Monday, January 10, 2011

From The Federal Prisoner At Memphis

We are permitted to copy the following private letter from Dixie:

MEMPHIS, Tenn., April 9, 1862

DEAR FRIENDS – You have ere this, heard something from the battle near Corinth, and are no doubt very anxious as regards our fate.  This time we are unfortunate, but such, you know, is the fate of war.

We were attacked on the morning of the 6th.  Our regiment occupied a position near the center of the line of battle.  We fought from 9 A.M., until near 5 P.M., when the enemy succeeded in turning our flanks and we were taken prisoners.  It was one of the hardest fought battles of the war.  There is a terrible loss of life on both sides.  The fighting still continues.  As regards our company, we are scattered in every direction.  None killed and but one or two wounded that we know of.  There is twenty seven us of prisoners, including our two commissioned officers.  We were taken the day after the battle to Corinth, and on the next day, on the cars to this place.  Our regiment are all quartered together in a large warehouse.  We have good quarters, and have received kind treatment since we have been prisoners.  So much so, that I can scarcely realize that we are in the hands of enemies.  They appear more like brothers.

Of the fate of those left behind, we are ignorant, but I think there is not more than two wounded.  One from Kossuth, (P. A. Dolbe.) and we heard since we came here, that Harvey Yeaman was wounded.  J. H. Robeson, M. V. Barton and C. C. Ashlock, were not on the battle field with us, being detained by sickness and duty.  John McChesney went back to camp with some of the wounded, and had not returned when we were taken.  I will give you the names of those of our company who are prisoners – Please circulate among the friends:

G W Campbell, Capt.
W T McMaken, Sergt.
Wm Thompson, Corp.
J S Wertz, Corporal,
J Arle,
J Fritz,
W D Starks,
J H Holoroft,
D B Hizer,
J S Grier,
William Goben,
Wm W Trobee,
E P McClure,
C P King, Lieut.
J H Guthrie, Sergt.
J S Statler, Corporal,
L H C Bruce, Corporal,
D T Hopkins,
J M Johnson,
Oscar Lewis,
T H Wall,
H Haight,
J A McClure,
C Stillwell,
L D Baker,
M E Calkins,
D Matson, Sergt. Major.

Our field officers were all taken together with near 200 of our regiment.

You must not grieve or despair on our account.  We are all doing well and in fine spirits.  You need not think I write this merely to allay your fears.  I have not seen our boys in much better spirits for some time.  Their greatest trouble is for the anxiety of the friends at home.  I have no reason to despair as to our fate.  We will be well treated, and perhaps soon exchanged.  If so, we may meet sooner than would have otherwise been the case.  Such seems to be the will of Providence.  We should be thankful that our lives are spared.  Keep up good heart, for I have hopes of seeing you all ere long.  May a king Providence support and protect you all.

Yours as ever,

W. T. McMaken

– Published in The Burlington Weekly Hawk-Eye, Burlington, Iowa, Saturday, May 24, 1862, p. 2

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