Friday, July 14, 2017

1st Lieutenant Charles Wright Wills: June 6, 1862

Headquarters 1st Brigade Cavalry Division,
Camp near Boonville, Miss., June 6, 1862.

I am leading an inglorious life now, nothing to do but the brigade writing and ride with the colonel when he goes out on business. The only time I am on the fighting list is when the brigade goes out, and that is very rarely, and only when reconnoisances in force are made, and there is seldom any fighting done then. General Hamilton's whole division marched by our tent to-day and it was a splendid sight; I had thought that I'd never want to see any more troops but his division looked so splendidly, that I really enjoyed the sight of them. I knew that they were only marching into a new camp, but they all had got the idea that they were going into a fight and they were in grand spirits. I never saw the men look as healthy as they do now. One reason is those who were sick have been all left at the river and the weakly ones do not pretend to march in the ranks this hot weather. We are within one hundred yards of General Pope's headquarters and there are continually a lot of brigadiers passing. They nearly always ride on the gallop, and with the aids and escorts all told, say 60 in number to each general, they make quite a dashing appearance. Rosecrans, Buell, Granger, Smith, Sherman, T. W., Plummer, Paine, Hamilton and Pope all rode by at one time to-day.

All the companies we have had out to-day report skirmishing with the enemy We lost two men prisoners, some wounded and several horses. Got some prisoners. The enemy are in some force six miles from here. They are dodging all around us. Rumor says to-day that Buell with his army is going down through Alabama to Montgomery. Pope will move slowly after the enemy through Mississippi, and Thomas will go across to Memphis and down the river to co-operate with Butler in a movement through Southern Mississippi. 'Tis probably the plan of some cuss in the ranks. I wish for one day that you could hear all the camp rumors. They would make a remarkable book.

SOURCE: Charles Wright Wills, Army Life of an Illinois Soldier, p. 97-8

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