Saturday, June 24, 2017

1st Lieutenant Charles Wright Wills: April 4, 1862

Camp, near Point Pleasant, Mo., April 4, 1862.

I received your last letter within three days after it was mailed, and praised Uncle Sam duly therefor. Our regiment has had a run of bad luck since we've been here. Two men killed on the plank road, two wounded at same place, two killed by falling trees in a storm of night of April 1st, and a dozen wounded, and yesterday one drowned while watering his horse in the swamp, and our horses dying off very fast of horse cholera. The latter is a serious thing in a regiment were the men own the horses themselves. For they (or nearly all of them) cannot buy others. Most of them are still owing for the horses they have. The positions of troops and state of the war generally remains the same here as it has been ever since we took Madrid. Main body of our forces at that place. Five regiments here under Plummer and five seven miles further down the river with Palmer. That is as far down as we can go on this side for the swamps. Between here and Madrid we have batteries every three miles and the Rebels have rather more on the opposite side. Both are right on their respective banks and have their flags fluttering their mutual hatred in each others faces. We can see them very plainly without the aid of a glass. The Rebel gunboats lie just below our lower battery and 'tis rumored to-night that several new ones have arrived from Memphis or New Orleans.

This fuss about “Island 10” I think is all humbug. Don't believe they have attacked it yet. It don't sound like Foote's fighting. Look on the map and see what a nice pen there is between the rivers Tennessee and Mississippi. Don't it look that if Grant and company can whip them out at Corinth, that we'll have all the forces at Memphis and intermediate points to “Island 10” in a bag that they'll have trouble in getting through? If they run it will be into Arkansas, and they can take nothing with them but what their backs will stand under. Seems to me that the plans of the campaign are grand from the glimpses we can get of them and have been planned by at least a Napoleon. Certain it is we are checkmating them at every point that's visible. I firmly believe the summer will see the war ended. But it will also see a host of us upended if we have to fight over such ground as this. It is unpleasantly warm already in the sun. It's 10 p. m. now and plenty warm In my shirt sleeves, with a high wind blowing, too. We had an awfu1 storm here to commence April with. We are camped just in the wood's edge and the wind struck us after crossing a wide open field and knocked trees down all through our camp; killed First lieutenant Moore, one private, seriously wounded Captain Webster and a dozen men. During the storm I though[t] of our fleet at “Island 10” and it made me almost sick. Don't see how they escaped being blown high and dry out of water.

SOURCE: Charles Wright Wills, Army Life of an Illinois Soldier, p. 76-8

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