We lay at the wharf all night, loading the quartermaster’s supplies. At 8 a. m. we left St. Louis for Cairo, Illinois. Our entire regiment is on the one boat, a side-wheeler. Company E is quartered on the hurricane deck, and a cold wind blowing makes it rather disagreeable for us. We lay up for the night one hundred miles below St. Louis. We have big times getting our rations cooked, for there is but one place to get boiling water to make coffee, and only one place at the fire where we can broil our bacon. Each man slices his bacon, puts it on the ramrod, and holds it close to the fire under the boilers. We all have to take our turn, and since there are eight hundred men, there is some one at the fire all day and part of the night. The captain of the boat declared that we were “the d-----st set of men to eat” that he had ever seen in his life.
Source: Alexander G. Downing, Edited by Olynthus B., Clark, Downing’s Civil War Diary, p. 36