Sunday, October 14, 2012

Diary of Alexander G. Downing: Sunday, December 22, 1861

It snowed all day, the snow falling in large flakes, and the weather is fast turning colder. I was detailed on camp guard and with my overcoat on walked my beat for two hours at a time. At about 4 o'clock in the afternoon five companies of our regiment received marching orders to go at once, and striking our tents we hastened down to the railroad station on the bank of the river, where we had to stack arms and wait four hours for the train. The weather by this time had turned intensely cold and we were compelled to build fires to keep warm, but no firewood was at hand. The boys spied a lot of canoes stored away for the winter under a warehouse; these we appropriated and had used up forty or fifty of them before our train finally came. When the train did come, we discovered to our dismay that it was made up of stock cars, bedded with straw. We boarded the cars at 8 p. m. and settling ourselves as comfortably as possible, with our rifles in hand started at midnight for California, Missouri.

Source: Alexander G. Downing, Edited by Olynthus B., Clark, Downing’s Civil War Diary, p. 25

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