Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Diary of Private Charles Wright Wills: August 11, 1861

Cairo.  Our Canton boys came down on time, and right glad I am to have them here. Colonel Ross's 17th Regiment got here the same day by the river. The boys were sworn into our company the day after they arrived, and the day following a lieutenant in the Fulton Blues came over to get them to join his company. I am glad he was too late. We have all been over to the Point to visit the Canton boys of the 17th, and found them looking very well. Will Trites, alone, looks unwell. A few weeks at home is what he really needs, for he will not give up work and go on the sick list as he ought to, as long as he can stand. Billy Stockdale, Chancey Black, George Shine, Billy Resor and Jesse Beeson are in No. 1 condition. Their tents are pitched in old Bird's cornfield from which the corn has just been cut and you can imagine that the stubble is not equal to feathers to lie upon. They call us boys that live in barracks in Cairo, Sunday soldiers and Fourth of July braves; the same names we applied to them when they were in Camp Mather. The Canton boys in our company get along finely. They are in the best of spirits and already appear quite soldierly. They are well satisfied with the company which now numbers 90 men and will be full this week. We all room together except John Wallace and Milo Farewell. We are now drilling about six hours a day, but the greenhorns act as though they think it fun. We don't suffer from the heat as much as one would think, and can you believe it the health of the camp is better now than ever before. We have not in our company a man on the sick list. Major Smith (our old friend Marion), says that the 17th have been healthier at Bird's Point than they ever were before; and so every regiment says that comes here. If there are any very old people in Canton that want to live 50 or 60 years longer, advise them to come to Cairo. Mosquitoes and fleas are around these times. The whole family are here.

SOURCE: Charles Wright Wills, Army Life of an Illinois Soldier, p. 24-5

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