Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

sisters and lovers, with anxious throbbing hearts whose pulses have ever beaten true for Union and liberty, come like a beautiful sun-tinted wave against the Seventh. Tears fall like dew drops for the loved and lost, who come not back, but when the returning comrade says to that sister or that maiden, "your Willie fought bravely on Shiloh's field, until liberty in her trying hours claimed him upon her hallowed altar," their faces sparkle with holy light and they reply: "How proud I am to know that they were thus brave soldiers in the war for republican nationality." Oh! how noble these loyal hearts that open so wide for the boys in blue. The regiment sways back the crowd and forms in line. Wheeling into company column, Colonel Rowett commences to move through the city; a grateful people continues to follow the regiment wherever they march; the men move firmly-their steps are even. Some one says "they are proud," and another replies, "and well may they be; for the record they have made in this crusade for freedom is enough to create within them a feeling of pride." After marching through some of the principal streets of the city, the colonel leads the regiment into the State House yard, where he forms the regiment in divisions and closes in mass. Our old Colonel, now Brigadier General, John Cook, commanding the military at Springfield, appears at one of the windows, and with his loud and familiar voice says: "Colonel Rowett, by the direction of Governor Yates, you will proceed with your regiment into the Representatives Chamber." The hall is now

densely crowded with the Illinois Seventh and her loyal men and women. Governor Yates now comes forward and in behalf of the loyal people of Illinois he says: "Welcome! Welcome, Seventh! to your homes and friends. The heart of this great commonwealth goes out in love for you, starting tears to the memory of those of your number whom you have left in the sunny south. Again I say in behalf of the loyal people, welcome, welcome Seventh." His big heart being so full he could say no more, and was compelled to sit down. Brigadier General Cook now comes forward, carrying on his arm the Seventh's old Donelson and Shiloh banner, and as he unfurled it in that chamber, those men who stood around it amid tempest and smoke, like a pillar of steel and fire, seemed to move towards it with all their hearts, for men never appeared to love a flag more; they loved it because of its associations, for when they gazed upon its shot-torn folds they remembered the eventful past, remembered the terrible battle flames through which it had been carried, remembered the loyal soldiers whose hearts ceased their pulsations beneath its shadow. General Cook commences to speak, and for one hour holds the vast audience spell-bound by his eloquence. He pays a touching tribute to the regiment's fallen, and we dare say a more beautiful tribute was never uttered in this chamber than this tribute delivered by General Cook. He spoke to the loyal heart, and it seemed that every word as fast as uttered entered there, for when he closed few eyes were dry in that vast audience. After a few apt and

appropriate remarks by Colonel Rowett and Major Estabrook the audience disperses. The hotels are thrown open and the loyal people invite the regiment to throw themselves upon their hospitality during their stay in the city. Having free access, a portion of the regiment remains during the night in Representatives Hall.

Remaining in Springfield until the furloughs arė issued the different companies on the 19th day of January, leave for their homes. We will now for a while leave the Seventh Illinois Veteran Volunteer Infantry with their friends, trusting that the loyal people will lavish upon them their hospitality and love in consideration of the noble part they have played thus far in the war for human freedom.

CHAPTER XIII.

Rendezvousing at Camp Butler-Southward bound-Arrival at Louisville-Arrival at Nashville-The Zollicoffer House-Arrival at Pulaski, Tennessee-Marching orders-March to Florence, Alabama-Return to Pulaski, Tennessee-Marching orders-March to Waynesboro-March to Raw Hide-March to Florence-March to Baily Springs-March to Blue WaterCompanies H and K at Raw Hide-Company F at Cheatam's Landing-Headquarters at Baily Springs-Companies H and K at Jackson's plantation-The arrival of Company Fat Jackson's plantation-Colonel Rowett's return to the regimentCaptain Ring's detachment ordered to Center Star-Camp at Douglass'-Camp at Taylor's-Camp at Williams'—The arrival of the supply train-The attack at Shoal Creek-The crossing of Roddy-The fight at Florence-Rowett driven-Captain Ring falling back across Elk River-Forming Junction at Florence, Tennessee-The return to Florence-The march to Athens -Lieutenants Sullivan and Rowett sent to Florence under flag of truce to negotiate an exchange-The bad faith of the rebel Colonel Johnson—The regiment dismounted.

"Southward, ho! How the grand old war-cry
Thunders over the land to-day,

Rolling down from the eastern mountains,

Dying in the west away.

Southward; ho! Bear on the watchword,

Onward march as in other days,

Till over the traitors' fallen fortress

The stripes shall stream and the stars shall blaze,
And the darkness fly from their radiant van,

And a mightier empire rise in grandeur

For freedom, truth, and the rights of man."

After mingling for a while so pleasantly with the good people of Illinois, enjoying their hospitality and

receiving from them many words of cheer, we rendezvous at Camp Butler, February 18th. While here we add to our rolls a large number of recruits. Noble men theyare who have been waiting patiently to arrive at the necessary age for a soldier. That period having arrived, they now seem to feel proud in their uniforms of blue. Colonel Rowett having been by special order, (contrary to his wishes,) assigned to the command of Camp Butler, on the twenty-second of February the regiment, under the command of Major Estabrook, takes the cars for Dixie. Arriving at Louisville, Kentucky, we receive transportation for Nashville. On arriving there, we are furnished lodgings in the Zollicoffer House. The regiment will long remember the accommodations received there at the hands of the government contractors. How the bristling bayonets clashed together at the entrance, and how they practiced their expert chicanery to work their egress therefrom.

Remaining here until transportation is furnished, on the twenty-eighth we proceed on our way to Pulaski, Tennessee. The trains running all the way through, we arrive in our old camp at five P. M.; all seem glad to get back; the non-veterans are glad to see us, and hear from their friends at home; and even the mules send forth their welcome.

Monday, 29th.-All quiet to day; the officers all busy equipping their companies. Soon we will be in the saddle in obedience to the call of the bugle.

March 6th.-Since our return to this land of cotton, sallow humanity and scotch snuff, the boys

« ZurückWeiter »