Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Benton Barracks


Camp of Instructions, Benton Barracks

I slept on herrican _ich[?] last night, slept but little.

We passed a number of boats along the shore tied up for repair.

At nine A.M. we reached the city, landing and immediately marching to the barracks.

I have found my old friends, Tom Whitehill, John Toner. Health good.


Camp of Instructions, Benton Barracks

I spent the greater part of this day in cleaning up my department, airing my clothes, &c.

I chose an upper berth, a fine place to sleep. I have not had what might be called a bed before for 5 months, anything more than one of nature’s foundations.

Good news from the Great Fleet, landing troops in South Carolina. Hurrah for the American Army


Camp of Instructions, Benton Barracks, St Louis

I procured a pass and wound my way into the city by railway.

St. Louis is quite a city. The streets are remarkably narrow.

I had two pictures taken today with my great coat on. I intend sending one to W. S. Moreland, and one home.

My health good. W.C. Newlon

Gen. McKinsly, Provost Marshall, is under arrest.


Camp of Instructions, Benton Barracks, Mo

I had such a fine sleep last night and the consequence is I felt good this morning.

I am on post duty today, 1st Sentry on Eastern Division. O! How dusty and disagreeable it is. Orders strict, no one pass the line without a pass from Headquarters.

Frémont’s Bodyguards came into the Barracks today.

Drum is beating.


Camp of Instructions, St Louis

Being excused from duty today, I spent the time in writing and reading. I wrote W. S. Moreland; sent my picture. Also [wrote] to James L. McClaughy at Quincy.

Two companies of Frémont’s Bodyguard came into the Barracks. I had the pleasure of seeing my old riding steed, John’s horse, belonging to an officer here.

Health good.

Sham Battle


Camp of Instructions, Benton Barracks, Mo

Oh! What a fine sleep I had last night. I went out on drill two hours this morning.

At two o’clock P.M. we marched on the drill grounds to fight a sham battle. Several regiments of infantry and cavalry were engaged, firing with blank cartridges. After making several grand charges, one of our men, belonging to Co. A, 3rd Iowa, was shot through the head by a comrade. Whether accidentally or intentionally is not yet known. The top of his head was blown off.

Some suppose that, owing to the excitement, that a ramrod was fired, which took effect. Others, that he was shot by a musket ball. Two of the cavalry were seriously wounded.

Same Old Routine


Camp of Instructions, B.B., St Lo[uis]

The same old routine this morning, first thing fold blankets; dust my clothes, and prepare for breakfast.

About 12 o’clock, the 7th Reg., Iowa Infantry marched into the Barracks. They are a fine set of Boys, but were horribly cut up at the Battle of Belmont [Mississippi County, Missouri, 7 November 1861].

I found an old friend among them, John Pruin.


Camp of Instructions, Benton Barracks

This morning I was detailed for post duty. It is a nice, pleasant day, but I do not like to do duty on Sabbath. Yet the soldier is not exempt from duty on Sabbath.

Troops are coming in here by [the] thousands. Already five regiments of Iowa troops are here, and twice that number coming.

My health is very good.


Camp of Instructions, St Louis, Mo.

I was on duty last night and slept but little and consequently I feel rather dull.

Nothing of interest transpired today. A number of troops arrived today from Iowa and Wisconsin. The Iowa regiment here marched in front of the Iowa 7th and cheered them for their gallantry at Blue [Mills].


Camp of Instructions, Benton, St Louis

Nothing of importance transpired in a place so remote from the battlefield as this place.

Drill appears to be the main thing, and indeed, it is highly important under the present circumstances. For, it is my belief that we will be soon engaged at Columbus, Ky in terrible battle [Kentucky passed an ordinance of secession from the Union on 18 November].


Camp of Instructions, Benton Barracks

The same routine this forenoon. This afternoon, as usual, we went on Battalion Drill, during which time a heavy rain came up.

One or two gave a yell, as a signal. When the whole column gave a shout, and in an instant, all broke for quarters on double quick, leaving the Major on [the field].


Camp of Instructions, Benton Barracks, Mo

The Iowa 11th Infantry came in last night through the rain. Among them I found a cousin, Y [?] Winder, the only known relative in the service. I was much pleased to see him. We spent many hours in reporting circumstances, which transpired while we were separated. Old times became new.

Health good W.C. Newlon


Camp of Instructions, Benton Barracks, Mo

It rained last night and the consequence is that everything is muddy; every little rain makes it muddy here, for the ground is so muddy. The ground is gr[ated?]; we had no drill today on account of bad weather. The weather is very warm here for this time of year, no freezing yet here.


Benton Barracks

I rose quite early this morning. And O, how cold it has got; the ground is hard froze.

No drill today, as it is Saturday. This day is spent in cleaning the quarters and clothing, preparatory to a general inspection, which takes place on Sunday at 9 A.M.

This P.M. the Boys are dancing.


Camp of Instructions, Benton Barracks

Oh! How windy and cold it is this morning. At 10 A.M. the troops here (16,000) appeared on the parade grounds for grand review, which lasted till 1 P.M. The scene was quite grand. The lion-like voice of Gen. Curtis was distinctly heard throughout the column.

A number of generals and field officers were present.

Nov. 24th ‘61

This day presented a grand military appearance, field officers riding in all directions, commanding their different divisions.

The accurate movements of the troops had a tendency to animate the spectator in the highest degree. No person is permitted to pass our lines.

Health moderate WCNewlon Co. G, 3rd Iowa


Benton Barracks

It still continues to be cool, not exactly cool, but cold and freezing. I am not exactly at home sitting by Old Nathan’s fire [Will’s father], but in the great Army of the West, spending my time in writing letters and reading newspapers at U. Sam’s expense. $13 per month all sounds good for me.


Camp of Instructions, Benton Barracks

I feel very unwell, owing to a very bad cold, which I unaccountably got someplace, after standing around the corners like a mule with the dyspepsia [indigestion, ill-humor].

All forenoon, while in the mode of stupor, a rumor came like a puff of wind from a fan mill that the Smallpox was in camp. So, I scampered to the surgeon and was vaccinated (Bully for me).


Benton Barracks

Having a bad cold and not feeling very well generally, I was excused from duty, so I spent the time in writing letters and visiting friends.

Mr. McCracken came in to see us, but I, being absent from quarters, did not get to see him. Well, so much for that.

I wrote to Sister Mary, &c, &c, &c. W.C.N.


Benton Barracks

Well, I am all right this morning. The weather is fine and pleasant, cool and agreeable.

The usual drill took place in the forenoon. In the afternoon we had a Five Battalion Drill conducted by Major Stone, a good and persevering Drill Master.

Health pretty good.


Camp of Instructions, Benton

Old things have not passed away yet, and all things become new, for we have to drill every day.

This evening the Ill. 52nd and Iowa 9th came into quarters.

I have caught cold by some means, which has settled in my neck and throat. Perhaps I will be all right in the morning.


Camp of Instructions, Benton Barracks

Sleep was not known to me last night, owing to pain in neck and throat. I was compelled to lie in bed during the day. I fear a gathering will take place on the inside of my throat.

The Iowa 12th & 14th Regiments came in today. Bully for Iowa.

A Zouave Drill


Camp of Instructions, Benton Barracks

I feel very much relieved as Mc got me some medicine, which had good effect.

One of the grandest reviews, which I ever have seen, took place today at 11 A.M. I presume there was [sic] 15,000 on the review. But the glories of the day were covered with gloom.

Dec 1st

In the evening, as the drums were beating for Dress Parade, the companies were forming in front of their respective quarters. Company K, who are just on our right, were forming. Two of their Boys stepped a few paces in front of the company and were practicing a Zouave Drill when one accidentally fired his gun, killing the other immediately. The ball took effect in his head, tearing the entire top of his head off. I was standing six paces distance and saw the whole affair. His brains lay upon the ground where he fell. He lived some 6 minutes. I would rather see 20 men fall in a battle than one under such circumstances.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                                                        W.N. Newlon


Benton Barracks

My health is very good this morning.

The snow is 9 inches deep.

Nothing of importance to note.


Benton Barracks

A. Mc is going to leave me this morning. I hasten to send a few letters, articles, which I have by me. I intended sending some presents, but have no chance to get them.

My health is good.

This diary, don’t let anyone see, for there are a great many mistakes in it. WCN
There are no journal entries from 4 December through 31 December 1861. Will continues writing on 8 February 1862 in Journal Book Two.

The next chapter describes the Third's boat trip to the South.

Friday, July 8, 2011

The 3d Iowa in Quincy, Illinois, October-November 1861. To learn more about Will Newlon and the 3d Iowa, visit my website:



We left St. Joseph this morning at 6 o’clock on the Hannibal & St. Joseph R.R. for Quincy, Ill, where we arrived at 2 o’clock Sunday morning. We had a pleasant journey.

At Chillicothe I saw friend Miller (the Jew), who used to keep store in Winterset. We were glad to see the Boys; they were up waiting for us.

Quincy, Ill. 3rd

I slept a little this morning, awoke, found myself surrounded by old associates whom I had not seen for 5 weeks.

I went downtown, found Mc[Claughy], had a good talk. Succeeded in getting a place for my Negroes.

Quincy is a beautiful town. Went to church this evening with Capt. Ogg.

Health good.

Quincy, Ill. 3rd Inf.

Our camp is in a very nice situation, one mile from the Landing at the north part of town. We are not confined, but have liberty to go to town when we please.



I have come to the conclusion that we are particularly favored by having the privilege of staying in this a liberty-loving state. How happy I feel to think I am in this patriotic state.

My health is moderate, yet not so good as I would wish. My lungs trouble me very much at night.

Yours, W.C. Newlon


Quincy, Ill.

The weather is fine and cool, quite heavy frost at night.

We drill four hours per day, Company Drill from 9 to 11 o’clock A.M., Battalion Drill from 2 to 4 o’clock P.M., Dress Parade 5 P.M.

I think it will have a tendency to improve the health of the Company.

We have the name of being the best-drilled regiment in Missouri, Western Service.


Quincy, Ill.

The weather still continues to be fine and clear.

I think I can almost see an improvement in the health of the men.

I wrote a letter to [Miss] M.A.C., Page Co., Iowa today. Went downtown this evening; took a walk over the fine city of Quincy, which is pleasant to think of, not alone, to look at.

Health moderate.



The ladies of Quincy propose to give us a picnic today. I was detailed to assist them in arranging the table, which was covered with delicacies of all kinds.

After dinner we repaired to the parade ground where a friendly dance, participated in by ladies & gents, after which Major [William M.] Stone made a very nice speech. W.C. Newlon


Quincy, Ill.

I feel refreshed after such a gallant [a young man of fashion, ladies’ man] with the ladies.

Drilling occupies the greater portion of the day, so that not much time is spent in idleness. For my part, I am always on duty writing letters or something of an equal importance.

I walk downtown most every day, which is always pleasant.

W.C. Newlon


Quincy, Ill.

I put on my fix-up [refurbished attire] and went to the 2nd Baptist Church on Vermont St. Heard an excellent discourse on the depravity of the human heart.

The building was one of those fine church edifices usually found in cities. The music was such as could challenge comparison with any of the fine music of Germany.

After service Wm Wright & I took a short walk over the city, then returned to camp where I spent the remainder of the day.

At eve I again returned to town after visiting about 20 different churches. I found myself again at the Baptist Church where I again heard another excellent discourse. WCNewlon


3rd Iowa, Quincy, Ill.

I was very restless last night. I coughed a good deal.

The usual routine commences this morning - drill, drill, drill - and I have so many letters to write which takes all my leisure time, so that I cannot get much time to read.

This evening, as usual, the ladies appeared on the parade ground as sheep having no shepherd.


Quincy, Ill., 3rd Iowa

The weather is still very cool; almost every day is cool enough for an overcoat.

I am on guard today, the first time in two months. And, oh, how windy it is! I think I never saw the wind blow so hard in my life, to blow all day. I think I will try and make it.


Quincy, Ill.

After standing guard all night, I don’t feel as good as I might feel.

I am cook today. And, I tell you, I got a magnificent dinner; so near perfect that a single objection could not be raised.

I really do wish for tattoo [a call sounded shortly before taps as notice to go to quarters] so that I could go to bed. Sweet sleep, hail thou! W.C.N.


Quincy, Ill, 3rd

Well, all things are passing off for good.

I have adopted a rule to get up before daylight every morning.

Drill hours keep me pretty busy to attend to other things, writing letters, &c, &c.

I have a very bad cold; my system is deranged.

W.C.Newlon, Winterset, Iowa.


Quincy, Ill.

I got a pass this morning; went downtown. Took a walk to the hospital; found Mc pretty sick with the measles.

The hospital is full of patients. One of our company by the name, Burger, is very low; cannot speak above his breath. Death appears to stare him in the face. He may recover yet.

Pay Day


Quincy, Ill., 3rd

This morning we drilled a short time, after which the battalion was formed; marched downtown to escort the Paymaster to camp. He had not arrived in town, so we did not escort him. However, we marched to the river; formed a line; loaded & fired by company into the river.

After this, we went up town; stacked arms on Main St; took a rest.

Quincy, Ill.

After resting half hour or so, we returned to camp; formed a hollow square on the parade ground.

Major Stone, in center, made a short speech to officers and soldiers, informing them that they would receive their pay in a very short time and that this regiment could send home $75,000.

And, he would advise all who had friends in Iowa to send all they could spare home to their friends, and not spend it foolishly, nor in a slave state. But to take good care of it so they could have something to fall back on after they were discharged from the service.

Also, that the 3rd Regiment was better thought of and had more true friends than any regiment from Iowa.

He also said that we had been tried, even at the bloody scene at Blue Mills, upon that day when it tried the souls of men. Said he, “There are more prayers ascending to the throne of Grace for the Iowa 3rd than any regiment from the Patriotic State of Iowa.”

Again requesting his comrades to send the money home they could spare, we were dismissed.


Quincy, Ill, Camp Wood

I got a pass this morning; went to the hospital. McClaughy not any better.

While there, a member of our company by the name of Daniel Burger died - disease Consumption and Bronchitis.

At eleven o’clock, went to church (New School), not a very good sermon.

After service took a walk with Wm Wright into the country east of town.

Quincy, Ill, 3rd Iowa

After eating all the apples we desired, we returned to town, passing by Ex-Governor Wood’s mansion, which is situated 1 ½ miles from the landing.

This is decidedly the finest building & location in the city. From the top of the house you have a commanding view of the city & river, which certainly is a magnificent view.


Quincy, Ill, Camp Wood, 3rd

At 9 o’clock A.M. we buried our brother soldier, D. Burger, with all the honors of war, which is by firing a salute of three volleys, nine rounds each.

I am on post duty today. The weather is fine, which makes it quite pleasant for me. There is not so much responsibility resting upon outposts here, as in the enemy’s land.


Camp Wood, 3rd Iowa, Quincy

I got a pass this morning; went downtown. Visited the hospital, all improving except McClaughy. He is very much discouraged.

The paymaster arrived today; I presume we will get our pay very shortly.

I feel quite unwell this evening, the effect of being up last night on duty. W.C. Newlon


Camp Wood, Quincy, Ill.

The camp is alive this morning, all expecting their first money from Uncle Sam. I don’t much expect to get mine this day, and in fact, I have become so that I cannot believe anything unless I know it to be a fact.

Well, six P.M. has come and no pay yet.

Health moderate.


Camp Wood, Quincy

The sun rose upon our camp this morning in great splendor. What will happen to us this day? Will anything strange - Strange did I say? - Yes, and it was strange.

The government this day paid each of the 3rd Iowa $57.70, happy day for the 3rd.

Tomorrow we have orders to march to St. Louis.


Camp Wood, Quincy, Ill.

On account of paying off the sick at the hospital, it was found impossible to remove today.

I got a pass for downtown; had a good time generally. My friend, Willis Brown, and I went to a saloon and feasted gloriously on oysters to our heart’s content.

Returned to camp. Slept soundly.

Good bye to all.


Aboard Steamer White Cloud, M.R.

This morning we broke up our camp at Quincy; marched down to the landing where we formed a line, and for the first time drummed a member of Company A out of the service.

Offense was for knocking down one of his fellow soldiers and robbing him of his money. One side of his head was shorn in the presence of his comrades and was marched along the line, the musicians playing the Rogue’s March*.

River M

After this was over we repaired to the boat and soon were on our way to St. Louis, the steamer White Cloud bearing us down the mighty waters.

This evening being rather dark & it not being very safe to travel after night, at 9 o’clock we tied up till morning.

My next Blog will pick up Will's narrative at Benton Barracks, St Louis.

* The tune was known as "The Rogue's March" and was played when military and/or civil rogues, criminals, offenders and various undesirable characters were drummed from camps and cantonments.