Thursday, August 5, 2010

Kansas Correspondence

CAMP DEFIANCE, Linn Co., Kansas,
February 3d, 1862.

Events of but little interest have transpired since my last letter to the GAZETTE. Our camp is located on Mine Creek, in this county, about four miles from the State line, where are quartered the 3d Kansas volunteers, under Col. James Montgomery, and where we have been since December last; eight miles below us is the 5th regiment, under the command of Maj. Sumner, and at Ft. Scott are some six or eight companies of home guards, under Col. Judson. The U. S. paymaster and mustering officer are here, paying off these regiments and mustering them so as to make full and complete regiments, preparatory to their march South into the Indian country west of Arkansas, and between here and Texas.

Col. Jennison’s regiment of cavalry marched through Mound city to-day, under the command of Lt. Col. Anthony; they numbered 840, and were on their march to Humboldt, in Allen Co., where they will remain for a few days, when they will move as the advance column of the great expedition soon to leave Ft. Leavenworth for the South. They were well provided with tents, clothing, &c., and with but few exceptions, were live specimens of genuine border men, who at any time can whip their weight in wild cats, ever ready to face where danger is the most daring. About 4,000 friendly Cherokee and Creek Indians are assembled on the Neosho river, some 30 miles below [Humboldt], waiting to join the “big Colonel with heap fight.”

Much fear is manifested among the citizens along the boarder here, that on the removal of the troops from along the line, guerilla bands of the rebels, which still infest our borders, will march over, and, if so, murder, rapine, and plunder will follow them.

For the last few weeks news had reached camp that Gen. Lane was to lead us on south to victory. But for the last few days rumor says that Gen. Hunter is to have the command. We are all ready to march under Hunter or any other Union General, but there is no disguising the fact that Gen. Jim Lane is the popular choice of a large majority of the regiments here along the boarder, and that in him we feel that his very name is a tower of strength, and that with him at our head, though but few in numbers, we will be more mighty than a great army with banners. At all events were are all anxious to be off, and the march of this expedition, either under Lane, Hunter or any other General, will be marked with a desolation and ruin, such as now marks the homes of the rebels in southwestern Missouri.

During the last four months some 3,000 or 4,000 contrabands have left southwestern Missouri and Arkansas, many of whom have passed into your State and Illinois; yet many remain here and all readily find work and are all peaceable and quiet, and feel very happy in their exchange from slavery to freedom. Schools have been established by the benevolent for them, and it would surprise many of your readers to see with what avidity they learn; all are contented and the only anxiety you can see about them is as to how they are to get the friends they left behind from slavery.

I will give all details as they transpire en route the great expedition.



– Published in The Davenport Daily Gazette, Davenport, Iowa, Thursday Morning, February 13, 1862, p. 1

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