Sunday, August 31, 2008

Army Correspondence

Camp Shilo [sic], Pittsburg, Tenn.,
April 2, 1862

Editor Hawk-Eye:

Dear sir, – That your readers may know the whereabouts of the Sixth Iowa, I take the present opportunity to write you a line, and note a few of the passing events. After a pleasant trip of nine days, on board the steamer Crescent City, we landed at Pittsburg, Tennessee, on the 18th day of March, and since that event have passed our time as pleasantly as soldiers usually do without money or – being blessed with delightful weather – in drilling, scouting, and performing picket duty, and an occasional review.

To-day our Brigade, the 1st in the 5th Division, composed of the 6th Iowa, 46th Ohio, 40th Illinois, and Capt. _____ Indiana Battery were review by Gen. U. S. Grant. We have lain at this point fifteen days, and are becoming exceedingly impatient for an order to advance, as we have been under marching orders ever since our arrival.

Ours and the rebel pickets are nearly every day within speaking distance, and to relieve the monotony of camp life they interest themselves by shooting at each other. Almost ever day the scouts bring in a lot of – as the boys call them – the “Butternut Fellers,” who have strayed from the secesh camp. This evening quite an incident occurred. Capt. Brydolf of Co. I, Capt. Walden Co. D, Capt. Saunders Co. E, Lieut. Searcy Co. C, and Quartermaster Brunaugh were out on a pleasure excursion. When about three miles from camp on the Corinth road, the espied a couple of the Butternuts – 300 yards distant. As they were making off Lieut. Searcy ordered them to halt – they heard and acquiesced. Lieut. Searcy again put his vocal powers to the test, and ordered them to advance, and upon some warlike demonstration by our party they did so, as meek as lambs, having thrown away their guns when first discovered, with the exception of their tooth picks. They were escorted into camp, and relieved of their arms, and the contents of their pockets. Among articles found upon their persons were passes, duly signed, granting four days leave of absence by Gen. _____, who is, as appears from the papers to be at Barnesville. They are not very talkative, and as yet no information of importance can be derived from them. A few days will probably reveal important information.

On Friday last, two deserters from the rebel forces, came within our lines and gave themselves up, who report the enemy encamped at Corinth, 18 miles distant, 80,000 strong, commanded by Gen. Bragg, and that the rebels have some notion of attacking us, but are withheld because they do not know the amount of our force. When they left they had no heavy artillery, but were expecting a supply very soon. They have, according to the report of these deserters, been at work on the entrenchments since the evacuation of Columbus. They report provisions very scarce and hard to get, and that powder is worth five dollars per pound. They had not seen a drop of coffee for four months. They affirm that the 1st Sergeant and 50 men of their company would desert the first opportunity, and that hundreds more would do the same thing if they had any possible chance. From these men we learn that the rebels are fortifying half a mile this side of Corinth, on a hill, that they have felled timber and rendered the approach impassable in front, and in this barricade of fallen timber, have dug rifle pits.

We are encamped within 18 miles of Corinth and when the order is given to advance, not many hours will elapse ere the bravery of the Sixth will be tested.

Colonel McDowell is now the acting Brigadier General of our Brigade. The Division is commanded by Gen Sherman.

Lieut. Colonel Cummins has charge of the Regiment, and is alone, as Major John M. Corse is on Gen. Pope’s staff.


– Published in the Burlington Daily Hawk-Eye, Burlington, Iowa, Thursday, April 10, 1862

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