Three Groans – Journal Two Begins
February 8th, 1862
We remained in Benton Barracks until the 11th of January at which time we were ordered to join our Regiment at Montgomery City on North Missouri Rail Road eighty-five miles north of St. Louis. At an early hour we bade adieu to Benton Barracks, but not without giving those remaining behind something to remember us by which we did by forming a line between Headquarters and the General’s house and gave three groans for Benton Barracks. I never was in all my life so much pleased to get away from a place as I was on this morning to leave Benton Barracks, Although, I left many good friends, from Page and Louisa counties.
We marched to the R.R. [railroad] Depot and in due time were on the cars for Montgomery City. We arrived at St. Charles on the Mississippi River at 11 o’clock A.M. and the river not being bridged we crossed on a large steam ferry. St. Charles is situated on the north side of the river, it contains perhaps 3000 inhabitants and I presume in ordinary times that a great deal of business is done here, it having the advantage of river and R.R. The crossing of baggage and such like occupied considerable time and consequently did not leave till 3 o’clock P. M. And, before we reached our destination, night overtook us and therefore did not get to see much of the country along the road.
At 11 o’clock P.M., arrived at Montgomery City, found our friends hail and hearty. The town of Montgomery City is a new place containing but few inhabitants, and is noted for nothing but the distilling and selling of whiskey and an unfinished well thirteen and fifty feet deep. Water is very scarce here the citizens using cistern water.
We remained at Montgomery City till the 1st of February 1862. During our stay here I, with four associates, boarded at a private house. The time passed off pleasantly while here.
However on the first of February we were ordered to Huntsville 60 miles north of Montgomery City. We took cars at 3 o’clock in the evening, arrived at Allen Station at twelve o’clock the same evening after a cold and disagreeable ride. We remained in the cars till morning and slept but little on account of the extreme cold. In the morning, after building fires on the ice and snow to get breakfast, we partook a meal gotten up in military style.
After all was over we took up a line of march in the direction of Huntsville six miles west of Allen Station, at which place we reached about noon, stepping to the time of Yankee Doodle. Quite a number of Negroes were upon the streets, with their white eyes turned up as large as a full moon. A few citizens could be seen standing around on the corners dressed in homespun of a blue and brownish color. There is but few, if any, avowed Union men in the town or vicinity. Those who have not declared openly their secession principles take a neutral position.
The town of Huntsville contains perhaps 2,000 inhabitants. There is nothing remarkable grand about the buildings except a magnificent courthouse and an educational institution, without which the town would present an insignificant appearance. The location is among the hills and resembles some of the county towns of eastern Ohio.
There is but five companies of the 3rd Iowa Infantry here and one company of cavalry under the command of Captain Ogg.
On the evening of the 8th of February at 11 o’clock P.M., a detachment of the Black Hawk Cavalry brought to headquarters at Huntsville, 90 kegs of Kentucky Rifle Powder captured some twelve miles from this place, also 7 prisoners. The powder was found part in a corncrib and part of it in a hallow log February 10th, 1862.