« ZurückWeiter »
The march into West Tennessee-Arrival at Purdy-Arrival at Lexington-Arrival at Pinch-The rebels withdraw from Jackson-The march to Henderson-Take the cars for CorinthOur line of communications cut-Foraging-The close of 1862 -The new year-Lincoln's proclamation-The railroad still cut-Arrival of the mail by Pony express-Rations running short-The troops compelled to subsist on corn-Communication open-Full rations-The conversation of two sentries-The non-arrival of mails-The cold weather-The comments of the soldiers on modern democracy-Arrival of the mails-Soldiers letters Their welcome-The game cocks-Trip to Hamburg landing-The heavy duty of the regiment-Corinth a Gibralter -Meeting of Illinois officers in Music Hall, Corinth-The passing of resolutions relative to the vigorous prosecution of the war-The office of Chaplain-Trip to Davenport Mills— Resignation of Colonel Babcock-Celebration of the first anniversary of the battle of Shiloh.
December 18th, 1862.-To-day, 10 o'clock P. M., move from Corinth in the direction of Purdy, Tennessee. The whole available force from the garrison under the command of General G. M. Dodge, is on the move. We march briskly. It seems to be a forced march. The night is dark; no moon shoots forth its arrows of light. The Seventh soon becomes sleepy and tired, and many of the men fall by the way perfectly exhausted. Three o'clock in the morning we come to a halt. Those who are not too much exhausted build camp fires and prepare their breakfast, but the majority of the men being
so weary, drop down upon the ground and are soon slumbering. At the early dawn of day all are aroused and the Seventh's weary men are compelled to move forward without any breakfast. We arrive at Purdy, Tennessee, by noon, where we halt, eat our dinners, and steal a few hours for sleep. This is a beautiful inland town, situated in West Tennessee, thirty miles northwest from Corinth, and four miles from the Mobile and Ohio Railroad. The drums now beat, and again the regiment is formed in line. Rumors are now rife that there is a fight on hand somewhere in West Tennessee. We move forward twelve miles, but finding no enemy, we go into camp for the night. The soldier is weary this evening, foot-sore and hungry.
Saturday, 20th.-This morning we move forward at 9 o'clock, and march briskly all day. By the road-side many a weary, foot-sore soldier falls. are now in the rear of Jackson, Tennessee, a town on the Mobile & Ohio Railroad, which the rebels, it is said, are trying to circumvent.
Sunday, 21st. We are this morning fifty miles from Corinth in an enemy's country. Our command numbers about two thousand. We are running some risk in moving so far away from support, but our leader has in his composition the "sand" and the "steel," and in him we trust. We move from camp on quick time, the spirits of the men are up; all anticipate a fray with Forrest and his West Tennessee raiders. By noon we arrive at Lexington, but find no enemy as we expected. We halt here and eat
our dinner, after which we move on and go into camp for the night at Pinch.
Monday, 22d.-This morning General Dodge discovers that the enemy has evaded him by withdrawing hastily from Jackson and his advance. The command being nearly all foot-sore from hard marching, the General finding it impossible to pursue the enemy any farther, takes the head of the column, and leads towards Henderson, Tennessee, a station on the Mobile & Ohio Railroad, twenty-five miles distant. We make a hard day's march, and go into camp for the night, five miles from Henderson. Notwithstanding the soldiers are weary and foot-sore, they will forage-will trespass upon plantationswill enter smoke-houses-make raids upon hen-roosts, and demonstrations in barn-yards, much to the discomfiture of the presumingly innocent natives, whose maledictions are no doubt falling fast upon the heads of the "invaders." From the superabundance of chickens and geese heads strewn around in the Seventh's camp, we are forced to conclude that they have a just cause for giving vent to their aggravated feelings.
Tuesday, 23d.-This morning we cross Beach river, and march into Henderson. We are told that from here we will proceed by rail to Corinth. Never was news so gladly received as was this by the Seventh's weary members. The First Brigade, General Sweeny, receive transportation immediately for Corinth, thirty miles distant. And it falls to our lot to remain at Henderson until the train returns.
It returns at 2 o'clock and we are soon rolling over the road towards Corinth. At 5 o'clock P. M. we enter our old camp. The railroads running from Corinth to Memphis and Columbus are now cut, closing our communications with the government, and in consequence the command has only half rations issued to them.
Every day is now dawning with Corinth isolated as it were from the rest of the world, with no mail, no news, and only half rations, but the soldiers are in fine spirits, and seem to feel indifferent concerning the situation. Forrest and his raiders seem to have full sway in the direction of Memphis and Columbus. We miss the engine's shrill whistle, and above all we miss its ponderous load. But as we look among these stalwart men this evening, we are inclined to think that the enemy's present mode of warfare, though a legitimate one, will not annihilate this army. The voice of the Seventh is, we will smile to see them starve us, though we are in an almost destitute country.
Tuesday, 30th.-This morning Companies H and I, under the command of Captain Johnson, are sent on a foraging expedition, taking with them the Division train. They go within six miles of Purdy, making a general sweep of every thing that would in any way serve to satisfy the "inner" of both man and mule.
Wednesday morning they start back with the train loaded down with corn, hogs, sheep, chickens, and geese, and arrive in camp about noon. The Sev
enth is well supplied, having plenty to eat now though they are minus the half rations due from the government, and we conclude to-night "that Mr. rebels are robbing Paul to pay Peter."
Another year is now closing-another child of time passing away. Soon turbulent and boisterous sixty-two's death-knell will be sounded, and while she is slowly dying, we trace its history, and behold that great events have transpired since it first walked forth. America has been in commotion, a great people engaged in civil strife. The force of law and the power of republican freedom have been arrayed against ignorance, rebellion, and mad ambition. May this force and power in its mighty march sweep from this land every vestage of marshaled opposition ere the death doom of another year is spoken. Would that this year of war would roll out and a year of peace come in; that no more hecatombs of loyal dead might be reared in the southland; but that harmony, quiet and fraternal love might reign where the beautiful magnolia and citron bloom.
Thursday, January 1st, 1863.-The new year dawns peacefully, but not with a nation at peace. 1862 has been a year of blood, and 1863 may be likewise, for the loyal soldiers, with their bayonets, stand beneath the Union's battle-flag, all over this land, eager to follow it down where treason lifts its hydra-head ready to engage in the carnival of blood. To-day we are reminded that Lincoln's great proclam ati
takes effect. A chained race is declared free.