Showing posts with label Sickness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sickness. Show all posts

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Emory Upton to Maria Upton, February 9, 1859

WEST POINT, February 9, 1859.

MY DEAR SISTER: . . . The perusal of your last letter gave me great pain, yet I am glad you gave me so clear an insight into brother Le Roy’s disease.  I have but little hope of his recovery, and I only ask that he may be prepared for his great change.  Oh, that I could by look, ward, or deed, ease his condition, but I can only thing of and pity him!  My last thoughts at night and my first waking thoughts are of him.  How I wash I was at home, to watch by him and contribute my might toward comforting him!  May he not delay in making his peace with God!  How thankful I am for such parents as we have!  Their sacred influence is ever about us, shielding us from temptation, and teaching us the true object of life.  If Le Roy can not get well, I wish to be sent for; I can not part with him forever without a last farewell.

SOURCE: Peter Smith Michie, The Life and Letters of Emory Upton, p. 15

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Major-General Benjamin F. Butler to Edwin M. Stanton, June 1, 1862

Head Quarters, Department of the Gulf,                   
NEW ORLEANS, June 1, 1862
Sec'y of War

SIR: I am so unfortunate as to have my Assistant Adjutant, General, Major Strong, chief of Staff and Ordnance officer, taken sick, so that I must send him home in the next transport. This is imperative to save the life of a valuable officer, of whose untiring industry, devotion to public service, conduct, gallantry, skill, efficiency, I cannot speak too highly. I must request that an assistant adjutant General of ability be detailed to me as a prime necessity. If Maj. Strong's reports are in arrears, his health is a full justification. We have captured a large amount of Ordnance and Ordnance stores, so that an Ordnance officer of the first-class is also an imperative necessity. May I ask a speedy detail, as my signal officers asked for in February reported to me yesterday for the first time. Lt. Turnbull of the topographical engineers has been sick and delirious for many weeks, so that I have been deprived of his valuable services. Owing to the thorough knowledge of the country here, had by Lt. Weitzel of the engineers, the loss of his services has not been irreparable. Capt. Kensel, chief of artillery, has had the ordnance duty ordered to his department, and cannot be much longer overworked.

I have the honor to be,
[Benj. F. Butler.]

SOURCE: Jessie Ames Marshall, Editor, Private and Official Correspondence of Gen. Benjamin F. Butler During the Period of the Civil War, Volume 1, p. 550.

Blog Editor’s Note: Contrary to the annotation on Major-General Benjamin F. Butler to Edwin M. Stanton, April 29, 1862 in the Official Records which states, “See Butler to Stanton, June 1, 1862 in Chapter XXVII,” I could not easily locate any other correspondence between Butler and Stanton on June 1, 1862 in the Official Records and instead I had to resort to Butler’s published correspondence to find this letter. Whether this is the letter which was alluded to in the previously mentioned notation I cannot positively say.

Friday, April 17, 2020

Captain Charles Wright Wills: October 5, 1864

Six miles south of Marietta, October 5, 1864.

Had an awful day's march yesterday, full 20 miles and the road very muddy and slippery. County peculiarly Georgian, the like of which, I hope, is to be found nowhere else in Uncle Sam's domain. When we started the “spring or grapevine” dispatch said that Hardee's headquarters were in Marietta, and that he was living very high on sanitary stores, of which there is enough to feed an army for a time. We crossed the river on pontoons near the railroad bridge, a very fine work, considering it was built inside of a week.

We then heard that Marietta was not in Hardee's possession, but that lively skirmishing was going on along the lines, and that Hardee's army was before the place. About three miles from the river we met a wagon train just from Marietta; part of the guards had not heard that any Rebels were near the town. Others said that Hood's army was just the other side of Kenesaw, about two miles north of Marietta. Finally a cavalry man said part of our (guard's) cavalry occupied Kenesaw, from the top of which he had seen the Rebel army occupying an old line of works of ours just this side of Big Shanty. I just thought I would give you a sample of the “grape cuttings” that accompany a march. A body of Rebels is evidently above Marietta, on the railroad; how strong I don't know, and it is none of my business. “Pap” knows all about it. He never tells us anything. He has not issued a “battle order” during the whole campaign and hardly a congratulatory. If the Rebels are there in force, there will be a battle. It can have but one result, and cannot fail to be a disastrous one for them. We have at least 50 days’ full rations and I think 90, so the breaking of the railroad cannot affect us. Six p. m.—We took all kinds of roundabout roads to-day, and marched eight miles to make not over four. I have been really sick all day, but hope it will be over by morning. The Johnnies have left Big Shanty, moving north on the railroad, tearing it up as they travel. Go it, Rebels!

SOURCE: Charles Wright Wills, Army Life of an Illinois Soldier, p. 305-6

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Laura M. Towne: Sunday, June 13, 1862

St. Helena Island, June 13,1862.

You do not know how comfortable and even elegant our apartments are, now that we have all the furniture the cotton agent had in his half of the house. There are no other such accommodations in this region, and we shall be foolish to go away for anything but health. If there should be any likelihood of sickness, we can remove easily to the watering-place of the islands, St. Helenaville, about six miles from here, and then we can ride over twice a week or so to see our people. But I do not see why this place cannot be a good enough location to stay in all summer. As for the late alarm about "Secesh" coming, everybody is ashamed of it, and all try to prove that they were not frightened at such an unlikelihood. It is an impossibility now, as gunboats are stationed on all sides. I am so glad we did not run. It was a great shame we had all the bother of packing our trunks and unpacking them again. . . .

You may imagine that I was not well pleased to see my entire letter printed. That last — “but I must get a little sleep” — seems so boasting, and in other places I would have modified it. But I do not care much. If my present leisure continues, I shall perhaps write for the Tribune an occasional letter; but Mr. McKim is taking notes, and will tell everything, I fancy. Lucy is a very nice girl and she is busy collecting facts, etc. Mr. French, too, is writing a book, and so there will be an overstock of information, I think. . . .

Dr. Hering's looking-glasses have come, but not his violins, and the candy and sugar are enjoyed hugely. . . .

I wish you were as free from every fret as I am, and as happy. I never was so entirely so as now, and no wonder. We found the people here naked, and beginning to loathe their everlasting hominy, — afraid and discontented about being made to work as slaves, and without assurance of freedom or pay, of clothes or food, — and now they are jolly and happy and decently fed and dressed, and so full of affection and gratitude to the people who are relieving them that it is rather too flattering to be enjoyed. It will not last, I dare say, but it is genuine now and they are working like Trojans. They keep up the tasks of those who have gone to the forts and do not complain of any amount of little extra jobs. It is such a satisfaction to an abolitionist to see that they are proving conclusively that they can and will and even like to work enough at least to support themselves and give something extra to Government.

All my affairs go swimmingly (I have the Boston clothing too now, only there is none to sell), so do not think of me as being a martyr of any kind.

SOURCE: Rupert Sargent Holland, Editor, Letters and Diary of Laura M. Towne: Written from the Sea Islands of South Carolina 1862-1864, p. 67-8

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes to Sophia Birchard Hayes, March 26, 1864

Camp White, March 26, 1864.

Dear Mother: — We are now having a cold rain-storm, but are all well. There is considerable sickness among our new recruits of the usual sort — measles, mumps, and a little smallpox and fever. Nothing very serious so far, and as the weather gets warmer we hope to get clear of it altogether.

Mrs. Ellen, a nice lady, wife of our quartermaster, is teaching the two smaller boys regularly and speaks very encouragingly of her scholars. Lucy schools the larger boy with a young soldier who is a good deal older than Birch, but not so far advanced. . . .

I hope you will get through the raw weather of spring without serious illness. — Love to all.

Affectionately, your son,
Mrs. Sophia Hayes.

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 452

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Captain Charles Wright Wills: July 16, 1864

July 16, 1864, 76th of the Campaign.

I can hear no firing to-day, but we are so far from the right or center that we could hear nothing less than a 13-inch mortar. I will tell you all I know of the situation just to let you know how little a soldier knows of what is going on. In papers of this date you will see twice as much. The 17th Army Corps lies on the right bank of the river, and to the right of the army, six miles below the railroad crossing, skirmishing with the enemy on the opposite side. Next comes the 20th, 14th and 4th on the same side, the 4th lying across the railroad four miles, further up the 23d crossed the river, but probably only holds a position, as we do. Then the 16th Corps joins the left of the 23d, and the 15th last, both on the left bank. Not being perfect in heavy strategy, I can't exactly see the point, but no doubt Sherman does. I suppose the 4th, 14th and 20th Corps will cross near the railroad bridge, and be the first to occupy Atlanta. If we can't get to give Johnston a sound thrashing, I don't care about marching another step until fall. Health of the regiment still good, but we are expecting sickness soon. We have had a terrific thunderstorm, killed five men and wounded eight in the 18th Missouri, and killed a teamster and some mules. I never saw but one or two more severe ones.

SOURCE: Charles Wright Wills, Army Life of an Illinois Soldier, p. 279-80

Thursday, August 23, 2018

George S. Denison to Salmon P. Chase, May 15, 1862

New York, May 1862.

Sir: You desired me to put in writing the statements made to you by me while in Washington. In compliance with that request I have the honor to submit the following. The printed portions were written by myself.


A very large portion of the population of Western Texas continue loyal. In Austin (the Capital) three-fourths of the residents are loyal, and dare express their sentiments openly. In most other places any expression of opinion favorable to the Government is not tolerated. The Germans can be relied on almost without exception.

It is important that Western Texas should be made a Free State, and it can be accomplished. It is important because, thereby, the Slave States will be surrounded by the Free, and the slave power be rendered incapable of extension. They now hope to acquire some portion of Mexico for slavery, and while they hold Western Texas, will not cease to strive for that end. Hence, from its geographical position, Western Texas, is more important (with respect to slavery) than any other portion of the United States. It is very healthy, adapted to white labor, and but few slaves are there. In most portions of that country slave labor is not profitable, and, among others, the Germans are well known to be opposed to it. Among the leading Union men areEx-Governor Pease, Judge Norton (editor of the Intelligencer) A. J. Hamilton (former member of Congress) and Judge Paschal — all of Austin. I cannot say whether they desire a Free State, but most Texas loyalists would do anything for the sake of the Union. Mr. Charles Anderson is perhaps the best man the Government could select for a high civil position. He is well known there, is popular, able, eloquent and fearless, and his recent persecution by the rebel authorities enlisted the sympathy of all Union men, and of some others.

Col. Bomford was made prisoner of war by Gen. Twigg's surrender. He has been exchanged and is assigned to the 16th regiment of Regular infantry — is a graduate of West Point — was distinguished in Mexico — has been stationed several years in Texas, and, I understand, has recently been highly recommended by Gen. Scott for an appointment of Brigadier. He is a fine officer, and thoroughly familiar with Western Texas, its resources, forts, road, etc., the character of the people and their method of fighting.

“Sibley’s Brigade” contained about Twenty seven Hundred men, and went to New Mexico. There were some respectable men in it, but most were ruffians and desperadoes, and all would fight well. Most of them were armed each with a double-barrel shot-gun and navy revolver, though some had minie muskets (stolen from U. S.) or common rifles, and four companies had nothing but unwieldy lances. For artillery they had nine mountain howitzers. These were all mounted men, and were joined in Arizona by Col. Baylor's regiment numbering seven hundred, and provided with other artillery (ordinary brass field pieces). I should think there were in February last, about 1,000 men at the various forts in the Indian country, some or all of whom, I understood were to be sent on to reinforce Sibley. The colonels of the regiments serving under Sibley are Riley (formerly of Ohio) Green (formerly of Tennessee), Steele (formerly Capt. U. S. Army), and Baylor. They were insufficiently supplied with provisions — nor did they have sufficient ammunition — for so long an expedition. I have frequently seen Sibley's Brigade, and what I say about it, is reliable.

In February last, there were about Seven Thousand men around and between Galveston and Houston. Fortifications (field works) were prepared near Galveston, and they had considerable artillery there, including a few siege guns said to have been brought from New Orleans. There had already been sent out of the State (as I was informed) Thirteen to Fifteen Thousand men besides Sibley's Brigade. I was told by a Rebel officer that Thirty Two Thousand men were then underarms in Texas, including troops at Galveston, Houston and Brownsville. I think his statement greatly exaggerated, though he included all the home-guards, organized militia, etc., most of whom are poorly armed.

There were at or near Brownsville eight or nine hundred men. Fort Brown is near the town and contains eighteen guns, as I am informed. They also have four or five mountain howitzers and at least one battery of field pieces. Matamoras is opposite Brownsville, and the Rebels have organized quite an extensive trade there. Vessels sail for Matamoras and land their cargoes at Brownsville. These two towns are twenty or twenty-five miles from the mouth of the Rio Grande. Large amounts of coffee have been imported from Mexico through Brownsville and sent to Eastern Texas and Louisiana. Many officers of the regular army have heretofore been stationed at Fort Brown and know all about it. It is said not to have been much strengthened by the rebels.

Mr. George Giddings of San Antonio was proprietor of the San Antonio and San Diego overland mail line. Early last winter he was appointed, by Jefferson Davis, agent to receive and collect all cotton contributed in the Southwest, for the Confederate government. It was said that he also received a large amount of Confederate money with which to buy cotton. It was said — and believed by all — that he was instructed to take all the cotton he could collect, through Brownsville to Matamoras or Tampico, and export it to Foreign countries, bringing back in exchange arms and munitions of war. I am unable to say whether the plan was relinquished subsequently to my leaving, but at that time he had a great number of Mexican carts in his employ, and almost all transportation there is done by these carts.

Corpus Christi is the healthiest place on the coast of Western Texas, and a majority of the inhabitants were for the Union. The harbor is not good, but troops can march from there to within thirty miles of San Antonio, and have good drinking water all the way — an important consideration in that dry country. Officers of the regular army, familiar with Texas, can tell where a landing should be made, much better than I can. It is important however, that an army once landed, should push forward rapidly so as to give protection to Union men who would otherwise be forced into the rebel army or massacred. Probably Twenty-five Thousand Federal troops could take and hold the whole State — certainly the Western portion. Col. Bomford thought fifteen Thousand could march even from Galveston to San Antonio, and garrison all important points on the road.

The Eastern part of the State, including Houston and Galveston, is Secession, though there are many Union men even there. I found Union men in all the states through which I passed, except Mississippi.

The want of arms is severely felt and this want is becoming[g] greater rapidly. I do not think they have received from abroad more than one tenth, certaintly not more than one-fifth, of the arms which are reported to have been received. I refer to reports prevalent in the South, all of which may not have been heard of in the North. I never saw but one foreign musket in the hands of a Southern soldier.

The Southern leaders do not hesitate to make any statement which will encourage their own people.

The gentleman from Memphis referred to in the printed column was a Mr. Randolph, an East Tennessee Union man, who had been to Memphis to attend the Legislature, of which he was a member. He passed through Corinth about the twentieth of March, or a little later. At that time there were between Forty and Forty-Five Thousand rebel troops there. Reinforcements came in as fast as they could be raised. The battle of Shiloh was fought about sixteen days afterward. They might have received reinforcements at the rate of 2,000 per day, but I should not think they received more than one thousand per day. According to this estimate the rebel force in that battle was not far from Sixty Thousand.

About the first of April, the number of troops in East Tennessee, as well as I could judge, was not far from ten thousand, of whom between three and four thousand were at Cumberland Gap, which is a position strong by nature and strongly fortified.

The gentleman referred to in the printed column is named McDowell, a nephew of Gen. Floyd and a relative of our Gen. McDowell. I knew him in Texas, and he is now an officer in the Rebel army. He said that immediately after Floyd ceased to be Secretary of War, a plantation with negroes in South Carolina, was purchased in Mrs. Floyd's name, and $700,000 in cash paid down for it.

The journey from N. Orleans to Richmond occupied seven days. I was told by members of the Rebel Congress in Richmond — (among others, Col. Wilcox, formerly U. S. Congressman from Mississippi) — that they now expected the war would continue six or seven years longer. I have also heard military men there say the same. Secretary Benjamin told me that the Federals arrested and put in prison every one who reached them from the South. In case their large armies are dispersed, their intention undoubtedly is, to adopt a general system of guerilla warfare, and thus wear out their enemies, and make the Government weary of the war.

In the Gulf States East of the Mississippi river, it seemed to me that nearly every able bodied man had been sent to the war. In the State of Mississippi, but few men were to be seen in any of the villages through which I passed. It is necessary, however, in estimating the number of troops they can raise, to note the following facts.

1st. In the beginning of the war thousands left the South and came North. I estimate the number at not less than fifty Thousand men, nor more than 100,000.

2nd. The mortality by sickness in the Southern army has been great. In the last part of October I learned (indirectly) from an officer of high position, that Thirty Thousand southern soldiers had already died from sickness alone. Assuming this to be true, their whole loss from sickness up to the present time cannot be less than Sixty Thousand.

3rd. Thousands have returned home invalids, and will be of no further use during the war. I cannot estimate the number well, but should think that (including those disabled by wounds) it is at least 30,000 and probably twice as many.

4th. Their loss in killed, deserters and prisoners has been large. You can estimate this number better than I can.

The above statements only approximate to the truth. Throughout the South it is impossible to obtain any accurate information. Facts are suppressed for fear of discouraging the people now in rebellion. It really seems to me that the rebels cannot raise many more men than they now have in the service. At any rate they would not be efficient, unless supplies of arms, etc. are received from abroad. It is the opinion of the Federal officers before-mentioned (Col. Bomford and others) that the United States needs more men in the field — at least 100,000 more.

The Yellow Fever generally prevails in New Orleans about one year out of three. It can be prevented by strict quarantine, though this fact is sometimes disputed. The epidemic generally commences in the last part of August (seldom before the 15th) and ends with the first frost, which usually occurs in the first week of November. The number of inhabitants remaining in the city during an epidemic is about Eighty Thousand, and the number of deaths is usually about four thousand or a little more. Sometimes (never except twice) the disease is very malignant and does not yield to former remedies, as in 1853, when it commenced in May and Thirteen Thousand died in the city during the epidemic. With proper sanitary and hospital arrangements I should estimate the number of the army who would escape the disease entirely, at ten per cent. of the whole, and the number who would die at not more than ten per cent. If there is no yellow fever, they would probably be as healthy as Southern soldiers. Probably ninety nine out of a hundred of the Southern army would suffer as much from Yellow fever as our own soldiers, and they will never undertake to occupy any place where the epidemic already prevails. This disease is prevalent along the whole Gulf coast from Key West to the Rio Grande, except the islands, the Texas Coast near Corpus Christi and a few other localities. It extends far inland where the country is slightly elevated above the sea, but never prevails in Western Texas except near the coast.

The Southern climate (near the Gulf) is far less healthy for armies than the Northern, but undoubtedly Federal armies will suffer from sickness no more and probably less, than Southern armies under the same circumstances. I am informed that this was true in the Mexican War. The second year is said to be more dangerous to Northern men than the first. They should be sent South in the Fall or Winter, and, during the hot season, sanitary precautions used, which all good physicians understand.

I think the South can be conquered without abolishing slavery in the Gulf States or elsewhere. To abolish it in the Gulf States would produce a unanimity among the people of those States which does not now exist. They all abhor the idea of the negroes being set free among them and (as they express it) made their equals. It is worth while to treat with conciliation and kindness those who are, or have been, Union men.

The original secessionists are a minority in every state except South Carolina, and perhaps Mississippi. Conciliation and kindness toward them is utterly thrown away. They expect and deserve the same treatment they have given Union men in their midst, and will fight to the last. But few of them will become good citizens again, and when subdued many of them will leave the country forever.

If Western Texas is to become a Free State, it must be before the close of this war. Eastern Texas is more populous and strongly pro-slavery, and will prevent any division of the state in time of peace.

With more time I could have made the foregoing statements more concise. I shall be gratified if they prove to be of any use.

SOURCE: Diary and correspondence of Salmon P. ChaseAnnual Report of the American Historical Association for the Year 1902, Vol. 2, p. 300-6

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant Luman Harris Tenney: July 8, 1864

Barber was sick so Bob and Thede got dinner. Very warm day. Did very little. Read some.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 124

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant Luman Harris Tenney: June 18, 1864

At 4 A. M. moved out on Sussex C. H. road and camped 8 miles from Petersburg. In evening drew rations and forage. In P. M. awful connonading and musketry, the most terrific we have yet heard. Already last night we held all but the inner line of works. Captured 22 guns and many prisoners. Report that the blacks captured one fort with 4 guns, and killed all the garrison. Yesterday was almost sick, am better today, but weak. Awful bad water for a few days. Oh the anxiety to know the result of the fighting today. God grant us success.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 120

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant Luman Harris Tenney: April 5, 1864

Burge and Tom went to town. Found the teams and got the rest of the clothing. Still unpleasant and chilly. Boys all catching cold.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 112

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Captain Charles Wright Wills: September 22, 1863

Camp at Messenger's Ferry, Big Black River, Miss.,
September 22, 1863.

I wrote you a few lines from Vicksburg on the 18th inst. to notify you that I had escaped the perils of navigation (sandbar and guerillas) and of my safe arrival. I had a delightful trip down the river. A splendid boat, gentlemanly officers, not too many passengers, and beautiful weather. Major General Tuttle and wife and Mrs. General Grant were of our number. I think Mrs. Grant a model lady. She has seen not over thirty years, medium size, healthy blonde complexion, brown hair, blue eyes (cross-eyed) and has a pretty hand. She dresses very plainly, and busied herself knitting during nearly the whole trip. Believe her worthy of the general. Vicksburg is a miserable hole and was never anything better. A number of houses have been burned by our artillery firing, but altogether the town has suffered less than any secesh village I have seen at the hands of our forces. But very few buildings escaped being marked by our shot or shell, but such damage is easily repaired in most cases. No business whatever doing in the town, except issuing orders by generals, obeying them by soldiers and the chawing of commissary stores without price by the ragged citizen population. I was of the impression that I saw some rough country in Tishomingo County, Miss., and in the mountains in north Alabama, but after a day’s ride in the vicinity of Vicksburg and to our present camp, I find I was mistaken. They call it level here when the surface presents no greater angles than 45 degrees. I found only one officer to a company present here, and the colonel is also on leave. There is a great deal of sickness but the health of the regiment now is improving. We have lost a large number by disease since I left the regiment. Anyone who saw us in Peoria would open wide his eyes at the length of our line now, and think we'd surely passed a dozen battles. The greater part of the material this regiment is made of should never have been sent into the field. The consolation is that these folks would all have to die sometime, and they ought to be glad to get rid of their sickly lives, and get credit as patriots for the sacrifice. We are now in the 2d Brigade 4th Division 15th Army Corps, having been transferred from the 16th Army Corps. We are camped on the bluffs of Black river, which we picket. Our camp is the finest one I ever was in. There are two large magnolias, three white beeches, and a half dozen holly trees around my tent. I think the magnolia the finest looking tree I ever saw. Many of the trees are ornamented with Spanish moss, which, hanging from the branches in long and graceful rolls, adds very much to the beauty of the forest. Another little item I cannot help mentioning is the “chigger,” a little red insect much smaller than a pin-head, that buries itself in the skin and stings worse than a mosquito bite. Squirrels skip around in the trees in camp, and coons, owls, etc., make music for us nights. Capt. Gus Smith when on picket several nights, saw a bear (so he swears) and shot at it several times. The enemy's cavalry are maneuvering around on the other side of the river, constantly making it unsafe for our boys to straggle much over there. Sabbath evening we, our brigade, moved out across the river about four miles to meet a party of Rebels, but as usual they were not there. We ate our supper while waiting for them and returned by moonlight, 8 o'oclock p. m. We've had a brigade review and a short brigade drill, and I've eaten a very hearty supper since finishing the last period. I feel perfectly well once more. Much better than I did any day while North. Did I tell you that I had the ague for a week or so before I started South? My continued ill health more than anything else is what started me off for the regiment so suddenly. The general wanted me to stay until after the fair, but I wouldn't have done it for a horse. Altogether, I feel very happy over getting back to my company. The boys profess being very glad to have me with them again, and I assure you that such compliments do me good. I didn't know that I could take as much interest in any strange humans as I feel in these men of my company. While I was in Central Illinois I wished many times that this war was over, and that I could settle in one of the many good points I saw for trade. I know that I could do well selling goods in any of a half dozen towns that I visited there, and even in Decatur. But I know I could not be satisfied out of the army while this war lasts. I am glad to be out of staff duty for several reasons. One of the most important is that it costs all my pay to keep me. I did not make a cent while with the general, and have only two months' pay due me now. It has been very cold here. Night before last I had six blankets over me, last night five and will use four to-night. ’Twas quite warm this p. m., but the nights are very cold. We will have hot weather yet. There is a great deal of ague here.

SOURCE: Charles Wright Wills, Army Life of an Illinois Soldier, p. 187-9

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant Luman Harris Tenney: January 24, 1864

At Nashville, 9 A. M. quartered at Seminary Barracks. H. Drake and I went to dinner at a restaurant. Saw colored troops drilled and inspected. Went about town. Some splendid residences. Randall quite sick with pleurisy.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 106

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Captain William Thompson Lusk to Elizabeth Adams Lusk, October 19, 1862

79th Regiment, Camp Israel,                      
Pleasant Valley,        
Oct. 19th, 1862.
My dear Mother:

It is some little time since I have had an opportunity to write you, for a few days ago we were suddenly sent to Frederick for the protection of that place, apprehensive of an attack from Stuart's troopers. While there, we had no conveniences for inditing epistles, little to eat, and plenty of exposure. When I left for Frederick, I was quite ill with camp dysentery, but it left me very soon, although I have no doubt, could you have seen me lying out of doors without shelter in the cold night air, you would have predicted certain death to me. I find men don't die easy, unless they are shot. Atmospheric exposure doesn't kill. Men grow and thrive with hardship.

Well, so I am another Uncle, bless my heart! As well as the little heart of the new youngster who wouldn't be a girl for any consideration! The female sex don't seem to smile upon me, but then boys are such “rare birds,” as Dr. Tyng said of Billy Willson's Zouaves. There's some consolation in that. I think I shall accept the Uncleship of Ellen's baby, so that when I get old and a busybody, I can make a match between this last nephew of mine and little Miss Dodge. Hey! Won't it be fun! Give the small boy a good kissing, tell him I am going to arrange all his love matters for him when he gets old enough, and most charming of all, will buy him a new drum as soon as he can handle the drumsticks. For the rest I do not doubt but that he is a phenomenon of a beautiful mottled cherry color, in fact beyond comparison, unequalled by any other baby of his age living. Give my congratulations to Hunt and Mary, and tell them, like a good brother I rejoice with them, and only wish I could be present with them for a few days to share their joy.

It is raining hard to-night and we think that cold weather will follow. As for promotion, I do not bother my head about that. I have enough to disgust me in a thousand ways to make me sick of soldiering. However, duty is duty, so I put my nose to the grindstone and say, “Grind away.” . . . My own tent — we are five of us together — has a pretty good set of fellows. The only trouble is, with the exception of my old first Lieutenant (appointed Capt. today), they sadly lack interest in the cause they are engaged upon. These new Regiments have destroyed the enthusiasm of the old. The newly enlisted men have already in advance, in the way of bounties, received more money than old soldiers can hope to earn in the entire war. The old officers who have been in many battles and by hard service have learned their duty, are obliged to receive instructions when on picket or other extra duty, from some Major just entering on military life, who very likely pegged shoes for them, without an inspiration for military glory, a year ago. These things are hard to gulp down, and unless the sense of duty is very strong the murmurings are loud indeed.


SOURCE: William Chittenden Lusk, Editor, War Letters of William Thompson Lusk, p. 220-2

Friday, January 19, 2018

Diary of 1st Sergeant John L. Ransom: September 1, 1864

Sanders taken outside to butcher cattle. Is sick but goes all the same. Mike sick and no longer a policeman. Still rumors of exchange.

SOURCE: John L. Ransom, Andersonville Diary, p. 93

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Captain Charles Wright Wills: August 31, 1863

Decatur, Ill., August 31, 1863.

The general stopped me here and insists on keeping me for a time. Major Wait's resignation, which was forwarded the same time the general sent his, has been accepted, and I now being the only member of the staff in the north, he wants me to stay with him, for should he be ordered away for any purpose, he would want some attendance. I would enjoy myself very much but for my biliousness. Appetite poor, miserable, sickish demoralized stomach, and am becoming yellow as saffron. My duties are not very heavy. The general has some very fine riding horses, and I devote some little time to exercising them. Mrs. Miner has very kindly undertaken to introduce me into society here, which, from what I have seen I judge to be very excellent. I went with the general to a union meeting at Charleston, about 100 miles from here, near the crossing of the Terre Haute and Alton and Chicago Branch of the Central. The general made a big speech, and I made a good many small, ones. We stopped with Col. Tom Marshall while there. Had a big dance at night in which I participated heavily, staying with them until the very last moment. Train left at 2 a. m. Never will forget that dance in the world.

SOURCE: Charles Wright Wills, Army Life of an Illinois Soldier, p. 186

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant Luman Harris Tenney: November 27, 1863

Lt. Byard started for home. People sick. Sent two letters, one home. Did some writing, business. Near night moved to Bay Springs. Foster's Brigade passed today on K. road. Crossed Clinch River. Sent Lu Emmons to the Gap to see if he could not get rations. Cattle came up. Gave hogs to the regiments.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 99

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Diary of 1st Sergeant John L. Ransom: July 5, 1864

Court is in session outside and raiders being tried by our own men. Wirtz has done one good thing, but it's a question whether he is entitled to any credit, as he had to be threatened with a break before he would assist us. Rations again today. I am quite bad off with my diseases, but still there are so many thousands so much worse off that I do not complain much, or try not to however

SOURCE: John L. Ransom, Andersonville Diary, p. 77

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Diary of 1st Lieutenant Lemuel A. Abbott: Friday, December 16, 1864

Warm and pleasant; trains busy drawing hut timber; was relieved from guard by the One Hundred and Thirty-eighth Pennsylvania Infantry; am not feeling well; received a letter from David Mower and have answered it; all well in Vermont; Captain H. H. Dewey and Lieutenant Daniel Foster, Tenth Vermont, reported for duty this morning from City Point; have been ill in hospital there; had an undress parade this evening; good news from Thomas. Lieutenant Alexander Wilkey starts for home in the morning.

SOURCE: Lemuel Abijah Abbott, Personal Recollections and Civil War Diary, 1864, p. 240

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Diary of 1st Sergeant John L. Ransom: June 21, 1864

I am a fair writer, and am besieged by men to write letters to the rebel officers praying for release, and I do it, knowing it will do no good, but to please the sufferers. Some of these letters are directed to Capt Wirtz, some to Gen. Winder, Jeff Davis and other officers. As dictated by them some would bring tears from a stone. One goes on to say he has been a prisoner of war over a year, has a wife and three children destitute, how much he thinks of them, is dying with disease, etc., etc. All kinds of stories are narrated, and handed to the first rebel who comes within reach. Of course they are never heard from. It's pitiful to see the poor wretches who think their letters will get them out, watch the gate from day to day, and always disappointed. Some one has much to answer for.

SOURCE: John L. Ransom, Andersonville Diary, p. 69

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Diary of 1st Sergeant John L. Ransom: June 20, 1864

All the mess slowly but none the less surely succumbing to the diseases incident here. We are not what you may call hungry. I have actually felt the pangs of hunger more when I was a boy going home from school to dinner. But we are sick and faint and all broken down, feverish &c. It is starvation and disease and exposure that is doing it Our stomachs have been so abused by the stuff called bread and soups, that they are diseased. The bread is coarse and musty. Believe that half in camp would die now if given rich food to eat.

SOURCE: John L. Ransom, Andersonville Diary, p. 69