Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Letter from E. H. King

Head Qarters 15th Iowa Vol’s.,
Before Vicksburg Miss.
June 15th 1863

Mr. Caverly:

Since writing you at Grand Gulf Miss. Our Regt. And Brigade have passed through a great many vicissitudes of hardship and danger, nearly always moving, though we have been spared the misfortune of engaging, very extensively in any of the hard and terrible battles in the rear of Vicksburg. It was not until the evening of the 19th of may, we received orders to join the gallant band, that had marched triumphantly from Port Gibson to Jackson, thence back to the stronghold at Vicksburg, which has proved, thus far a successful barrier to the destruction or capture of the rebel Mississippi army. – Since arriving here we have marched forward and backward, and once and a half around Vicksburg, besides innumerable little marches, and a march of six days into the Yazoo county – an expedition consisting of six Brigades under command of F. P. Blair – to capture or disperse a band of rebels said to be gathering for the purpose of harassing our army in the rear, which, of course, we did effectually, though our captures were meager as to member [sic], It is hoped no one will deny but that the enemy was effectually scattered, as but few could be found, after having met them on the 29th of may at Mechanicksburg, and engaged them with our skirmishers.

At any rate, we were ordered back to Vicksburg, by the way of Haine’s Bluff, which place we reached about 10 o’clock P.M. of the 31st.

Remaining there until the 4th of June the line of march was again resumed, and the 3rd Brigade of the 6th Division was for the first time, after leaving Milliken’s Bend, placed in proper position with its division and Corps. We now enjoy the luxory of a camp, in one of the many valleys, lying deep among the hills and bluffs whicy surround Vicksburg. Being the reserve of our Division, we are under orders to be in readiness to march at any moment, wherever the emergencies require it. In the mean time, there are many dangerous and onerous duties to perform. We furnish details for Picket, fatigue and sharpshooting almost every day, thus making requisitions on the Regiments for 150 and 200 men per day.

This from a regt. Numbering only about 400 men present for duty, is heavy, certainly.

Our rations are abundant and substantial, not withstanding the variety is very limited. Hard crackers, baon, sugar and coffee comprizes the whole, except an occasional intermixture of potatoes, which the good people of Iowa and other states furnish through their Sanitary agents.

As an item of news, we hear that there is heavy fighting in our rear in the direction of Mechanicsburg. This town is 20 miles from Yazoo City in the Direction fo Vicksburg, I have not heard as to the forces engaged, or the success attending either party. This rear attack, may prove an occasion of considerable annoyance and possibly of disaster and defeat, but we feel perfectly cool about the matter, as yet, knowing that our position is strong, and our army confident.

Our forces, usually keep up a continuous fire, at regular intervals, with artillery, night and day, but tonight, ten P.M. not a gun has been fired. This seems strange to us, our ears having become accustomed to the noise and thunder of artillery.

Health in the Regt. is tolerably good. In Co. I, there are none seriously ill, though a few are slightly unwell. Spirits are good, and I assure you, the detestation of Northern Copperheadism; is universal. – How could it be otherwise? When fighting for their country and flag, far from home and friends, men should unite together to defeat their efforts and desolate their homes and firesides. I will close, bidding you a kind good night.


E. H. King

- The Union Sentinel, Osceola, Iowa, 4 JUL 1863

See Other Blog Enteries:
Letter from Lieut. King - March 28, 1863
Letter from Adjt. King - September 23, 1863

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