 1/2 miles. We passed through the city of Athens. The houses are there, but where are the people? Played out or in the Rebel Army. The place is in a pleasant location and some nice buildings and splendid yards. Roses in bloom. Company A got out of beef so eight of us went out a little from camp and found a two-year old heifer. We penned it. I got it by the horns and it blatted like sixty. We threw her, cut her throat, dragged her in the bushes, skinned her. It was splendid beef. We took it in camp. We live on the beef now. Mr. Wood is with me. We bunk together. He has been sick for a day or two past. I have not seen Jap since I left Cairo. I am in hopes they will come to us before we leave. There is a talk that we are going to leave for Georgia. I can say I know something about marching. I stood it very well except I got cold, but I am coming out all right. I have not had any letters since I left Cairo or we have not had any mail since then. I will close for this time. My love to all. Keep a good share to home. This from your son,
Enclosure: I will send home some flowers that I have plucked in different places. The white blossom is a Dogwood bloom, the other is a hawkeye blossom and some yellow rose leaves that I got here in this city.
The veterans have caught us, last night. I am glad, but fetched no money with them. I got me this place last Friday about 9 o'clock A.M. We left Athens Thursday morning at 6 o'clock and marched 20 miles, then camped for the night by a nice stream of water. In the morning went to Huntsville. I went into town the day I got here. It has been a pretty place and is new what some is that I have seen father. I stood it beyond all my expectations. My feet are alright. I got a little cold, but got over it and am in good health as present and I hope this will find you all in good health. The veterans looked well and health. They brought quite a number of things to our boys. All I got was letters and that was 5 and Mrs. Smith's picture and I will send it home to Sarah to take care of for I can't keep it decent, and my dress coat I will send also fir I will not carry such a load. We have got to march tomorrow, that is the order now. It will be done up with the rest. You can get and do with it as you please. When I want one I can draw one from the Government. I was glad I sent my overcoat home for there were a good many thrown away and other things. George Miles and George Pickens lost their guns by putting them in the wagons and not tending to them. I will send my coat if I can get it in with the rest, if not I shall do the next best thing. Jap came to us last night. He gave out on the road. He looks poorly, now I don't know whether he will go with us. He can't stand it no how. I shall try my luck. It is hard telling where we are going, the talk is to Chattanooga or in Georgia some where. I would like some postage stamps, don't be afraid to send them in a letter. Sarah you send them if Father can't and you can get them. I am out of money. I do not know what to write. My head is not level, I have so much to think of. Jap is waiting for the Captain. I got a letter from Sarah dated May 1, that is the last one from home. Good bye, this is from your true son,
I will try to answer your letter which was dated May 1. I was in Huntsville, then I received it the day the veterans came to us. I got 5 letters, one from George, one from Mrs. Smith, one from Griffen and C. I was glad to get some letters for I had not had any since I left Cairo. We left Huntsville day before yesterday and expect to go on to Rome or Richmond. We are on the road. I heard some cannonading last night, the first, but let the Rebs shoot. We will try them fi they want. We are stopping her for some thing and I thought I'd let you know where I am. Jap did not come with us. He was to Huntsville. I think he will come on the cars, he looks bad, very. I'll be glad when he gets to us. We got some news from around, the boys fetch some things those who were here such as maple sugar. I would like some, but none for me. I will try to get along somehow as long as my health holds good. I am alright. I am well and hearty, eat all I got, that's nothing very good, I can tell you. I would like some, or I could eat that you throw away-sometimes it would be nick-nacks to one but maybe I will have different food. We are going in a new country where we can jayhawk. We jayhawk all along the road from Clifton, such as cattle, sheep, ducks, geese, chickens. It is hard marching, but I stand it very well. The knapsack hurt my shoulders a little. I have got my knapsack as light - I carry 1 woolen blanket, 1 rubber, 1 shirt, 2 pair of socks, or a few things. But it, the news, looks encouraging part of the time. I am afraid the Rebs will have to move (?) Our regiment is quite large. It makes a long string of men. Our train is nearly 5 miles long. Capt. Mason gave me a check for the remainder part of my board. It was $3.40. Jap and G. Miles are on the same check. Tell father to draw the money, some stamps, as much as 60 cents worth if you have not sent me any before you get this letter. I sent a letter in my dress coat pocket with Mrs. Smith's picture in it. You take it and take care of it. I gave the check to Jap for him to send home. I don't get the Prescott Journals. I would like it very much. Send them if you can. You can trace me out by looking on the map. I left Cairo, went up the Ohio to Paducah, stayed all night, then up the Tennessee as far as Clifton, a little town on the west side of the river, stayed there 4 days, then to Pulaski, from there to Athens and one night we went to Decatur and back in the morning. Next day to Huntsville. Stayed there three or four days, then to Madison Junction and stayed all night, then to Decatur where I am at present. We went through the largest farming Country I have been in. I saw the largest corn field yesterday that I ever saw, something like 500 acres. It was for the Government. I have not been up town yet for I have been busy fixing to march. We got to go 8 miles today. There are 10 hundred and 37 men in our regiment. I wish the Rebs were all dead. I gave that letter to Jap which was in mind. We got letters on the road when we got near a town or a Post Office. Cleveland is the mail carrier. He rides a horse and has an easy time of it. Well, I will close. There are 13 of 14 transferred out of our Company. George Miles is, Bartlet is left back some where sick. The order has come to be ready to move at 12 o'clock. Good bye, this is from your brother,
I will once more write home although I am sitting under the fire of the Rebs and they are in sight. Our side speak to them quite as often as they to us. I wrote my last letter while at Ackworth and have not received any since then from home. We stayed there one day then marched to Bag Shanty which is 6 miles while our side was driving the Rebs there. We stayed over night. It rained, then, and has rained every day since we stepped our feet in Georgia. In the morning the 11th of June we, that is the 17th Army Corps, marched in front and Company A went out skirmishing. We ran the Rebs back to their breastworks. They went out of the woods across a corn field, we to the edge of the woods, and there we stayed all day. I was about 50 rods off of the Rebs but they could not see me. Now and then a ball would fall fairly close to me. It rained. I lay close and let them fire. At night we were relieved by another company and we fell back behind the breastworks that our men were building. There we made our beds up and rested until now, how much longer I cannot tell. The cannon make things bob when they are fired. They are at it now by my side. Our side have something to do to drive the Rebs from Atlanta. The Rebs have it well fortified and they lay on the side of the mountain force here and more coming. There is a rumor that Grant has Lee penned. If so, so much the better for us. There has been such talk as Lee coming here to help Johnston. Sherman has driven Johnston out of some strong works by flanking him. Maybe he will drive him still by trying to flank him off of the mountain. Now we are on his left flank. We would have all we could du to hold our own if they should make a charge. It looks now as if they were falling back a little for they do not shoot quite as often and they are advancing our lines. If so we shall have to make a charge on them and help them along a little. It has rained the last two days all day which makes it bad for us. Jap is with me in very good health, and my health is good. I am getting rested from the march so that I am myself again. The news has come that some man was killed that belonged to the 16th Iowa. They are camped by our side. Quite a number of our boys, those that came down when I did, are not with us. Aldridge, C. Wright were left at Kinston, Bartlett was left at Cairo, there is only 10 of the 25 that came down when I did here today. We have plenty to eat. They keep one day rations ahead - hardtack, coffee, sugar, some pork and today beef, that is our living. Well this is all that I can think of. I wish you would write to me father, and tell about everything that would interest me. Goodbye, this is from your son,
As Lonnie did not want to fill all the space I thought I would write a line more or less. We are now down in the front near the fighting ground and we expect to see some fighting before many days. The news is now that Hooker has flanked the Rebs and holds part of "Lost" Mountain and the heavy guns are speaking all around us, enough so as to make the ground tremble whenever they are discharged. While I was at Huntsville, Ala. I sent you a check belonging to Lonnie, Geo. Miles and myself. I think that Alonzo told you what to do with his and Miles. You will please take enough, if there is enough of it, out of it, to pay you for the trouble and costs that my overcoat and coats has cost you. The expressage of the overcoat is 50 cents, I believe. I don't know how much it is on the dress coat. If there is any over your bill please enclose the remainder in a letter and oblige me. Hurrah for "Lincoln and Johnston" I must close for we are liable to be called on at any moment to do duty for our country in the shape of killing Rebs.
I will sit down under the fire of both sides and let you know that I am among the living. Well, I have seen some hard places since I wrote my last letter home. The next day after I wrote we marched 6 miles in front of the enemy to a place called Big Shanty. You will find it on the map. There was a continual firing on both sides. It was raining. Then we stopped there all night and in the morning we started to try the Rebs. We were marched entirely in front Co. A and B of our Regt. Was skirmishers. As we went the Rebs ran back about a mile to where they had some rifle pits and there rallied. I was within 50 rods of them. They kept firing. I was out of their sight. We then built breastworks and lay there and let them fire. Come to think I wrote to father the 14th of this month. The 15th there was a detail and I was one of the, 20 in all, to go and drive the Rebs back. It was awful, that is 20 of our Co. and the other Co. The same Captain went with us. We jumped the breastworks, formed a line single file and started on double quick for the Rebs. They fired - it was like hailstones for a while. We got out of their sight. One was shot through the thigh of our Co. We rested, then on we went through some pines and flanked them. They ran like sixty. I was the third man from the Captain and the first one that fired, he dropped, and the man behind me dropped one. I loaded and fired with good aim and he fell. They fell back a few rods and were reinforced and back they came. It was awful, bullets came thick and fast. We lay behind their pits and stayed until they fired three volleys. (We fired all the time). Then we ran back. I did not expect to get out alive and no one else, but the 20 or 19 came back alright. We lay in a ditch until dark, then went to camp and dug a pit as long as our Company was. In the morning before day we were relieved. We went back to camp again. They keep firing on both sides as night. There was an alarm given and up we all had to get, but the firing ceased and down we lay. In the morn, before day, we went down in the pit again and lay there all day. Our right commenced firing and drove the Rebs two miles. It rained and has every day since I've been in George except one in the morning. We were relieved and went to camp. This is the 18th of June at night, the Rebs run and the 19th we follow them to the mountain where we are now firing our cannon at them which is too much for them. They have to run. We are in front, yet. I must cut this short. Please send me the stamps and some red (sic) paper. This is the last stamp. I am well and hearty. Goodbye, this from your brother,
I will write to you now. I wrote to Father last, the first of July and I have had no letters in some time - so long I can't tell when. I want you to write and send me some paper and envelopes for this is the last envelope I have. If you want to hear from me, you must send me something to write on, for writing material is scarce here in the Company. My health is middling, nothing extra. I have lost my appetite. There is so much cannonading here where I am that I am most deaf. We have moved since I wrote last. We are to the right of the center. We made a charge on the Rebs July 5th. Our Regiment was next to the skirmishers, following them in battle line. We drove them about 2 miles and a half. They have strong works in front of us, stronger than any we have met with before. Last Thursday the Rebs opened 13 cannon on us. The shells came rather too think but did not kill many. Killed one Colonel's horse and some mules. Our battery silenced them. Something like 20 of our cannon opened on them. You better believe, they make some noise. We have a large force here and close to the Rebs. They have a strong fort in front of us on a rise of ground-in front they have driving down sticks and sharpened them, so close together that no man can get through all around it. It looks hard, but it got to be taken and will be, then we can give them till our right line is crossing the river and shelling the Rebs pontoon bridge (sic). Just as soon as our forces get across the river they have got to get. They say they cannot make another stop until they get to Pine Mt. Or bluff, that is the other side of Atlanta. I don't care how soon they leave. A deserter came in yesterday or night before last. He was on picket. He thought they would not put him on any more. He says the Rebs expect us to charge on them. They got all ready for us. The cannon make such noise I can't think.
The 4th of July I spent in this wise. In the morning I had one hard tack given me, small piece of pork, a little sugar and coffee for one day's rations. In the afternoon we moved 1 mile. I the eve I went after spades and built breast works all night, and the 5th we made a charge. It was nothing like years that have passed and gone, but be as it is, if I only am spared my life, that will be all I will ask. I want some postage stamps. Send some more. George Miles wanted me to write father for him to tell his father to send him (that is George) some writing paper, envelopes and stamps for he is entirely out. Jap has gone to the hospital again, a little way from here. Jap, I am afraid, will not stand it. He does not take care of himself as he ought. When he left me he was lousy or had plenty of graybacks on this march. Where we camp in the Rebel's Camp we all got them. I boil my clothes every time I have a chance. Say nothing about Jap. I will close by sending some flowers. Give my love to all. Keep a good share at home. Goodbye, this from
I will write a few lines to let you know that I am alive and my health holds good. The last letter that I wrote home was to Sarah and dated July 9th. Since then I, or the Regiment, has moved several times. It moved to Marietta and on to the Chattahoochee River, crossed it on to Decatur, passed through the village. Our men had gotten there before our Corps did, destroyed the railroad track. Decatur is six miles Atlanta. We marched on two miles, then Co. A 12 went out on skirmishing that night, built pits in the morning, was ordered to charge on the Rebs, which we did, and drove their skirmishers back to their breastworks and took a part of the work, but the Rebs were too strong; our forces could not hold them. Fell back a little but not without fighting like sixty. Our Company had 5 or 6 killed and 15 or more wounded. We held our ground the best we could. Made pits - at night we made good works. The Regiment lost 150 or more, 21 killed I know of. The bullets missed me, but quite a number fell by my side. In the morning the Rebs fell back. Now we occupy their works and about noon the Rebs charged on our rear, captured some of our wagons and then made a charge on our whole lines. I tell you it was which and to there, fighting on three sides, but we held them and were reinforced by a Corps coming in. Recaptured some of our wagons, took two Regiments of Reb prisoners. I tell you I lay close to the ground if ever I did one time. The Rebs had one end of our fort on one side, our men the other, fighting like sixty. In the morning the Rebs fell back in the … or the Reb's side. The Rebs lay piled up, dozens or more killed and wounded. The Rebs got it killed without number. I could stand up on the breastworks and count 50 dead Rebs, some dressed in fine clothes as if they came out to fight for the day, with new guns. Our loss was large, but nothing compared to theirs. We have worked days and nights. I have worked building works that will hold them back. We are within two or three miles of the city. I was out last night helping dig a pit for our picket post works until 12 o'clock and then went out on picket. Stood one hour, then back to the pit. Was relieved by 4 o'clock a.m. I went back to our Camp, got my breakfast, then I took a nap. Today I have a chance to rest. While we were marching I had plenty of blackberries. One day I ate two quarts. There have been any amount of them. Green apples I have when the Rebs will let me get them, but here we got to stay close to our works. Our lines run something (small sketch). The Rebs have strong works in front of us in sight. Our Army is doing something today at other places. I must close for there is a man around gathering the letters. This is my last sheet of paper. I have to borrow an envelope. Please send some to me as soon as you can. So, goodbye, this is from your true son,
I received your letter last night dated July 23. I was glad to hear that you were all well. Today finds me well excepting a sore jaw. Yesterday I had two of my double teeth drawn. They book up and all the roots are not out yet so today its some sore and hurts me to eat. I wrote a letter to you July 31 and there has not much transpired since then. We are having some rest which we need. Yesterday I went and washed my shirt and socks and only have one shirt so I have to dry it quick to put it on. I have one pair of those socks that mother knit winter before last and have wore them all the time too. I have two other pair so when I get in Camp again I can have new clothes, if that time ever comes. I think it will be soon for we have got this place nearly surrounded, and I hope that before I have a chance to write to you again the Rebs will all be out and we in Camp, but I had rather be at home.
Tell father I want him to let me know what the freight was on those overcoats and what he did with them: If they were taken to their proper places. Weed & Farnsworth agreed to pay me if you would pay when it got there. It was to be left at the Post Office for their wives to get. I have now heard from them. Weed said his wife has not got his. This Weed is the man that bought out William Dixson and still owns it. He is a fast living man, I guess, or has been. He has been my partner all the time from Cairo until last Saturday. He was detailed to report to the Colonel and has left the Company for a while. Farnsworth, I do not know where he is. He was left back sick, but I can find them when they get paid off, and I want a quire of paper and a bunch of envelopes. Do them up just as you would a paper, in a roll, and have the outside wrapper cover their ends. Jeremiah Treble had a roll come to him last in good order. The postage was 4 cents. I shall want some stamps too. I don't like to send letters without stamps. I would have to get the Colonel to send them if I did. You can send anything you are a mind to. Last week there was a large bag of tobacco sent to one of the boys. It was long, 6" through. I got that paper and dollar. I got a line from Jap. He is in Rome, Georgia. It is a very busy time in Camp now days. The boys are all writing. It is to get enough to help get rations. I have just been and got a box of hard bread. It is hard for me to think of enough to fill this sheet. Tell Fronia not to be discouraged for I guess some of the boys will come back and then there will be better times. Give her my love, if it will do her any good. I would like to come up to her house to take… but that is impossible just now. I will wait for a more convenient time.
I got a letter from Jerry last night. He and Mary Eva are well. He has been a claming, got 2 bushel. I would like a mess, wouldn't you? Orlando Cleveland comes to see me once in a while. He is our Brigade mail carrier. He shows me his girl's letter. Who ever it is, is a very good penman. He got a letter from Jonas Todd, he read the letter to me. You send me some papers once in a while, will you?
Well, I will close. I'd like to see those stamps and sheet paper that you sent me. Try and enjoy yourself the best you can. Give my love to all. Keep a good share for yourself. Goodbye, this is from your faithful brother,
As Captain has given me a check of $10.00 I will start it home, and as quick as possible. He keeps back $5.00 for his trouble. He thought that he ought to have something for his trouble of enlisting. This money is the premium money that he gets for enlisting us and gives to us. I gave up all hopes of getting it and if I had been killed I could not have gotten it or any one else. You can do with it as you are a mind to, only let Sarah have some to buy writing material so she can write often to me for I want to hear from home often and I want you to write and send some paper, envelopes and stamps if you have not, for I have borrowed until I am tired, and writing material is scarce in our Company. It will take quite a number to pay up. I haven't much news to write this time. I have written so often. I have been out on skirmishing once since I wrote and advanced our lines. It is shy work. We have to keep our eyes open too. We have been lying still two days. It has been quite a treat. The Rebs shell us quite freely. Yesterday they killed two horses and last night another just about two rods from where we were camped and today they killed one of our Company. The Rebs were a shelling, we all get close to the works. This man had some beans cooking and he went to see them. A shell struck in front of our works, a piece flew and struck him just above the mouth. Cut off both jaws and killed him instantly. He was one of the veterans. His name is Benjamin Humphry and he was a good soldier. He was buried the best of any soldier I have seen. Our chaplain spoke a few words in reference to how he was hurt, then read a chapter in the testament, and made a prayer. Some 20 of our Co. witnessed his burial.
We make but little progress toward Atlanta, and it may be some time before we take the place. Our men have cut all the railroads that lead into Atlanta and if we lay and siege, the place, it will take some time, for we are two miles from the city. I wish we could take it without much more fighting, but I can't tell. I go to sleep by hearing shell and bullets and wake up in the morning the same, and it is keeping up all day. I am getting so used to the noise I think no more of it than I would of the flies buzzing. When they keep at a distance the Rebs have better guns than we, they can shoot farther, they pick our men at a distance.
I heard from Jap the other day. He was gaining. Lester, Wm. Hurt, Charles Wright, they are all at Rome, Ga. Lum is at Chattanooga to work in a garden; Bartlett is in Madison; Mason just gave me a note from Jap. He says he is very weak and good for nothing, but maybe he will get better - these are the words he used. He says he has not heard from Prescott since he has been there. Direct to him, General Hospital No. 4, Ward D, Rome, GA. I will write to him just as soon as I get some paper, and would have written to him before but had nothing to write on.
Send me some thread, put in a needle in a letter and see if I get it. Send the thread in a letter, a small lot, and put on an extra stamp. Well this is all that I can think of this time, and I should say it was enough and it is getting dusk so I will close. My love to all, keep a good share home. This is from your true son,
I received your letter dated from 12 to 14 of August. I was glad to get a letter once more, and from home too, and you are all in so comfortable circumstances. The Tennessee Army went around to cut the Montgomery Railroad and the Macon, which we did, and that was the down fall of Atlanta. Atlanta is ours. The 28th of August we got to the Montgomery Railroad, commenced tearing it up, then the 30th we started from the Macon, the 31st we moved in front of the Rebs and just got out breastworks most don when the Rebs made a charge on us, but we gave them… There was a ball struck my gun and went through my hat brim, close to my ear and some of the pieces went in my face, one just below my left eye, and another on my right temple and that piece is in there now. The ball struck a piece of iron that was on the end of the wood of my gun and it flew in pieces. We took quite a number of prisoners there and a great many deserted and came in our lines, and a good many more would have come if they could but they were watched. The 1st of Sept. we moved to the right to support that while the left swing around. They got, that is the left wing, got possession of the Railroad the 31st. We wanted to surround them and take all the prisoners we could, but we could not get around, but the fall of Atlanta finished our fighting for Sherman wrote an order stating that we had done well and the Campaign would close, and now we are on our way to Camp. Some place Sherman said we were to have 30 days to rest and then reorganize for a Fall Campaign. We have been three days getting in Camp. Each night though we had got to Camp, but in the morning we would have to move. Now we are not but a little ways from Atlanta. George Miles got shot in the arm the last day in front, not bad at all, a flesh wound. Denhams, I do not know where he is. The last I heard from him he was doing nicely.
I wrote a letter to Jap before I went on this march, a long one too, and told him about your writing to him. I am not sure about Lum's eye. I put the stamp on that letter that was written, soldier's letter, for all letters have to be sent by the Colonel that have no stamp and it is quite a little trouble to go to him. I would like stamps and I want that paper sent. It will come through - others get paper that way. Roll up a quire of paper and envelopes in the roll, then put on a thick paper wrapper and let the ends be open but have the paper more than cover each end. I am out of money, but maybe I will get paid off when I get in Camp. I guess we have got where we will stop a while. I would like some dried fruit sent me, such as currants. Put them in a bag, sew the bag up. The boys (write) home for tea, cheese, tobacco, anything they get them 4 pounds in mail weight as there has been a law passed that 8 pounds can be sent to soldiers, so you can send anything to me you are might to. I will close, hoping to hear from you soon. I sent a check home of ten dollars. Has father got it? I have seen Bill Hatch quite a number of times. He is in the 10th Wis. Battery with Killpatrick. Goodbye, this is from your truthful brother,
I will try this morning to write a few lines to let you know where I am and how I feel. It has been some time that I have been where I could not get any letters nor write any, but Providence has brought me where I have received and can. I got a letter from Sarah the 8th of September, that was the first for a long time. We have been out on a tower to the Railroad and have been almost around the City of Atlanta. Atlanta has cost a good many lives, but it is ours now and the Rebel Army is pretty well cut up as well as discouraged. They have been driven back so far that and out of such strong works, they think they cannot hold any place. The soldiers would, if they could, get away, come in our lines, but they are worked as close as prisoners so those say that have come in our lines. When I was home I heard how poorly clothed and what small men that they had, but it is not so. All that I have seen have been the strongest kind of men, fat and healthy. When we started to move around we left our works about midnight for the Rebs were in front of us. We marched day and night till we got tot he Montgomery Road. We didn't have much trouble in taking that. We destroyed quite a number of miles of that, then we went on, but while were there tearing up the Railroad, Jo Capp was sent back with a wagon and 40 yards to the road Jo went on ahead as usual. It was very warm so the guards topped under a tree to rest and let the wagon get ahead. It got about 1/2 mile on. Jo was still ahead of that and stopped at a house to drink when a band of guerillas come up, took him and some of the others. Jo's horse broke loose and went back to Camp so Jo is a prisoner again. That is the last I heard.
The last time I was out on skirmish I had the chance to shoot at the guerillas. I have been hit three times but no time very bad and I am thankful. It has been no worse and today I am well, hearty and healthy. All the trouble, I do not get enough meat and no vegetables nor fruit. The apples and peaches were all gone. I got some sweet potatoes and plenty of green corn. I got my fill of corn. A cornfield stands no show at all when the
Tennessee Army get in it. We have moved back near Atlanta in Camp near the Railroad and this morning is the first but what I have had to work, so I will write all the time I can get. I got a letter from Jerry the 24th day of August. He was well and not drafted. I wrote a letter to Sarah the 9th of September. I was in a hurry when I wrote it for we were moving every little while and September 12th got that package of paper and everything alright. I would like more stamps. Paper is 50 cents a quire here. I am all out of money again. I have bought potatoes and some sugar. I heard from Jap the other day. He is quite poorly, can't stand much, just gets about. He is in Rome yet. I sent a check to you some ago. Please write and let me know about it and other things. I will close by sending my love to you all and the inquiring friends. This is from your son,
I will try my pen this pleasant morning in writing to you as it goes pretty well. I will keep on, maybe I can think of something new to you, yet before I get through. I am well and hearty. I sent to the Commissary for two pounds of flour and one pound of dried applies which is 11 cents a pound, flour 4 cents when you but it by the wholesale. I sold hard tack and got some money. Hard tack is 5 cents a pound. I am out of money now and I can't get any thing else. It's rather hard for us to have to buy these things, but I want something else besides hardtack and pork to eat. I get tired of such living. It has been a long Campaign and we haven't had anything else only what we bought and what has been sent to the Company. The boys have had some dried fruit and tea sent to them by mail. When you send anything, write on the envelope what is in the package and for a soldier it will come through cheaper and quicker. You can send what kind of fruit you are a mind to, but I suppose it is hard getting any small fruit up there and everything is so high that maybe I can get along with what I can get here. I would like more letter stamps for I can use them. Please send 50 cents worth. Get father to get them for you. I want to live if I am a soldier. Well I will write a little about a soldier's life. They have to obey orders. The 12th was ordered to pack up and be ready to fall in a minute's warning. We get everything all ready and the word does not come until 8 o'clock in the eve and then it rains some and we have to travel through mud that is over shoes and have to stop every few rods and stand with everything on. Come to a stream of water which is not half bridged and it is dark for we have to travel through a good deal of woods. I have traveled this way all night and did the first night. We were ordered from the front only we stopped about two hours at midnight for the stragglers to catch up, and traveled until 7 o'clock a.m. Halted long enough to make coffee and eat hard tack, pork, that is all we had and that is all we get on a march. Then up and all day. Make a stop for dinner, maybe not eat as you go along, travel until dark, then halt for a rest, maybe all night, maybe not over two hours sometimes. I would get me a place fixed to lay down when I would have to leave. The way, if I have time, I make my bed - I get three rails, lay one end up on something, then spread them all over with boughs and leaves, spread my rubber blanket on them and roll up. Sleep like a log if I happen to lay till morning, then I am awakened and told to get breakfast, to be ready to move at 6 a.m. Maybe we would move at that time, maybe not till 10. So it goes, man has to catch it. I have passed good many just such times and I feel thankful that I have stood it all through so far. I have been in all the battles the 12th Reg. Has been in this summer.
I thank you Sarah for those newspapers. I would like some often for I have a little time to read when in Camp. I wrote a letter to Jap last Saturday. I heard from him by the way of another person that Jap had not got any of my letters so I wrote once more, directed as follows: U.S. Hospital, 2nd Section, 2nd Division, Ward D, Rome, Ga. We are in Camp and have to obey a great many orders, roll call 4 times a day, drill inspection, battalion drill and sweep before our bunk and keep our guns bright and it keeps one doing something all the time. Well I am getting my sheet filled up. I will stop. Give my love to all that inquire of me and keep a good share home. This is from your brother, Goodbye,
I will try to answer your letter which I received September 23rd. I was glad to hear that you all were in so comfortable circumstances. My health holds good and I am happy to say that my appetite is exceedingly good. I can't get rations enough and we are on the shortest rations we ever have been, no salt meat, nor not salt enough to salt our beef which we get once in three days. Our hardtack just holds out by being saved. It is closer living then I like, but have to submit for I am a soldier and have to obey orders and take up with what I can get. We get one mess of beans, the same of rice and the last time we drew rations, that was yesterday, one mess of desiccated vegetables, that is all kinds of vegetables dried and pressed together - they are very good made in soup. This is 5 day's rations, with 5 day's rations of hardtack which is a pound a day. I could eat it all in three days easy, so it is.
Company A went out on picket day before yesterday. It did not seem like picketing. Heretofore where I would have to lay in the rifle pits to keep out of the way of bullets, here I could sit around any place and read, or if I got asleep, it no hard, and I did not hear a gun fired. All was still. I expect we shall have to move before long for the Iowa Brigade has orders to move with three day's rations in their haversacks at two P.M. today. I am glad it is not us, but we may have to go, yet the talk is that the Rebs are getting in our rear. We have not got any mail in three days now. I wrote a letter to Jap today. He is some better. He wrote me a letter which I got the other day. He thought of seeing me soon. From all reports, I think he had better stay where he is. He has his meals cooked and that is good or very different from what he would get here and has a good place to sleep which he wants for he should not sleep on the ground. He said he was dealing out medicine to the Ward. I told him to stay where he is, if he could, for here is not place for him. Lum Alderage is with us. HE is the same as he used to be. He has had an easy time of it this summer, I guess, and he was talking of sending home to get a box of different articles, but we will wait until after we are paid off. Some of the boys have sent home for a box. I shall want some things that I can't get here, and we have an express office in Atlanta, but when we get ready we will let you know whether we want it or not and when. If we stay here this fall and get paid off I would like some things.
I hope this war will end before long, and without much more fighting for I have seen enough of it and am willing to lay by for a time, but I am ready anytime. The Presidential Election will have some effect on the war. Old Abe is the soldier's choice and if Grant has good success that will know the Rebs in the heard which I hope he may, for the Rebs say themselves that if McClelland is President there will be peace and if Old Abe is elected he will fight, and they can't hold out much longer and they may as well stop now as any time, but they keep the thing a going yet. Oh, Jap did burn your letters and I have seen that picture when I was with him. The boys in the Company are all lively. Captain Mason started home September 21. I gave him my ring and told him to give it to Father for you to keep until I come home, or to remember me by. Well, I have just drawn some new clothing. I have drawn two shirts, one pants, one drawers, one socks and the second pair of shoes, that is all the new clothing I have drawn since I got my uniform. I think my clothes have been first rate, considering what I have been through with them.
I must close for dress parade comes off pretty soon. I received my paper alright and I wish you would send some newspapers. Give my love to all and keep a good share at home. I will send some verses and the last Rose of summer I got while on picket. Goodbye, this is from your truthful brother,
By L. Grennan, Co. "D", 20th Ohio Infantry
Tune: The Campbells are coming,
In less then twelve months of marching and toil,
We will drive every traitor from liberty is soil,
And then to our homes we will proudly return
To comfort the girls we left there to morn.
When veterans return to home and it is charm,
Their sweethearts will meet them with wide open arms,
Each bachelor then can procure him a wife,
And live in sweet union the rest of his life.
by L. Greenan, Co. D, 20th OVVI
All hail to that chieftain that here so bold
Who has vanquished our foes on the red battlefield;
As brave and as great as the Heroes of old,
He conquers or die, but he never will yield!
The traitor is hurled where, our flag is unfurled,
That Grant is a here is known to the world;
And our Great Ulysses, the Union shall save
As the land of the free and the home of the brave.
At Donaldson's fight was his courage displayed,
Where the proud boasting chivalry, haughty as Turks,
With Buckner and Floyd, were in battle arrayed
Surrender he cried, or "I will move on your works;
That old traitor Floyd soon found it was void,
To cope with the here, Old Abe had employed!
For our Great Ulysses the Union shall save,
As the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Chickamauga's famed field enables his name,
For there in dread battles he vanquished the foe;
And the Chivalry trembled to hear of his fame;
They melted before him as summer melts snow.
The Butternut crowds, were drove through the clouds!
And many lie sleeping beneath grassy shrouds,
And our Great Ulysses, the Union shall save,
As the land of the free and the home of the brave.
I will try to write a few lines to you to let you know where I am and what I am doing. I am pretty well, I have a lame shoulder and a little wearied out marching. We left our Camp below Atlanta the 4th of October, about 5 AM. Crossed the Chattahocee, River, then we followed the railroad track 10 miles, then in behind the Reb's works and camped. March 20 miles, then on by 7 AM until 11. Stopped behind some works and remained there till about 9 AM, then went on picket there. I got sweet potatoes, chestnuts, peanuts, sugar cane, grapes and parched corn. I ate all I could that day for I can't carry much stuff. Next day we went back to camp, or the Regiment, remained in marching order. The next day which was the 8th of October, my birthday, the order was to move at daylight. It was very cold and windy. I put on drawers and a shirt so I have on two shirts. We did not move. In the morning the order was to move at 7 AM and we did. Passed through Marietta which is or has been quite a place, but very much destroyed now. Then on through Big Shanty, about 1 mile. We camped at sunset. Next day Co. A and three other Companies went to work on the railroad at Big Shanty were the Rebs tore it up. They took the place and burned it and our men got it back again. That day I sprained shoulder lifting a tie. At sunset went to the Regiment. The order was to pack up and move. We started at 10 PM, marched all night. Halted at 5 AM, got breakfast, started at 8 AM through Acworth and through the Altoona pass, crossed the Altoona Pass, crossed the Etowah River, marched 14 miles, halted at 6 PM. We were living on short rations - not quite three crackers a day and coffee. In the morning started 6 AM march 8 miles to Kingston, then on within 5 miles of Rome where we stopped at 7 PM for the night.
I got your letter then, dated Sept. 25th. I was glad to get a letter once more. It was a piece of my gun that's in my forehead. I have let it stay there, It’s a small piece. The next day we remained and drew rations which we were very glad to have. I eat beef enough for two men that day. We did not have any beef in some time or meat of any kind. We were ordered to move at sunset. We started at 7 PM, marched all night through the roughest road I ever saw. We halted at 6 AM, got breakfast, then on to Adairsville, a station on the Chattanooga railroad. There our regiment halted as train guard, and remained a11 night with the train. In the morning we started, marched 8 miles to Calhoun, got dinner, then on to Resaca. Halted about 9 PM stayed all night. In the morning, started at 6 AM. The Regiment was divided up by Companies and scattered along the train some 20 or 30 miles along as guards. We passed through Snake Gap. It was a hard looking place. We marched until 12 at night. I was nearly tired out. Not one half of Co. A kept up. Today we have, moved one mile and got with the rest of our division. We had orders to be in Chattanooga tomorrow night - distance of 33 miles, but the Rebs are flanking us and I can't tell which very we will move. The Rebs have tore up some of the railroad and say they are going to have Chattanooga but guess they won't. They can only bother us a little by tearing up the track.
Weed has not paid me for that overcoat he used; the rest have not and are away from me at present. If you have a chance to send something to me, send it by any of Co. A. boys. I will close. My love to all and keep a good share home. Goodbye, this is from your brother,
I will try once more to write to you. I am not at Atlanta as you suppose but am traveling around the country. We left the place where I was when I wrote to you last that night, and marched through a place called Deveal Gap [sic] and camped in the woods. The next day we started at 8 AM, halted for dinner, then on until 6 PM. Camped by the Chatooga River, distance 20 miles. That night Eric got some large sweet potatoes and plenty of them. I wished some of them were home. I put three in my knapsack, which would weight 4 pounds and carried them all the next day. Started at 6 AM, passed through a town called Summerville, and another Alpine, and camped in the woods. Got plenty of syrup and had mush and syrup for supper and breakfast, distance 20 miles. Next day on I saw nothing interesting, distance 12 miles. So on the next day through quite a town called Gayesville, Alabama and we went about a mile and camped and remained there 7 days. While I had beans, beef, squash, we had to get what we could for we had three days rations given us to last six. I grated corn, made my rations hold out, and they did. I had plenty by going out jayhawking. One day I went out with my gun. Husking corn I had to keep my gun close by my side all the time for the Rebs were troublesome. We left there 29th of October, about 6 crossed the Chatooga, then through a town called Cedartown, then on through mud and the dark of the woods until 10 PM. I was tired that night, distance l5 miles. Yesterday we had a nice road to travel and we would march one hour and a quarter and rest twenty minutes all day. We camped at 6 PM and camped on the bank of a little river. This morning I went and got some sweet potatoes, had some for dinner. Cleveland ate dinner with me and I tried to get him to write to you, and he started to, but gave it up and said he would some other time. I got These newspapers you sent me and was glad to get them, also a letter from Jerry had Mary L. Scribner. They were well, Jerry had some work and was trying to live. He said George was a conductor on a horse-car and getting 2 dollars a day. Wish I was out of the serwee. I would go and see them. Well, Sarah, I wish you would keep a count of what money you spend for me and use my money. I would like a pair of gloves with long wrists as you can send them by some one or by mail by writing on what is in the package and for a soldier. Send papers and any thing you are a mind to. Tell Father I say let you have some of my money to get These things.
The Company is in good health. Write often for when I am marching I don't have time. I will write when I can and as often as I can. It does me good to get letters, I believe, for I feel revived up. Today we are resting to make out the muster rolls. The un-veterans left while we were at Gayesville for home. I can't tell where we are going. We are about 19 miles from Rome. I will close this time. Give my love to all the inquiring friends and keep a good share home. Goodbye, this is from your true brother,
REFERENCE: Atlas Plate 149 but it does not reveal the name of Deveal Gap.
I will try to write a few lines to you to let you know that I am alive and where I am. It has been sometime since we have received any mail. Yesterday was the first. I got 2 Prescott papers, but no letters. I am not discouraged yet I think there must be some on the road. I am well except the toothache which I think I can stop by having drawn I have stood the march quite well. Some days I was quite lame, but I took it easy and get along. It was my ankles that give out. They are nearly well now. We have rested here a few days. We are 6 miles from the Savannah River where the railroad bridge crosses. We have not had any supplies yet. The 4th Division of our Corps is building a levee there by the bridge so the boats can land. The boats have been there three or four days. We have to live on rice and beef for a week. I have pounded out rice and had it ground and it made bread and cakes. We happen to camp on a rice plantation one of the darkies says there were 9 hundred bushels. When we came, but it is nearly played out. Our men took Fort McAllister without much loss and took quite a number of guns and prisoners. The report is that there is not much of a force in Savannah and we have got them surrounded. The Rebs are forcing our men into their rank. Some have got that were put into their rank. Deserters are coming into our lines quite fast. We have not had much trouble in getting here and live pretty well all the time till now. We got corn meal, sweet Potatoes, some flour and several quarts of syrup and a little sugar, Three from each Company in our Regiment were detailed to forage for the Regiment. Some times they would fetch in plenty of fresh pork and cornmeal. With the other stuff, we live quite well. The rations that we had issued to us three days to last five and six. Now they have got out so we live on rice. A week ago yesterday I was on skirmish line about 4 miles from the city. I went through a swamp in some places there was no bottom. It was a little tough for our men in the swamp … be good for a dozen coming in as we were but the Rebs run. We stayed in the swamp all night. It rained almost all the time. It is a lot, swampy country around here, so much so that it made no force of much account to surround this place.
Our Corps has burned the railroad from this place to Gordon, Ga. all the stations, mills, cotton gins, tanneries, end some Reb's dwelling houses. We destroyed a good deal of property and there were any amount of darkies followed us. That's what took our rations. One morning our Corps killed one hundred horses rather than to leave them. We picked up a good many on the way - some nice ones, then we killed off our old ones. They killed more or less every morning. I suppose you have heard from Cleveland. He said he would write to you when he left me at Marietta. I did not draw my pay when the rest did for I could not see a good chance of sending it home. I borrowed $5 and with what the boys owed me I can get along for a while. Please send me a diary for next year - 1865 about the size of my old one. Send as quick as you get this. I will send this home when I get through and that will not be long. I will close this. You can tell Albert that I am alive yet and give my love to him and the rest of the inquiring friends. Keen a good share home. I will send you a flower to remember Atlanta. I got it the day we left. Write often. Goodbye, from your brother.
Direct Co. A, 12th Reg. Wis. Vol. Inf.
1st Brigade 3rd Division, 17th A. C.
Old Hood got whipped out nicely by Themas and Hardee has (been) too. 15 hundred of his forces have surrendered. The majority of the citizens think this rebellion is played out. I hope so for I am getting tired of marching. My feet are a little lame. My shoulder is well. It is nearly a year since I enlisted, I had for Christmas dinner a johnnie cake, fried beef and coffee, Thanksgiving Day I do not know anything about. I wrote a letter to Perry Christmas. I got one the same time. I got yours and that note from Jap. I would like to know where Jap stopped so I could write a line to him. I went you to send me one quire of paper and a bunch of envelopes. Do them up in a roll and leave both ends open, or just tuck the wrapper in, and some stamps in a letter. Tell father I'd like to have him send me $5 as I did not draw my pay from the Government and I can't tell when I will have another chance. Please send it as quick as he can for a little money comes handy. It has been so cold here that it would freeze ice on my hair while I wipe my face. I would like to come home, but I see no chance. Sarah, hold up good courage. When I come home we will go and see our brother if nothing happens. I will close. Give my love to all inquiring friends, but keep a good share home. Goodbye. This is from your true brothers
Direct via New York.
The following is a Summary as enclosed with one of Alonzo Miller's letters:
We left Clifton on the boat, landed April 30, 5 O'clock PM, stayed
May 1 - We were waked up at 4 AM and left the cart at 8 AM. Marched steady for 4 days.
May 5 - We left at 6 PM marched till 10 PM.
June 5 - We camped in Rome at 4.
June 11 - We left Big Shanty by 8 AM and went out skirmishing through woods and brush within 50 rods of the Rebs. They kept firing at us.
June 30 - We camped near Kennesaw Mountain.
June 26 - Left Kennesaw, we moved to the right.
October 4 - went back. The orders were to march at 7 AM, passed through Marietta, There were houses on fire, the Rebs fired.
October 10 - We passed the railroad track. I sprained my shoulder with a large R. R. tie.
October 11 - We passed through Acworth, Altoona Pass, crossed Etowah River.
October 12 - With 5 miles of Rome.
October 15 - Passed through Deval Gap.
October 18 - Crossed Chatooga River.
October 21 - We camped or passed through Cassville.
October 22 - We stayed in Camp - many veterans started for home.
Nov. 5 - Started 8 AM, passed Kennesaw on the right, camped near Drough
Station (Neal Dow). We stayed there.
Nov. 8 - I voted f or Old Abe. We stayed there, got clothes and some of the boys drew their pay at Marietta.
Nov. 12 - Orders were to pack up, commence tearing up Railroad.
Nov. 13 - Started 10 AM, marched steady cross Chattahoochee River, then on about a mile from the city of Atlanta and camped there. We stayed there until Nov. 15.
Nov. 15 - south. In morning we started about 8AM. Co. A was rear guard. Found good many drink (?). Distance 12 miles.
Dec. 12 - We camped on the right of Savannah. There was a large rice plantation in front of us, and the Rebs backed the water onto it and they held the gate. We stayed there until Dec. 21.
Dec. 21 - We were ordered to move. I was on skirmish line. We passed through the city of Savannah to the river and on the pontoon. The Rebs cut the rope. We turned back end camped in the city near the cemetery.
I have received the diary you sent by George Miles yesterday. I was very glad to get it. I will send the last year's home. You take care of it, until I come home. There are some verses in it you can have to read. I am well and hearty. As usual today I boiled my clothes to get rid of the graybacks. Jap care to us before we left Beaufort. I was glad to get These gloves and I thank the one that sent These socks. I am 49 miles in the state of South Carolina and 55 miles from Charleston. We are camped at the station called Pocotaligo. We had a pretty hard skirmish in getting the place. 6 of Co. A were wounded. The Rebs lay still in the forts until we were close to them, then they opened their batteries on us with shell and grape shot. We all fell at once. It happened to be a corn field with high rows. We lay between the rows as close to the ground as we could. Jap thought it was pretty hot work. We lay there till dark then we where relieved. The rebs left that night so in the morning we walked in and drove them across a river called Salkahatchie. We have been there twice and had a skirmish. I have not had any letters since I left Savannah. We are going to move from here pretty soon. It has rained 5 days in succession. Jap seems like another person. I guess he will make a soldier yet. I Hill stop for this time. Write often, my love to all goodbye. This is from your brother,
'U.S. Sanitary Commission Stationery' Camp near Fayetteville, NC
I am one among the living and enjoying good health. You see by the heading of this where I am. I came here last night. The whole 4 Corps are here so we can cross the river Cape Fear. Our foragers went down the river. They were mounted on horses and captured a boat, a freight boat. I have not been in the city. They say it is quite a place. The old 12th Wisc. had the honor of taking Orangeburg S.C. We charged through a swamp where the water was up to our knees. I went in the city without firing a gun. It was a real pretty place. We were guard while there, that was during the night and part of next day. We moved out. The next city was Columbia. The 15th Corps guarded there. We got any amount of forage, everything you can think of. From there on to Waynesboro where the 20th Corps was guard. It was a small town. Then to Cheraw. There our one division got in first so they were guard. Then on for the past week I have witnessed some of the heaviest marching I ever did through gumbo swamp. It rained so it overflowed the swamp. We had to wade three days. I was act up to my knees all the time, but I have come out alright. We have lived off the country and had plenty that was good too. We are leaving for some point where communications can be had. Some of the boys are pretty shabby end a good many dress in citizen's clothes and Reb's uniforms, some bare feet, but all have the best of courage. The Rebs are playing as fast as they can and say they can't hold out much longer. If they don't stop us, we will destroy the whole Southern Confederacy.
Will close, goodbye,
I will commence another letter to you. The other that I wrote you dated the 12th I had to be in a hurry, and I did not know if I would have another chance. I thought you would like to known where I am. Today finds me well excepting my jaw. I had a tooth driven this morning. We moved across the river last night. About 11 in the eve. It was a bright moon shine night. We are camped 5 miles from town on the opposite side. I have not been in this town. All other places their have, or we have burned to the ground all the buildings. I expect this will fare the same fate. It seems hard for the woman and children, but this rebellion must be put down and we are doing it. The Rebs are coming in our lines as fast as they can. We have no fighting to do, it's all done by our foragers.
We call them bummers. They are mounted on mules. They bring in shoulders and hams and plenty of side pork, flour, cornmeal, syrup so that we live pretty well, cornbread, biscuit and pancakes. Down this river our men found quite a number of our men that the Rebs had prisoners and had paroled them. It is getting so that they can't move their prisoners any more. So much the better. There have been a number of boats coming up from Wilmington. This is all the communications we have open. I am glad to get a chance to send home a book, I will get it started, also some Confederate script that I have. I got it at Orangeburg. Take care of it. This war can't hold out much longer. Old Sherman's Smokehouse Rangers will destroy the whole Southern Confederacy if it don't stop before another year. The boys are in good health. Jap stands it first rate.
I have gotten where I can hear from home. I received two letters yesterday - one from you and one from Sarah. I can't tell hold glad I was to hear from home and that you were all well. Yesterday I closed a letter with some script in and a book that I got on my march. I got it where the battle of Cowpens was fought years ago. I thought I would have something to remember there. It was a piece of ground with swamps around it. The 12th R3g. was the first to cross and take the place. The bridges were all burned, but we crossed without getting much wet. Co. A was put on picket. I was on the reserve post. It was near a house, that day we lived. Had all the peanuts we could eat. For supper our mess had a pot of 4 chickens and 3 geese and three more for morning, coffee, crackers, syrup and all the meat we wanted. At dark we were relieved, and went to camp. We have lived all through this march. We have only 14 days of hardtack given to us on this trip and we have been out 54 days. It looks hard when one comes to realize how we have used the people, taken all they have and we did not want, destroyed everything, bedclothes. We like to get hold of the love letters. I have destroyed a good many. Then after we have gotten everything, then the house was burned. In all the cities end towns they all fared the same fate. Quite a number of refugees came along with us. Darkies without number went with us. They way we would march was, each Corps took a separate road and met at certain places, sometimes a river would be too wide for one Corps' pontoon to cross, then the other would come and lend a hand. The 15th and 17th worked together. They keep to the right of the 20th and 14th. We keep from 10 to 15 miles so you see that we would destroy a wide strip through the country. I am getting so I don't care how the war is closed. If the South doesn't come to terms before Sherman gets his army clothed and his supply train loaded, he will give them fits for they have part of North Carolina and the same of Virginia and it is nearly surrounded. I can't see where they are going to get supplies from. Old Lee sent some of his men down to try Sherman, but they got whipped nicely, run leaving the dead and wounded on the ground, but we could see the difference for they were fighting men. They held our men to it pretty well. They charged on the 15th Corps and out 1st Division 7 times and were driven back. That's their way. We found out they had been under Lee. The Second Brigade of the 4th Division of the 14th Corps got surrounded one day. The Rebs got two lines of battle in their rear and four in front. Our men charged on the front lines and drove them, then turned around and cut their way out with out much loss. The Rebs murdered some of our foragers in a cruel manner. Old Kilpatrick killed one Reb for all his men he found in that way, and we have done the same. We get several hundred prisoners and some of the largest mules I ever saw, 18 hands high. We got any amount of horses and splendid ones too.
I am in hopes the war will close before we leave here. I heard that 3 more peace commissioners had gone to see Lincoln, to accent his terms. I have seen some of the Reb's latest papers and they speak very discouraging of their condition, Rations are getting short. When their grub bag gives out, then they will call for us to feed them.
You wanted to know about the Sanitary Commission. One time last summer two potatoes and three onions apiece, then when we were at Beaufort we got 4 potatoes 6 onions a piece and also a tablespoonful of tomatoes and a small mouthful of beef (which came in cans), the same of condensed milk and some beef jell - that all came without buying it, then it gets to us it is but little and it takes a good deal to go around. We live the best in Beaufort then at any place that we have stopped. While there I had three loaves of soft bread and we are promised that we shall live well here. If we could have what we have left in cameos we could live well, but Sherman will look out for his army. He is around quite often. When we came to this place the boys wore all colors of clothes, (our pants had worn out) that they jayhawked and a good many barefooted. We all were pretty dirty, but I never felt better in my life. The boys have stood the march first rate. George Miles has the charge of a pack mule which belongs to the Captain, and it just suits George. I can't tell how long we will stay here, anyway for a while. I think. I would like to have you all write real often. Send some papers. I will send some more script in this for you to look at. I got it in Orangeburg. It was a pretty place, but it was burned. Women and children were turned out doors. Well, I will stop for this time. Give my love to all. Keep a good share home. Goodbye,
This is from your true son
Weed Farnsworth, Brooks and I have made up a box to send home. It is directed to Maxson. We would like for you to speak to Maxson about it and for you to pay the expressage and take the box to your house and keep the things until they are called for. They will pay me their share, whatever it will be, so you can write to me how much the box weights and how much you paid on the box. There is in the box 4 wool blankets and two overcoats each one is marked.
I'll try once more and think of something to tell you. I have had two letters from home, but I have written two since then, and I will try to think of something. This morning finds well and hearty and I hope these few lines will find you all well. Jap has gone as a clerk for our Regimental Doctor. I cannot tell how long he will stay there. Jap has been different to me since he came to the Company. I have talked to him about keeping clean. He has been real lousy, I am sorry to say it, and if he had been with some careless follow he would have been awful anyway. He has been so bad that I would not sleep with him all through this march. He has got along by being with us. He did not got anything to eat on the whole march only what was given him. He has your picture yet. It got wet and the case is broken some. He has gotten a little out of humor with me several times, but I asked no odds of him at all things, I have not learned enough yet to speak about. I have gotten the boy quite decently clean so he is in the Company he sleeps with me. I have- gotten some new clothing, almost a new suit. Clothing has raised in price almost double, but never mind, if this will not close and I think the Rebs will not hold out much longer. The Rebel soldiers are getting tired of fighting and of living as they do. One more move for us and I think it will be the last, if they do not settle the thing before we get ready we shall push then to it. Sherman's army has been reinforced here almost one half, we remaining here long enough to got clothes, rations and away we go to some place. We are 1 hundred and 50 miles from Richmond. It has been rumored around camp that Lee had left Richmond and is coming to whip Sherman. Let him come. I think he will have a bad job of it. They have got to come to terms and they better do it without, fighting.
It is quite warm here. Peach trees have been in bloom over a week. Other trees begin to thicken up. George Miles got a letter the other day which made him very tickled. He showed it to me and wanted to know if I knew the hand writing. It's shown quite freely. I think it came from Frone or Martha. He feels big telling what he used to do when he was home. George stands it much better than he used to. He lies in his tent reading novels almost all the time. I have got me a ring of a ten cent piece. Our badge is all the go now. It is an arrow. It represents swiftness. The 17th Corps is noted for its quick movements so an arrow is the badge. I have not any yet. The boys are making them of silver spoons and wearing them on their hats. I have sent home a book and map and your letter, some script also in father's. I will send 5 cents more in this. You can tell Smith that I got a letter from his folks last right, also that I wrote him one yesterday, Lum is with us. Makes a very good soldier. He looks the same as he used to. Barlett is at Nashville, a guard in one of the meanest houses in, or need to be in the world. So far I can learn the name of the house is Zellicaffer. I guess he had rather be there than here. I will stop for news is scarce with me. Please write often. Give my love to all, but keep a good share home. Goodbye, this is from your brother,
I am now in the capitol of North Carolina. I have boon here 5 or 6 days and how long I will stay here is more than I can tell. They, that is the Colonel and other officers, We looked out at the camp ground and are fixing it up. They expect to go in camp here as the war is coming to a close. Sherman has got Johnston in a trap and has given him terms in what he would receive him. Lee has given himself and his army up. As soon as Johnston does the same there is no Rebel army this way. Quite a number say we will be home by the 4th of July. I would like to spend the 5th home first rate, but I doubt it very much for it is a big wheel to turn. I dread the way we will have to go home, but I can't help it. We march in this city with our guns on our shoulders. It is quite a pretty place, not as big as Columbia was. It is not a vary business place. Then we passed through the printers were setting type. The news was circulated to confirm that old Abe was dead Seward's son. It was a rebel report. I hope it is so, for I would like to have Old Abe settle this war now when peace is declared. I am a free man. Foraging has stopped so everything shows that it is going to wind up before long. We were 5 days getting here, one day we marched 12 miles. It rained every day, The roads were bad. We were in the woods and it is all pinery here in the South. The roads they had to corduroy, that is they made a road of rails and small logs. I have soon several miles of corduroy road. It is not very easy to walk on. I got a letter from you last night, dated April 2nd. I was glad to hear you were all well. I would like some papers. If you take any, and, write me as often as you can. Jap is with us yet. He came back to the Company before we left Goldsboro. He is as quick tampered as in old setting hen. I let him work and he will got along as he can before long. George Miles has just got out of his tents and wants me to tell all the girls Howdy, so you can do the same. George gets along first rate. He is the Captain's boy. The trees are all leaved out and have been for sometime. I have soon some fields of corn up 2 inches, It has boon quite warm here so that we look for a shade to rest under We are stopping close beside the railroad tracks. The cars run to the front every day to where Johnston is. Some days two trains go up with rations. We do not know what is going on in front. It is 25 miles to the front. Lum says write, for you to tell his woman he has got to write to his sister else he would write to her. He is and well and full of mischief as ever. Well news is scarce with me today. I am well and hearty. Give my love to all. Keep a good share for yourself. Sarah, speak a good word for me once in a while. I expect to come home some day. Goodbye, this is from your brother,
I thought you would like a letter so I will write you one, The rest can wait until I got through. Today finds me in my tent, and hearty with the idea of coming home. The report is that Sherman said that the Tennessee Army should be discharged first. If so, that means us, also General Leggett (who is our Division Commander) said that we would all get home by July. If so, it is encouraging, and that order is that we must have all our letters in the office by 5 o'clock PM, also that our letters must be directed via Washington, the Army and The Corps on. The report is that we are going by way of Alexandria. It looks like a long march, but it will not be anything compared with the march through South Carolina. The Ordnance train turned over the ammunition last night and we going to load than with supplies. It is said that the train is to have 15 day's rations. We are start tomorrow. I do not care when we start. Last Tuesday, we started after Johnston. He did not feel willing to give up, so the 17th Corps started. Tuesday we marched 10 miles in the country and camp. Sherman went up to see him. They made some agreement. We lay over in The country one day. Yesterday we returned to Raleigh to our old camp. The report is that he surrendered his army up. I guess it is true this time by the movements of things. Last the 17th Corps had a review by Grant, Sherman, Mead and others. They sat on their horses as we passed by them. The streets were lined with people. It was a pretty sight to see each Company march in line by the left flank. Our Company kept a good line while passing the Generals. Grant is getting graysome. General Mead said he came here purposely to see the Tennessee Army for he had heard so much said about it. General Leggett told a story that passed when he was away. Grant asked Mead if he could get his army ready in two days to go to a certain place. He had said no, he could not in so short time. Grant wanted to know of Leggett how long it took him to got ready to me. Leggett told him he just wanted one hour's notice and he would have his division on the road. Mead was astonished, so he came to see the army. I would like to know what he thought now of Sherman's Greasers.
I have not had any letters from home in some time. I received two journals the other day mailed the 16th of January. I sent home three papers that were printed in this place, and I will send two small sheets of verses today that I have which printed here in this place. Tell father I would like to have him write to me as soon as he gets the box that we have sent. Tell me the weight and how much he pays out on the box, everything concerning the box for they promised to pay me when they got their pay.
Do not make much preparation on my account. Nobody knows when I will get there. I want you to see that the rest do their share of writing to me I will get all the letters that are sent, I assure you. Well I will stop for this time. Give my love to all, but keep a good share yourself, goodbye, this is from your son
I will try to answer your letters that I have received since I have been here. There are two, one dated April 21st, the other May 7th which received last night, also the newspapers dated April 20th. I left Raleigh, N. C. the 29th of April. March toward Petersburg. We got there May 7th. Passed through the city the 8th. The second day out we lay still. It was Sunday. Some days we marched 26 miles. It was hard on me, it being quite warm. The 15th Corps tried to run past us but could not it out, They stripped one division of a11 except their guns and equipment and marched all day and part of the night. Then our General sent in some of his staff ahead and got our badge in first, and we passed through first. The 15th Corps lost quite a number of men by marching so fast. I expected to see some big breastworks around Petersburg and Richmond, but was disappointed. I have seen more words around Kennesaw Mountain than there are around both of these places. The Potomac Army has no doubt had some hard fighting, but it has been on I different scale than ours and the most of it was done in the papers. Petersburg is a nice city, shops and stores were open and some to be doing some business. There we passed through Sheridan's Army. They seemed pleased
to see us. We marched to Manchester - that's on the opposite bank of the James River from Richmond. There we lay over two days. There we found some of the Potomac boys, and. they got quarreling with Sherman's boys and retreated across the river.
We left there May 12th across The James River into Richmond. I saw the Libby Prison. It is not a large house. The stories were open and shops, but everything was high. Part of the place is burned down and it would have suited me to had it all burned, and it ought to have been such a cess hole as that.
On we marched toward Alexandria. It was very warm. Would be up at 2 o'clock AM, got our breakfast and start at 4, march till 2 or 3 PM. One there were two or three died in our Regiment by being overheated and sunstroke and not many other Regiments have lost, I can't tell, but all some. I have not stood it as well as usual. I am quite poor in flesh and my hearing has failed me some which is caused by a cough that I have. I was in hopes when I got here I would get some rest and get mustered out of serwee, but too talk is that we are going down the Mississippi River after the review which is to come off Tuesday or Wednesday in Washington. Our camp is in no order, so we are not going to stay here long, Sim Bolton came to us yesterday. He is stopping here. He is a battery man hurt, has come to the Company, and some others. George Miles left us at Manchester. He was sick, not able to go with us.
Tell father that I want him to write to me. He need wait until I come home. When he gets that box I want to know all the particulars concerning the box so that if we get paid off here I can collect all that is coming to me. The things, when they call for, can be given up. You can write until I hear that I am coming home, then I will send word. I want you to keep all these things of Jap's until I home then I will have a hand. Maybe we will come to Prescott. If he does I will be likely to be with him. Keep still about him. I can handle him pretty nicely. I had a letter from Jerry the other night dated April 22nd. He was well and had been to New York. Left Mary Miller and Eliza at George's. Our Lieutenant Kelsey came to us yesterday from home which is some where near Prescott. Well I will stop until after the review. Goodbye, love to all from your brother,
I will try and answer your and father's letter dated May 18th. I was very glad to hear you were all well and that you were looking for me home. I wish I knew it was so, but I fear not. The talk is stronger about us going to Texas, The Governor was here, and talked to us a little. He said that the Rebellion was crushed and he supposed were all anxious to got home, but as the Secretary of War had issued an order for all those that their time was out previous October next should be discharged first and then is soon as they were home, then there would be another order for part of you, maybe all. He said it would not do for all to be mustered out at once for they could not give transportation to all. What he said suited us first rate, but I would like to come home before I went any farther. It may turn out alright yet. Colonel Fairchild's spoke to us too. He said he was glad that he could say the Rebellion was killed all around here, and he hoped all would soon return home. He said we had (that is Sherman's Army) taken the body and the bowels. Grant the head and a little young man named Sheridan has gone down to Texas to take the last breath of rebellion, after he was through taking A. G. Gayboy and then Senator Harris. They all talk of us getting home soon. Everything goes to slow that we are not going to stay here long. I suppose you have heard all about the great review, but I will tell what I saw. We camped the night before on the bank of the Potomac River, opposite the city of Washington. I had the privilege of bathing in the great river. We had a good view of the city and the steamers on the river, in the morning of the 25th of May. We passed through or across the river on a bridge 1 mile and a quarter long into the city of Washington. Passed by the Capitol, then faced it and halted two hours, I got some pictures, two small ones for a quarter of 1 dollar. Then we started again, passed by the Capitol on the other side. The building was lined with children and people. The streets were utterly crowded with people, all wanted to see Sherman's Army. It was so crowded that did not have room enough to march by company. The guard was pressing them back with their guns and so thick that their guns touched lengthwise. Handkerchiefs, flags filled the air, houses were crowded from bottom to top and on the top. Marched far enough for all to see us, but there was no end to the crowd. We left the city and went 6 miles and camped where we are now, and it has rained three days. It is cold too. I wish I could get some money. I would get my watch cleaned. It looks now so we should not get home until next fall, or maybe not then, but I hope different. Tell father I told the boys about that box costing $8.50. They seemed pleased it did not cost more and were satisfied, you said you had weighed each bundle. I would like to know how much each weighed so when we are paid I can collect what was due and when each bundle is called for let them go. I will settle with you. You need not be afraid of writing. I will get the letters before I get home. Jap wrote a letter to you yesterday and asked me if I wanted to put a note in. I told him I was going to write a letter home. I gave that note to him before I got your letter stating not to, but I read it. There is nothing wrong there, so let him work. Keep still as possible. Everything will work out for the best. I see George Miles in town the other day as I passed through. He looks very bad. I wrote a letter to Jerry the other day. The boys do not like it much if they have to go to Texas. Well I will stop for this time. Give my love to all keep a good share home. Goodbye, this is from your brother,
'U. S. CHRISTIAN COMMISSION'
"This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus care into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief."
I though I would write a letter and let you know that I am alive and near Washington, although there is quite a number of the Company that is sick. I am still enjoying good health. What causes the sickness in the company, I can't tell, but its almost the case when we are in camp more or less become sick. Hurt was put on duty yesterday for the first since he has been in the Company and had to be relieved because he was sick. One thing causes the sickness is laying in the tents sleeping so much and the manner they cook their food. We have had hardtack and a small portion of pork and that is very poor, coffee and sugar, If the soldiers did not happen to have some money to buy bread and such like we would nearly starve. I see a piece in the paper that suited me. It was concerning how they had fed Sherman's men and the piece was written by an officer of his army. It all was true. I hope it will be kept up piece after piece until it is a fact too. It has done some good already. I had 5 days rations dealt out yesterday, 4 of them. We have enough bread. I am on duty today as camp guard, two hours on, 4 off. I have stood one tour.
Yesterday I passed out by the guards. Twice went to the fort DeRussy. While there I went in a sutler's shop. They had been selling lager beer. An officer came in and stopped it for there was an order published in the paper prohibiting, or to shut up all drinking saloons. Just as soon as the officer had got out of hearing, they went at it again. The soldiers seem bound to have a spree. The sutler got rid of his beer in no time. I heard yesterday a report that were to be 7 thousand mustered out a day and that Sherman had all the roads leading west until the 16th of next month, also another order that we should be mustered out here, then sent to a certain district, paid off and discharged. I shall be glad when they got through with me and I get my pay and discharge. Maybe we will get home by August. They are to work at some papers. Jap is writing for then. I heard also that the veterans were to be kept in unless Kirby Smith had surely surrendered, then they were to be sent home after the first of June. I suppose, maybe, I will be kept as my time is out the same as others. Anyway, I would like to have gone downtown but they will not allow a soldier unless he has particular business. I have none. I think of trying to think of some business so that I can see the place. I would like to be moving. It is dull here and my money is all gone. I look at bread and cakes. That's all I can do, but I think of the time coming that I can do something else. If I live, I will close. Write to me. I think I will get your letters. Give love to you all, goodbye, this from,
I will try and answer a letter that I received from you dated May 27th. I had written to Father a day or so before I got yours, but I had nothing else to do and I was down in the city of Washington yesterday and all over the place. I had the pleasure of going all over the Capitol of the United States. It is a great building. I saw some of the prettiest engraving. It is the same as the picture. One room was filled with books. It was the biggest library I ever was in and the Assembly room was neatly gilted and was dressed in morning, so was the whole building. There were some large paintings in the done. The fish pond took my eye. There were some red, some white, others black some with white heads and black body, others differently spotted, none were very large. They playing about in the water not afraid of us. Then I safe non sharing stones in slabs. There were 4 saws in a carriage instead of the saws going up and down, they -went lengthwise of the stone, The saw had no tooth, it was smooth edged, in the center of the stone was sand, over the sand was a pipe fixed to sprinkle water so as to keep the stone wet, then in another place there men working off the pillars. They were three feet through, all solid stone 14 to 18 feet long. From there I went into the Patent house. That was a large building and they were at work making it larger. There I saw everything that was invented. All farming tools, all description of boats, carpenter's tools, women's apparel, everything that was made, then the presents that Washington got, his camp equipage. I got tired the first time. I had to leave and come again. It would take me month to look at everything. The center of the building was all gilted. Ladies and gentlemen, soldiers and officers, all over the building going and coming all the time. I spent the day in the city and would liked to have spend some more time. Maybe I can. Oh, how I wish I was out of the service, then I would be a free man and could enjoy the things that I see. I am in hopes the time is coning when I can go and come when I please. It looks now as if he were going to be kept in service, some time. The talk is now that the 25th Wisc. is coming in our Regiment and filling it up, but our Regimental teams went down and were turned over to the United States. Our Colonel, which was Proudfit, is promoted to Brevet General, but stays with us, yet it is evident we are not going to march any more. The pioneers have come back to the Company. It is hard telling what will be done with us. Jap has gone to Brigade headquarters, but lives with me. I gave him that note. He has written to you since I have. Got the boy cleaned one day last week. I went over to Tennallytown, about 2 miles from camp. It is quite a pretty place. I got tired staying in camp. Have nothing to do, only roll calls, that is three times a day. I run the guards, that is around camp, then I can go any where within 9 miles and I have been all around camp. We are camped 6 miles from the city. It does no good to go out and see the grain growing. The talk is now that we are going to Louisville, Kentucky. The one division starts today, maybe we will go this week. It is very warm here, I dread moving. It is so warm, but I am well and hearty and I weighed 153 pounds yesterday, I look poor in the, face, but I feel thankful that I am not sick. Quite a number of the Company are complaining. I will not stay in camp as some do. I think that is the cause of the sickness. I wish you would please send me one half dollar's worth of letter stamps. I am almost out. Hold up good courage, I will be home sometime. Well, I will stop. Give my love to all my friends, but keep a good share for yourself, Goodbye, this is from your true brother,
Reg. Wisc. Vol. Inf., 1st Brigade, 3rd Division, 17th A. C.
I will try my hand once more although it troubles, but I guess you can make out some of the words, I left Washington June 7th. We left camp about 5 marched to the city there we took the cars that run the Baltimore and The Ohio Railroad, rode at the rate of a mile in 4 or 5 minutes. We crossed Harper's Ferry 7 P. M. It was so dark that I could not see anything of the place so I layed down and went to sleep. I was in a box car, a freight car. It was some what crowded, but I got along nicely. We rode all night. In the morning (the second days' travel) we stopped at Cumberland City. There were Sanitary (Commission) furnished us with coffee and boiled pork. We stayed there two hours. The way they furnished the coffee and meat - they had about 12 large furnish (?) kettles which they boiled it in, then they put it in barrels and dipped it out to the men as we passed by their cities. Women, men and children saluted us with flags and rags. We started with 40 cars in our train and the other trains had the same number. There were 5 trains all left Washington. One place on our route we halted to go up the fountain. Then they divided each train. After we got over, then the trains came together again. At Grafton we got some more coffee. About 7 PM. in the night there was some little accident happened that detained us. We lay still until morning. The third day's travel we passed through a number of tunnels, One 7/8 of a mile through. We got off at Parkersburg about 1 PM, between there and Washington we passed through 23 tunnels and some pretty places, and I saw some pretty girls. The fourth days travel we took the steamboat called Cottage. About 4 AM and commenced to move down the Ohio River. About 30 boats left the wharf that morning, all loaded with soldiers. Our regiment is a large one now. There are over a hundred men in our Company. The other companies the same. We change boats 10 miles out, got on a larger boat with the rest of our Regiment. The name of the boat was Norman and moved on, it rained. I made my headquarters up in front of the pilot house. The boat was crowded. The fifth day's travel, the first city we passed was Maysville, Ky. It was a pretty place. I saw that day a field of grain all in the shock, other fields all ripe. We stopped at Cincinnati about 11 AM., or opposite, and stayed there two hours. Cincinnati is the third largest city in the United States. In the eve we had a boat race - two boats run by us, then our boat run by there. Such yelling that it seemed life a barrage but no bullets flying. We landed at Louisville about 2 AM. We remained on the boat until 5 PM, than got off, marched through the city and down the river 6 miles. There camped. Then yesterday we moved camp, marched through the city and camped 2 miles up the river. We have very pretty camp now - shaded with large beech trees. I have seen some of the 30th Regiment.
I saw Strong. He is Captain now of Company K. The boys do not look as we do. Their dress and faces and heads are not tended up as ours are. They live in barracks and have plenty to eat and that is good. They are doing Provost duty in the city. I have the promise of going to town tomorrow. The last letter that I got from home was dated May 27. I would like for you to keep on writing. Jap has left me and gone to Brigade headquarters. I have got a new mate. I will close for this time. Give my love to all. Keep a good share home. I can't tell anything about coming home. Goodbye, this is from your true brother,
I will try and answer your last letter dated June 9th. I was so rejoiced when I come to open it and to find a $5 in it that I yelled out just as loud as I could. My partner wanted to know what was the matter. I told him my father had not forgotten me yet by the looks. We have lived very poor, poorer than hogs and have been used as bad as hogs. We have marched through the streets in ranks and file, then we are in camp there as guard put around to keep us in. That is the pen - we are the hogs. Then our rations are brought in as a man would feed his hogs - thrown in on ground, such as hard tack and sow belly, the poorest kind of meat, one mess of beans in 5 days, that is all. As I said before, if soldiers have no money they just barely live, but if ho can buy a loaf of broad once in a while it lengthens his rations so that he can live with a little more comfort. Bread is from 5 to 10 cents a loaf, butter 25 cents a lb. Things here are not very dear - cheese 25c a lb. We can got all kinds of berries. I was down town last Friday. It is a very pretty city. I went all over it and called on Co. F., 30th Regiment , I saw Bille Cumbey. He looks very bad. He thought he should get his discharge papers the next day, also Brown and had a long talk with him. He looks tough. Buis Busoat has the gravel which lays him up. I took dinner with the boys. They live well. I had for dinner bread, potatoes, boiled ham, beans, coffee. They live in barracks that were built for them. Capt. Meacham did not know me. Quite a number of the boys I knew when I came to see them. They are doing Provost duty. They have not seen the hardships that we have.
Weed expects to come home on a furlough as soon as we got paid. Lt. Kelsey asked me if I wanted one for 20 days. I told him no. Thought it could not pay me to come home for 20 days. I think we will all come home by fall. The duties that have to do are light and if they give us better fare as they have promised I can stand it on until then. I expect we will be paid off this week or paid up to April and our clothing bill settled up to last January. You must not think hard because I do not come home. When I come home I want to stay. We hive, a splendid camp. It seems to be healthy here. Our camp is shaded with larger beech trees. I went down town and bathed in the Ohio. It is three miles to the river. I like to go out. It seems so nice to get out among people and to exercise. As long as a man behaves himself nobody will meddle with him. I am very glad to get these bills concerning these clothes. I will collect the money. Brooks thinks his father or his folks will pay his. I will write as soon as I can after the things are settled for. They promised to pay me when they get their pay. You spoke about my going to Mexico. You need not fear. No man can get me there. I have seen enough of War and will come home as soon as I get my discharge. I can take my gun home with me for $6. With or without the accoutrements. I will see when the time comes. There is an order now taking all these that their time is out by the first of October, and then perhaps there will be an order for us to get out. It is very warm here. I can't think of anything more. I wrote a letter to Sarah last Thursday June 8th. Good bye, give love to all the inquiring friends. Keep a good share home. This is from your true son,
I try and answer your kind letter which I received. It was dated June 25th. Today finds me well and trying to enjoy myself the best I can. There was some news come a little while ago that suits me the best I have heard in a long while. It was that all the Tennessee Army was all going to be mustered out. It includes the 14th, 16th, and 17th Corps. They were to be mustered out immediately. Yesterday, the 4th of July, in the morning the 1st Brigade and we went over to our headquarters and there had Sherman spoke to us. I did not hear much that was said, but I hear him say we should all be home soon. His speech was short and well it was. Some of the boys got sun struck. It was very warm. In the evening I went to the theater. It is a place I never was to before so I wanted to see one. I got the worth of 40 cents, that's all it cost per ticket. The performance was acted by the 7 sisters and it was done up in style. The house was crowded and it was very warm, but for all of that I never spent 40c more agreeably in my life. Now I know how a theater is conducted.
Can you guess who I saw in town? You will give it up, I know. Well I saw Mr. Charles Sturlen, Mr. Lee Chaplin and his brother, all on a bus. Lee is on his way north, Sturlen has business below here some place. I hailed them and had had a talk with them, but soon left them in search of Lum. I have seen Dow Gun but have not seen me yet. He does not know me, I guess. I shall not trouble him. I tell you I would like to have been with you when you went up the Lake. I think I could enjoy myself a little if I could not any other way then by telling stories of my life. Don't you think so? I have sent you Smith's grand march and think of sending you Sherman's March to the Sea. I can get the verses with the music. If you want any pieces of music, just let me know. I can get them here. Yes, I can get stamps here and anything. I can go to town any time when I am not on duty. It seems so nice to leave I am not afraid of being hurt so long as I stay out of mischief and those that can't behave themselves ought to be punished. Well, there is something going to come to pass. I dropped my pen and it stuck up straight. I am sure that is a fore runner of something that is going to happen. I have just bought a bottle of medicine to cure the deafness. I am going to try and see what it will do. It is called Wilcotts instant pain annihilator. It is warranted not to do me any harm and if it will only cure me I will be thankful. The boys feel tickled over that news, I received two newspapers from you yesterday. Sarah speak a good word for me when you have a chance. You know I will be home soon and then I will want to see the pretty gals. Well, I will close. Give my love to all the inquiring friends. Goodbye, this is from your brothers,
Your letter came to hand today that was dated the 9th of July. You said that Wm. Burnett had left you $285. That was what I sent. Then you said I said the government paid me $395. There was the mistake. Instead of it being $395 it was $349.50 cents. I owed the Company over14 dollars and 65 cents. I paid that, then I kept 52 and some odd cents. I think I have not lost any and I guess the Government has not cheated me. I have tried to keep account of everything that I have drawn from the Government and the Government price list of clothing, so I can tell how I stand. With Uncle Sam I was in debt for the last year's clothing, but I think I will come out ahead this year. I was only in debt $2.77 to U. S. I think everything is all right. Jap was here a minute ago. He said he sent you some money the 10th of this month. He wanted me to speak about it. As for Weed, I can settle with him pretty easy when I see him, I think. I will be enough for him hereafter anyway. I shall try him so far as he having money and the rest did not at that present time, he did have the most, but at other times he did not have a cent, than he borrowed of me and I bought what you eat. I shall not have any difficulty with him. He has left a bad name in the Company and I not the only on he owes, but I still come out ahead if he does not look out. I intend to keep all of my traps. I send a paper that I wanted my gun. There were 30 of the company that are going to take their guns home. I will leave here by Monday next, if not before - the 16th left today. It will be our turn to bring up the rear this time, but hold up good courage. I think I will get home some time this month. Our papers are all made out now. We will stop at Madison long enough to be paid off. I can't see any chance to get a rubber blanket yet, maybe I before I get home.
As for being knock down, I am not afraid as long as a man behaves himself. There is no danger and I intend to try and behave myself. I have had good luck so far. I think I can a little while longer. Any way, I am going to try to behave so it can be said there is one person that has been a soldier and is not coming home to be a disgrace to his friends.
Well mother, as you have taken the pen to write to me, I will write a few lines in this to you. I was very pleased to see that you had not forgotten me. I will soon be at home and then I can sit with you and tell more than I can write. I suppose you will not find any fault with that promise. So I will close by speaking a few words to Sarah to be careful and not hurt herself and learn that piece of music, Tramp, Tramp. Boy we are marching, for I be marching toward home in a few days, and speak a good word for me for I am the same old boy that I was when I left home. Now I will close. Love to all. Goodbye, this is from yours, etc.
*** End of Corporal Alonzo Miller's Diary. ***
From the Wisconsin Historical Society, Call numbers: