Bird's Point, October 27, 1861.
I haven't written for a full week because I really had nothing to write and in fact I have not now. Although soldiering is a hugely lazy life, yet these short days we seem to have but little spare time. We are up nearly an hour before sun up, have breakfast about sunrise, drill (company) from about 8 to 10. Cards until dinner time, 12; lounge or read until 2; battalion drill untill 4:30 or 5, supper, and then dress parade at 4:45; from candle lighting untill bedtime (taps), 10, we have cards mixed with singing or some awful noises from Sam Nutt and Fred Norcott. Those two boys can make more noise than three threshing machines. Our boys are all in excellent health and prime spirits. Fred and Sam and Sid are fatter than the Canton folk ever saw them. There are but four regiments at the Point now, so we have to work on the entrenchments every fourth day two hours or cut down trees the same length of time. We are clearing away the timber within 500 yards of the earthworks. It is mostly Cottonwood and very heavy. They stand so thick that if we notch a dozen or so pretty deep and then fell one it will knock three or four down. Lin Coldwell and I are going to get a set of chess to-morrow. That gunboat, “New Era,” that the papers blow so much about is of no account as a gunboat. She is laid up at Mound City for a battery. The men on her have told me that she wouldn't half stand before a land battery that amounted to anything. We are beginning to have some frost here, but I don't believe we'd suffer a bit lying in these tents all winter. The sickly season is over now and the health is improving very much. We had 18 on the sick list in our company three weeks ago and now we have but three, and they are only diarrhoea or the like. I tell you I feel as strong as two mules and am improving. I haven't been the least unwell yet. Our boys are perfectly sick for a fight so they can be even with the 17th. We are sure that the 17th doesn't deserve to be named the same day with us for drill or discipline, with all their bragging. They are an awful set of blowhards. Sid., Theo., Ben Rockhold and John Wallace are on picket out of our mess to-night. The picket was fired on last night where they are posted to-night.
SOURCE: Charles Wright Wills, Army Life of an Illinois Soldier, p. 38-9