As it is ceremony for
those to have, in any way, ever been connected with a printing office.
Whether devil, journey men, or editor -- to say few words and parting with
their friends, I feel as though I ought to say something to the readers
of the Post, before leaving here. Since I have been connected with this
paper, I have formed many pleasant associations and having many warm friends,
from whom I am loath to go. But our glorious country is in danger,
and deeming it the duty of every man, -- especially young man, who have
no one dependent upon them for livelihood, and are able to bear arms --
to offer their services in helping to put down the unholy rebellion, and
as one such, I deem it my duty to go forth to the battlefield, and aid
in the fight for our country's flag, and help to maintain the honor and
dignity of her government; therefore, I have enrolled my name in the "Washington
County Union Guards,"-- a company of brave and noble-hearted boys as it
has ever been my fortune to become acquainted with -- and am going from
among you, among the dearest associations of my life. Although I
feel that few will be the eyes that will dim at my departure, I can feel
that mine are moist and heavy, and that I shall often feel as I now do
-- that when far away from those I love, seated by the flickering blaze
of a campfire, on the tented field of battle, I shall often think of the
pleasures I have enjoyed with you, and "My heart will wander back again,"
to the warm hearted girls, kind friends, and pleasant village, that I am
so soon to leave. But I feel certain that I shall again returned
to you, although time alone can tell; for those to respond to their countries
call, give their lives, and mine but adds one to the myriads already gone
The company has received orders to march, on Thursday of this week, so I shall lay aside the stick and rule, turn from the case and press, and bid farewell to the dear old office, and with tears in my eyes, say unto all "Goodbye" and press forward to join those already gone before me, to battle for the right.
I shall endeavor to keep the readers of the Post, posted in all matters of importance that may come under my observation, whilst I am a soldier, and if I am lucky enough to escape death from wounds inflicted by the rebels, I shall hope to meet you all again. If not, all I ask is that I may be able to send as many of those traders who have been the cause of all this trouble to their final account, or take by less farewell to this world.
C. D. Waldo
November 9th 1861
Madison, November 8th, 1861
Evening has come, and
with it, rest to the busy soldiers of Camp Randall.
We have just been assigned to our barracks today-- having had to camp out since our arrival here, until now, in tents -- and I assure you, the majority of the boys are highly pleased at the camp.
There has been no sickness in our company, since our arrival here in camp, other than severe colds, and but two or three have been committed to the hospitals.
We had just received the Post, and everyone appears to be in high spirits. I noticed by the paper, that you have made mentioned of our departure from the Bend, and our arrival at Milwaukee; before I will commence description of our March from the place. Left the city of "bricks" about 9:00 p.m. and arrived at Madison about 4:00 a.m., we came through in the night, it is impossible for me to give any description of the country between these two cities. We remained until it was light enough for us to see, and then marched directly to camp. Here we were welcomed by the 11th regiment which is encamped here; after which, we marched to the quarter master's office, and each received a beautiful set of tin wear, and were then marched off to the "mess house"-- a building capable of seating 2500 men at one time -- and there received our breakfast, which was as good as any soldier could wish or expect, with the exceptions of coffee, which was nothing but slops hardly suitable for a hog to drink; and we have had no better since, but everything else is as good as a soldier ever expected to receive.
Our regiment is full, the last company came in Saturday. Yesterday, each company formed the regiment, was assign its position, the Union Guards receive the third position from the right, and will be known as "Company D." I will send a list of all the officers of the regiment, the names of the companies to which they belong, and a number of men each, as soon as I shall learn them.
Our company is the largest in numbers of any in the camp, and second to none in size or drill. We have already won ourselves a name, of which we feel proud, and shall ever endure to be worthy of it, or one equal as good. It is the "West Bend Hard Heads" and was given us by members of the 11th Regiment, for this reason: The 11th had to stand guard, as we have not received arms. The campus is surrounded by high fence. And guards stationed at a distance of 10 or 12 rods apart, to keep the rest of them in inside the enclosure. There are one or two holes through the fence between each guard, and these guards are not allowed to let anyone passed through them, while an duty, and it is the delight of every many of the boys in both regiments to pester these guards, by going in and out while their backs are turned from the hole's; and in these tricks our company takes a leading part, when at rest, and the officers of the guard, are continuously taking someone to the guard house, but as yet, not one of our boys have been trapped, therefore, our title "Hard Heads".
The 11th regiment has received orders to march on Thursday of this week, and to date, the fair ladies of the city have been treating them to an abundance of fine things, the inmates of each tent receiving two or three baskets full of such goodies as, none but the ladies know how to provide, and from the cheers and shouts that continually rent the air, to the soldiers, I should judge that their kindness was duly appreciated, and long to be remembered by them.
On Saturday last, by invitation of its Chaplain, the 11th marched up town and attended a divine service at the Episcopal Church. It went with officers mounted, and band playing, and without arms. In the marching was splendid, and was a site worthy to behold. Rev. Mr. McLeod, (Captain of the Lion Light Guards, of the 12 Regiment,) preached here in camp in the morning.
We have all received our blankets, capes, socks and shoes, and expect the balance of our uniform as soon as the 11th leaves here. We are all, as far as I can learn, well pleased with the soldiers life so far, and none are sorry the enlisted. We have lost two of our men, one T. Charlton, deserted while in Milwaukee, and Thomas Campfield refused to be mustard into the service of United States, after our arrival here. Not one of our men were refused on account of any alignment whenever.
Our beautiful flag (God bless the noble and patriotic ladies to whom we are indebted for it.) is the ornament of the camp. It is much prettier and costlier than even be regimental flags either regiments, and not one of the Company flags of either regiment can begin to compete with it, and it is so acknowledged by all who have seen it, and God forbid it ever being trampled upon or rallied while there is a man in the company able to defend or carry it.
The company returned their warmest thanks to the patriots for their [?] to Madison with their [?] and our deepest regret that they are not able to be here all the time.
I am [?] my letter to a much that are [?] I had first intended and yet to have much to write, the will leave it until some future time.
C. D. W.
Saturday November 16, 61
Pg. 2 Col. 1 & 2
Camp Randall, Madison,
November 18th 1861
Since my last, nothing
of interest has transpired to hearing camp. We have received all
our uniforms except over coats, and now present quite a solitary like appearance.
We still occupy our barracks, but it is impossible to say how much longer
we shall retain them, as we have been ordered back to our tents as soon
as the other two regiment's arrive, and to give up our barracks to them,
they not having yet been furnished with tents.
Our Colonel is determined that our time shall not pass heavily for want of employment, and that we shall have whenever benefit there is to be deserved from a thorough knowledge of tactics. The non-commissioned officers are drilled from 4 to 10 in the mourning, by the Major; company drill from 10 to 12; commissioned officers are drilled by the Lieutenant Colonel from 1 to 2 p.m., and dress parade from 2 to 4 p.m., and occasionally a parade in the evening. --Who wouldn't be a soldier, when everything is conducive to the pleasure and comfort of a soldier's life! No doubt there will be many provisions and hardships for those to undergo who give up home and its endearments for camp life, but as yet we know but very little of a soldier's toils and trials, as our path has been, since we threw aside to garb of a civilian, and donned the dress of a "soger boy", smooth, easy, and in very respect a pleasant one, and our findings for camp life, and its association and everyday increased.
The 12th Regiment now numbers 984 men, inferior in all the qualities that make good soldiers to none of their predecessors. We give below as a full a list of officers as we have been able to obtain:
Colonel - Geroge E. Bryant.
Lt. Colonel - DeWitt C. Poole.
Major - William E. Strong.
Adjutant - James Kerr Proudfit.
Quartermaster - Andrew Sexton.
Surgeon - Luther H. Carey.
First Ass't. Surgeon - E. A. Woodward
2nd Ass't. Surgeon - St. Sore Landsfeilt
Chaplain - Lemuel B. Mason.
Co. A. Lyon Light Guards. Capt. N. McLeod, 1st Lt. O. T. Maxons, 115 members.
Co. B. Pioneer Rifles, Capt. G. Stephens, 1st Lt. B. F. Blackman, 99 members.
Co. C. Dodgeville Guards. Capt. C. G. Loeber, 2d Lt. M. J. Cantwell, 91 members.
Co. D. West Bend Union Guards. Capt. J. M. Price, 1st. Lt. Thomas Farmer.
Co. E. Wisconsin River Volunteers. Capt. Abraham Vanderpool, 1st Lt. John Gillespie, 2d Lt. M. T. Linnett, 105 members
Co. F. Oconto River Sackers. Capt. G. G. Norton, 1st Lt. Levi Odell, 2d Lt. Henry Turtelotte. 100 members.
Co. G. The Evergreens. Capt. D. Howell, 1st Lt. B. M. Webb, 2d Lt. W. W. Botkin, 88 members.
Co. H. Green Bay Union Guards. Capt. M. E. Palmer, 1st lt. N. A. C. Smith, 2d Lt. C. C. Lovitt, 88 members.
Co. I. Wisconsin Union Riflemen. Capt. H. L. Turner, 1st Lt. V. S. Bennett, 2d Lt. J. S. Tinker, 89 members.
Co. K. Kickapoo Rangers. Capt. D. R. Sylvester, 1st Lt. A. N. Chandler, 2d Lt. Isaac Walker, 74 members.
The 12th is now all in their barracks, which are most comfortable fixed. Three companies of the 15th or Scandinavian regiment are now in camp. The companies now in quarters, of this regiment are allowed their own rations, and do their own cooking, and seemed better satisfied than they would were they obliged to eat into "mess house" with the other regiment's
Tuesday evening November 19th 1861
This evening, Col. Bryant
gave the Captains of each company, furloughs for 20 men, to go and visit
their friends, stating that the regiment would undoubtedly take up its
line of march sometime next week, and that no more furloughs would be granted.
This was joyful news to all those who did not desire to go home, but to
those who did, it was not quite so cheering, as it was not so certain which
ones would be of this favor. The office of Captain Price was besieged
by those wishing to go home, and each one seem to think he had a better
reason for going than "any other man," the furloughs for the 20 lucky ones,
were finally made out and a happy set the boys then they. I'd never
saw those who were deserved the privilege.
The 11th regiment has finally been paid off, and are to leave tomorrow. The boys of the 11th complained that the State has not furnish them with oil cloth or glaze covers, as in the case of the previous regiment. Thus they say for the saving of a few cents per man, that the appearance of their caps will be spoiled by a few showers.
But I must draw my letter to a close, and prepare to pack up my "duds" as I am one of the above 20, who have been allowed the pleasure of going home.
C. D. W.
Saturday December 14th, 61
Pg. 2, Col.1 & 2
Camp Randall Madison
December 3rd 1861.
As I am not drilling with
the company today, I will endeavor to will let the readers of the Post
know how we are progressing here in camp, and how we spend Thanksgiving.
The ground throughout this the city is now covered with snow to the dept
of about six inches, thus making capital sleighing for those to have the
privilege of enjoying it, but to us soldiers is nothing but an aggravation,
as we are not allowed the pleasure of even sliding down hill, and besides,
it is very unpleasant drilling, because the snow is so thoroughly packed
down by the tread of fifteen or twenty thousand soldiers, that the parade
ground is very slippery; and quite a number of men in each company are
suffering from sprained ankles and such like, caused by having the surface
upon which they were treaded slid from under them and leading them down
from their upright position in rather an unpleasant manner.
Thanksgiving Day was duly observed here in camp by a brief service in the fore noon, conducted by the Chaplain -- Rev. Mr. Mason to attend which, the 12th regiment was drawn up in a hollow square. It was rather cold for outdoor services, but only one (to my knowledge) was unable to stem the storm. This one was a private in Company "E" who was so chilled through by the cold, that he fell to the ground from exhaustion, and was borne away by his comrades, to his quarters.
In the afternoon, the 12th had a battalion drill, and were maneuvered quite a variety of evolutions by Col. Bryant and staff and considering the length of time it has been drilled without arms, was considered well done by all the witness the affair. The whole of the 12th were out, and five companies of the 16th Col. Allen into the 15th, or Scandinavian regiment, drilling separately, and made the parade ground present quite an animated appearance. The drill was kept up till about 3 o'clock, when the beating of the drum gave token that dinner was ready, and all marched into the mess house, and took their seats at the tables. Col. Bryant then referred with considerable feeling, to the fact that this was the first Thanksgiving they have ever spent together, and in all probability, would be the last, and requested the attention of the Regiment, while Rev. Mr. McLeod -- Captain of the Co. A -- invoked the Divine blessing which was besought in a few earnest words on the men that gathered there, and on those from whom they were that day absent.
Mears, Dutcher and McGonigal, who have the contract for feeding us, furnished, so we are told, some 1500 pounds of turkeys and chickens for our dinner, but what in the world ever became a it is more than we high privates can tell, as did very few of us receive even a site of it. It is also said that the ladies of Madison sent enough pie for each soldier to have a taste, but few were they who enjoyed that taste. It was only placed upon the head of each table, so that only twenty members of each company enjoyed the delicious, the rest had to content themselves at seeing those twenty smack there lips. Further than this, it is quite certain that large portion of said delicious were not given to at all, as it has been proven that the cooks who have the management of affairs in and about the mess house, have been living upon the "top shelf" since that day, on the very identical luxuries that was intended, the rightfully belonged to us. But enough of this, we have now the "hip-lock" of them, and are bound to stand up for our rights, and not be imposed upon by then any longer. Each man now (or at least those who desire to do so) manages to secure while at meals, a few slices of bread, and a piece of butter, and after returning to their quarters, have a general toasting bee, plus finishing their meals at pleasure, on toasted bread and butter, and I assure you, it don't go bad.
The 12 Reg. now numbers 1015 men, and is said that quite a number of them are sick, a few seriously. But one of our company has been obliged to be taken to the hospital, and he -- Andrew J. Bullard -- is improving fast, and will, undoubtedly be able to be with us in a few days. Quite a number are suffering from colds, and such like, but after they have had a few days rest and care, will again be on their "taps."
The five companies, above alluded to, of the 16th Regiment, now in camp, are as follows: Adams County [?], Capt. [?]; Ozankee Rifles, Capt. Williams; [? mowoc] Rifles, Capt. G. F. Fox; [?] Lights, Capt. H. V. Fran, and the Washara and Green Lake County Rangers, Capt. E. Saxs. They are all but the full companies, and under the direction of their Colonel are making fine progress in the school of the soldier.
In Col. Bryant quarters, there is a very fine view of the 11th and 12 Regiment on drill and parade, showing the tents, headquarters, hospital, &c. It was sketched by a private of Company E. and would give a very good idea of the camp if transferred to some illustrated paper, or even the Post.
Our Regiment is in position of a pet equal to the one of Captain Foster's La Crosse, Company. It is a young bear, and belongs to the Wisconsin River Rifles, Master Bruin effected his escape on Thanksgiving day, by breaking his chain and climbing a tree, but was re-captured however, with but very little trouble.
Our boys are in trouble again today, caused by our payroll being sent in with the amount due to each man, and commencement only from the 29th of September, whereas it should rightfully begin from the 17th, the day we were mustard into the state service, at West Bend. It is but a small amount from each soldier, only $5.20,but as it rightfully belongs to us, it is wrong to be thus cheated out of it as most of those enlisting at the time, left their homes and business, and attend only to their soldiering, expecting to draw pay, as promised, from the day of enlisted. As I said before it is but a small amount but as each man might have earned double the amount at something else, it is decidedly wrong.
We have nothing definite as to the time we shall leave Madison, but to the contrary, there is every possibility of our being obliged to remain here a long time, perhaps to partake of another grand dinner on Christmas or New Year.
As I stated that the commencement of this letter, the sleighing here is excellent, and everyone but soldiers enjoying it, and hoping (as the old saying is) that this letter may find all our friends in Washington County, enjoying the same blessing, and that some of that will take advantage of it and come and visit us. If they only knew how eagerly they are looked for, I'm quite certain some of them with grant us the pleasure of shaking hands with them. We have been visited by Hon. Jesse Myers with of our member's wife and sister, and quite a number more have been here to see us since we have been encamped here, but the more the merrier, I hope all that can will grant us a like favor.
The drum is beating for supper, and I must haste away, or lose my -- toast.
C. D. W.
Pg. 2, Col. 2 & 3
Madison, December 17th 1861.
There have been but few
perceptible changes in and about Camp Randall, since my last. Old
Jack Frost has visit us, and more thoroughly tested our conveniences for
keeping comfortable in cold weather, and has, after a lengthy visit taken
his departure, seemingly, perfectly satisfied with the rest as he has left
us with very pleasant sunny days. Our drilling was discontinued for
a time during the severest of the weather, but has been resumed again,
with double the vigor and life that it was before, and we are daily making
as much progress as possible without arms; and what we most desire now,
is our State pay, arms and marching orders to some point where a more useful
field of action exists; and from all appearances today, I think we shall
not long be deprived of our wish, as there has been thrice the number of
men from each company, detailed for guard tomorrow, then there has usually
been; which was the case of the 11th Regiment, previous to their departure.
The cause of the extra guard is, no doubt, to keep the boys in check after
they are once paid off, as they have been so long without the needful that
is hard telling what might happen when once they get hold of some.
The last change of weather had brought down quite a number of men of the 12th, with bad colds, and the measles have also made their appearance among us, one of our company (Malcome Cameron) being the first attacked. He is fast improving, however, and will undoubtedly be about again in a very short time. There are about forty of our Regiment, who are receiving medical treatment, and our excuse from duty. Of the number, about twenty are in the hospital, the balance of the tents. None are considered of a dangerous nature. The cause assigned by our surgeon, of so many being sick, that most of the illnesses brought on from the effects of our underground fireplace, or California stoves. They create a steam from the heated ground, which thoroughly dampens the straw in the tents, and the clothing of the man, open the pores of the skin, so as to make them very liable to take cold. There are a few quite severe cases of pneumonia. I regret to have to chronicle the first death in the 12th Regiment which occurred a week ago last Saturday. It was a private by the name of Tubbs, of Co. A. He died in the hospital of congestion of the lungs. He was not regarded as being very ill until two or three days previous of his death. He is spoken as a quiet, faithful, and worthy man, and he leaves wife and two children residing near Prescott, to morn his loss Mr. Tubbs was buried with military honors on Sunday. Rev. Mr. McLeod -- Captain of Co. A -- preached the funeral sermon, and it is said by those who heard it, to have been a very beautiful one, indeed. I could not hear it myself, being deaf.
Since the first company of soldiers came into Camp Randall (about seven months ago), some 8,000 soldiers in all have been headquartered here, and during all this space of time, but four deaths have occurred. This speaks well of the healthy location of our camp, compared with some of the other state camps, or scores of deaths, have occurred during the same time.
Yesterday (Monday) Col. Bryant took his Regiment out into the woods back of the campgrounds and there had a regular alarm battle. Companies A and B were deployed as skirmishes, and at it they went for about two hours, over hills, and through the bushes and timber, in a regular war like style. After the Regiment was got together again, after battle, each man was armed with a mullen stock, which they had secured while out. The Col. then had them go through the regular manual of arms for a few moments. He then told them he would give them another order which they had not yet received; one, which he said was very pretty motion and only executed promptly, and altogether. So at it they went again until the order was given to "ground arms" this being the one the Col. wished executed so promptly. It was done as desired, whereupon the Col. immediately gave the command "about face, quick march." This command was all paid so quickly, that the mullen stocks were left lying underground, and the men were marching back to camp, deprived of their arms. Thus ending our first battle. It was spoken up by those who participate in it as being a very fine affair, but as I was on the sick lists, I was debarred the sport.
In speaking of my being on the sick list, I wish to see a few words regarding some very unjust rumors which I understand have been put afloat throughout the vicinity of the Bend, me to be sick ones here in camp. Mr. Holt has been here and spent the Sabbath with us. He came to visit his sons, two of whom, are in our company, one of which has been sick with us if your cold thought not seriously, but the report reached his parents that he was lying dangerously sick, and his father came out here post taste, expecting to find him as he had heard, dangerously sick. Imagine his joyous surprise at finding him up in about, with nothing more than a bad cold. Again it was reported that your humble servant was lying in a very critical condition, and that two of men -- William Porter and James McHenry -- were detailed take care of me, the being a little unwell, and not able to drill; that James McKinney while attending to my wants and comforts, was taken very suddenly himself, and was not expected to live. These rumors reached his friends, whereupon his father saddled up his horse and was to start immediately to his relief, but before fairly underway, learned that Mr. Porter's friends had just receive the letter from William, and thinking there might possibly be something in it concerning James, he proceeded to Mr. Porter's, and there are learned by the letter in question, that James was perfectly well in doing his regular daily duties. These, and other similar reports we have heard of here, none of them bearing any more truth than the above. As to Mr. Porter and myself, it is true that we have both been sick, all the time able to take care ourselves. I had a long pull at the ear ache for seven days, and lost almost entirely my hearing but I am much better now, and shall, tomorrow morning, enter upon my duties as before. I know not from whence those reports came by I do not know that it is very wrong, and the one starting them, ought to, if found out, be severely punished. It is certainly bad enough to have such reports reach our friends when true, let alone when we are well. There are three of our boys in the hospital, Mathias Lambert and Thomas Peat, and the one with the measles. They are all on the gain, I believe, and hope they will soon be with us again.
Last Saturday, the 18th, 15 and 16th Regiment's parade the principal streets of Madison, numbering over 2000 and making a most effective display. The march was excellent and the bearing and conduct of the men, all that could be desired. I was unwell, and of course, unable to join them in the display, but I happen to be up town at the time, and heard it repeatedly remarked by many who witnessed the affair, that the marching of the 12th Regiment, was executed better than they had ever before seen it done by any Regiment in Madison. The three regiments were finally drawn up in solid column in front of the capital and there listened to some very effective and appropriate speeches from Governors Randall and Hardy, as was proven, from the very hearty cheers, which each received. After the Regiment's has started on their return home, Gov. Randall called them back, and told them that the dispatch had just arrived that Charleston was in flames, and the city about one half destroyed. The news was greeted by three of the most deafening cheers from the entire Regiments, that was ever my lot to hear. After this news had subdued a little the Regiment's return to camp, the choice that agreed victory was about being one.
The pet "bear" of the 12th, headed the column, and seem to enjoy the sport as well as any other man.
It was reported throughout the city last Saturday, that a mad dog had that day bitten some three or four individuals who happen to have been in the streets. One was a soldier in Col. Heg's Regiment, and is said to have had his arm very badly lacerated by the precious brute. It is said that several "dogs" were also bitten, one of them being killed on the spot by the severity of the attack. The mad whelp was soon sent to his long home by the city authorities as were also a number of canines pups found running at large throughout the city. Served them right, say we, for they no business to have been dogs.
Gov. Randall was serenaded at his lodgings last Friday evening, by the band of the 12th Regiment. We have an excellent band, in the music discoursed upon this occasion, must have been magnificent, as a Governor is very popular among the soldiers, which he deserves to be, on count of his unwearied efforts for their comforts.
A Calico Party, for the benefit of the church of the Messiah, in Madison, was one of the novelties of the season, which came off last night. It was very largely attended, I here, there being quite a number of soldiers present. Hurrah for the callikers say we or rather for those that wear them.
More again, when feel like it.
C. D. W.
Pg. 2, Col. 1 & 2
Madison, December 24th 1861.
Since my last, old jack
Frost has again made his appearance in Camp Randall, and brought with him,
two or three inches of snow, and scattered in profusely throughout the
Camp, much to the dissatisfaction of every soldier here. We have received
our arms - Belgian Rifles - but the weather is so very cold and disagreeable,
that we can make but very little progress in the manual of arms. We have
not yet received pay for our State's service, and fear it will be some
time are we do, although it is promised us daily. I think we are destined
to spend the holidays here in Madison, and perhaps a much longer time than
that. Each Company has been endeavoring for several days past, to secure
furlough to return to their homes during the coming holidays, but have
not been successful; therefore, I suppose we may as well content ourselves
at remaining here to Camp, for we may, possibly receive another Thanksgiving
As there is nothing of great importance to communicate to you this week, concerning our routine of life here, I clip the following items, gathered from the descriptive book of the 12th Regiment, from the Madison Daily Journal. It is not a correct report, however, but still it is as true a one as I could get myself, and as it may be interesting to most of the readers of the Post. I give it verbatim et literatim.
What a Wisconsin Regiment is composed of.
The whole number of men is 1040, of whom some 12 or fifteen were in the 1st Regiment.
The average age is 25.
The average height of Co A. is 5 ft. 7 3/4 inches; of Co. B, 5, 10 1/4; of Co. C, 5, 8; of Co. D, 5, 8 1/4; of Co. E, 5, 9; of Co. F. 5, 8 1/2; of Co. G, 5, 8; of Co. H, 5,81/2; of Co I, 5, 7 1/2; of Co. K, 5, 9; of the Band, 5, 8 1/4. The average height of the Regiment is 5, 8 1/2. There are in the ten companies and band, 100 men 6 feet tall and upwards, the tallest is 6, 3; the shortest is 4 feet. The total height of the Regiment is 1 1/3 miles.
The average weight of Co. A, is 151; Co. B, 152; Co. C, 150; Co. D, 152 1/2; Co. E, 154; Co. F. 155; Co. G, 155; Co. H, 154 3/4 Co. I, 155; Co. K, 152 1/2; Band 155 3/4 Eleven (11) with 200 and upwards. The heaviest weights 218, the lightest 90. The total weight of the men is 80 tons, This regiment, like all others, has gained n weight since coming into camp. One company was weighed a few days ago and it was found that all had gained - no one less than 3 pounds! I would be safe to put the present average weight to 160 lbs. This speaks well for the commissary department.
Nativity: Of those whose birth place is recorded, we find that 252 were born in New Your; 78 in Ohio; 62 in Pennsylvania; 45 in England; 45 in Wisconsin; 40 in Norway; 40 in Vermont; 37 in Canada; 36 in Main' 35 in Germany; 33 in Ireland; 28 in Illinois; 17 in Massachusetts; 14 in Indiana; 12 in Connecticut; 12 in Michigan; 10 in Prussia; 9 in Wales; 9 in New Jersey; 9 in New Hampshire; 7 in [?] 6 in Sweden; 5 in Scotland; 4 each in Virginia and Prince Edward's Island; 3 each in Missouri, Iowa, Switzerland, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Denmark; 2 each in Maryland, Saxony and Belgium; 1 each in Tennessee, Alabama, Delaware, North Carolina, Isle of Man, Bolivia, British America, Hungary, Brussels and France. It also appears that on was born in 'bed!'
Occupation: We find 551 farmers; 58 lumbermen; 57 laborers; 31 carpenters; 13 blacksmiths; 12 clerks; 10 sawyers; 9 printers; 8 teachers; 8 millers; 8 coopers; 7 teamsters; 7 lawyers; 7 shoemakers; 7 rivermen; 6 sailors; 6 painters; 6 miners; 5 engineers; 5 machinists; 5 gunsmiths; 4 merchants; 4 millwrights; 4 masons; 4 innkeepers; 3 mechanics; 3 hunters; 3 wagon makers; 3 editors; 2 clergymen; 2 cabinet makers; 2 civil engineers; 2 brewers; 2 book keepers; 2 physicians; 2 tin and copper smiths; 2 saw filler; 2 students; 2 showmen; 2 rovers; 2 "single weavers"; 2 carriage makers; 2 brick makers; 2 harness makers; 2 bakers; 2 raftsmen: 1 fisherman; 1 accountant; 1 farrier; 1 tailor; 1 pinsterer; 1 banker; 1 wheelwright; 1 sawer of stone; 1 confectioner; 1 collier; 1 furnace worker; 1 caulker; 1 pilot; 1 clothier; 1 grocer; 1 distiller; 1 tobacconist; 1 photographer; 1 ship carpenter; 1 butcher; 1 mail carrier; 1 veterinary surgeon; 1 musician; 1 plowgrinder; 1 wood chopper; and 1 chairmaker.
Co. A has the clergy men, the most of the teachers and editors. Co. B can make the candy and shoes. Co. C. may do the mining and printing. Co. D can furnish barrels, &c. &c. Co. E. Sloches, &c. Co. F lumber and tin ware, Co. G will do the grinding and building, deep hotel and open a bank, and furnishing and the whiskey, tobacco and photographs. Co. H. can supply sailors and lawyers, and do the civil engineering and painting and hunting, bun kneading, brickmaking and baking, and doctor the horses. Co. I will turn out the cabinet work, and do the rafting. Co. K has the masons, &c. Co. E and I will provide wagons; F, G, I, and K, the mills. Nineteen occupations are represented in Co. a.; 11 in B.; 13 in C.; 12 in D. and E.; 17 in F.; 26 in G.; 31 in H.; 13 in I; 11 in K.; 10 in the band.
We still have a great many sick men in Camp. Since the measles made their appearance there are more or less men brought down with them every day, and the physicians say that every man who has not already had them, will certainly get them before they disappear from the Camp. I will give a list of those in our company who have been taken down with them. F. D. Hallows; Nicholas Harris; David Waller; Benjamin Scott, Andrew Bullard; John M. Holt, and M. Cameron; the last named, has, however, recovered, and the rest are doing as well as could possibly be expected. Thomas Peat, of whom I spoke in my last letter, as being in the hospital, has recovered, and is with us again. Mathias Lampert, is rapidly recovering, and will be out in a very few days. Wm. Oliver is sick in the hospital, with pneumonia; is quit sick, indeed, but hopes are entrained of his recovery. Sergeant Jones has had rather a severe time with a sore throat, for the past two weeks, not being able, any of the time, to speak about a whisper, but is fast recovering. Quite a number of our men have server colds, and the physicians say they will have them, as long as we are made to "double-quick" this cold weather.
C. D. W.
January, 11th 1862
Pg. 2, Col. 2 & 3
Camp Randall Madison,
January, 9th 1862
Like Old Abe, I am all
occupying a White House, where in [?]. I dare say that it is not [s?arge]
or accommodious, as the one occupied by him, nor quite as tentatively arranged
within ; yet it is [?] a White House, and a very comfortable one, too,
and is surrounded by [?] making in all, quite a handsome city . Our regiment
has just received their pay, up to the 31st of December, and a happier
set of men than those of whom this regiment is composted. Would now be
hared to find. The ground throughout this vicinity, is covered to the dept
of about six inches with snow and in consequence thereof, there is but
very little accomplished in the manual of arms. The boys have pretty much
all the time to themselves, and as they nearly all have plenty of the needful,
time and money flies rapidly. By this, I do not with to insinuated that
they are spending their money foolishly, but on the contrary, they are
sending a good share of it home to their friends for safe keeping, and
with the balance they are purchasing boots, pistols, knives, stationary
and a few spend it freely, for whiskey and the like. Out of our company,
alone, some fifteen or twenty hundred dollars have been sent to our friends.
Christmas passed away here in camp without anything occurring to distinguish it from other days, save the mock parade and battles of the boys in the 12th Regiment. On New Years eve, there were two watch meetings here in Camp, and both were well attended. New year's day passed away, as did Christmas and as do all other days, without any unusual stir or bustle, except among the members of companies D. and F. To them, it was a happy day, and one long to be remembered. Early in the morning Capt. Price, of Co. D., and Capt. Norton, of Co. F, requested their men to hold themselves in readiness to attend a New Year's dinner with them a the Capital House.
At the appointed hour for staring, every man was o hand, with clothes brushed, shoes blackened, and guns burnished as bright as silver. The companies were then marched up to the Colonels quarters, and there received the regimental colors. The excellent Band of the 12th, furnished music for the occasion. The day was quite cold, which, after about an hour's steady marching, gave each man an excellent appetite for his dinner. I will not attempt a description of the bill of fare; but suffice it to say, it was equal to any ever gotten up at the Newball House, or at any other place. And on Tuesday last, the members of each company returned the compliment, to their Captains and Lieutenants, by inviting them to partake of a similar dinner, at the same place.
Last Monday, the 13th and 16t Regiments were marched up town for the purpose of witnessing the inauguration of the new State officers. We arrived on main street a little before 12 o'clock, and were halted on the south side of the Capitol square, where they formed in a line and saluted, His excellency, Gov. Randall, and the incoming State officers, as they passed before them, in a barouche. The appearance of the regiments, when formed in line, saluting was very imposing. After marching around the park, and saluting again, they entered the square and formed around the Eastern steps of the Capitol. Under the portico the State officers and gentlemen were collected. The band played the "Star Spangled Banner: after which Chief Justice Dixon administered the oath of office to Governor Harvey, Lieut. Gov. Saloman, Secretary Lewis, Treasure Hastings, Bank Comptroller Ramsey and State Superintendent Picard.
Ex. Gov. Randall then stepped forward and made some remarks in which he stated that during the four years he held office he has endeavored to do his duty. He complimented Go. Harvey as "his able successor," Treasurer Hastings as a man who was "honest all over, " Attorney General how on showing a "strong impress of his forcible mind," and private Secretary Waston as small in stature but "all Man'. In concluding here announced that in retiring he had also retired from political life.
Gen. Harvey then stepped forward and began addressing the audience, as the report of a cannon shook a shower of snow of the Portico roof. He contended the power of the ballot-box with that of arms and felt glad that he held his office, different from chief magistrate in some other countenance, but that of the first. One man is 34 of the population of Wisconsin, had voluntarily been forwarded in support to the constitutions and the law! No better proof of there loyalty was needed than that they had done it without conscription. They represented the loyalty of the State, and he was sure they would do their duty. He represented them, and would endeavor to do so faithfully, and he trusted at the close of the term to have the same satisfaction arising from the thoughts of duty well performed as his predecessor had. He would [?] to the soldiers then but intended coming to the camp, and taking [?] with them.
In the call of Col. Bryant the soldiers gave cheer for the outgoing and incoming Government. With that we were heartily joined in by the citizens.
The soldiers then moved, a and after the cheer, State Officers then signed the oath of office in the Executive Room, most of them joined Gov. Harvey in a tour which went to Camp Randall where the party dined with the field officers. The day was a very suitable one for the occasion, and was largely attended by both citizens and solders. In the evening, the State Officers received all with to attend, in the Assembly Chamber from 8 till 10 o'clock, where music was furnished by the 12th regiment band.
They have already commenced cooking six days rations for us, preparatory to our departure, and it is generally understood, or rather believed, that we shall pull up stakes next Saturday morning, and proceed to for Leavenworth, where we shall, undoubtedly, spend the remainder of the winter, unless ordered somewhere else.
The health of our company is, at this time, very good, only three of four confined to the hospital. They all have the measles, but will, most likely, be out in a few days. Some ten or twelve or our company have had the measles, since our arrival in camp; but all received the very best of care and medical attendance and consequently, were not confined to heir beds but a short time.
While in town Yesterday, I accidentally came across Hons. F. O. Thorp and R. Salter. There are here to take their seats in the Legislature, which organized today.
The next letter you receive from me, will, I hope be dated at a point a little farther south than this, where a little more excitement prevails, ever if life is not quite as certain as it is in Camp Randall
C. D. W.
January, 25th 1862
Pg. 2, Col. 2 & 3 & 4
Head-quarters Co. D., 12th Reg't.
Weston, Mo. Jan., 17th 1862
We are, almost, in vicinity of the enemy. It has taken along time to get here, but the [?] to do the work expect of us. We left the peaceful camp a Madison last Saturday morning about nine o'clock, and bout two p. m. we reached Havawken?] the Chicago and North Wester R. R., where we received our rations and hot coffee. After dinner, we seceded on our journey, and at half past [?] found ourselves in the Great Metropolis of the West Chicago. Here we were accommodated through the principle streets of the city, and were greeted on every corner by numultuous cheers from the excited populace and the waving of handkerchiefs from the ladies, from every door and window, which we chanced to pass. After entering the Illinois Central Depot we were giving to got coffee, [?] and beef, and at half past nine P. M. were again skipping along on our wary over the Chicago, Burlington Quincy R. R. By the way, kind reader, have you ever bother this read, from Chicago to Quimby? If not, you have got to make the most pricuse trip but of Chicago. They make capital good [?] too, on this road - that is where they have a mind to, but ours was only a cattle train, and running on Sunday it would not be expected that we should be driving along at lightning speed, as in the care with outer trains, on a weekday. But the track is so well ballasted and smooth that one can hardly realize the speed they are making, except by the frequent stoppages at the beautiful clean looking images that are scattered along the line; or perchance glance at passing objects and have the experience of the old woman who describing her first railroad trip said she "never saw nothing the whole way, but a hay stack, and that was going the other way!" Should we attempt a description of the scenery - the beautiful groves though shorn of their magnificent foliage, and clothed only with a heavy garment of spotless white, yet never-the-less, beautiful, and charming to the eye; the large and well-tilled farms, of the view of the grand old lake itself, over which the cars take there winding way, for several miles - would take us more time and space than we have, at present, allotted us and also some of the interest from you trip. Therefore, we will merely say to those who who'd wish to learn, go, and see for yourselves! The train, upon leaving Chicago, consisted of twenty-two passenger cares, and about the number of freight cares, and was drawn by three locomotives. The train was a very large one, heavily laden, and whenever it stooped at any point, it was seldom started again, without a break down and a detention of some minutes, to repair damages, occasioned by starting to suddenly, and snapping the train, the connecting links between the different cars; notwithstanding all their troubles and delay, we arrived at Galesburg, at one o'clock p. m., Sunday, where we remained about one hour and given again, or rations with hot coffee. After leaving Galesburg, we sped along on our way toward Quincy, where we arrived at half past ten in the evening. We remained in the cars all night, at Quince, and half past ten A. M., Monday, were with our knapsacks on our backs, trudging along over the rough and frozen ground towards Hannibal. Now come the tax of war," and before we had proceeded one quarter of the way (20 miles) the weak and feeble ones began to drop out of the ranks, and were taken onboard the freight temas. It was indeed, a tough beginning and when we had reached the end of our journey, not none, even the hardiest of us, but what was well sigh "tuckered out." We reached the river, opposite Hannibal at five p. m. and found, to our regret, that the river was closed up and that we must remain at least for the night, where we were. There were no tenantable houses where we landed, and the ground was so frozen, that it was impossible for us to strike our tents. There were two old warehoused, on old school house, and one other house that had to all appearances, been used as a grog shop, and dwelling house, in years gone bye, but which was now fast crumbling with decay. Into these miserable buildings the 12th Wisconsin Regiment made its entrance, and in them passed about the night. There was not room enough in all this shell to accommodate the entire regiment, had it being a bitter cold night
[Large part unreadable]
The fight was short, but deadly, and resulted in a complete rought
of the enemy, [?] loss of a single life, on our midst. After the conflict
was ended, the boys found to their joy and surprise, that this they killed
and wounded men of their opponents, together with several prisoners, were
conveyed to camp, where they were kindly received and properly cared for.
At other places, our boys were very suddenly attacked by large swarms of
bees, which proved to be, as far more desperate foe that the poultry, their
numbers being far grater than ours, but after a sharp engagement in which
our forces were at more or less wounded, we were again together with several
well filled store houses, were conveyed in triumph to our quarters, where
the prisoners were condemned to death and their property, confiscate.
Early in the evening, the field officers together with some of the company officers, crossed the river on the ice mud in skiffs, to ascertain the prospect of our getting over in to Dixie. They found there, some seven or eight hundred of the Illinois 26th Regiment, who were quarantined in the city, after which, they, accompanied with the officers in command of the Illinois regiment visited the ferry boat, and learned of its commander, that it would take the entire night, and a good share of the next day, with a large force of men, to detach the ice from the boat and cut her way through to the channel, which was free from ice. Whereupon the commander of the 26th immediately set some fifty or his men to work, streaming up the boat, cutting her lose from the ice, and cutting out a cannel for her to run in. They were kept busy to work all night, and until two o'clock p. m., the next day, before the object of their cold, wet and tiresome labor was accomplished. The moment the steamer was free from ice and on her way to received us, the woods fairly resounded with the deafening cheers of the 12th regiment. Before dark, we were all landed, bag and baggages in the city of Hannibal, where were found two spacious halls filled up for our reception. Into these we were marched, and took up our abode for the night. The night previous, being a sleepless one to nearly all in the regiment, the men all sought their sleeping places at an early hour, and each received a good nights repose. But, allow me here, kind reader, to relate a little incident that transpired on our way from the river to our quarters in the city. Just as our company was passing a certain dwelling on the route, and old [Black Slang], as black as the ace of spades, was seen to emerge from behind an old dilapidated building, weigh countenance as bright and happy, as that of a child, when let loose from school, after a long tiresome days confinement, and slapping his hands to his sides, exclaiming, "hep, yah, yah! Hebenly Fadder! The day of resurrection am come!" We told the old fellow that such was certainly the case, and are many days had rolled round, but would be a free and happy being.
About 4 o'clock the next morning (Wednesday) we were all rousted out and proceeded to the depot of the Hannibal and St. Joseph R. R., where we found the cars in readiness to convoy us over the road. It appears that nearly all of the passengers cars on the road, have, in some manner, been destroyed by the seschers, and that none but cattle cars (second class, at that,) could be furnished for our transpiration over this road, and into these we were driven like so many sheep, and obliged to ride in them to our destination, some two hundred and fifty miles, shut up like so many farlons, in a dark and dreary dudgeon, without fire or light, and fed on nothing but bread, meat and ater. It snowed nearly all the night were remained in Hannibal, and in the morning, the ground was covered the depth of about six inches with snow, and it is said by some few, who were fortunate enough to rid in cars, into which the rasy of Old Sol, occasionally made its appearance, that it snowed considerable during the day, but the opponent was not one of those luck eyes, therefore, he syeth nix. The cared reached Hudson city, about 11 o'clock A. M. where we remained some three hours, waiting to replace a rail that we had broken, in passing over it, and at which places, orr prosin doors were unbarred, and us cattle allowed the freedom of smoking out upon the light of the universe and gazing in the snow, on frozen bread and meat. Gracious! What a glorious privilege it was and how eagerly it was sought out. But, that our time is expired, we are again driven to our dungeon as the doors bolted upon us. We again start off at snail-like pace, and reach Brookfield at 3 p. m.; here we are again let loose, foddered, and watered with a little hot coffee; again we are driven to our holes and proceed on our way, rejoicing! When next let loose, we found that we had, at last reached the end of our journey by rail, the terminus of the rough at Weston, Mo. It was seven o'clock Thursday morning, when we were drilled out of our [?] which we had been kept in day and night in about total darkness, and without a sign of fire. During the night, there was a continuous bellowing, like that of so many wild beast, and in the morning, our appetites were frightful to behold, so dirty and savage did we appear. After leaving the area, we all took a bee line for the city, every man for himself and then devil for the hind most. After, once in the town, each man sought first for a place to clean himself and then for something, wererwith to wash and feed the inner man. The regiment made its headquarters for a time at the St. George hotel, a large and commodious building, owned by a genuine Secesh who has been allowed to retain possession upon taking the usual ddboat, but who never the less is a rank Secesh at heart. It appears that for a time the secessionists ruled the city, and drove every union man beyond its limits. The tables were finally turned, when the secessionists were obliged to ether leave or take the oat. The 18th Missouri, is now stationed here, and the city is well guarded. This mourning, the 12th regiment was ordered out for dress parade. The formed in line through the center of the main street, and as our excellent band was marching up and down in front, the regiment presented a grand and imposing appearance, and it was often remarked by the members of the 18th Mo. Reg. that they would not again appear on dress parade, while we remained in town, for we were so much the best drilled that they were a shamed to have their maneuvers witnessed by us. They have been in the service double the time that we have, and yet, they understand but little of the manual of arms. More that this, they as yet, have not received a cent of pay, and are very poorly clad, therefore they take no problem their appearance as soldiers and are daily threatened to disband, unless properly clothe and paid off. If we remain here and leng of time, which resent appearance indicate, we shall in all probability be called upon, to keep them in check.
Our Regiment is quartered all over the city, in churches, school houses, and deserted houses, belonging to secessionists, who have "left their country, for their country's good". Company D. is quartered I a dwelling house, formerly occupied by a rapid secessionist, who has left, with bag and baggage, for parts unknown. The building is situated in the outskirts of the city, on a high eminence, and commands an entire view of the city, which is situated some five or six miles up the river, and opposite from the city of Leavenworth hemmed in on three sides by high and rolling bluffs, and on the forth, by the Missouri River commonly called mud river. Its population was, previous to the breaking out of this rebellion, some two or three thousand, but now, it contains not more than on half its original number.
Since our arrival here, we are etterfed and ared for, that we were whilst in our journey hither, Our rations are furnished us in a raw state, and we are allowed to cook them, as best we like. It gives much better satisfaction athe wen gine out in shape of cold boiled beef and been and had bread; as each man may receive all he issure, and that which is palatable and whole some.
Upon leaving Camp Randall, Madison we were obliged to leave behind some six or eight of our men were, at the time of our departure, confined in the hospital. But it is hoped and expected that they will soon be able to join us. We left three of our men in Quincy, who were still sick and were unable to proceed farther, but one of them has since joined us. The other two, Frederic Metler, and John Spelino, are still there, but will undoubtedly be able to continue their journey in a few days. At Hannibal, we left [?] C. W. Turner, who was taken down with the measles, but we think he will soon be with us again. Since our arrival here, we have been obligated to convey another one of our members to the hospital - Wm. Nengreer - but he is fast recovering, and will, I think, be out in a few days. The latest news of our men are in excellent health and spires, and all anxious for a crack with their new and splendid rifles at some seceshes.
I have already, written much more than will be interesting to the readers of the Post, therefor, will being my letter to a close, in hopes of having something more interesting to werie in a few days.
C. D. W.
February 8th 1862
Pg. 2, Col. 2 & 3
Head-quarters Co. D., 12th Reg't.
Weston, Mo. Jan., 26th 1862
Since my last, nothing
of much importance has transpired, even though we are in an enemy's country.
In fact there appears to be but little more going on here, to intimidate
or excited the soldier, than there was in the peaceful Capital of our own
free happy State. This post is commanded by Col. Morgan of the 18th Missouri
Regiment, but our regiment does its share of guard and picket duty, sity
of our men being detailed for such duty each day. Their appear to be but
very few genuine secceshers in this vicinity, a and consequently, but few
prisoners are captured; but once in a while one is taken, and one has been
taken by on our company. It was during the night of the first day, that
men from our regiment were detailed as guard, that the afore said prisoner
was captured, and young Bunce was the man that captured him. Bunce was
stationed in front of the quarters of Co. B. and bout half past 11 o'clock
observed an individual in citizens' dress, stomping about the premises
near to where he was stationed, and after watching his movements for a
short time, he suddenly appeared in front of him, and demanded him to surrender.
The prisoner at first made motions a if to escape, but was told by the
sentinel to stand perfectly still, and that the first movement on his part,
of ether hand or foot would eliminated his career for this world. The prisoner
seemed to think the sentinel in earnest in his remark, and did as he was
told, until assistance came to the relief of the sentinel, and took chare
of the prisoner. After the prisoner was confined in the guard-house, not
a word could be gotten out of him by anyone, are only a few wandering and
silly sentence, as those of a fool or a maniac. I visited him the next
day, and found him sitting upon a wooden bench, with hands clasped upon
his lap, and silent as a mute. He did not appear to me, crazy, but rather
a genuine fool, or slese a sharper, in disguise, had such, is my impression,
he was. But if so, he puts on the disguise of fool, as one born such. He
was shabbily dressed, hair uncombed and his face hand hands looked as though
water was a stranger to them. His appearance was certainly, that of a genuine
fool, but then "one can't most always tell." It is rumored that he is to
be set at liberty, but as to the truth of it, I am not able to say. There
was another prisoner taken the next day, but some of the 18th and at night,
made his escape, by knocking down the guard, who was leading him from one
building to another. He was again captured, however on the following day,
and has I believe been taken to St. Louis, thee he will, undoubtedly, meet
with the rewarded his merits justly deserve.
Last Wednesday morning, the 13th Regiment Wis., Vol., Col. Malony, arrived in town, and after dinner, proceeded of Fort Leavenworth, where they will go into quarters. The 13th were in good spirits, and seemed to be as happy as though every one of them owned a whole plantation. They are a good set of fellows, and the regiment will compare favorable with any regiment that has yet left the State. Yesterday morning, four companies of the 2d Ohio regiment of Cavalry, arrived here, and left in the afternoon, for Fort Leavenworth. They were ten day's in coming from Cincinnati to this place. The balance of the regiment is on the way, and is expected here tomorrow. They are well armed with heavy sabers, and each man carries a good revolver.
This morning, the Ninth (German) Regiment Wis. Vol., landed at this place after a journey of four days, from Milwaukee. The are a fine looking set of men, and are in the best of spirits - not ardent. They are enoute to Fort Leavenworth, but are expected to remain here a few days. Gen. Jim Lane arrived on the same train, but proceeded immediately to Fort Leavenworth.
We are not having very mild weather here, yet it is not very cold. There is still some snow on the ground, but not enough for sleighing. We have had no snow or rain, to speak of since our arrival here, yet we have had but one pleasant sunny day. Old Sol appears to be shrouded in darkness the whole time, a just rebuke, perhaps to many a one I this vicinity, who has trampled upon our sacred laws, and yet claims protections under them.
I think I have told you all the news of the week, therefore, I will try and give you an idea of our situation, and of the manner in which we spend our time. Since my last we have changed our abode from the outskirts of the city, to one more pleasurable and [?]. We now occupy a fine cottage, with three large rooms eighteen feet square, on room by eighteen, and a good shed kitchen, and store room - it is the pleasantest most comfortable and convenient quarters of any company in the regiment, a and we have things fixed in fine style, and intend to enjoy ourselves as long as we come again in Weston. We have to get out in the morning, at half past four! and retire at nine. This is rather unpleasant for many, especially, the getting up part, but it's nothing after you can get accustomed to it. We have breakfast at seven, guard mounting at nine, non-commissioned officer's drill from eleven to twelve, and dinner at half past twelve. I seldom drill with them, as I have been chosen commissary sergeant of the company, and my time is too much taken up in attending to the uteis of said office, to attend to much else. To give you some idea of what our company consumes, daily, I will give you a list of what I draw from the Quartermaster; 116 1bs flour, or 87 lbs. had bread; 109 lbs. beef, or 65 lbs. bacon; 7 quarts of beans, or 9 lbs. rice; or in lieu thereof, 9 lbs. hominy; 9 lbs. coffee, or 1 1/2 lbs. tea; 14 lbs. sugar; 3 quarts of vinegar, and 2 quars of slt. Our company eats every bit of the above besides what they buy off peddlers without I except bacon, which many cannot stomach, thereafter a good share of it is wasted, or wrapped off to citizens, for something better; and yet some of them grumble, because they do not get enough to eat. The company has three cooks to cook their rations, and they have noting to do but to eat them when ready. We get along finely, whoever, and have all the "luxuries of the season," - not as the bill of fare says a fashionable hotels, at cost, but at a little less then cost. There is no subitale place within the limits of the City of Weston, for having battalion drills, therefore we have noting but dress parades, which takes place every afternoon at three o'clock. We occasionally have a company drill in the street in front of our residence. - More anon.
P. S. - Jake, I enter my solemn protest against the local item if the Post of the 18th inst., in which you advertise for young ladies to come and learn the art of setting type. The idea of you having young ladies to work in the office, during my absence, is decidedly preposterous, and I never shall sanction it. Where I there, to teach them in "the art preservative of all arts," it would be right and proper, that they should come, as I being unmarried, could devote more time and attention to their wants, than you, who are marred, and have family duties to call your attention to; besides, it may create a disturbance in the family; therefore, I say, don't you do it , while I am absent.
C. D. W.
Am sorry for your Charlie! But your protest, is of no avail. If you wanted to enjoy the good things, you should have remained at home.
Gap - Will install soon
May 3rd 1862
Pg. 2, Col. 2 & 3
The Late Battle in New Mexico.
Fort Union, April 4th, 1862
I take the opportunity
to give you an account of our operations in this part of the country. We
started from this place on Saturday, the 22nd of March, for Santa Fe, marched
twelve miles and camped. Sunday 23rd passed through the Mexican town of
Yeuchlo, and camped for the night in the town of Los Vegas. 24th went as
for as "Brunelle Springs;" here we laid over one day. Average traveling
so far twenty miles per day. At this time our command numbered 1,400 men,
1,100 volunteers and 300 regulars. On the 25th part of the command, consisting
o companies A, E and D of infantry, and company F cavalry of the volunteers,
and two mounted companies of regulars, went as for as 'Rock Springs," and
camped. On the 26th they broke camp and traveled about ten miles, when
they were furiously attacked by the enemy who were posted in the "Apache
Pass." However, our men stood their ground and repulsed the force killing
about thirty and taking sixty five prisoners, four of them commissioned
officers. We loss four men killed and eight wounded. On the 26th another
part of our command consisting of companies H and B of the 1st Regiment
Colorado Volunteers, company A, Captain Ford, of the Second Regiment Colorado
Volunteers, and two companies of regulars, stared early. At 10 o'clock
we headed of the fight ahead, then we came down to the work in good earnest,
went forty miles and camped by 9 o'clock in the evening on Pigeor's Ranch,
here we met the first command, who in the same time had fallen back three
miles to get water. After the fight the enemy sent a flag of truce requesting
an amnesty of three days to bury there dead. Maj. Chivington, who commanded
our forces in the fight refused this, but gave them until 12 o'clock the
next day. On the next day, 27th march, our two commands fell back to await
the arrival of the balance of our forces; they joined us the same day.
Next day, 28th it was determined upon to attack the enemy in force, both
in front and rear, for this purpose companies A, B, E and H of the 1st
Volunteers, and A of the 2nd Vol. With about fifty Regulars, under command
of Major Chivington, were detailed to attack the enemy in the rear - the
balance of the command were to move forward and engage the enemy in front.
We had also been reinforced on the today previous by two batteries of artillery,
two twelve-pound guns, two sixes and four small guns; these were to go
with the main command to play upon the front of the enemy; who in the meantime
had also been reinforced by 14 or 1,500 men and four large field pieces.
Our part of the command marched sixteen miles and come down on the rear.
We went so far that we came down on there baggage and provision train.
This was defended by 300 men and on twelve-pound cannon, with a reserve
of 800 men who were posed in a revine about one quarter of a mile distant.
The men guarding the train did not know of our approach until we were within
1000 yards of them; they were so frightened that their fears magnified
our numbers of that they thought for 2,000 men were coming onto them. The
fired three shots with their cannon without hurting anybody, and then broke
and run. We destroyed there baggage and provisions as quickly as possible;
burned up the wagons and killed the mules, as we could not drive them up
the steep side of the mountain that we came down. Then we got a dispatch
from Co. Slough, ordering us to return by the same route that we advance
to, assist him in driving the enemy from his position, as he (Col. Slogh)
had not force enough to do it alone. So back we stared, but did not get
in until the fight was over for the day, and an armrest agreed upon to
last until 12 o'clock next day. (29th.)
In the battle we lost twenty-nine killed and forty wounded, and thirteen were taken prisoners. The loss of the enemy in killed must have exceeded two hundred; some say as high as four hundred. After the battle we received orders from Co. C and to go back to Fort Union.
Gap - Will install soon
February 14, 63
Pg. 2 Col. 2 & 3
Head Quarters Company D. 12th Reg.
Collierville Jan. 26th, 1863
Once again doth your humble
servant condescend to stoop so high and how so low as to ask the privilege
to submitting a few lines for the readers of the Post, in their leisure
moments. I am testified that nothing which I may say, or write will be
news, or even interesting to the larger portion of your readers, but as
I have not written to you for many weeks, it may be new to many, to know
that I am "alive and kicking". I wrote twice after leaving LaGrange, whilst
we were on the march south, in pursuit of Old Price, and his legion of
guerillas and cotton burners, but as my letters never appeared in the Post,
it is evident that they were "gobbled up" by the "rebs," in their raid
upon Holly Springs and other places in our rear. After that disgraceful
affair at Holly Springs, our communication with the north, was entirely
cut off for serial weeks. But now that we are once more blessed with the
privilege of receiving news from our friends abroad, it gives us much pleasure
to reciprocate their favor and trust I may hereafter be enabled to notify
the readers of the Post, occasionally as to the whereabouts and condition
of our regiment.
Our march from LaGrange, Tenn., to Yocona, Mississippi, was attended with no uncommon event therefore I will not relate anything concerning it. Our division brought up the rear, and consequently saw nothing of the skirmishing which was continually going on in the advance. At Waterford some nine miles south of Holly Springs, we halted of a couple of weeks and then proceeded to Yocona, where we remand a few days and then beat a hasty retreat back to Holly Springs. Our communication and supplies being cut off, we were put upon half rations of something like three weeks but notwithstanding, all this, we had an abundance to eat most of the time. On our retreat our division halted at the Tallehatchie river, and our brigade was then sent forward to within seven miles of Holly Springs, where there was a large mill, which we took possession of and "run the machine" for the benefit our army. There was a heap of corn throughout the country, and considerable wheat, which we gathered into our mill, and had ground up for our use. Cattle, hogs, sheep and fowls also flocked into our camps in great numbers, and we "feasted upon the fat of the lands."
We evacuated Lumpkin's Mills on the 8th of the month, and repaired to Holly Springs, where we remained a day of two, and then set out for Moscow, Tenn., on the Memphis & Charleston railroad. During our stay in Holly Springs, we were continually surrounded by gay and lively sights, which struck terror to the rebel citizens of the city, and put the very devil in the minds of our own boys. The first day but little damage was done in the city, but early in the evening large fires began to loom up in every direction band before midnight it looked as though the entire city was on fire. Strong guards were place around every camp, and the strictest watch kept over the soldiers within. We were routed out several time during the night, and that the roll called, to ascertain whether any men were absent, and still the work of incendiarism went fiercely on. Hundreds of stragglers were captured by the patrol guards, and taken to the guard houses. Upon questioning them as to what regiment they belonged to, it was ascertained that every on belonged to the 12th Wisconsin. Morning finally dawned upon the wretches of the doomed summer resort for southern chivalry, and exposes to their view a heap of smoldering ruins where only the day before, stood the beautify and costly mansions of some southern millionaire. It was also found out in the morning, that instead of the captives, who were taken prisoner during this time, being members of our regiment, on one of them belonged to it. They had, when caught, told this story, thinking that they might possibly escape and no blame would be attached to their own regiment, but that all would be palmed off on to us.
We left Holly Springs about dark on the evening of the 10th, and marched to Cold Water some five miles distant. There was no moon, but from the light of the burning city, we could plainly see our way nearly the whole distance, The next morning we started off bright and early, and towards evening brought up in a little slab town called Moscow. Here we remained the day or two and went independent to LaFayette, eight miles towards Memphis. Upon our arrival there, it was ascertained that we were not needed, and accordingly let our to retrace our steps to Moscow. The roads were in a very bad condition and we were obliged to halt for the night three miles from Lafayette. The next morning we resumed our march, but as it had rained considerable during the night the roads were in a terrible condition, and to make it still worse, the rain commenced pouring down in turrets just as we got fairly under way, and continued without rest throughout the day, and when within a mile of Moscow had to halt for good. Then followed a regular New England snow storm. We were out of rations and it was thought impossible for the reams to go to Moscow; however, the task was undertaken and towards night the teams returned with a log to soaked crackers, coffee, sugar and bacon. We remained her a few days to allow the streams to settle a little when we were again ordered back to Lafayette, and on arriving there espied a little rise to ground some half a mile from town, for which we made a charge, but found, to our horror, that it was covered with peat houses. We soon found another location equally as good as this, and soon had a camp laid off. We remained there a few days, until another heavy rain set in, where we again pulled up stakes and stared for Collierville. We arrived within about one mil of the village, when our regiment could go no further, as the stream rose so rapidly that the teams were obliged to swim through every little rivulet that chanced to cross the main road. The next day the weather allowed us to proceed on our journey.
There are four regiments of infantry and parts of two regiments of cavalry, together with a few sections of artillery here, and we feel confident that no Holly Springs affair will ever occur at this place so long as we remain here. The country is full of cavalry and guerrillas, but the roads are in such a condition that it is impossible for us to hunt them out. They are very bold, and seem to think nothing of attacking our pickets ever in the day time and scarcely ever does a forage train go out a mile from camp without being attacked, and quiet a number of men have already been killed by the daring rascals, without capturing any of them in return. We are erecting strong fortifications around the depot, and everything seems to indicate that we are going to remain here some length of time, if not longer.
The paymasters are running up and down the road every day but none seem to think enough of us to even give a friendly call. There is now nearly seven months pay due us, and if they don't "come to time," pretty soon, there will be a row in the camp, and no mistake. We are all in fine trim and health, and would all be in good, or ardent spirits, if we only had a little of the needful.
March 7, 1863
Pg. 2 Col. 3 & 4
Camp Butler, Tenn., Feb 15. 1863
Since my last letter was
written, another slight change has taken place in the programme of our
arrangements and we now find ourselves located about midway between Collierville
and Germantown; encamped in a beautiful strip of woods on the line of the
railroad. Our division is entirely broken up into small detachments, and
scattered along the line of railroad between here and Moscow. Our regiment
seems to be well pleased with tour last change and well we may for we now
have one of the healthiest and handsomest locations for a camp that we
have had since leaving Humboldt; whereas our camp at Collierville, was
on of the poorest locations that we have ever been obliged to occupy. It
was equally as bad as our old camping place upon the Obion. It is positively
a fact that teams could scarcely go from one end of the regiment to the
other, without miring in the mud and would have been almost a miracle for
some small a personage as you humble servant to accomplish the feat in
safety; therefor I never ventured form my tent only upon the most urgent
occasions. It was almost impossible for cavalry or infantry to venture
outside the lines, but the guerrillas made good use of hies state of affaire,
and pestered us amazingly. They would visit the town and regiments in the
day time, and at night sneak up and fire upon our sentinels. Mr. Vunk of
our company was shot through the ankle while on duty there. There was some
small bones broken in his leg which will render him unfit for duty for
may months, although he is gaining quite rapidly.
We received two month's pay previous to our leaving Collierville, which has seem to put new life and vigor into the soldiers, for they appear happy and contended. It has enabled then to procure many little luxuries that they really needed, and which they could not before obtain. Five men form each regiment along the line, are allowed passed to go to Memphis daily, thus giving every one who wished a chance to visit the city and procure for himself and their mates, such articles as they most need. Your may think that a soldier can live on "hard tack" and bacon for a life time, and I don't know but what they might, as provided that their lives were to spared too long. But when a soldier has money he's bound to have a good fodder, and if uncle Abe wouldn't give it to him, he'll furnish it himself, especially if he has been kept up on half rations as we were for a few weeks provisions. [?] to our being so long without money, but few have been able to sell anything to his friends at home as is unusually the case after receiving pay. Our company when paid off wherefore, has always sent home from fifteen to twenty hundred dollars, but this time it has barely sent one thousand. It is thought that we shall soon receive our pay up to the first of January 1863, and if such proves true, we shall be enabled to send home a "right smart chance" of money to keep our wives and sweethearts warm and cheery of the next six months that are to come.
I have no news to write, it is all the same, day in and day out; rain one day and snow the next. So it is mud, mud, mud, all over the country, and such everlasting mud, too. It stacks to a fellow like grim death to a dead [Black Slang], and were the soldiers so disposed, the y could "freeze" to their one hundred and sixty acres of bounty land, without asking any odds of old Abe to "any other man." You are either compelled to carry the land with you, wherever you go, or leave you boots behind you, which is done in many instance. But today is an exception to the general run of things, so I must need record it in my book of logs. It is a lovely and beautiful day and seems to have shot like a flood of glory from a brighter sphere, across our somber pathway. The robins and bluebirds are warbling forth their sweetest music from the branches of every tree and the bull-frogs belt forth their musical notes form every limpid stream that runs meandering through the forests. The Dainty epicure seizes his pin-hook and line, and rushed forth double-quick, and charges upon the innocent little songsters, as an army of enraged soldiers would upon and enemy's stronghold, and after he has succeeded in flanking and capturing a goodly prize, he returns to his tent and gluts his ravenous appetite on the carcass of his [?]. Such has been today and it appears so much more like a lovely day in summer, than like any day in the usually grim month of February, that can't [?] but make a not of it.
The health of the company is good, never better. Our nearest station on the railroads is Collierville, Tenn., and friends at home would do well to bear this fact in mind, when directing letters to any members of our regiment.
March 28, 63
Pg. 2 Col. 2 & 3
Camp Butler, Tenn., March 10th. 1863
Nothing of interest has
transpired within the department, since last I wrote you, until within
a day or two. We have had many days of pleasant weather lately, and the
roads are getting to be quite passable. A scouting party, consisting of
four regiments of cavalry, has just been sent out, and we expect soon to
hear of some daring deeds, and successful captures performed by them. One
regiment started form Memphis, one from Germantown, on from Collierville
and one from Fort Pillow. They intend to thoroughly cleanse this part of
the country of all guerrillas and bushwhackers, which has so lately swamped
with them. Hardly ever has a foraging train been sent out from any post
on the line of this road, but what they have been attacked by guerrillas,
and in some instances, the entire train captured, as was the case a few
weeks since at Moscow, the roads were very muddy, and the train became
scattered, and was attacked in the centre, by a band of twenty mounted
guerrillas, who succeeded in capturing about twenty teamsters and a large
number of mules and horse, and burning the wagons and forage where they
found them. The main strength of the guard accompanying the rain was far
in the advance and rear of them, consequently their work was done, and
they were off, long before the guards knew "what was to pay."
I received a note last Saturday, from Lieut. Thayer, of Co. H, 33d Wis. Vol. at Moscow, stating that a brother of mine, was in the hospital at that place, and was very sick, I went up to Moscow Sunday morning, and, to my surprise, found both my brother and a cousin in the hospital, together with some twenty others, from the same regiment. On Saturday, they sent about two hundred and forty sick ones, from that regiment alone, to Memphis. On Sunday they sent about three hundred sick from that regiment. They have averaged about one death a day, for some time, and one died while I was there. Their regiment was never in a worse condition than now, and the 12th was never in better health. They have equally as good a camping ground as we, but, perhaps not quite as good water. You will of course ask, why this great difference between the health of the two regiments? The question is easily answered. It is the accursed little dog tents in which they are forced to live. They are just like a sieve, and we have had so much rain of late, that the men are never dry or warm, and sickness is inevitable. Our tents are bad enough, being nearly worn out from hard usage during the past sixteen months but God forbid that we ever be compelled to resort to such as theirs. It is a curse upon the government, and to the state from which they came.
One whole division is under marching orders, and the first brigade, is which is the 33d, took up their line and march yesterday morning, before I left Moscow. I understand their destination is Memphis, where the 33d are in hopes of receiving new tents. God grant that they may. They passed our beautiful camp about ten o'clock this morning. It rained considerable during the night and this afternoon it has fairly poured down in torrents, and the troops with knapsacks on their backs are still plodding their way through the mud and rain. God pity them. The second brigade will start tomorrow, and the third (ours) most likely day after. I understand that the fourth Division is to guard the railroad from Memphis to Collierville, and in such is the case, our regiment will undoubtedly remain where it is, but Col. Bryant, who is commanding the brigade, will move his headquarters to Germantown.
Last week we were honored by a visit form Mrs. Governor Harvey. Col. Howe, of the 32d Wis., and wife, and a "special artist" for Frank Lesslie's illustrated paper. The ladies spent most of their time in visiting the sick and attending to their wants, while the artist busied himself in sketching our beautiful camp with its local scenery, and will undoubtedly, soon spread it before the world, with gay coloring, in that illustrious weekly Journal.
There is some talk of our being paid off again in a few days, as a paymaster made his appearance at Collierville the other day, and commenced paying off the troops at the place. I hope will extend his visit to our regiment, as we are sadly in need of [gelt ?].
April 4, 63
Pg. 2 Col. 2, 3,and 4
Head Quarters Company D. 12th Reg.
Memphis Tenn. Mar 21, 1863
Once more doth our humble
servant be leave to engage you r readers with a few moments conversation,
though it be not of a very interesting nature. We have once more taken
a short jaunt, and have at last "brought up" in the great city of southern
chivalry. We bid adieu to our lovely camp, near Collierville, on week ago
today, and the same evening found ourselves safely ensooced within the
suburbs of the city of Memphis. The roads were in pretty good condition,
and we made the march of twenty miles, with perfect ease.
The day before we left Collierville, our forage train was attacked, or rather a dew of the guard, who were straggling along some distance to the rear of the main force and three of them were taken prisoners. They were handled rather roughly, and barely escaped with their lives. It was about four o'clock in the afternoon when they were captured. Their hands were bound behind them and they were marched several miles into the country, when all of the rebel party dispersed, save a Captain and one Lieutenant, who took it upon themselves to conduct there prisoners (as they told them) to their General's headquarters, a few miles distant. They were led through dismal swamps, and round-about ways till they were completely puzzled and knew not one direction from another. They were then drawn up into line; and told that they must die. One of our men upon hearing this, though it no worse to be shot while running than while standing still, and that the former course admitted of some hopes of escape, while in the latter, there was no hopes. He accordingly "made a break", but the guerrilla Captain was upon his guard, and left fly a shot from his navy. It was so very dark that he missed his aim, but our man was so close to his would be murderer, that his face was blown full of powder and he fell senseless to the ground. The other two thinking their comrade dead, also made an attempt of their lives and these too were fired upon. One of them fell on the ground, just as the shot was fired, when the ball struck his left hand, taking off his thumb and first two fingers, and passed through his right arm. It also severed the cord that bound him and he was free. The loss blood was not so great but that he was able for the sake of life, to march all night. He reached our camp just as were are about to leave in quite a critical condition, from the loss of so much blood. He was immediately cared of and now doing well. He reported the other two as certainly dead, but the day after our arrival here, the one who had his face blown full of powder, made his appearance with no other wounds than s sore and rather disfigured "phiz." He was astonished to learn of the arrival of one of his companions, but was positive that the third would never make his appearance, for he had seen him shot though the back, and heard his dying groan, as he fell lifeless to the ground, but the death of his poor comrade, was only imagination, for upon the fourth day, the third and last one "turned up" in camp, all safe and sound. He too, thought the others had been killed, and that he was the only one "left to tell the tale." The third man had rather the most difficulty in effect his escape, as the murderer's [Black Slang] hounds were put upon his track, and he was compelled to use many strategic movements in order to evade them. He swam wolf river three times, and finally succeeded in saving his bacon.
Last Monday a paymaster, with his little tin box filled with the much needed greenbacks, made his appearance in camp, and commenced paying of our regiment. Our first year's clothing account was also settled up by him, and the balance, if there was any in our favor, paid to us in cash. But very few of the men and especially those in our company alone sent home over two thousand dollars, which I think speaks pretty well in our favor.
A few days after our arrival here, there was a general review of our regiment, and the Thirty-third Wisconsin, to see which of the two made the best appearance. Our regiment has been much longer in the service, than has the Thirty-third, and or course, it would be natural for us to be a little the best drilled in military tactics, but both regiments did well, and were loudly praised by all who witnessed "the show."
There are now five Wisconsin Regiments here: The Eleventh, Twelfth, Thirty-second, Thirty-third, and the Second, (Cavalry.) The Eleventh came down the river a few days since, and is still lying at the wharf, upon boats ready to take them down the river if needed. The Thirty-second are doing provost duty in the city, and are encamped in the navy yard. The Thirty-third are encamped very near the Twelfth, and as they have received new tents since their arrival here, their camp presents a beautiful and homelike appearance. When they first arrived in town, last week, they could not number over three hundred men for duty, but now they number over five hundred. What vast difference that yet nothing but their being compelled to live in those cursed dog tents, has caused so much sickness. God forbid that they were be put into them again. Our officers have made a requisition for new tents, as our old ones are nearly worthless, and I trust we shall be enable to get them.
J. H. Myeres, Esq. of Kewaskum, and Mr. Lampert, of West Bend, have been spending a few days with us, they came to visit the "boys" and to take home some of their friends who have been discharged from the serve on account to disability. It is a blessing to see a friend from home occasionally and we trust that more of them will visit us. Now that the spring is just budding into bloom, it is a fit and happy time to visit. We should indeed be happy to have as many of our friends as can conveniently give us a call and be sure to bring a wife or a sweetheart with you for we long to see their smiling faces and hear their gentle words of love.
How long we shall remain in Memphis, it is not for me to know, but present appearance indicated that is will be or some time, if not longer. The health of our company, and regiment was never better, although we have lately been called to mourn the loss of another beloved member of our company. Sergeant Franklin B. Wheeler, who died in the hospital in the city, on Friday the 13th inst., of small pox. Peace to his ashes. He was a brave and a worthy brother to us and we deeply sympathize with his afflicted parents in their distress.
Sunday May 23 1863
Pg. 2 Col. 2
Head Quarters Company D. 12th Reg.
Memphis Tenn., May 8, 1863
After a silence of several
weeks, I again resume the pen for the benefit of your readers. During my
short leave of absent home, I enjoyed myself finely, but would have been
much better pleased had I been able to have soon all of my friends, but
that could not be. Upon my return to Memphis I found my regiment as I had
left it, much to my surprise, as I had heard it reported on my way hither
that it had been in a heavy battle, and had been almost annihilated. Such
is not the case however, for only one man in the regiment was wounded,
and he not dangerously. The Thirty-third lost two officers killed and several
privates wounded. Major Hayes of the Fourth Illinois cavalry, was dangerously
wounded and died before reaching Memphis. A private in Spear's Fifteenth
Ohio Battery, was killed, and also on in the Forty-first Illinois Infantry,
making a total of three officers and two privates killed, and six privates
wounded. Our forces captured 125 prisoners, and killed and wounded seventy-five
or eighty more. The expedition was a compete success.
There is a rumor afloat in camp this morning, that our division is soon to be relieved from duty here, and sent down the river to co-operate with Grant's army around Vicksburg, but nothing definite is yet know.
An order has recently been given, granting furlough to the troops in this department, at the rate of five per cent to the actual force now present, which I consider to be a very judicious plan, and one that will give general satisfaction. At this rate it will admit of four from this company visiting there homes and friends every thirty days. Who the lucky four are for the first trip, I am unable to say. The furloughs for this regiment, have not yet been received, but are daily expected.
The members of his company, wishing to offer a slight testimonial of their regard to Capt. Price, of his unceasing labors in their behalf, a few evenings since presented him with a beautiful sward, sash and belt, costing upwards of $80. The company formed an angle in front and on the right of the Captain's ten, while the band occupied the left completely flanking him, giving him no possibility of an escape. The Captain was then called out, when Sergeant Major Gilson stepped forward with the prize, and presented it to the Captain in a shot, but very pretty speech. Captain Price was taken completely by surprise, for not a lisp had be heard of what was going on, until the moment the "thing was did". The Captain was so much surprised, that he was for a few moments at a loss for word to express thanks to the generous donors, but finally accepted the gift with a few very feeling and patriotic remarks. The company then gave three rousing cheers for their noble captain, and the band struck up the lively tune of "Hail to the Chief." Thus ended the scene in a gay and jovial manner. Long live the Captain, say we all.
Sergeant N. S. Gilson, of our company, has been promoted to Sergeant Major. He will make a capital officer and is well deserving of the promotion.
The company is unanimous in their thatís to those kind friends at home who sent them so many little delicacies by me, and will return the compliment, if our men are fortunate enough to get their furloughs.
The health of the company is excellent and, if fact the entire regiment. More anon.
P. S. Ho, for Vicksburg. The order has come for us to go immediately on board the transport that are to take us down the river. Our brigade (3d.) under command of Co. Bryant, is the first of our division to go. If my life is spared, my next letter will undoubtedly be dated at a point several degrees south of this, where old Sol will greet us with, if not a friendly, a very warm reception, and where reb(s) alligators, and other pretty birds are known to congregate. We are going to fight them in their holes, give them a taste of Yankee pluck and steel. You may soon expect to hear of the fall or evacuation of Vicksburg for nowhere does the 12th Wisconsin go, but where victory and success awaits us. If the reb's hear of our coming, they will execute immediately.
Yours in haste.
May 23, 1863
Pg. 2, Col. 2 & 3
Head Quarters Company D, 12th Reg.
In Camp near Carthage, La. May 14. 1863
As we have halted for
"further orders," I will endeavor to give you a brief description of our
journeying to this famous land of swamps and alligators.
On the morning of the 11th inst., we struck tents in the city of Memphis and embarked on board transports that seemed anxious to deprive us of the enjoyments we were experiencing in that quiet city, and hurl us into the very jaws of death. Our brigade (3d) was the first to go. It required a steamer of reach regiment, but ours was nearly as large again as either of the others, and a very beautiful one too, the Continental. The 28th Illinois embarked on board the steamer New Kentucky, and the 53d Indiana o the steamer Fonny Bullitt. It occupied nearly the whole day to load the boats, and it was bout seven o'clock in the evening, when the Continental swung out, from the levee, and steamed down the river, followed closely by the Kentucky and Bullitt. The 32d Illinois was not yet ready to leave, and when I did get under way, the balance of the brigade were many miles in the advance, so far so, that their little "stern wheeler" was not able to overtake us, but doomed to a lovely trip by herself. We left Memphis with banners flying, and bands playing, to the tunes of Dixie, and old John Brown, and the city was soon lost in the distance. We sped on our way till about four o'clock in the morning, when we hauled up at Helena, where we remained several hours. During the day, Tuesday, we saw nothing of much interest save on occasional boat bound up the river, and we passed our time very pleasantly. On Wednesday we passed several fun boats that were patrolling the river to keep it free from guerillas who infested that portion of the country in great numbers, and annoyed as considerably, by firing upon transports as they go up and down the river. About three p. m. we met a gunboat, and as we were traversing a rather dangerous portion of the river, it "right about faced" on meeting us, and kept us company during the balance of the day. Occasionally we would espy a few "rebs" sneaking about on shore, when the old gunboat would let fly at them a broad side that would make them "get up and dust" in a hurry. And the woods would ring merrily with the echo for many miles around. At dark the gunboat bade us adieu, and halted for the night leaving us the pursue the remainder of our journey alone.
We passed lake Providence some time during the night of Tuesday, and arrived at Milliken's Bend about day light Wednesday morning. Here we remained an hour or two, and then dropped down to the mouth of the Yazoo river [?] and a short time to reconnoiter and we saw some thirty or forty transports and gunboats awaiting their orders. We remained here but a short time, and then dropped down to within six miles of Vicksburg, where we landed, and commenced disembarking, on the Louisiana shore, and within plain view of the rebel stronghold.
About four p. m. we had everything ready, and soon took up our line of March across the country for the river below. Our way was though a large and gloomy swamp, on a corduroy road made by our forces for his purpose. After a tramp of about three miles we struck the river below Vicksburg nearly opposite Warrenton, which place was burned and captured by our forces, on the night previous, and who's ruins were still smoking terribly. After we struck the river, we found a pretty good road along the levee, which we followed about one mile, and then went in to camp for the night, in plain sight of Vicksburg. It commenced raining about dark, and kept up the drizzling rain all night. It was such a dark night, that we expected there would be some running of the blockade, and we anxiously awaited the result, hoping to witness the sport, but nary a trial was made, and we rested without any disturbance.
This morning (Wednesday) we again pulled up stakes, and resumed our march down the river following the level road until we reached the place where Grant out the level, and inundated the country for many miles. Here we had to divert from the main road, and make our way through the sandy and [misy ?] bottom, for some two of three miles, when we struck dry land again. It rained furiously all day, except at short intervals, when the sun would come out hot enough to singe the hair of a cat, and would fairly boil the clothes upon our backs. When within a mile of New Carthage the place we wee again to embark of Grand Gulf, we were ordered to halt, and pitch our camp, and await further orders, as there were no transports yet ready two receive us.
It was about noon when we halted and after dinner the teams were all sent back to Young's Point, for forage and rations, which will compel us to remain here until they return, and for how much longer none can tell. There is warm work ahead, you may be assured, but when and where it to begin, it is not for memo state. I shall keep on the Qui vive for something interesting to write and when it does turn up, you may expect to hear from me again.
June 13, 1863
Pg. 2, Col. 2 & 3
Head Quarters Company D, 12th Reg.
Grand Gulf, Miss., May 21. 1863
Since my last letter,
which was dated at New Carthage, Louisiana, we have changed our base of
"operations," and are now garrisoning Grand Gulf. We left new Carthage
(since called Camp Alligator,) on the 18th inst., and after
a run of four hours landed safely in this place. I saw noting of interest
on our way hither, save a few very large and beautiful looking plantations,
each of which made quite a pretty little village in itself, being composed
of one beautiful villa, in which resided the wealthy and aristocratic old
planter, and from ten to fifty neat and tidy little log huts for his large
and thriving family, "ob cullud individuals." We arrived at Carthage about
dusk, and I was much disappointed in the place, for instead of finding
a populous and thriving village of southern chivalry, I saw nothing but
a beautiful little village of negro huts, in front of which loomed up with
a haughty and overbearing manner, one of the handsomest structures that
I ever beheld, in the shape of a residence - one that would have been an
ornament even to the wealthiest cities of the North. It contained a large
steam saw and flouring mill, and cotton manufactory, besides a neat little
church, for the benefit of those sable beauties who felt religiously inclined.
All this was the property of one man, and before the war broke out, was
a mine of itself, but now, what it is worth? His negroes have all fled
to (them) the happy land of Canaan, but if some of them don't find the
"Jordan is a hard road to travel," long ere they reach that happy shore,
you may have my head for a foot-ball, during the remainder of my immortal
After our arrival at this notorious place, we bivouacked for the night, on the bank of the river, with the mighty canopy of heaven for our tent. It was a levelly night and the myriads of beautiful stars shone forth like diamonds, in a casket, while the beautiful young moon cast her bewitching smiles upon us from behind the forest trees. It was a sight worth the pencil of our 'special artist" to adorn the pages of our illustrated monthly and weekly periodicals. The nest morning we marched up to top of the high bluffs, that command a view of the river, for miles each way and here pitched our camps. We came to relieve Gen. McArthur's division, in order that he might joining Gen. Grant. In the field where heavy fighting was daily going on. During the day, McArthur had everything put in readiness for an early start on the following morning for Jackson, but his labors were made fruitless in that direction, ere the night had half passed away. About eleven o'clock at night, all the transports from about we arrived at this place for McArthur to immediately take his commanded up the river to Warrenton, to reinforce Grant, who was then marching upon Vicksburg and nearly surrounding the city. It was reported that the right wing of Grant's army rested upon the Yazoo river above and left reached nearly to Warrenton below, and if McArthur could reach that latter place in season, the rebel stronghold would be completely surrounded, rendering escape utterly impossible unless they cut through our lines, which was thought they never could accomplish. Accordingly the long roll was immediately sounded within all the camps of his (McArthur's) division, and the streets were soon alive to the heavy tread of many soldiers. They took nothing with them save arms and ammunition, and what few rations they carried in their haversacks, and ere many minutes had elapsed, the fleet was gliding silently and swiftly up the river. What success they met with, I have not yet fully learned, but it is reported that the rebels shelled them from Vicksburg, while attempting to land, and force them to retire to a more distant point. It is said that McArthur, on finding it impossible to land his troops at Warrenton, immediately crossed over to Young's Point, and from thence proceeded up the Yazoo river, and joined Grant upon the right. It is reported that Grant has taken possession of Hayne's bluff, to the rear of Vicksburg, and has captured some seventy and from seven to nine thousand prisoners. He has captured or silenced nearly all of their heavy siege guns, and has them completely surrounded, and only waits for reinforcements, to enable him to take the city, and capture the whole caboodle. Heavy firing is continually going on, and you may expect ere many days, to hear of very important news.
Grand Gulf is a place of considerable importance just now, as a commissary depot for nearly the whole of Grant's army, but there is no town of village here. What of the village has not been washed into the river, was destroyed by our forces some time last summer, and now but two housed, high upon the bluffs are left to tell of what was once a handsome and thriving little town. The 12th Wis., 28th and 32d Illinois regiments and the 15th Ohio battery, are left here to garrison the post. The 53d Indiana regiment, which belongs to our brigade, was sent up to the river with McArthur's division, and will probably have hand in the contest. There is one negro regiment here, and each soldier has family with or near him so the streets are completely filled with wenches, and their filthy and half naked young ones. They live in brush or mud housed, in the hollows back from the river, and are foddered by our government in about the same manner that our mules, horses or cattle are fed, and add wonderfully to the beauty and tranquility of the place.
We are now luxuriating upon all climate, such as garden "sass" of all kinds and many wild fruits of all varieties. The health of the troops is pretty good, although some are suffering from what we used to call the "Tennessee Quickstep."
June 27, 1863
Pg. 2, Col. 3 & 4
Head Quarters Company D, 12th Reg.
Grand Gulf, Miss., June 9, 1863
Ere the rising of another
sun the 12th regiment will be enroute for Vicksburg, to join
the terrible conflict that doth now prevail in that vicinity. Just as were
sending out picket guards this morning, an order came from brigade headquarters,
for every man to remain in camp, and hold themselves in readiness to march
at a moment's notice. About ten A. M. the fifth Ohio battery and two companies
of our regiment, together with about seven hundred [Black Slang, plural]
embarked on board the steamer Forest Queen, and was soon steaming up the
river. About noon the balance of the regiment received orders to "strike
tents," and send our baggage down to the levee, to be loaded on board the
steamer J. W. Cheeseman, which was lying at the wharf, ready to receive
For the past week we have been sending forage trains into the country every day, mostly for the purpose of bringing in all the negroes that wish to be went north, and the way they flocked in has been a caution to sinners. At least ten thousand have been sent off during the last week, and our forces remain here a week or two longer, not a [Black Slang] could be found within a hundred miles of the Gulf. But I understand that his place is a to be evacuated, until Vicksburg is wholly ours, as it is thought to be of no use to us until that time. It is on of the best places that can be found to fortify, and no doubt our gunboats will make frequent visits to it after our force are all gone to prevent the "rebs" for taking possession of it.
It is now six o'clock p. m. and orders have come go on board the boat immediately, so I must dry up.
Head Quarters Company D, 12th Reg.
Camp near Vicksburg, June 14th. 1863
I gave you a brief notice
of our movements, up to the one of our departure from Grand Gulf. Since
then we have had a little excitement, but nothing to what we soon expect
We left Grand Gulf about eight o'clock on the evening of the 8th inst., and arrived at Warrenton at day light, on the morning of the 10th. It rained very hard all day, which rendered it very slow and tiresome work unloading our boat. At night we bivouacked on the levee, and at seven o'clock Thursday (11) we struck out to rejoin our division, which formed the extreme left of Grant's army. Gen. Lauman's head-quarters are not over five miles from Warrenton, yet we had to march at least ten miles to reach it. We arrived here about noon, and went into camp in a deep ravine about ten miles back from the rebel work at five p. m. Companies D, E, F, G, and H, of our regiment, were sent to the front, and picked duty. Our line of pickets are stationed on a high Bluff, from one to five hundred yards from the enemy's works, and as we approached our pickets to relief them we were compelled to expose ourselves somewhat to the enemy's fire, and were so warmly greeted with shot and shell that we had to get in a hurry. We were soon under cover of our breastworks, without a singe man receiving a scratch although the "hair" stood up on many of their heads. A pretty brisk fire was kept up on both sides till after dark when the "rebs" ceased firing entirely, but our men kept it up at intervals during the night.
At early dawn on Friday, the entire line of our works was a continual haze of fire, from infantry and artillery, but the rebels very seldom returned the fire only when too many of our men exposed themselves at a time. We peppered away all day at them, but in what result I am unable to say as the enemy kept pretty close, and busied themselves strengthening their fortifications. The line of works that we now occupy, are some that our division charged upon, and took a few days previous to our arrival, and we expect soon to make another charge.
Our line is about seventeen miles in length, and is a complete net work of rifle pits, battalions, forts and ditches. In this way we advanced slowly, but charges are seldom made, for the reason that a bout two miles intervenes between our forces and the city, and in that space there are, in all probability more than fifty gullies - depths that appear to have been mostly washed out by rains. These are often fifty feet deep, perpendicular and perhaps as many wide. Their rifle pits are upon these, so you may from some idea of what undertaking it would be to charge tem. We might as well try to scale a shot tower. Our men frequently get into these gullies in the night time, with a day's rations and woe be to the "rebs" who show themselves during the day upon their earthworks.
It is impossible to imagine a more difficult country to fight in than this. In going a distance of one mile, one will had to cross perhaps twenty hills, short and steep and the roof of a house. To draw a twenty four pounders up these hills, it requires a team of twenty or thirty horses, or mules. One siege gun is being mounted on the left of us, that took sixty yolk of cattle to draw it. In order to descend these hills, all the wheels had to be locked and then they will slide down like a sled. Gen. McPherson has one of these heavy siege guns planted a few miles to the right of us, with which he is battering away at the enemy's key fort, and is knocking it all to pieces.
Our men are confident of success, and you need not be surprised if you hear of the capture of the city at any day; and yet you must not be impatient if it is not done for a month, or there is a "heap" of digging and mining to be done before it can be accomplished, unless they run out of rations or ammunition. The Stories given by deserters are so vastly different, that it is impossible to tell how well supplied the are, but it is generally believed that they are very hard up of both. One of our deserts who came into our lines a day or two since, complains bitterly of the way in which they are feed. He says they subsist mostly on pea bread, which operates in about the same manner the clown's dried apples did, which was: he ate some for breakfast, drank water for dinner, and they swelled for supper. All the difference there is, the deserter says the pea bread will last a week in this way.
The skirmishers converse briefly from their breast-works and bushes. They often lay down their guns, where they were in ambush, and meet each other with as much sang froid as though at perfect peace, have a good chat or smoke together, and then return to their duty and pelt away at each other in dead earnest.
The health of the regiment is not quite as good as when I last wrote, as many are having the chill fever. One man belonging to company K, was shot in the side, soon after our arrival here, as he was venturing too high upon the bluffs, in range of the rebel sharpshooters, his wound is not considered dangerous however.
Dr. Carey, of our regiment, started for Wisconsin this morning, where he will enter upon the duties of inspector general of one of the districts of this state. Dr. Rogers is now the only surgeon we have, and I all probability will have his hands full while we remain here. He is a first rate fellow, knows his "biz" to perfection, and attends to it right up to the mark. May he never part from us, so long as we are "sojers." More anon.
July 18, 1863
Pg. 2, Col. 1
Head Quarters Company D, 12th Reg.
Vicksburg, Miss. July 5th, 1863
Another anniversary of
American Independence has been celebrated by the children of the revolution,
and another victory has been won that will make us all doubly anxious to
celebrate this memorable day. Vicksburg is ours, soul and body, now, and
no mistake, and the stars as strips float majestically over every part
of the city.
On the morning to the third inst. Gen. Pemberton sent over a flag of truce, with propositions for surrender, and fighting immediately ceased all along the lines. The soldiers on both sides would then lay down their arm, and meet half way, and have a genuine sociable chat for several hours. This was kept up during the day but a night each party returned to their respective dens, and were vigilant till the morning of the Fourth, when Gen. Pemberton marched his forces outside of the works, and stacked arms and color, and gave themselves up as prisoners of war. Our forces immediately took possession of their arms and then turned the rebs loose in the city. It was about the greatest time for rejoicing that ever I witnessed, and very many of the rebs appeared to be as highly pleased as ourselves.
They were completely starved out, and had it not been so, we might have battered away at the city of months, and not accomplished anything. It is certainly the strongest position in whole rebeldom. For the last two or three days they have subsisted entirely upon mule meat, and pea bread, and if such fodder won't make a men knock under, I am at a loss to know what would.
Our divisions has orders to march at seven o'clock this morning to Big Black river, with five days rations, and one hundred and fifty rounds of ammunition to each man. We are to go in light marching order, leaving behind all tents, clothing, sick & c., so I suppose we are soon to return again.
I have barely time to write these few lines, but am in hopes that I shall be able to write more at length in a day or so.
Sept. 15, 1863
Pg. 2, Col. 3
Head Quarters Company D, 12th Reg.
In camp near Vicksburg, Miss. Aug. 15th, 1863
Once more does the familiar
sound of "strike tents, pack wagons, and be ready to move at a moment's
notice" came forth from the musical throat of our worthy and accomplished
Sergeant Major; in five minutes or ten, we stand melting under the hot
rays of old King Solomon for at least two hours, before the stone image
to roll. Oh, but its most all piping hot and for once thank Providence,
we have but a little way to travel - only a mile - and then the "Marching
Twelfth" embarks on board of some kind of craft that walks upon the water.
Only think of it; a ride upon a living steam boat! Something that will
take us in ten short hours, a distance that to walk, would require at least
eight or ten days, and in the undertaking kill half the men, while now,
the men will all be in better trim than when they started.
We go to Natchez. Natchez, under the hill, or over the hill, I'm not certain which, but to Natchez, in some place is our destination. The Fourth division is to garrison the place, I'm told, and if this be true, we may expect to have big easy times so long as we remain there.
We now belong to the seventeenth Army Corps, (Gen. McPherson's) having just been transferred from the thirteenth (Gen. Ord's) which now goes to co-operate wit Gen. Banks in the capture of Mobile. Gen. McPherson's corps, I understand, is to guard the river from this place to Natchez.
Our regiment is certainly in good luck this time, for I am told that it is very healthy in Natchez, and as but few troops have, as yet, been there, all the luxuries of the "Sunny South" abound in profusion. If our imaginations prove but half correct, I, for one, shall be happy for the change, for Vicksburg is certainly a very unhealthy place. At the least calculation, I may say, that fully one-third of our regiment is utterly unfit for duty. Something that never before was known in our career as soldiers, and I pray may never be said again.
Great efforts are now, or have been making by our surgeon and officers, to perform "sick furloughs," or rather furloughs for the sick, and I hope their efforts may be accomplished. A large proportion of the officers of our division and in fact of the whole Western arm are now enjoying a short respite from duty, and are visiting with heir loved once at home. Only on officer was left in charge of a company. In haste.
September 26, 1863
Pg. 2, Col. 1 & 2
Head Quarters Company D, 12th Reg.
Natchez, Sept. 10th, 1863
Since my last, the troops
in this vicinity have been on a "reconnaissance in force," into Louisiana.
I was not able to go, but from "our boys" I learn the following in relation
to the expedition:
On the first of this month Gen. Cracker took the second and third brigades of his command, together with the Seventeenth Wisconsin cavalry, (which, by the way, perhaps you have not yet learned that the Seventeenth Wisconsin have all been mounted, a and received a full and complete cavalry outfit, but such is the case) and with ten days rations, started for Harrisburg Louisiana, where it was reported the rebels were congregating in large forces, and using the place as a rendezvous for all the arms, ammunition, and supplies, they could muster upon that side of the Mississippi river.
The first day was mostly occupied in getting the troops ferried across the river and at night they bivouacked on the bank of the beautiful Lake Concordia, some four or five miles west from here. The second day they marched within two or three miles of Trinity and halted for the night whilst the cavalry advanced to the river Wasdita, upon which the town is situated and began to cross the stream, upon [?], when they were fired upon from the opposite side, by a concealed foe, and had four of their men wounded. The Seventeenth returned the fire, but not knowing the strength of their foe, deemed it best to retrace their steps, and await reinforcements. After dark however, and before they returned to where the main body encamped, a squad of the Seventeenth procures a skid and crossed over to the opposite shore and captured a transport, heavily laden with cornmeal and bacon, which they burned, and returned to their own side of the river, without loss of a single man.
The third day our troops crossed the Washita river, and passed through the village of Trinity, but saw nothing of any "rebs." At night they went into camp near the forts of the Alexandria road, some five or six miles from Harrisburg, which place they intended to enter early on the following morning, and take the town by surprise. But the rebels were to wide awake for them, and before day light on the morning the surprise was to have taken place, they blew up their magazines and for, and skedaddled for parts unknown, for we heard the explosion, as knowing to know what was up, rushed madly on, in hopes of capturing some of the runaways. But they had not proceeded very far before the army of "attack in the rear", was given and all rushed back to their forks of the road and there commenced to fortify. This movement was occasioned by a messenger, being captured, while on is way to the for, with a dispatch purporting to come from a Gen. Somebody, to the commander of the Fort, telling him that he would soon come to his assistance with our thousand effective troops, and that he must hold the fort at all hazards, till he arrives.
There was a large corn field near the forks of the road, surrounded by heavy timber. This, our troops cut to the ground in a twinkling, and had their batteries planted so as to sweep the entire field and road. The infantry then took their station in the woods, and behind fences, so that they were completely concealed, and then anxiously awaited the approach of the enemy. Scouts were sent out several miles in the direction the supposed enemy were to come, but saw nothing to substantiate their fears, so returned to camp. The troops then, after several hours delay, took up their march again for Harrisburg, behaving said dispatch to be nothing but ever gotten [?] soldiers in command of the fort, to delay the arrival of our forces, and enable them to make good their escape which they did pretty effectually.
This fort was on of the strongest ones in all rebeldom and cost something like two million of dollars. They had already been two years at work at it and it was then far from being completed. Our boys thing that five hundred men, might easily have kept a bay that many thousand, as long as subsistence was furnished them, and it is a universal wonder to all that those in command of the place did no give us a trial. There were three large siege guns and six or eight field pieces without even spiking them.
Our troops through away some two or three filed pieces and spiked the rest and threw them into the river. They also destroyed what was left of the fort and the village. Most of the houses in the village were filled with ammunition, and the hub-bub occasioned by the setting fire there to sound like popping corn on a mighty big scale. After destroying everything and finding no rebs, our troops bade adieu to Harrisburg, and retraced their steps towards Natchez and arrived on the seventh and all are safe and sound.
On the return in the area, the boys had some leisure time and freedom given them, than on going out, and occupied it in fishing and hunting alligators. One of our men killed five to the little beauties in one day, and many others did something in the line.
The county lying between Natchez and Trinity is very rich and beautiful, but between Trinity and Harrisburg, it is nothing but lakes, bayous and alligator swamps. At the time Gen. Grant cut the levees at Vicksburg, this country was completely inundated. The road along which our troops passed, was from thirty to forty feet about the present water mark, but the highest water mark was something like ten or fifteen feet above their heads; so you can from some idea of what sort of a country it use to be.
It is thought that the rebs on leaving Harrison burg, but their course for Monroe, some ninety of a hundred miles further up the Washita river; at least that is where the transport captured by our troops, was bound.
Pg. 3 Col. 1
Capt. J. M. Price, of the 12th regiment arrived home yesterday. He is looking hale and hearty, and reports the health of this company is quit good, with the exception of Mr. Cowan who is quite sick. The Captain will remain at home about ten days.
November 7th, 1863
Pg. 2, Col. 1 & 2
Head Quarters Company D, 12th Reg.
Natchez, Oct 16, 1863
The record of the past
week of two, has but very few times of special interest., therefore, I
will not trouble you with a very lengthy letter.
About a week since, Lieut. Col. Wm. E. Strong, Inspector General of the Seventeenth Army Corps, (Formerly Major of this regiment) arrived from Vicksburg for the purpose of reviewing and inspecting the troops at this place. The first of be reviewed was Gen. Smith's brigade of the sixth division, which took place on the 8th inst., at Davis' plantation, about one mile and a half from the city. By those who witnessed the performance it was pronounced a complete success. The weather could not have been more delightful, as a refreshing shower had visited us the day previous and the roads were in best possible condition "carriages filled" with ladies - representatives of the wealth and beauty of the city were here to witness the pageant, and all seemed to be very well pleased with the exhibition.
The different brigades of the fourth division, were each, in their turn, reviewed and inspected by Col. Strong on Broadway; after which, they marched in review through some of the principal streets of the city, presenting a very beautiful display.
On Sunday, Gen. Smith's brigade left this city for Vicksburg. The Seventeenth Wisconsin, which belongs to this brigade, has lent all of their horses and cavalry equipments, so recently furnished them for the benefit of some other regiments, and intend getting more upon their arrival at Vicksburg. Everything left by them was immediately turned over to the Fifty-third Indian regiment of our brigade and they are kept in almost constant motion to keep down the bands of prowling guerillas that infest this region. It is reported that Gen. Logan, with a force of from two to five thousand rebel cavalry is encamped within a few miles of this city, and it is thought he intends making a dash upon us some future morning, and capture the city. We are prepared for him, so that if he comes in to take breakfast with us, he will receive the very best of our leader affords, which if it does not give him the "Tennessee," or some other kind of a "quickstep," will be all that he will be able to digest for the next six months to come.
Since the troops for Gen. Smith, have left the city, Gen., Gresham has been in command of the post, and Co. Bryant in command of our brigade again. Lieu. Colonel Lowell, of the Thirty-third Wisconsin, had been appointed District Provost marshal, and is just the man of such a position.
On Friday evening last, some of the officers of the second brigade, gave a military ball in the city, at which cover eight couples were in attendance. The elite of the city were there, in all their gayest finery, and everything went off in grand style. It is the object, I believe to the officers, to have one of these social gatherings at least once a week, during our stay here.
Since our troops have been stationed here, quite a number of them had formed an alliance with ladies off the "sunny south,' and if he young ladies at the North, who have sweet hearts here in the army, become dilatory in their correspondence with their lovers, they must be frightened if they hear of many mere such love matches.
"for Love will always find its way
Where wealth and beauty doth display."
November 28th, 1863
Pg. 2, Col. 1
Head Quarters Company D, 12th Reg.
Natchez, Nov. 13th, 1863
Since my last nothing
of much importance has transpired. We have gone into winter quarters, or
rather have gone into barracks, which is a pretty good sign that were are
to remain here some time, if not longer. The second Brigade left here a
few days since, of Vicksburg, and it was rumored that one of the other
two, were to go also but none could tell which one. One day it was our
brigade that was to go and the next day, it was the first brigade, and
nothing definite was known as to which was really the one, until late last,
evening, when we received orders to pack up and be ready to move at six
o'clock this morning. The thing being now settled for certainty, that we
were to go, all hands went busily to work making rations, a and making
the desired preparations for a long journey. About three o'clock this morning
the Band "tooted all hands to quarters" and soon the regiment was busily
knapsacks, "striking tents" and packing wagons. By daylight all was ready
and the teams were sent down to be unloaded onto the transports that were
to bear us away, and the regiment was formed into line, stacked arms, ready
at a moment notice, to bid adieu to our beautiful camp, and its many happy
remembrances. The teams which had been sent to the boats had unloaded,
and returned to camp, for some Quartermaster's stores, which we being loaded
up, when an order came to unload, pitch teams, and again resume occupations
of our camp. This news was received with deafening cheers from the boys
and soon all were as quiet and happy, as though nothing unusual had transpired.
This place has been threatened by a large force, of several weeks, and Gen. Cracker, after receiving orders to send two brigades to Vicksburg, sent but one and then went up, himself, to see if he could not be allowed to keep the other two here, as one brigade was entirely too small a force to hold the place. He returned this morning, soon after we had broken up camp, and told us to remain where we were so I think his wish to keep the two brigades, must have been granted.
Our lives here have been out scouting and foraging nearly every day, for the past week, and nearly every time have met the enemy, in some force, with in a few files of our camps. Day before yesterday as squad of some thirty negro soldiers were sent out afterwards, and while out, were attacked by a much larger force of guerrillas, who killed three of four of the negroes, and wounded as many more. The negroes were lucky, and finally drove the "rebs" killing one Captain, and wounding several men. Today a small party of our men were sent out and had a skirmish with about one hundred and fifty rebs, but the result of which I have not been able to ascertain. The regiment was never in better health than now, and while thus, time flies rapidly, and pleasantly. We have now entered upon our third, and last year, to which we were bound to uncle Abe, and we look forward with a great deal of pleasure to the day (which we pray may not be far distance) when we shall be set at liberty and allowed to return to our happy childhood's home. More anon
January 2, 1864
Pg. 2, Col. 2 & 3
Head Quarters Company D, 12th Reg.
Natchez, Nov. 13th, 1863
One week ago this morning,
while we were lying quietly in our camp, a few miles to the rear of Vicksburg,
we received orders to put two days' rations in our haversacks, and be ready
at 9 o'clock for a scout. So none were certain whither we were bound, a
thousand rumors were afloat in regard to it. Nearly all of our train had
been sent the day previous, to the Chickasaw valley, for forage, so that
but two teams were left to a regiment, for this expedition; just enough
to carry the officers baggage, and a few days rations for the men. At ten
o'clock all was ready, and in light marching order we struck out for Vicksburg.
Several regiments of cavalry; one or two batteries, and two regiments of
infantry were represented in the caravan. We arrived at Vicksburg about
three o'clock in the afternoon, and immediately embarked on board transports,
that were lying at the levee, to receive us. Upon these we bivouacked for
the night, and at early dawn on Saturday morning the fleet, (which consisted
of four transport loaded with infantry, and artillery, and four marine
boats, loaded with cavalry and artillery,) weighted anchor, and steamed
down the mighty river. The large and beautiful steamer Atlantic was the
flag ship of the occasion, and lead the van, upon which, was Gen. Gresham
(who was in command of the expedition,) and Staff; a part of the Fifteenth
Ohio Battery, and the right wing of our regiment, commanded by Lieut. Col.
James K. Proudfit (Col. Bryant having gone home, to recruit for the regiment.)
Many were the rumors, as to our destination, and but few, if any, guessed right. Some would have it that we were to patrol the river form Vicksburg to the mouth of Red River, stopping at different points along the route, to take short scouts into the country, in search of guerillas, who, of late, have been very annoying to river navigators, firing upon every boat bound either up or down without a strong guarded of soldiers upon her. At a place called Water Proof, and also at Rodney, the guerillas were very bold, and troublesome, and it was thought by many that Gen. Gresham would burn the towns. But all were doomed to disappointment, in that respect, for we steamed quietly past the towns, without giving or receiving as much as a salute.
Nothing of interest transpired during the day, and as early twilit we rounded the bend about the beautiful city of Natchez, and in a few moments, lay quietly moored at her levee. Here we learned the purpose and meaning of our expedition, which was to give sucker and aid the small garrison stationed here, against a large and threatening foe, that was marching upon the city, form the vicinity of Jackson, which Gen. McPherson has learned of, through his scouts and spies, and sent us hither, to defeat their project, which we did very easily.
This rebel expedition left Jackson some days in advance of us, but as they had to foot it, we arrived here in advance of them, or about the same time. When we arrived, we were informed by the troops stationed her, that the rebels were just outside their works, and had driven in or pickets to the fortifications. Also, that the rebs had sent in an order for their surrender of the city on the following morning, which, if not compiled with the city would be stormed. There was but a small force of white troops here, and one regiment of colored infantry, and some colored heavy artillery. The troops had become a little frightened at the prospect before them, not knowing of our approval, but as soon as we have in sight, all fears vanished, for they were then confident of support and success.
Gen. Gresham was busy all night, getting the troops off the boats, and stationing them in different portions of the city, ready for the coming battle, which every one though would inevitably come upon the morrow. Col. Proudfit took the Twelfth out near their old camping grounds, about midnight were he drew us up in line of battle, and then told, all to lay down and get what little sleep and rest they could before daylight, for then there would be warm work for all. The Colonel insisted that all should have a little rest, and himself volunteered to stand guard over us, and awaken us in case of any alarm. So we all lay down upon the cold ground
January 23, 1864
Pg. 2, Col. 2 & 3
Head Quarters Company D, 12th Reg.
Natchez, Dec 23. 1863.
Since my last letter to
you, the Twelfth, Wisconsin, has been out on another scout, and like all
other times, returned without a fight not seeing anything to fire our guns
A few days after my last letter was written, the balance of our camp came down from Vicksburg - bringing with them a lot of new tents for the regiment, where we were very glad to see. They are the "wedge tent," and are calculated for six men each, but we were fortunate enough to borrow a few others of the same patterns, picked up at different places, by the [?] that we have a tent to four men, is which they can live, and enjoy themselves finely. We have pitched our camp on the outskirts of the city, near our old camping grounds where we are having fine times doing duty nearly every day. We have a detail of from eight to ten men every day for picket guard, and form fifteen to twenty men for fatigue duty, working upon the fortifications, &c., &c., making rather more duty for us than we have ever had to do before. It is the general opinion of all, that we are to remain, here all winter, guarding the city, working upon the fortifications, and occasionally taking a scout into the country, in search of "rebs" and guerrillas.
Last Monday about noon, we received orders to be ready at one o'clock, with three days rations in our haversacks, for a scout, but it was nearly two o'clock before the column got started. It contained the Twelfth Wisconsin, Twenty-second Illinois; and Twenty-ninth Indiana regiments of infantry, cavalry, battery of artillery, a detachment of mounted infantry, and a detachment of the Fourth Illinois cavalry. The band of the Twelfth Wisconsin escorted us out through the city, and then returned to camp leaving us to jog our way along to the music of the fife and drum. We went out on the Washington road, passing through a little village of that name some six miles form Natchez. On leaving Washington, we took the road leading to Fayette, some twenty miles distance, in which place we expected to find the enemy in considerable force. We marched till midnight; but it being rather dark, our progress was very slow and which we halted, we were but seventeen miles from Natchez and nine miles from Fayette. We bivouacked in a cornfield where we rested quietly till the next morning at daylight when we again took up our march.
About nine o'clock, and when within two or tree miles of Fayette, our cavalry had returned, bringing the news that the rebels bad descend of our coming and left for parts unknown. It was now deemed useless for us to proceed further, so we halted upon the banks of a little stream, till noon, cooking our breakfast and dinners, and enjoying a good rest. After dinner we turned our faces homeward, and were jogging along at our leisure, for two or three miles, when an order was given to halt and the cavalry to return to Fayette to capture a band of one hundred and fifty rebs who had made a dash, into [?] our troups had left.
It appears that Colonel or Gen. had [?] some [?] hundred rebels prowling through the country, gathering conscripts, burning cotton, and firing upon boats passing up and down the river, as Gen. Gresham thought he would try and capture them. Gen. Ellis, of the Marine Brigade, had the same objective in view, and both started out about the same time. Col. Adams got wind of Gen. Ellis movements the same evening the fleet started out, so he sent the hundred and fifty of his men to Rodney, to watch his movements, and with the balance of his men, took up his quarters at Fayette. About twelve o'clock the same night, Adams learned that Gen. Gresham was after him by land and was then going into camp with a few miles of the town, intending to make an attack in the morning. This Adams did not like so he pulled up stakes immediately, and set out for safer quarters, leaving one hundred and fifty men to look out for themselves.
Gen. Ellis landed his troops at Rodney, and pitched into Col. Adam's men driving them back to Fayette, where they arrived soon after our cavalry had left, expecting to fill the balance of their crew there, but instead, saw Capt. Norton, (of Gen. Gresham's staff) and a squad of about one dozen men, they and thinking there might be more of our men at hand, they wheeled, and put off into the country, in another direction. Capt. Norton and his men went out after them, and captured one Lieut., and three private whom they brought with them to camp. Our cavalry pursued them till dark, where not overtaking them, they returned to camp, and we set out for Natchez. We marched till nine o'clock that night and we were into camp till morning when we again took up our march, arriving to Natchez; about two o'clock p. m. being absent just two days.
As Christmas is near at hand, we shall not be likely to make another scout for some time, as the soldiers are going to have grand times here then and will need some time, and rest, to prepare for it so wishing a Merry Christmas to all, I subscribe myself as over.
January 30, 1864
Pg. 2, Col. 2 & 3
Head Quarters Company D, 12th Reg.
Natchez, Jan. 4, 1864
I wish you all, a Happy
New Year. Another year of sin, sorrow, and suffering, has past and gone,
and yet this "cruel war" still rages, and will continue, no one knows how
long. A little over two years ago, we left our homes, friends, and firesides,
to do battle in a glorious cause - to put down one of the most wicked rebellions
that ever was upon record. But few, if any, dreamed that so long a time
would elapse, before their mission would be ended, and the country saved.
In this they have been sadly deceived, and [?] now expect to be freed,
until their full term of enlistment has expired. Both the government officials,
and very many of the soldiers in the field, anticipate a much longer cruise,
and are preparing themselves for it. The government is offering very good
and generous inducements, for soldiers to re-enlist for another term of
three years, and they, true-hearted patriots, are responding to the call,
Since the 1st of the present month, the officers and soldiers of the old Twelfth, have not been idle, nor unmindful of their duty, to their country. Nearly four hundred have signed their names to the "Roll of Honor," and ere the setting of another sun, it is bound to number at least five hundred Veteran Volunteers. They are bound to re-enlist enough to entitle the regiment to go home in day, to recruit, and visit so the good people of the old Badger-dom, must be on the qui vive, and be prepared to meet them with open arms and larders, for they are a set of wild devils, when let loose, and will be apt to make things howl, if not properly treated. More anon.
February 13, 1864
Pg. 2, Col. 2
Head Quarters Company D, 12th Reg.
Hebron, Miss., Jan 25. 1864.
By the heading of this
letter, you will perceive that we are back again in our old quarters, some
eight miles to the rear of Vicksburg. We left the beautiful city Natchez
last Saturday evening and arrived at Vicksburg about sundown the following
day. That night all our baggage was transferred from the boat to our wagons
but the men were allowed to remain on board the steamer till this morning
when at an early hour we were routed out, and were soon weeding our way
through that miserable sink hole of filth and iniquity. We arrived at Division
headquarters about noon and went into camp on the identical spot used by
us, when here before and will soon make it one of the prettiest camps in
the whole west.
It was a trying hour, indeed, to the soul of many a poor soldier to this regiment, when they were forced t leave the pretty city of Natchez, and the beautiful and accomplished ladies who wait there-in. We were ordered unto the boats about noon, but as the union cavalry had quite a skirmish that morning, with the rebs, within a few miles of the city, Gen. Gresham waited to learn the results of the affair, which detained us till nearly night, when it was learned that our boys were victorious, and we started up the river. During the whole afternoon, the levee was lined with soldiers, with their pretty sweethearts, in fond embrace. A few were fortunate, or foolish enough to get firmly united with their adored ones, and brought them captives with them, to this lonely and desolate spot, where alone dwells the rough and hardy soldier. May they never have occasion to repent of their follies, but I fear many of them will.
During our trip to this place, nothing of interest transpired. During our last visit to Natchez, there has been great and marked improvements in the city of Vicksburg, as regards cleanliness and business, but it still presents a disgusting and hatred appearance to many a soldier.
The troops in this vicinity, who are allowed the privilege of reenlisting are embracing the opportunity, en masse or rather have, already, but many are complaining bitterly, because they are not allowed to go some at once, as it seems nearly, if not all, had the promise held out to them, when they reenlisted. It is certain that all can not go a the same time, and I understand that there is a large expedition to be sent, with a few days, is the interior of the State, which will occupy from twenty-five to forty days to accomplish, so I think all Veterans will have to "wait a little longer," for the wagon that is to take them to their loved ones at home. I believe the expedition is to start the latter part of this week, and I shall endeavor to keep you as well posted, as possible, during our absence, but for the present. Adieu
March 26 1864
Pg. 2, Col. 2 - 6
Head Quarters Company D, 12th Reg.
Hebron, Miss., Mar 5. 1864.
As you are well aware,
long ere this, that the great expedition, under command of Gen. Sherman,
(which I spoke in my last letter, as soon to come off) has been accomplished,
and I presume, to the entire satisfaction of every one. Serving as I am,
in the capa city of an enlisted man, in the ranks of a regiment of infantry,
I am unable to giver very full, or correct details of all that has transpired
during this campaign, but will endeavor to give you the full particulars,
as witnessed by myself, and comrades.
On the morning of the 3d ult., General Crocker, commanding the 4th division of the 17th Army Corps, left camp Hebron, and set out for Black river, where he joined the balance of Gen. McPherson's corps, which was to take part in the grand expedition, and which consisted of the 3d division, commanded by General Leggett, and one brigade of the 1st div., commanded by Gen. Cambers. We crossed the Big Black during the day, and went into camp for the night, near Edward's Station, some five miles east of the river. The next morning we were on our way, at early dawn, the Second brigade of our division, taking the advance. Soon after noon they commenced skirmishing with the enemy, but did not meet with much opposition, till about four o'clock P. M. when the rebels made a bold stand, and dared us to the onslaught. Our regiment being in the advance of the third brigade, we were sent forward, to support the second brigade, but soon after, relieved them entirely, and took upon ourselves the duty of the who brigade, which came to a halt saying they could go no further. Our regiment then deployed as skirmishers, on either side of the road, and steadily advanced upon the enemy who were shelling us form the opposite side of the little creek, at a terrible rate. One shell exploded in the ranks of company I. killing three men, and slightly wounding two others. With yells and bounds, we then charged across the creek, through the mud, brush, briars, and timber, for the rebel battery, which was planted upon a commanding piece of ground as shot distance in front of us, giving us grape and canister in much larger quantities, than was at all agreeable to our sense of feeling. They thus greeted us; till we had crossed the creek, and emerged into the open field upon which there battery was planted, when they " limbered" up their pieces, and flew like the wind before us. Some of our cavalry, with one or two little pieces of artillery, crossed the creek in advance of us, some distance to our right, and gave the rebels a regular side-winder, as they were fleeing, in front of us. We followed them closely for a mile or two, till we reached Baker's creek which, the rebs had crossed before us, and planted there batteries in range with the only brigade, the creek afforded. It was now dark, and useless for us to pursue them further, as every advantage was in their favor, so we halted, to await further orders. Some orders came for us to send our heavy picket guard as far to the front as possible, and bivouac upon the banks of the creek, till morning. This ended our second day's march, and the fires opposition offered by the enemy. Our loss was four killed, and five or six wounded. On the morning of the 5th, Gen. Leggett came up with his (3d) Division, and as he attempted to cross the bridge, the rebs opened the ball in grand style, and all took partners for the dance. On rushed our gallant boys, and before the rebs had time to fire many round, most of the division had crossed the creek and were marching towards their foe, who was in heavy line of battle, less than half a mile distant, pouring at them a deadly shower of bullets, grape, canister, shell and solid shot. Our batteries were planted at the bridge, and were more powerful than those used by the rebel's and before our infantry had advanced for we had the satisfaction of seeing the rebs beat a hasty retreat. Three of General Leggett's men were killed, and some ten or fifteen wounded. The loss of the enemy was not known as they managed to take all with them, as they went. The rebels would occasionally make a short stand during the day, when good opportunities offered, but they impeded our progress but little, and at night we went into camp about midway between Clinton and Jackson. Our cavalry followed the rebs into Jackson, drove them across Pearl river, and captured one piece of artillery, several prisoners, and a part of their train. The also prevented the rebs form destroying the bridge across the river, and saved it of us to cross upon, which we did, the following day going into camp at night about one mile east of the river. We remained at Jackson most of the time during the day, and were visited by Maj. Gen. Hurlbut, of the 16th Army Corps, and to which we formerly belonged. Gen. Hurlbut gave the fourth division great praise, and said that he had tried every means in his power, to get us back again, but that Gen. McPherson thought too much of us to let us go.
The 16th Army Corps, on leaving Black river, took a road some two miles south of us, but arrived in Jackson, soon after we did. I understand they had about as much fighting on their road as we did, but I have been enable to learn of their results. We left Pearl river, on the morning of the 7th, and marched to Brandon, some twelve or fourteen miles where we sent into camp, for the night. Had but very little skirmishing during the day. At this place some little public property was destroyed together with the printing office of the Brandon Republican. I was fortunate enough to secure a copy of its last edition published only two days previous to our hasty arrival among them, I give you a few extracts, which I clip from the paper. -
"We have numerous reports of the advance of the enemy from Vicksburg during the past week, but up to last evening they had not crossed Big Black at any point that we could hear of. A force had gone up the Yazoo River, and firing was heard in that direction all day Tuesday, but it is generally supposed here that it was the yankee gunboats shelling the woods along the river. There is no doubt our general's anticipated an attack, and that ample preparations have been made to drive the invaders back should they attempt to advance into the interior. We learned that our forces sunk a yankee transport on the Yazoo on Wednesday of last week.
Later. - From sundown until after dark last evening we heard very heavy and rapid firing in the direction of Brownsville.
Our young friend, Lieut. Sam B. Watts, arrived here on Tuesday form Dalton, and reports our forces in the best of spirit, with plenty to eat and wear, absentees returning rapidly, and all re-enlisting for the war."
Before the war there were about seventy five papers published on the soil of Mississippi; now there are, we believe, only nine - viz: Meridian Clarion, Columbus Republic, Brandon Republican, Macon Beacon, Quitman Advertiser, Canton Citizen, Greensboro, Motive, and Helmesville Independent. The war has made sad havoc among our newspapers.
To my certain knowledge, there are four less than that number published on the soil of Mississippi, now; viz Brandon Republican, Meridian Clarion, Quitman Advertiser, and Canton Citizen. Their forms have been completely knocked into pie and now lie smoldering in dust and ashes.
We left Brandon on the morning to the 8th and marched some eighteen or twenty miles, and camped at night o the banks of the Pelahatchie River. Our cavalry skirmished considerable during the day and a few men were wounded, but none killed. The rebels formed in line of battle near the river, in front of a log cabin, in which dwelt the wife of a secesh soldier, with four of five little children. During the fight, this woman left her house for some unknown reason, and being exposed to the deadly fire of our men, was accidentally shot through the neck and instantly killed. The bodies of several rebel soldiers were also found after the fight, near the house. The woman was properly buried, and the children kindly cared for by our officers in command.
On the 9th, Gen. McPherson's corps marched but about six miles, and camped about noon, to allow Gen. Hurlbut, with the 16th Corps, to take the advance. They were late in the night passing our camp; and went into camp some five miles ahead of us.
On the 16th, we went to Hillsboro which place we found in ashes, nearly every house having been burned by Gen. Hurlbut's command, on account of having been fired upon while passing through the streets, by women, from the windows of their dwellings. A couple of red caped zouaves, (properly termed wood-peckers by our men) belonging to the 16th corps were captured to day by the rebs, who cut their ears and noes off, and then turned them loose to return to their commands at leisure.
On the morning of the 11th, we started out bright and early, but bad roads, and the train of the 16th army corps, kept us back, so that we were all late in the evening, marching eight or ten hours.
On the 12th, we went as far as Decatur, where we put up for the night; the 16th corps a few miles ahead. During the day, as we were short of meat, forage parties were sent out to gather up a supply, and while it was engaged, three men belonging to our regiment, and one man belonging to a battery, we surprised by about fifty rebels, who ordered them to surrender. Our boys discharged their guns at them, and then fled tot he woods out were overtaken by the rebels, who were on horse back, and two of our men were shot; through the neck, and the other through the shoulder. They both fell to the ground, but soon jumped up again and ran, firing as they went. The rebs then rode up, and shot them down again and left them as they supposed, for dead, after rifling the pockets of one. The other two were captured without being harmed, and taken with them as prisoners. The name of the two wounded men, were Thos. McDonald of Co. D. and L. E. Murray, of Co. I. Wm. G. Myers, of Co. D, was captured, but the battery man's name, I bid not learn. Soon after the rebels had left the field, McDonald and Murray, who were only feigning death to prevent the rebs form doing them further injury, suddenly came to life and with great exertions managed to reach their commands in safety, when they were properly cared for, and are now doing finely, and are entirely free from danger. The brother of one of the wounded men, John A. Murray - was killed in the skirmish at Raker's creek. The names of the other two killed in the fight, belonging to the same company, were Eugene Baldwin, and Ove Lind.
On the 11th, after marching a few miles, we [?] upon the train of the 16th army corps, Gen. Hurlbut having left it behind, and taking with him but a few days rations of "hard-tack" and coffee. During the day we marched about twelve miles, and camping at night on the banks of little Chunky creek.
On the morning to the 14th, we took three full days rations in our haversacks which was to be made to last us five days. A few days rations of "hard-tack" and coffee, was then put upon a wagon, which was to follow the regiment, and the balance of the train was then "corralled," to be left behind, under a strong guard in light marching order, we then set out for Meridian, and at night went into camp on the banks of Chunky river; within four or five miles of Meridian. The 16th army corps went into camp at Meridian which place they entered with but little opposition from the rebs. Leut. Gen. L. Polk, he having skedaddled for Selma, with what little he could take with him, in a very ungentlemanly manner. It being the Sabbath day, our troops had expected to hear something of a sermon from the old gentleman, but he had "dun gone," and our boys had only the pleasure of telling the bell for his funeral.
On the following morning, the 17th army corps entered the town, amidst a severe rain storm, but were soon sheltered in the many vacant buildings of the town, when we bid the storm come down. About noon it cleared up nicely, so we began to look about the city, to see what could be found. We discovered that the place was situated at the junction of the Southern Mississippi Railroad, with that of the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, about midway between Jackson, Mississippi, and Selma, Alabama, and about one hundred and twenty miles distant form Mobile. The entire place seems to have sprung up since the war began, and contained comfortable quarters for fifteen or twenty thousand troops; with any amount of depots, and stores for government property, which they soon intended having filled up, for the use of their army. There was also completed a large armory, in which they were manufacturing arms of every description, for the use of the chivalry of the Sunny South, it being situated so far in the interior, they were making every preparation for a garnery sufficient to supply the army of the South for years, little dreaming perhaps, that the cursed Yankees would be so bold, or ungentlemanly, as to ever pay them a visit.
On the morning of the 16th, our division sat out for the Enterprise, some fifteen miles further south, on the Mobile road, at which place we arrived about sundown. Gen. Polk had made this place his head quarters, and unable to take with him, in his flight, his government stock, a large amount was left for us to capture, and destroy, whilst the 16th corps, and the balance of the 17th was left to do like wise in, and around Meridian.
On the 17th Gen. Crocker, with his first and second brigades, went busily to work tearing up, and burning railroads track, and other government property, and sent Gen. Gresham with his third brigade to Quitman, some twelve or fifteen miles still further south, at which place we arrived, without molestation, about noon. Gen. Gresham took possession of the town, and then sent a force two or three miles further down the railroad, to destroy a magnificent and costly bridge, over the Okataba river. While this was going on a large amount of public property was destroyed in the town, together with the printing office of the Quitman advertiser. Several very large, and commodious buildings, built by Texas for the benefit of her sick and wounded soldiers were also destroyed, none of which yet having ever been occupied. In the evening, we returned to within six miles of Enterprise, where we then bivouacked for the night. The following morning we set busily to work, tearing up, and destroying the railroad for two or three miles and soon after noon, returned to Enterprise, where we rested for the balance of the day and night. The citizens of Enterprise will have to be more enterprising than ever now, if they intent to build up their city again, and make it what it once was, a beautiful and enterprising town, as it is now mostly in ashes. A Great many large and cost chimneys are left standing, (as is the case in most every town through which we passed) around which they might rebuild there storehouses, and mansions, and thus save considerable expense of masonry. They will also find any quality of ready made post holes, which will come very handy indeed, if they ever again fence in the lands.
On the morning of the19th, we turned our faced homeward, and about sundown went into camp, near our old camping grounds, a few miles west from Meridian. On the 29th, the whole of Gen. Sherman's army, set out for Vicksburg our train having been sent o, in advance of us. Nothing of interest transpired until about noon of the 23rd, when we arrived at Hillsboro, and found our train awaiting us. The balance of the day was given to the men to wash up their clothes, and be prepared, on the following morning, to again set out for home. We arrived at Pearl river on the morning of the 25th and were delayed on day, in constructing a bridge, for the troops to cross upon. We crossed the river on the 26th, and our division again went into camp about one mile west of it, whilst the 16th, corps, and the balance of the 17th, went on to Canton some ten or twelve miles distant. On the 27th, all of the sick, and disabled soldiers were put aboard the wagons, and the whole train sent on its way towards Vicksburg. During the day, our cavalry, and mounted infantry, had quite a little skirmish, and captured a few prisoners. On the 28th, we moved into Canton, and on the 29th, our brigade, together with the cavalry, had quite a heavy skirmish with the rebs, and lost one man killed, and one dangerously wounded. Loss of the enemy, not ascertained. They attacked our pickets early in the morning, and fought with our cavalry till noon, at which time the 3rd, brigade was sent out to assist them when at the sight of our colors, the rebs shedaddled in a hurry. We fought and drove them some six miles until out of sight, and range, the balance of the army was busily at work, tearing up railroad, and destroying all other rebel property found n the place. Something like thirty locomotives were burned, together with a hundred or two of passenger, and fright cars. All of this rolling sock had been brought down form Grenada, and had Gen. Sherman's expedition been delayed a week or two longer, it would have been safely transferred tot he vicinity of Selma, of some other place, out of our reach as they had the railroad nearly completed between Jackson and Canton, at he time of our arrival.
On the first of March, the expedition left Canton, and again set out for Vicksburg. Had some little skirmishing during the whole day. A few of our men were captured, and one of two wounded. Passed through the village of Livingston, which had, hereafter, better be called a deadstone, instead of a living on, for little, save the bones and ashes of its former self, remains to tell the tale, of where once was a flourishing little town. On the 3d, we passed through the village of Brownsville, which is properly named, as the few remaining hours - left therein, are those brown with age and rust, to which dwells masses. Caff and his family, now masters of the soil, and a few white families, in on exceedingly destitute condition. But little skirmishing occurred today, and as we are nearing our camps on the Big Brack, we will probably hear no more from the rest.
About noon, of the 4th, our division arrived camp, the dirtiest and raggedest looking set of men, that it has ever been my lot to witness, yet they were as happy a set of beings as ever lived, for they feel as though they had done the government a vast amount of goods, and sustained a comparatively small loss, and would enjoy a short time of peaceful rest.
We left our camps on the 3rd day of February, and returned on the 4th, day of March, being just thirty-one days out and a good share of the time on half rations, as we started out with but twenty days rations, and could forage noting but meat and occasionally a little corn meal and sugar. We have marched near, if not quite five hundred miles. Having cut, slashed , and hewed our way clear into the heart of the Southern Confederacy. It is true that we have killed or captured but few of the enemy, but I think we have weakened their cause a terrible sight. Your will probably son see the official report to the expedition, and will know the full particulars of the affair, much better than I can tell it.
I understand that another expedition is soon to be started out, of as great importance as the last on, but I presume not many of the 17th, Army corps will participate in it, as most of them are veterans, and will probably be sent home very soon, to visit, and recruit. During our whole campaign, we had the most delightful weather that I ever witnessed, it not having rained a single night, and only a few hours during the day, as we marched into Meridian, and a few hours, during the morning on which we left Canton.
Since our return, our regiment has been reinforced by about two hundred new recruits, and I understand that more are on their way to join us, or are soon to be sent. More anon.
April 16th, 1864
Pg. 2, Col. 2 - 6
Head Quarters Company D, 12th Reg.
On Steamer Jno. J. Roe. April 6th. 1864.
Since the departure of
the gallant Veterans of the old twelfth Wisconsin, nothing of importance
has transpired to ruffle the even tenor of our ways saving that we, as
well as they, have once more bade adieu to that miserable sink-hole of
filth and eniquity - Vicksburg, and are journeying toward the lovely
regions of our happy childhood's home. I say we are homeward bound, yet
I may be many long weeks, or even months, ere we cast anchor by the side
of our love and cherished ones at home, as our journeyings will for a time
, be ended and the stern command to "halt," be given, just as we were about
grasping your friendly hand.
Our destination is at Cairo, Illinois, whither we are ordered to report, and await "further orders". It is impossible for me to say how long we may be compelled to remain so near our homes, and not be allowed to pay them a flying visit, as there are a thousand and one different rumors afloat; as regards it but it is generally understood, I think that we are to rendezvous at Cairo, till our veteran comrades shall have returned from their visit home, when the regiment will be newly organized. If the regiment returns filled to its maximum numbers with new recruits, as it in all probability, will. I leave it to you own judgment to determine what will be done with us - non-veterans.
It has been very lonely indeed since we bade our noble comrades adieu, yet we have had plenty of duty to do, which has partially, "driven dull care away" so we have no reason to complain.
The "remnants" of the Third Brigade, with what new recruits have been sent as, numbering, in all, about six hundred men, under command of Captain Sylvester, of the Twelfth Wisconsin, bade adieu to Vicksburg on Saturday last, and arrived at Memphis, early this morning, at which place we stopped for a short time, to take on a fresh supply of "fodder," our rations with which we left Vicksburg, having "run out," last evening. While the Commissary was busy in supplying our wants, form the well filled larger of our nation's gurnery, many of the boys were as busily at work searching for something, wherewithal to wash down the coarse food given us by the Commissary, and in many instances their wishes were gratified, I think, for they returned to the beat under "full sail," bearing with them, their canteens filled to the brim with that delicious beverage known as the "Pad lies eyewater," or "forty rod commissary," shouting and singing -
"Let the wide world wag as if will,
I'll be gay and happy still."
Some of the most noisy ones were immediately taken in charge, by the guards and locked up, till they were "quieted down, when they were released and allowed their freedom. All is now very quiet, and as we have bade adieu to the city of Memphis, I will like to bid a short adieu to my dearest friends, the public, and subscribe myself as ever.
April 30, 1864
Pg. 2, Col. 1
A Surprise - We were agreeably surprised last Tuesday evening by the sudden appearance of Charlie, our partner and army correspondent. He has served in the 12th regiment a little over two years and on half, but as he has not reenlisted; when the other boys came, he had the consolation of remaining behind. He is in good spirits and looks quite healthy and fat, especially as thick at the ankle as at its other extremity; but we hope it may be only temporary flesh, as it is caused by rheumatism. His Furlough is for fifteen days when he well return to the army to serve the balance of his time.
April 30, 1864
Pg. 2, Col. 2 - 6
Head Quarters 12th Wisconsin Battalion.
Paducah, Ky. April 19th. 1864.
There has been a slight
change in the programme of events since I wrote you last, at Cairo, Ill.
We were then enjoying the quiet repose of camp life in a free State, thinking
that we should be allowed that precious privilege, till the return of our
"veterans" comrades from home; but in this we were mistaken, for, on the
evening to the 11th inst., a dispatch was received by the Colonel, commanding
the Post, form Paducah, calling for reinforcements, as it was feared that
the place was soon to be again attacked by Forrest's cavalry. We had but
just retired for the night, when orders were received for us to proceed
immediately by transport, to this place, together with the available force
of all other detachments, then in the city, which consisted of the remaining
of the third brigade, and a small "squad" of the 53d. Ill., belonging to
the second brigade, in all about 200 men. The 72d Ohio infinity, numbering
two of three hundred men, had that evening arrived in Cairo, form their
visit home, as veterans, and were also ordered immediately to this place.
We left Cairo about midnight on the little stern wheeler, "Alone" and arrived at this place about noon, on the following day when we immediately disembarked, and "stacked arms" just below the city and between the river, and Fort Anderson, "the lonely one," of which the town boasts and which is manned by about two hundred stalwart negroes. We also found encamped just outside the fort, three companies of the 122d, Ill, infantry and two or three companies of the 16th Kentucky cavalry, or rather to be cavalry, if they ever succeed in getting their horses, which now they have not. This comprised the whole force in command, at Paducah, when we arrived together with from three to six gunboats, which ride anchor in the Ohio and Tennessee rivers in front of the city.
On the 13th inst., we were further reinforced by the arrival of the 54th Ill. Infantry about three hundred strong and "old veterans," just returned from home, making a total of about twelve hundred effective men, with which Col. Hicks, the commandant of the Post expressed himself capable of whipping as many thousand of Forrest's men, should he deem is prudent to make us a visit.
On the following day, about noon, Forrest did truly make us a call in considerable force, and succeeded, after some skirmishing, in driving in our pickets, and immediately after, sent in a flag of truce, stating that he would give one hour for the removal of the women and children from town. In the meanwhile a detachment of the enemy was prowling about town, stealing horses, plundering stores, and houses.
As soon as the people heard of the occurrence, there was a general stampede for the boats, (quite a number of which were lying at the wharf) and soon after the boats steamed over to the Illinois shore. A wharf-boat, containing government stores, was also towed across the river, and at the expiration of an hour, all were ready, and eager for the onslaught. Some three or four regiments under Gen. Buford, were drawn up in line of battle, as if ready to begin the attack. The fort opened on them with solid shot, and shell, and soon after they withdrew into the woods.
During the firing from the fort, the Fifty-fourth Illinois, and Seventy-second Ohio regiments were in a line of battle, outside the fort, whilst the balance of the infantry, were posted inside. The gunboats did good service in shelling the woods adjacent to the city. Our infantry then reconnoitered the town, but found no enemy, and at five o'clock, the party was sent out to see what had become of the enemy. The party returned shortly after reporting the enemy fleeing towards Mayville, a place some thirty-five, or forty miles distant. At six o'clock the boats were ordered back to town, and the citizens returned home in safety, although many were badly "scared."
During the disturbance, the enemy succeeded in getting a few horses, belonging to Uncle Sam, which had been "corralled" near the outskirts of the town. No person was injured on our side, save on man who accidentally shot himself through the hand. The loss of the enemy is not known yet, it is thought to be considerable, for our shells could be seen bursting within effective distance. One rebel officer, and one citizen was killed in town, by the bursting of a shell.
Gen. Buford was in command of the enemy, while Forrest, it is said, is with his main force, encamped on the Watchie bottoms, near Bellivar, Tennessee.
Since the scare, all has been very quite here, and no more danger is apprehended. How long we are to remain here, I am unable to say, yet I think we will be relieved soon, by some other troops, as we are here without tents, or even a change of clothing.
End of Charles Waldo's Correspondence.