Time to Reflect
Sabbath, June the 8th, 1862
In camp seven miles west of Corinth
Reveille was the first thing I heard this morning, after a good sound sleep during the night. Nothing of interest occurred during the day, anything more than a Sabbath spent in camp.
Dress Parade at 5 ½ P.M., after which all Noncommissioned Officers were summoned to the colonel’s headquarters, where they were instructed relative to their duty as such. The day is somewhat cooler than yesterday. Health good, and plenty to eat.
This day one year ago [8 June 1861] we were mustered into the U.S. Service. Many and noted are the changes in this country, both in a military and civil point of view. At that time the rebellion had assumed a gigantic form. The authorities of the Border States had defiantly declared their hostility to the government! And their openly aroused intentions to unite with the Cotton States and thereby form a separate and distinct government from that of the United States of America. The Nation’s capitol was threatened. The entire overthrow of our government and its free institutions appeared evident.
The emblem of our liberties was torn from the breeze and tramped in the dust by traitorous and unhallowed feet. And the flag of Treason, Despots and Tyranny hoisted in its stead. This aroused the lovers of liberty and the heart of the nation to arms. Fathers and brothers bid adieu to homes and friends and marched in martial array to the defense of their country, their free institutions, their homes and their all.
Thousands have fallen since that time on the field of conflict for these their noble rights. They have been successful; the arm of rebellion has been broken. The hordes of the enemy have been made to fear and quake before the mighty hosts of Israel. This day, the 8th of June 1862, the old flag of the Union floats in the breeze over every state on the American continent. Before any state shall be permitted to soil its sacred folds, let her people be exiled and her cities made desolate.
June the 9th, 1862
Camp on Memphis & Charleston R.R.
Another week has passed and another Monday morning has dawned upon us while resting in this our pleasant camp. What a glorious night for sleep last night and how delightfully charming, cool and pleasant this morning is. But as the sun approaches the meridian, the cool breeze vanishes before the scorching rays of a summer’s sun in Mississippi
What a quiet day! How still everything seems to be in camp. It is as quiet and lonely as a Sabbath spent in a Presbyterian village, where not even the town clock is permitted to strike. No thundering cannon is heard today. How strange! When, but a few days ago, the woods resounded with their deafening roar. I cannot hear the pickets firing today. What can the reason be? Why, says one, the enemy have fled before us. They no more annoy our outposts. Why, we can sit beneath the cypress and oak tree and no one daring to molest or shoot at us. Five o’clock P.M., papers of the 5th give an account of the battle before Richmond up to Sunday evening.
The Big Hatchie
June 10th, 1862
Orders came at 12 o’clock last night for us to march at 7 A.M. We start at the appointed time. The roads were very dusty and the weather very warm; continued in a westward course. [We] pass General Sherman's divisions; cross the [range?] of mountains covered with pine and cedar trees.
Twelve midnight, arrive at [____] across Tuscumbia River where Sherman’s advance is building a bridge, the old one being destroyed by a retreating foe.
Three o’clock P.M., bridge completed; cross over and proceed to Big Hatchie. The road is mountainous; cross Cypress swamps, and come knee high.
Six P.M., arrive at Big Hatchie. Bridge was [____] suspect and was built by the Rebels. A number of citizens came to our camp.
We camp on a high hill in an open field very sandy and a disagreeable place to camp.
June 11th, 1862, all right this morning. Took a fine bath in Big Hatchie before breakfast.
We commenced to build a bridge as soon as possible. Go across the county one mile; got Dew berries, very warm. Three o’clock P.M. Co G is detailed for guard.
June 12th, 1862, morning very warm, I am still on guard. 12 A.M. making preparations to march. The heat is intense.
Two P.M., we get ready and march from the hill to the bottom where we wait till the 2nd Brigade passes as it takes the lead in today’s march leaving our brigade in the rear.
Four P.M., take up line of march across the bridge of own construction over Big Hatchie River. Pass a fine plantation and pretty girls that I have [not] seen for a coon’s age. Heat is intense and dust almost to suffocate.
Six P.M., arrive at Big Mendy [Muddy River]. Camp for the night. Pay $1.50 for Chickens and Turkeys. &c
June 13th, 1862
Reveille at 3:30 A.M. ate for breakfast a piece of cracker and cup of coffee. Bought an old Rooster last night for breakfast this morning but was so tuff, we could not eat him.
Five o’clock A.M., take up a line of march past large plantations, slaves both men and women almost naked plowing corn and cotton. [We] rest in shade every hour & half. Pass at different times groups of women & children wearing their handkerchiefs.
Ten o’clock and 30, pass plantations where many slaves are at work in corn and cotton, the former about knee high. 11 A.M. pass a group of mowers - heat intense. The remainder of the day is a repetition of what has already been witnessed. All we very tired at night.
June the 14th, 1862
Camp at Spring Creek
We remained here till 4 P.M.
I am detailed as Sergeant of the Guard. We marched four miles past the finest plantation I have yet seen in the South, delightful fields of corn & cotton.
We go into camp for the night on the side of a very steep hill out of whose sides flow pure clear cold water.
Twelve P.M., can not have the privilege of sleeping tonight. O! How much I could enjoy it.
Sabbath, June the 15th, 1862
State of Mississippi
Reveille at 2:30 this morn, get breakfast before day. Train moves at 4 A.M.
Five A.M., just relieved from guard; are ready and waiting to hear the command – Forward by File Right, March!
I slept two hours last night, consequently am in good trim for marching today. Morning cool and pleasant.
Six A.M., all ready, we march. Boys in good spirit make the work ring with national airs.
As the sun rises the heat increases; hundreds of men fall beneath the burning rays of the sun.
Six P.M., arrive at Davies Creek 2 ½ miles south of Grand Junction after marching 15 miles. This has been one of the hardest day’s marching we ever performed. A number of men were killed today by the heat. Water could not be had along the road. I came very near [boiling?] myself; however I succeeded in getting through.
An Army Corps on the March
With its cloud of skirmishers in advance,
With now the sound of a single shot snapping like a whip, and now an irregular volley,
The swarming ranks press on and on, the dense brigades press on,
Glittering dimly, toiling under the sun – the dust- cover’d men,
In columns rise and fall to the undulations of the ground,
With artillery interspers’d – the wheels rumble, the horses sweat,
As the army corps advances.