EDDINGTON, W. R. Memoirs, Civil War Veteran, Macoupin County IL
(copyright 2000 transcription Carl, Christopher, Ron and Mark Strohbeck)


[The following was transcribed from mimeograph copies of the typewritten Memoirs of William R. Eddington (born 2 Apr 1842 in Woodburn, Macoupin, IL and died 16 Jan 1936 in Brighton, Macoupin, IL) by Carl, Christopher, Ron and Mark Strohbeck]


MY CIVIL WAR MEMOIRS AND OTHER REMINISCENCES


Presented To Earl Strohbeck from W R Eddington

(Picture contributed by gggrandson of W R Eddington, Mark Strohbeck, located at:
http://www.macoupinctygenealogy.org/pictures/m_picedd.html)

I, W. R. Eddington was born April 2, 1842, at Woodburn, Illinois in Bunker Hill
Township, Macoupin County, and when I was about eighteen months old, my parents
moved to a farm just across the line into Brighton Township. They took me along without
consulting me in the matter, and I don't remember now if I wanted to go or not. Anyway, I
did not like to see them go alone so I went along with them just for company, for I knew
they would get lonesome without me. You see I was boss in those days--or I thought I was-
-but I have learned a good deal since that time and that part of it was all a dream.

Well we finally got settled down and I began to grow up. One day when I was about
three years old, my Mother went to visit one of our neighbors and she took me along.
When she was not watching me I slipped out of doors, and started to view the landscape
o'er on an expedition all my own. The first thing that took my fancy was a pretty white box
setting out under a tree. I thought I would go and examine it, and when I got there I found
a lot of bugs running in and out of it through a small hole near the bottom. It was such a
pretty sight to see them run in and out through that little hole, but soon they slacked up a
little, and I decided I would hurry them up a bit. I picked up a little stick, and stuck it in
the hole and punched it, and lo and behold, they came out in swarms, and I soon found out that
every bug had a sting in its tail and they sure made good use of it on me. They taught me a
lesson I remember to this day, and that is, never meddle with other folks business if you
don't want to get yourself stung and don't ever punch a stick in a hive of bees.

Now I will give you a history of my dancing. When I was about eight years old, my
Father and about a dozen of his associates concluded they would have a dance and blowout
at one of the neighbors. It was a one-room log cabin 16 x 20 feet and about a mile from our
home.

Everything was put out of doors and the room cleared for action. They had several gallons
of whiskey. My Father went, and I asked if I could go with him. He said "Yes," and
Mother said "No", but I went anyway. The dance began by each taking a good size drink
out of the jug. The usual manner of taking it in those days--each helping themselves out of
the little brown jug. They danced awhile, and then stopped to take another drink. It went on
this way until about midnight and they were now all drunk. They got into disputes and
went to swearing, fighting, yelling, and a free-for-all fight set in, which scared me almost
to death. It was after midnight and dark as pitch, but I set out for home and I believe I ran
every step of the way home. That was my first and last dance, and if I live to be a thousand
years old, I will never go to another dance unless I am forced to do so.

After this my career was about the same as any other average child until I was about ten
years old. My Father was a drunkard. He had an old gentle horse on which he would put a
saddle, take a sack, put a gallon jug in the sack and tie the sack to the pommel of the saddle
and send me to a little town about two miles distance to buy whiskey for him. In those days
every grocery store and street corner sold whiskey. The price was from 20 to 25c per
gallon. I would get my jug filled and take it back home to my Father. Then he would
begin drinking and never stop until he was drunk. I have seen him many, many times
when he would not draw a sober breath for two weeks at a time, and when he was in this
condition he was very abusive and cruel to his family. I have seen him take a gun and try
to shoot my Mother and shoot the candle light out. I have seen him many times take a
butcher knife and get after my Mother and drive her out doors, where she had to hide out in
the brush all night to keep away from him.   This I have seen many times over.

I am not an educated man, as I never had the opportunity to go to school.  There were
no school houses or free schools here until I was fourteen years old.  We had three months
school each year, the parents paying the tuition.   The school was held in a room rented
from a private family each year changing to a different family.  I was six years old when I
first went to school and went five terms to this kind of a school.  The sixth year, I went to a
public school and got a six months period and in 1856 the first public school was built in
our neighborhood. I then got three six month terms. That is all the schooling I ever got,
but when I was nineteen years old, in the winter of 61 and '62, I taught a six months school
in the new school house.

My Father died January 14, 1855 at the age of forty-three. He drank himself to death,
but I had a good Mother. She lived to be in her eight-second year and died on April 2,
1896. There were nine children, three girls and six boys. They are all dead but me. None
of them ever lived to be very old and the oldest one was only fifty years when he died.

When I was about thirteen years old I made the trip from my home to Springfield, Illinois, in a
two-horse spring wagon. That is now seventy-nine years ago last March.   For long distances on
the way, there was not a house and the wild prairie grass was higher than a man's head and full
of wild prairie chickens, with millions of wild pigeons, geese, ducks, brants, cranes, and
pelicans flying overhead. And as we went into the city of Springfield there were but a few
stores and business places. The State House had not been built at that time.  We went through
the city and west about seven miles to a farm house occupied by a family named Davis. Now I
expect you are anxious to know the secret of this trip.  Well, if I don't tell you, you will
never know what it is, for there is not a soul alive today that knows anything about it. Well, I
won't keep you in suspense any longer but I will give you the true facts in the case. I had a
cousin living here who was a nice good young man, pretty well fixed financially.  He operated a
threshing machine. He started here and worked north as the season advanced.   Finally he found
himself in Springfield, and he found still more than that--he found a farmhouse with three nice
young ladies in it. As his whole object seemed to be to capture one of them, he came back to
Springfield again after the threshing season ended and he married the girl of his choice. It
was a case of love at first sight and they turned out to be a very happy couple. After they
were married her folks gave her some things, among which were three cows and a calf. I came out
here with him to drive the team back while he drove the cows.  We made the distance of about
eighty miles all right.

The Civil War broke out in April 1861, when the slave states seceded from the Union and
formed a separate Government called the Confederate States of America.  They fired on the Union
Flag at Fort Sumpter at Charleston, South Carolina, which started the Civil War, which lasted
four years.

I wanted to enlist in the army but my Mother was not willing and as I was not of age, I
could not get in without her consent so I waited until the second year, when President
Lincoln issued a Proclamation calling for 600,000 more men.  The war had been going bad
for the Union up to that time so my Mother told me if I still wanted to go in the army I
might do so.

Early on the morning of August 7, 1862, I with four of the neighbor boys left our homes
and went to Bunker Hill, Illinois, and took a train for Gillespie Illinois, where they were
making up a Company for the war. There we signed the roll for a three-year enlistment in
the U. S. Army. We slept that night in a boxcar loaded with wheat.  The next morning we
were put on a train and headed toward Springfield.   We got Sibley tents the same day.  
There was a hole in the top to let the smoke out.   They were big round tents, about eight
feet high and were supposed to hold about fifteen men each.  We had to get a man from
another Regiment to show us how to put them up.   That night we slept in our tents, our
heads to the outside, our feet toward the center, on the ground without blankets.
The next day we drew blankets and uniforms.   Then we were sent out to clear off a
place to drill and parade. Then we were sent out to drill five hours each day and dress
parade in the evening. This parade is for the purpose of letting the Officers see if every
man has his uniform clean and his buttons and equipment bright and shiny, and to hear
what Regimental orders are to be given for the next day.

On September 8, 1862, we were drawn up in two ranks about three steps apart and inspected by the
ministering officer to see if we were fit for the service.  I was the first man to be examined.
After he had gone all over me carefully, he started for the next man but turned around and came
back to me again and said, "How are your eyes?"  I told him I could not see anything but the
light with my right eye. He said, "Step to the rear."  I stepped back behind the rank and he
went on inspecting the others. While he was doing that I walked back to the other end of the
rank and: stepped up in the line again- on the left and when he came to me the second time he
went all over me again. He said, "You will do, you pass."   He never asked about my eyes.   So he
mustered us into the U. S. Service for three years or during the war.  That meant if the war
closed before three years was up, we would be sent home when the war closed.
We drew our guns and stayed at Camp Butler drilling until about October 20th, when
we were put on cars. My first guard duty while we were at Camp Butler, was guarding a
large covered wooden railroad bridge which spans the Sangamon River. I was to see that
no one crossed there unless they had a permit from Commanding Officer of Camp Butler
and also to prevent anyone from trying to set it on fire.

Company A had an election for officers, and I was elected as Fifth Sergeant of the
Company. We were put on cars on the Chicago and Alton R. R. and started for Alton.
When we got there they concluded the train was too long and they divided it and ran it in
two sections. They started us out on the C. C. St. L. R. R., now called the Big Four
Railroad. We went through to Terre Haute, Indiana, and as we rolled along over the great
prairies of Illinois for miles and miles, there was not a house to be seen--nothing but a-
great ocean of wild prairie grass waving in the wind higher than a man's head. We passed
on through Indianapolis to Cincinnati, Ohio. It was night when we got there and they
dumped us off the cars in a lumberyard and we did not sleep on the ground that night for
each one of us helped ourselves to a board and slept on that.

There was a Pontoon Bridge across the Ohio River here. It was built by stretching
a long rope across the river and fastening each end securely to the banks. A lot of skiffs or
small boats are tied to the front end of them to this rope and a joist or timber is laid from
one boat to the next one until it reaches all the way across the river. Then boards are laid
0across those joists which makes a floor for the bridge and the whole structure is anchored
down to the bottom of the river with heavy iron anchors and the bridge is ready for use.

The next morning we crossed over the Ohio River on the bridge, which rocked like a
cradle, to a little town called Covington in Kentucky.

The Rebels had gotten within about twenty miles of Cincinnati on the Kentucky
side of the river before we arrived, and when we got there they retreated south. After
staying at Covington a short time, we started after them. At a town called Cynthiana,
about 25 miles from Covington, there had been a fight a few days before and the houses
were all full of bullet holes.

On this march we had a snowstorm. We marched all day and when night came we scraped the snow
away with our feet, threw our blankets down on the ground, and footsore and weary we piled down
on them, too weary to eat, and tried to get a little rest for the long march ahead of us on the
morrow. When we got up in the morning our blankets were frozen solid to the ground. We pulled
them loose, rolled them up and strapped them on our knapsacks and after drinking a cup of coffee
and feeling more dead than alive; we started again on our long march to Nicholsville, Kentucky,
seven miles from Mammoth Cave, Kentucky.

We stayed here about two weeks to see what course the Rebels were going to take.

They kept on going south and we started on our backward march to Louisville, Kentucky
by the way of Paris, Lexington, Frankfort and the blue grass region to Louisville,
Kentucky, where we arrived about December 1, 1862. It was raining hard when we got to
Louisville and we went into camp near the State Fairgrounds, which were surrounded by a
high board fence. As soon as we broke ranks, we went after the fence, and in about fifteen
minutes we had the whole fence stripped.

Every man got a board to sleep on that night. We needed them for it was mid-
winter and we were all as wet as drowned rats. We had to drive the geese out of their
swimming holes and drink the water and sometimes we could not get anything to drink for
long spells at a time. We stayed here until December 20th and by that time there were a
good many soldiers here as we were collecting an army together to attack Vicksburg. On
December 20, 1862, all the forces here were put on steamboats and sent down the Ohio
River to Cairo, Illinois. We had a good deal trouble getting down the river. The water was
low, end every once in a while the boat would stick fast on a sand bar. We would take
long poles and stick one end out in the sand bar in front of the boat and lean the other end
back against the top of the boat, make it fast there. When the engines would start it would
push the boat forward and as the poles straightened up, that would raise the front end of the
boat up enough so it would go over the sand bar. We proceeded down the Mississippi
River, more boats joining us at Cairo and Memphis, Tennessee. When we got our forces
all together we had a fleet of 102 boats loaded with men, horses, cannons, ammunition,
provisions, and eighteen or twenty gun boats.

It was rumored that the Rebels were going to attack our fleet below Memphis, so we were all
put off the boats on Christmas Day 1862 and formed in line of battle along the levee. We stayed
there all day waiting for an attack, but none came so we went back on the boats again and proceeded
down the River to the mouth of the Yazoo River. We went up that river to Chickasaw Bayou, one of
the defenses of Vicksburg on the north. The hills are over a hundred feet high in some places, and
along on the top of those hills the Rebels had their big guns planted and their breastworks and rifle
pits built, while down where we were, all was water and swamps. The weather was terrible cold and
we could not have a bit of fire. I thought I would freeze to death. We had a good spring here
where we got our water to drink, but the Rebels put poison in it and killed some of our men.

We fought here from December 26, 1862 to January 2, 1863, but we could not do anything with them.
Our bullets would go right over their heads as they stood in their rifle pits. This was our first
battle and we got licked, rather discouraging, you will say and I guess you are about right, but
we are going to do better next time.

On the night of January 2, 1863, we went back on our boats again. The boat a were out in the
Yazoo River, seven miles away, so we had a seven mile march before we could get on them. The
Rebels found out that we were leaving and they began shooting shells at us before we reached our
boats. We pulled out and left them, but we are going back later and there will be a different
story to tell next time.

Well we got on our boats again and headed toward the Mississippi River. Again
we went up the river to the mouth of the White River, then we went up the White River
about twenty-five miles. There we came to the chute that connects the White and the
Arkansas Rivers together. We crossed through this chute into the Arkansas River. We
went up that river about seventy-five miles and we came to a place Called Arkansas post.
Here the Rebels had built a big fort end heavy breastworks and long rifle pits and they
were well fixed to put up a strong fight.

We arrived here on January 10, 1863. We disembarked from our boats about two
miles down the river from the fort and that night we moved the troops around through
timber and brush to surround the fort. The weather was cold and the ground was low and
swampy. We were wet up to our knees and as we could not have any fire or move about,
we suffered greatly from the cold while standing in line waiting for daylight to come, for
well we knew that on the morrow, many would sleep beneath the sod. The morning of
January 11th opened up bright and fair. It was about eleven o'clock by the time we got the
fort entirely surrounded, our batteries up, and our men in position and we got the order to
advance. Our forward movements were met by a hurricane of bombs, grape, canister,
shrapnel shot, and thousands of musket balls.  We got the order to lie down. We fell flat
on our faces and began to crawl forward toward them, lying on our breast and shooting and
then rolling over on our backs and passing the butt of our guns down between our feet and
loading our guns as we lay on our backs.  We then shoved the guns forward, rolled back on
our breast to shoot and always creeping a little closer toward them.

While lying on our breasts the man lying next to me on my left, was struck by a
ball which took the top out of the second button on his coat, cut the third one off and went
through all his clothing and lodged against his breast bone without breaking the skin. I
heard the ball hit him and reached over and tore his clothes open.  The ball fell to the
ground. He picked it up and put it in his pocket with the remark, "I am going to take that
ball home." We kept up this mode of fighting until about two o'clock in the afternoon.  We
had got within about forty yards of the Fort when the order was given to fix bayonets and
charge. We jumped up; put on our bayonets and away we went on the run, over the ditch,
over their breast works and right in amongst them.  They threw down their guns and put up
their hands. The battle was fought, the victory won, and for the present, the shooting was
done.

In the charge the man next to me had the first finger of his hand shot off and the
ball passed so close to my right ear and it stung me so bad that I thought my ear was shot
off. I slapped my hand over it but found no blood and I still have my ear.
We captured about 5000 prisoners and all their cannons and guns and munitions of
war of every kind. They had a lot of new Enfield Rifles, which had been smuggled to
them from England. The boxes had never been opened and as some of our guns were not
very good, we broke open the boxes and armed ourselves with new Enfield Rifles--leaving
our old guns in place of them as the new guns were much superior to the guns which we
had.

We gathered the prisoners up and put them on the boats and sent them to Alton,
Illinois, where they were put in the Old State Penitentiary and kept there as prisoners of
war for about two years. Next we gathered up the wounded for both sides and put them on
hospital boats to send them to hospitals to be cared for by the doctors and surgeons. Many
of them had to have their legs or arms cut off, or their bodies probed to find lodged bullets.

Such is the horrors of war.

Next we gathered up the dead of both sides, placing them in different places according to
which side they belonged to. The Rebels we buried with their heads next to the Rebel Fort
and their feet to the south toward the Arkansas River.  We dug a long trench about six feet
wide and three or four feet deep, laid them in, and covered them up with dirt. Our men we
took out about a mile in the woods northwest of the Rebel Fort.  We dug a separate grave
for each one, placed the bodies in the graves and spread a rubber blanket over them and
filled the graves up with dirt.

The day after the battle, which was January 12, 1863, it began to rain and kept up
continuously for about thirty-six hours.  That night the wind turned to the northwest and
we had a real old blizzard with about eight inches of snow.  Our pants legs were frozen
stiff and we were actually freezing.  We got axes and cut down trees and cut them off into
logs and put them in great piles and set them on fire.  We stood around them, burning on
one side and freezing on the other.  The fires melted the snow and with so many men
tramping around, the mud was soon over our shoe tops. We did not have a bit of any kind
of shelter or sleep since getting off the boats on the evening of the tenth and until the
fourteenth we were as wet as drowned rats.

I made survey of the battlefield on the same day the battle was fought.  Now if you
will give me your attention for a few moments I will show you what I saw on this field.
This was my second battle, but it was the first time I had a chance to survey the field after
the battle. I started at the Fort and followed the Rebel breastworks west.  The first man I
came to was lying on his back and I thought he was asleep, I went up to him and felt of
him and found he was dead. I could not see any marks on him, I took hold of his shoulder
and rolled him up on his side and then I saw that the whole back of his head was shot
away. It was hollowed out just like a gourd. The face was not touched.

I went on a number of men that had been shot. The next man I stopped to examine was lying on his
back, but his feet were standing up in front of him in a long legged pair of boots. The legs
were cut off just above the top of the boots and they were both standing up just like he was
still standing on them.

I still went on seeing other men who had been shot.  Pretty soon I cane to another scene which I
stopped to examine. A man had been hit in the breast by a big shell and all that was left of
him was a few fragments scattered around except for one string of intestines which was still
attached to what had once been the body.  The other end had been thrown out over the breastworks
and was hanging on the top of a little bush about six feet high and about ten feet from the
place where the body lay.

I went on to where the Rebels had parked all their extra munitions of war, horses, mules,
wagons, ambulances, cannons, ammunition, hardtack, meat and everything.  That was all torn to
pieces and mixed, all together, not one whole piece.  The gunboats had looted their parking
place and threw their big shells into the park.

A few days before we captured the place, the Rebels ran a boat down to the Mississippi River and
captured our mail boat. We got our letters mixed up in the wreckage at the rebel park and a good
many of the boys found their own letters from home to them and read them here. We gathered up
all the wreckage and burned everything we couldn't use and destroyed all the breastworks. When
this was done, we went back on our boats again.

On January 20, 1863, we went back on our boats and went down the Arkansas River to the
Mississippi; we went down that river to Young's Point, about five miles due west of the city of
Vicksburg. On this trip down the river we had to go ashore twice to cut cordwood and carry it
aboard to make fire to run the boats with. There were no coal mines in that country in those
days, and the wood yards had all been closed up by the Rebels.  That is how we worked our
passage up and down the river.

On the 22nd of January 1863, we were put to work digging a canal across Young's Point. It was
about one and one-fourth miles long and we worked at it until March 6th.  The object of the
canal was to make a channel wide enough and deep enough so that boats could pass from one bend
to the other and get below Vicksburg without running by the batteries the Rebels had built along
in front of Vicksburg which extended for about fifteen miles along the river front. We worked
almost two months at the job. We had it all done except opening up the ends to let the water in
and let it out when the Rebels cut the levee above us and let the water run all in the woods
behind us. It rained almost all the time and the river rose rapidly and that night ran over the
bank and filled our canal full. If we had had one day more we would have been all right.  We
had to move back up the river to Millikens Bend, twenty-five miles away before we could find
ground to camp on. When the last of us got away from Young's Point, there was not a bit of
ground to be seen and the water was running over our shoes as we stood on the levee. All the
time we worked on the canal the Rebels had one gun they called 'Whistling Dick' that would shoot
big shells on us. Sometimes it would knock our staging, wheelbarrows and planks all over the
place. We would sit down under the bank until they got in a better humor and then we would get
up and go to work again. There was so much mud that the wagon got mired down and could
not get out. They had to be unhitched and the men dragged out the six mules with roped
and then dragged out the wagon in the same manner.

While we worked on that canal almost one-half of the men were sick and could not work. They
were dying every day like mice and no wonder, just throwing their blankets down in the mud and
lying down in it. All  the shelter we had was a piece of canvas 4 x 6 feet square through which
the rain would sift through like a screen.

When the river went down our canal was as full of sand as it was when we began to
dig it. Then General Grant decided to run the boats down the river and pass the batteries at
Vicksburg. He took a gunboat and a steamboat and tied the two together--placing the
gunboat next to the Rebel batteries and the steamboat on the opposite side.  He made seven
pairs of boats like this. He loaded all of the boats full of army supplies, horses,
ammunition, hard tack, bacon and other things.  Then he called for volunteers from the
army to run the boats by the batteries, which extended for about fifteen miles down the
river. The crew of the boats refused to go. There were so many volunteers from the army
offered to go that he could not take them. He sent them back to their company. Then he
called for volunteers from General John A. Logan's Division of Sherman's Corps and he
got all he needed.

One dark night they towed out in the middle of the river above Vicksburg without fire or lights.
They drifted down the river and passed safely by the Rebel batteries at Vicksburg and all the
damage was one horse head shot off and three men slightly wounded.  None were killed. They
piled bales all along the sides of the boat for the protection of the men.  On one of the boats
(The Henry Clay) the cotton caught fire and burned to the water's edge, but the men and the
cargo were saved. The great experiment of getting the boats below Vicksburg had been solved
after months of other plans had all failed.

We had to have the boats below Vicksburg so that we could get across the river below. It was
impossible to capture the city from the north and west on account of the high bluffs and the
fortifications. Consequently we had to cross to the east side of the river to attack it from the
east. And by getting the boats below we had the means wherewith to cross. The rebels had the
river blocked again at Grand Gulf about 25 miles below Vicksburg. After the Navy had bombarded
it a night and a day without success, Grant ran his fleet of boats by the batteries at that
place without loss or damage and landed at a small town called Hardtimes in Mississippi.

On the morning of April 15th 1863, the army at Milliken's bend, Mississippi, broke
camp and started on their long march, about 20 miles down the west side of the river to the
little town called Hardtimes, where we found our boats. We marched most of the time, day
and night, with about one hour's stop at noon and midnight to make some coffee and eat
some hardtack and sowbelly. We would stop occasionally for about 15 minutes to rest and
snatch a little sleep. We stopped one day and night to rest at a place called Perkin's
Plantation. On this march, it rained about half the time, and everywhere was water, mud,
and slush. Sometimes we could not get water enough on our marches, but this time we got
more than we could drink and we did not have any place to put the surplus.

We finally arrived at Hardtimes on April 30th, 1863, and it had been hard times all
the way from April 15th when we started, to April 30th when we got there. There was
nothing soft about it but the mud. As soon as we arrived here they ran the boats up the
bank. The 13th Army corps started out in the lead. That is the corps to which I belong and
we stayed in the lead. They drove us on the boat just as if we were a flock of sheep until
there was not standing room for one more man. They ran the boat across to the east bank of
the river, then they hustled us off the boat in short order. Then they went back for another
load and so on until the whole army was landed on the east bank of the Mississippi River
at a little town called Bruinsburg. We had expected to go much farther down the river
before crossing, but General Grant met another colored man and he told him there were 2
good roads leading out from Bruinsburg to the near Vicksburg so we took this route.

Before we crossed the river we got orders to leave everything at Hardtimes but our guns
and our blankets. When the 13th Corps were all across the river it was about 9pm. We
were formed in line of battle and given 5 day's rations of hardtack and sow belly, and we
did not get anything more for 20 days. At this place the high bluffs were about 7 miles
back from the river and at some places were about 100 feet high. There wasn't a wagon
road cut through these hills wide enough for 4 men to go up elbow to elbow. When our
boats got past the rebel batteries at grand gulf, the rebels left this place and went out and
formed a line of battle along the high ridge crossing the wagon road. They expected to
sweep us off as we went up through the deep cut through the hills.

We started on the march from Bruinsburg about 9:30 P. M. and got to the hills about 6 A. M. and
found the rebels waiting for us in the dark. We rushed up through the cut and gained the
pressing rebels back and as fast as our Regiments would come up, one would file right and the
next would file left and each one would run along behind the line already there until they got
to the end of it. They would step up in the line thus attending the battle line very rapidly.

The rebels did not hurt us bad in the cut as it was dark and their marksman ship was not very
good as they shot too high. This is called the battle of Port Gibson and lasted from one o'clock
in the morning until nine o'clock that night without a stop. We had no breakfast, no dinner, and
no supper. We drove them back about ten miles that day, took a good many of them prisoner, and
captured all the cannon they had but one, and that we found the next day on the road with a
broken axle. This battle was fought May 1st, 1863, near Port Gibson, Mississippi. I think that
this day was the hardest day's work for me that I ever experienced in my life. Our regiment was
on the reserve line that day and we were double-quacked or ran from point to point back and
forth and wherever our line was wavering or giving back, we were rushed in to help them hold the
line. When darkness came I felt more dead than alive and I had not had a bite to eat for 24
hours.

The next morning at daybreak, the rebels fell back to Port Gibson (during the
night) Crossed over Bayou Pierre and then burned the bridge. We had to lay over the next
day and build a temporary bridge before we could get across the bayou. The rebels fell
back and we followed them until the 8th of May when we were ordered forward to Baldwin's Ferry
on the Big Black River to see that the rebels did not come from Vicksburg, cross the Black River
and get into the rear of our army. The rain poured down all the time we were there, 2 days and 2
nights. The river is not more than 60 or 75 yards wide and there was a whole brigade of rebels
on the other side of the river, and only one regiment of us. We did not have a bit of shelter of
any kind, except a rubber blanket and did not dare to loosen a shoestring or belt. We were there
48 hours before we re relieved, as the man that was sent the day before could not find us.

The rebels called "Yank, have you got any coffee?" We answered "Yes, Johnny", so they said
"Bring us over some and we will give you a paper". The yank pulled off his clothes, put some
coffee in a paper, took it between his teeth and swam across the river with it, and when he came
back, he had a paper in his mouth that had been printed in Vicksburg. The rebels called us yanks
and we called them Johnnys.

Well, we got orders to move and follow up the army, which had gotten quite a distance ahead of
us, so we started out and caught up with them. They had gone into camp close to a big warehouse
filled with bales of cotton. We were wet to the skin, for every little branch and stream was
full and overflowing with water and we had to wade through them. Sometimes we had to hold our
guns and cartridge boxes up over our heads to keep our powder dry. Four of us concluded that we
would have something to sleep on that night to keep us out of the mud so we went to the
warehouse and pulled out a bale of cotton. We cut it in two and each of us took half and we
piled down on that and slept like logs till morning - concluding it was no use to sleep in the
mud even if cotton was worth a dollar a pound. We got up in the morning feeling fresh and fine
and of course we thought that this feeling was caused by sleeping in such a high-priced bed.

General Sherman's Corps, the 16th Army Corps took the lead and we took second
place. Our rations were running low, and we stripped the bark from slippery elm trees,
eating them as we marched along. The day before I managed to steal an ear of corn from
the horses, which helped to prolong my existence. Sherman's Corps fought a battle at
Raymond, Mississippi, just s short distance in our front. Sherman went straight north about
30 miles to Jacon, Mississippi. There is a road leading off from Raymond in a northwesterly
direction for about 10 miles to a place called Edward station. There is a road and also a
railroad called the Jackson and Vicksburg Railroad that runs alongside Edward station. The wagon
road from Jackson and the one from Raymond unite at this place forming a "V". We took the
Raymond road. They opened fire on us and we replied promptly and the battle was on and raged
with all its fury until dark. We would drive the rebels back and then they would turn their
whole force on us and drive us back. They could not leave the point where the roads come
together as Sherman was coming down from Jackson on that road and he might get in behind them
and cut them off from getting back into Vicksburg. So the battle went on till about 2pm when we
heard Sherman's guns roaring over on the other road and from that time until night we forced
them back gradually toward Vicksburg then taking many prisoners and capturing a lot of their
cannons.

As we were making a charge we ran through a bee farm where there were a lot of beehives. I
kicked one of them and grabbed out a big chunk of honey and ate it as I ran. It made me sick and
to this day I can't eat honey.

The battle of Champion hill was fought on May 16th, 1863 on Mrs. Champion's farm near Edward
Station, Mississippi. The Lord was good to us that night. Just before dark a bunch of hogs ran
through the company and we got one for company A so we had something to eat. This was the 16th
day on 5 day's rations and we were beginning to feel a bit slim. I have Mrs. Champion's picture.

That night the rebels fell back about 7 miles to the Black River Bridge where they built more
fortifications on the east side of Black river. Where they built the railroad bridge over the
river, they had to go way back to start so the grade would not be too steep. It was a very long
bridge built up on trestle work with a plank floor laid on it for wagons. When the rebels fell
back they left about 5000 of their men down on the east side of the river. The rest of them
crossed over to the west side and burned the bridge. We followed up and May 17th the battle of
Black River Bridge was fought. We captured about 5000 prisoners, 17 cannons, and all their army
equipment. Before the fighting began our regiment was sent down to the left to come up the rear
to prevent any of them from escaping. Pretty soon the 60th Tennessee came down with their guns
and their flag flying and when they saw us they threw down their guns, handed their flag over
and surrendered. The 97th Illinois captured the 60th Tennessee. They were sent to Camp Butler as
prisoners of war. A good many of them died there and are buried in the cemetery there.

We killed so many of the rebel's horses at Champion hill that we could not move near all their
cannons, so today we sent back horses and got them. We had to build a temporary bridge to cross
the river on and gather up the rebel arms and the wreckage of the battle and burned it.
May 19th, 1863 we crossed the Black River bridge. We had gotten no rations and were getting
pretty close to the end of endurance but I got a handful of blackberries. We got within gunshot
of the defenses of Vicksburg and the rebels poured shot and shell into us. The man next to me on
my left was killed. He was shot through the breast with grapeshot. We were moving forward slowly
when my second lieutenant next in front of me was killed, shot through the head with a musket
ball. We kept moving on slowly and the man next to me was knocked down by the wind from a cannon
ball but he was not seriously hurt. Night came to stop the slaughter for a short while. We had
nothing to eat that night. We threw our blankets down on the blood soaked ground and laid down
for a nap. We were ordered to fall back on our advanced position to a hollow where we had some
protection from the shot and shell that the rebels were hurling on us like a hailstorm.

On May 20th, 1863 we drew 5 days rations. The first we had drawn since the 30th of April. We lay
there for 2 days resting and getting ready for the great charge. We brought up guns and placed
batteries in position, and got ammunition for all the different branches of service. In all the
battles that we fought before we got to Vicksburg we lost 1072 men and the rebels lost 1042.

Early in the morning of May 22nd 1863 the great charge of Vicksburg took place. Everything was a
hustle and bustle, officers hurrying to and fro, men falling in line and drums and bugles
sounding. Finally regiments began to take their places in the long line and about 9:30 am the
order to advance was given. Every man was ordered to go over the rebel works. We all pushed
forward and were met by a rebel hurricane of shot and shell, grape, canister, shrapnel, solid
shot, bomb shells, and tons of musket balls. Many of our men got into rebel forts but were
killed or driven out. The rebels had the inside of the circle and we had the outside. They could
reinforce quicker than we could but we stuck to it until far into the night. In the morning when
we started out my Captain was ordered to take charge of the skirmish line. That is the thin line
that goes ahead of the main line of charges. My second Lieutenant was killed 2 days before,
consequently I had only one commissioned officer and he was next to me on my left. At about ten
O'clock in the morning they shot him right through the right shoulder. I was the orderly
Sergeant and next in command and had to take command of the company. It must have been about
midnight when everything got so still and we were so close to the rebels we could hear them
talking. I began to investigate and went to the right and could not find anyone. Then I began to
realize that I was all alone there with my company. I did not know what to do. I knew that it
was my duty to wait for orders. I waited for quite a while but no orders came so I made up my
mind that something was wrong. I whispered to the boys to follow me and we went back about three
quarters of a mile and there I found our regiment. The Colonel asked me why I did not bring my
company out when I got orders. I said, "Beg your pardon, Colonel, I never got any orders." "I
sent a man to you." he said. "He never came" I replied. "Alright, place your company in line," he
answered.

On the 23rd of May 1863 we began siege operations by digging in rifle pits, throwing up
breastworks, and placing batteries in position. As we had a great many men killed and wounded
right around the rebel forts in the charge the day before, General Grant requested a flag of
truce from General Pemberton, the commander of the rebels, to bury our dead. As he refused, our
dead and wounded men lay for four days on the parapets of the rebel forts. By that time the
stench became so bad, the rebels could not stay in their forts any longer so Pemberton sent a
flag of truce out to General Grant requesting him to come and bury and gave him 2 hours to do it
in. When we got to them such a horrible sight as met the eye is difficult to describe. They were
covered with flies and literally eaten up by maggots. We buried them as best we could in the
short time we had to do it in and the shooting began again. The battle raged in all its fury day
and night for 47 days and nights without a stop. We dug tunnels under their forts and placed
powder in them and blew them up. In one instance the blowing up of Fort hill a dog and a colored
man were blown over into our lines. The dog was killed and the black man was scared so bad he
was almost white. I met a woman about 20 years ago who nursed that man back to life. She told me
he got well.

In making our breastworks we would dig our ditch about four feet wide and run them
parallel with the Rebel line of works for miles in length.  Our line of battle was about
fifteen miles long. We would dig down about three feet, then dig the top of the bank next
to the Rebels down about one foot and back far enough to make a comfortable seat, then
we would take bags and fill them full of dirt (these we called sand bags).  We would lay
these bags along on top--end to end--of the loose dirt we had piled up out of the ditch we
dug. As we laid up the first tier of bags we left about two inch spaces between each end of
the bags. Now we would lay another tier of bags on top of this one and this would leave a
small hole through which we could put our guns.  We would lay more bags on top of these
until we had them away over our heads so that we were entirely hid from the Rebels. Now
we would get a small stick, sharpen one end of it and split the other end and put a small tin
case looking glass in the split. (Most of the boys carried them) We would then sit with our
backs toward the Rebels and our guns stuck in the holes behind us, the muzzles pointed toward
the Rebels, stuck in the holes behind us, the guns cocked and our thumbs on the triggers. We
would take the stick with the looking glass in it and stick it in the bank if front of us,
lining it up with the barrel of the gun leveled at the top of the Rebel breastworks and
watch in the glass in front of us. Whenever anything came across the gun in the glass we
would pull the trigger. There were three men in the ditch for each hole - One to shoot, one
to load, and one to sleep. We each took two hours at a time for each job.  The shooter
would shoot, then pass his empty gun down and the loader would pass him up a loaded one. At
night we would keep up the fire promiscuously.  This business went on day and night.  One night
I had to leave my hole to draw rations for the men.  Another man took my place and the Rebels
shot through the hole and killed him.  And another time when I had to draw rations, I was away
back from the firing line in a hollow.  I was asking one of the men to go with me and help get
the rations. He was standing with his face toward the Rebels and I with my back to them.  There
was a big elm tree behind him. It had a large limb on the side next to him.  A musket ball
whizzed over our heads, struck this limb, ran to the tree, glanced back and hit his leg from
behind and came through the leg and lodged just under the skin on the kneecap.  I heard the ball
hit him and I grabbed him and held him up until the surgeon, who was close by, came and ripped
his pant leg up and was the ball on his knee.  The skin was not broken. The surgeon slit the
skin and out dropped the ball. After this I went back up to the firing line expecting to get my
old place and there was no room for me.  I walked along the ditch until I came to the place
where a new ditch had been made the night before running at right angles to the old ditch. This
ditch was not yet completed, but I did not know that.  I went along down the new ditch a short
distance then I stepped up close to the bank, raised and looked over to the north where I could
see the Rebel work. I had hardly got straightened up when a ball came right down the ditch and
just missed my back. I got down from there and went back up the ditch the same way from which I
had come, but could not find any good place to work.  I had thought that ball was just a stray
one so I went back there again and looked over, and another ball came and twenty paces out I saw
a pile of fresh dirt. I knew well what that meant. It is what is called a skirmish pit. He
had crept out there last night in the darkness from the Rebel works and dug him out a pit and
now he was one of their sharpshooters.  I went back up to the old place where my boys were and
told them what I had found. He had gotten close enough to see the holes in our breastworks and
that is how it happened that the man who took my place the night before was killed. I told the
boys that could get range on the top of the pile of dirt to do so and I would go back and draw
his fire again and back I went to the same place.  I took a cap and placed it on my gun and
raised it up very slowly and just as soon as it was up to the top of the breastworks here came
the third shot. He missed the cap by a fraction. The boys all let fly at him and we never got
another shot from that pit. I think the boys taught him a lesson he never forgot.
In running forward we zigzagged our line of trenches to get nearer to the Rebel line to
start a new line of breastwork. As we went down hill, the Rebels could shoot right in on
us. Something had to be done about it and so we got a lot of sticks about one inch in
diameter and six feet long. We would draw a circle in the ground then sharpen one end of
the stick and drive them in the ground around that circle about three or four inches apart.
Then we would get small twigs, grapevines or small branches of trees and weave them in
around these poles to keep them together.  We would then fill it full of cotton and tramp it
down solid. We would then push it over on its side and make a roller of it.  Now when we
were digging down hill toward the Rebels, we would place this roller across the end of our
ditch, which is about three feet deep.  We would dig down under the roller and roll it
forward. As we progressed, we took a long pole and put one end on the ground and the
other end against the roller so that the Rebels could not knock it away with their cannons.
The boys called this thing a "Gabion".  I don't know if they got that name all right or not,
but in answered the purpose. We kept on going until we got up in the big ditch, which
surrounds the Rebel Forts. Then they threw hand grenades down on us.  We found them to
be bad roommates. We could not live with them, so when they throw one down, we would
grab it and throw it back in the Fort and they would explode every time just as they went
over the parapet. We fed them on their own medicine and they did not like it any better
than we did. We called for more, but they would not throw any.  On July 3rd about 3 P.
M. General Bowen and Colonel Montgomery came out with a flag of truce from General
Pemberton to talk terms of surrender to General Grant.  He refused to talk to them, but he
told them if General Pemberton wished to confer with him, he would meet him. They went
back and General Pemberton and another officer came out and they talked together for
quite awhile. General Grant's conditions were unconditional surrender and he told them if
they did not put up the white flag by 9 A. M. July 4th and come outside of their works,
stack their arms, and return back inside their works, he would act accordingly.  At 9 A. M.
July 4th, 1863, Vicksburg with all its garrison army, all supplies and munitions of war
were surrendered by General J. C. Pemberton, C. S. A., to General U. S. Grant, U. S. A.
A division of Union troops were sent into the city to take charge and the Stars and
Stripes were raised over the courthouse.  After these preliminaries were gone through with,
the prisoners were allowed to come out and mingle all together with the Union forces.

Many of them had not had a bite to eat for forty-eight hours.  We opened our haversacks
and gave them everything we had - even to the last hardtack.  They had eaten their last
mule and did not have one left. They even ate all the rats they could-catch.  We felt pretty
dirty and lousy too, as we had not had a clean stick of anything to put on for more than six
weeks. We covered with graybacks, as we had not had any chance to clean up for the last 2
1/2 months, not even to pick them off.  Sometimes we were not able to get water enough to
wash our faces for two weeks at a time. At other times some of our trenches did not have
outlets and when it rained we had to take our caps and bail the water out with them so we
could stay in them. We were a miserable looking set. I doubt if our own mothers would
have recognized us if they saw us then.  We captured and paroled over 31,000 prisoners at
Vicksburg besides those that we killed.

We got marching orders again to start at 4 AM July 5th, for Jackson, Mississippi, forty
miles east of Vicksburg. The weather was awful hot, 100 or more in the shade.  The dust
was about four inches deep, all cut up by Cavalry and artillery horses, wagons, cannons,
and men. We filled our canteens with water when we started. They held three pints each.
We had to make twenty miles before we could get any more.  There was not much wind,
but dust rose up between the ranks of men so bad it was almost suffocating.  Nearing the
creek where we expected to find water, we went into camp in the creek bottom, which was
planted in corn and ridged up with a one-horse plow and ready to tassel out. We camped
for the night in this cornfield but only five of Company A was here.  The balance of them
were lying along the roadside famished for want of water, overcome with the heat and
dust. They could go no farther until they rested and cooled off and when they did get here
all the water they found was a few little holes covered with green scum about an inch thick
and you could smell it long before you got to it.  It was but little better than a hog wallow. 
The boys began to come into camp.  They were too near worn out to eat anything.  They
just threw down their knapsacks and lay down.  We had a big rain here in the morning,
which filled the creek to overflowing.  The water ran in the cornfield where the boys were
lying. We got a drink of good water again, and it settled the dust, which made our march
the day before so uncomfortable.

We arrived at Jackson, Mississippi, July 17, 1863, and went in to the fight.  We were
tired, foot-sore and weary. The rain we had at our last camp did not reach here and it was
dry and hot and dusty. We had to go two miles back to a creek to get our water to drink
and when we got there we found nothing but mud holes covered with a green scum about
one inch thick. We brushed the scum aside, the water was about the color of coffee with
half milk in it and smelled worse than a rotten potato.  We had to detail men to take all the
canteens they could carry and go back to the creek and get water and bring it up to the men
that were doing the fighting. We fought here until the night of the 17th of July.  Our
Cavalry was across Pearl River, both above and below the city and in another day we
would have had them entirely surrounded, but that night they pulled out and left. We got a
good many prisoners, but the most of them got away.  The Rebels set the city of Jackson
on fire in about a dozen places before they left.  What Confederate supplies they had there,
they destroyed to keep us from getting them.  The city was on fire in so many places, and
what with the water mains, fire fighting apparatus pump and everything destroyed by our
shells, there was only one way left to put the fire out, and that was to tear down the
buildings ahead of the fire. The citizens seemed to be paralyzed, and incapable of doing
anything, and well they might be for shot and shell had been pouring into the city for the
last seven days. We got orders to make a detail of men from each company to go up and
help put the fire out. The boys went to work and the more they worked, the worse the fire
got. Someone would always throw a fiery board far enough to reach another house, thus
causing the fire to start again. So they sent the boys all back to their companies and left
the fire to burn itself out with what help the citizens could give.  I saw the biggest portion
of the city of Jackson, Mississippi burned up.

We started back for Vicksburg, where we arrived on July 20, 1863.  On this Vicksburg
campaign we marched 265 miles, fought sixty-five days hard fighting with forty-seven
nights thrown in for good measure, and never stopped long enough in all that time to clean
up or kill the graybacks, or wash our clothes.  When our things were brought up to us that
we left at Hardtimes, my sword was among the missing.  Now if the fellow that took it
should ever see this and should get conscience stricken and return it to me, I will forgive
him. Say Mister, there is a chance for you to get to Heaven yet.  We camped down on the
levee at Vicksburg. I was sick, worn out from the long campaign and exposure for about
three weeks and couldn't do my duty.  The doctor wanted to send me to the Hospital, but I
begged off and let me stay in camp.  The Second Sergeant took my duty and I was able to
pick off the graybacks. They loaded shot and shell down on the levee on the steamer Black
Hawk. They had a few more boxes to load when a man accidentally let a box drop off his
shoulder, and the shells exploded and blew the vessel all to pieces and it sank there. There
were five or six men on board when it went down, and nothing was ever seen of them
again except some bloody water that came up.   I was then within about twenty feet of it
when it blew up, but I did not get hurt.

We went on the boat down to Bayou Sara on an observation expedition.  We got off the
boat and started north up in the country (This was in the state of Louisiana).  It was night
and a rooster crowed, and as it was against the soldier's rules to let a rooster crow twice,
some of the boys took him in for fear of, breaking the rule.  They intended to have a
chicken supper. As we marched along we met ran old colored man with a pretty little
bloodhound trotting along at his heels.   I asked him if he would let me have the pup and
told him I would give him hardtack for him.   We finally made the trade.   He took the
hardtack and I picked up the pup and carried him into camp.

Toward morning we came to a fine plantation.   There was a nice drove of shoats.   We
stopped and made preparations into the butcher business.  We found a large iron kettle -
they used them in those days to make sugar in and it was very large.  We made a fire, put
some water in the kettle, three or four of the pigs, singed the hair off, cut them in pieces
and put them in the kettle and sat down to take it easy until it was cooked.  We did not
have long to wait. We heard a big noise up the road and here the Rebels came yelling and
we pulled out for our boat. The Rebels got the pork, but the boys stuck to the chicken,
took him back to Baton Rouge, and made chicken soup of him.

From here we went to Carrolton, La.  We stayed here about two weeks resting and
cleaning, washing, and killing graybacks.  We next went to Algiers, across the river from
New Orleans. On the 3rd of October 1863, we took the cars and went out to Brashear City
on Bayou Teche. There we were put on a boat and sent up to a small town called New
Iberia. Our Regiment was detailed to stay at this place and guard the supplies for the army
that was fighting at Franklin about seven miles farther up the Bayou.  Each man had a
board, so we drove some stakes in the ground, put some cross pieces on the stakes and laid
our board on that to keep us up off the ground.   The boat had come up the Bayou loaded
with army supplies.

We got orders to march. The men all want to packing their knapsacks, rolling up their
blankets and tearing up their bunks.   I was the Orderly Sergeant and I asked them what
they were doing. They said they were getting ready to march.   It was night and the weather
was cold. It was the 31st of October 1863. I told them to lie down and get a good night's
sleep for they would not get any the next night and anyway it would be noon the next day
before we got the boat unloaded and our own things aboard.  They stood around quite
awhile, and they got cold and tore up their bunks and made a fire of them and stood around
them until they had burned up all their own boards, then they came to me and wanted
mine. I refused but they came back again and wanted me to get up to give them my board.  
I told them to go away and let me alone and that if them came back again and wanted my
board, I would report them to the Officer, and they would get a march to the guard house.
They knew what that meant, and after that I had peace.

About noon the next day, we got on the boat and went down Bayou Teche about
seventy-five miles to a town called Brashear City.   There was a railroad running from here
to Algiers across the river from New Orleans.   We got off the boat and the train that we
should have taken took the 54th Indiana Regiment, and was gone, also bound for Algiers.
Now this train was run by a Rebel engineer.   They put a man in the cab along with him to
see that he did not play any trick.   When he got to a right sharp curve and a thick growth of
timber, he told the guard the engine was broke, and he would have to go down under it to
fix it. So he went down under the engine and out on the other side in the timber and
darkness. The guard did not go down under with him, so this train was left standing here
on the track without any light or signal of any kind being placed out as a warning. Now
back to Brashear City again. The train that was to take our Regiment to Algiers arrived
and the 97th Illinois Regiment was loaded on the cars.  Some were boxcars but there were
five flat cars without any sides on them.   On one of these our Company A was put and as
soon as I got them on board they threw down their blankets and stretched out and went to
sleep. There was not room enough on the car for me to lie down so I sat on the corner of
the car with my feet tucked under me.   We had a long heavy train of box cars behind us
loaded with army supplies, horses, prisoners, and other provisions, and as this was the first
day of November the wind was rather cold.   I pulled my blanket up over my head to keep
the wind off. The country along this road was mostly flat and low and there was quite a
ditch on each side where they got the dirt to make the roadbed.  The ditches were now
about full of water. It was midnight and as dark as five black cats and a ton of coal thrown
in for good measure.

We started for Algiers. We were flying through the air and just as a little streak of day
began to show in the east, a mighty crash and roar threw my head forward.  I jerked the
blanket off my head, looked toward the engine, and everything looked like fire. I dropped
my feet over the side of the car, put my hands down on the car, and sprang off, and as I did
so I called, "Jump off boys, jump off!"   I landed in the ditch on my head in about three feet
of water. How I got out of the ditch I will never know. The last thing that I can remember
was calling to the boys to jump off.   When I found myself, I was standing about twenty
paces away from the wreck, but I had turned around and was looking right toward it. I did
not realize for quite awhile that I had been in the water, but I began to get cold and then I
felt my clothes and I found they were as wet as a drowned rat.  The car turned up on edge
and the corner of the car that I was on missed the end of the ties and buried itself about a
foot and a half in the ground, so you can see if I had stayed there you would not be reading
this today. I had slept the night before, consequently I was awake on the train.   I looked
from where I stood and on the other side of the track and about the same distance away
from it as I was stood another man that was the engineer of our train.  He jumped three car
lengths before I did. We were the only ones that jumped. The car that we were on, in
turning the corner, caught another car, which prevented it from falling down flat. If it had
not been for that, I would have been the only man of Company A to escape.

Well, we all went to work to got the dead and wounded out, clear the wreck, and repair
the track so that another train could come and get us.  After we had got that done, I thought
I would see if I could find my cap.   I went back along the ditch looking carefully along the
bank for some sign. I saw a place where it looked like something had been scratching in
the grass. I stooped down to examine it and on the inside of the bank just above the water
line I saw my knee prints in the mud.   There was a stick about six feet long lying close by. 
I picked up the stick and went to feeling around and pretty soon I felt something. I slid the
stick up after the bank and when it got up, there was my cap.  I had the pole in it and the
head was covered with Mud. Now it is evident that I went into that ditch with force
enough to stick the cap in the mud, and if the water had not been there, it is possible I
might have broken my neck. But that was not the cap that I wear now.

In the wreck we had thirteen killed and sixty-six hurt so badly that the most of them
died in a short time and I don't know of any that did not have some hurt or bruise. I
escaped with a stiff joint on my left thumb.   That is the only mark I have to show for my
Civil War service.

On the back end of the train that stood on the track were two box cars loaded with
sugar. When our engine hit them, it made the sugar free, so a lot of us boys thought it
would be a nice thing to have all the sugar we could eat at once, so we went after it. We
filled ourselves with every bit we could hold and filled our haversacks to overflowing for
the next day. We soon became very anxious to give up what we had stored away for that
day and by the time we got that done, we were vary sure we would never need any more,
so we got busy and cleaned out our haversacks.   I ate so much it almost killed me.   Now if
you ever think you want to do anything like that, don't do it, and this advice comes from
one that knows. That happened more than seventy years ago, and I can't use sugar to this
day.

Our train came and we proceeded to Algiers.   On November 3rd, we crossed the
Mississippi River and entered New Orleans to do provost guard duty relieving the
Regiment there who were being sent to the front for active work.  The 97th Illinois was so
badly torn up by losing so many men in the railroad wreck that it remained here until we
got recruits from the north to fill its ranks.

We went into quarters at the Provost Marshall's Office at 48 Barrome Street.  Captain
Pickering of the 24th Massachusetts was Provo Marshall.  We were quartered upstairs in a
two-story building, which overlooked a pen surrounded by a high board fence.  The boards
stood on their ends, and in this pen we kept prisoners, mostly of our own men who had
been picked up for not having a pass to be in the city of New Orleans or any other crime
they may have committed. They were held here until the Provo Marshall could try their
cases and decided what to do with them.   Sometimes we had a lot of them and sometimes
not so many, but we always had some.   One time we had trouble with the prisoners.  They
were getting whiskey in some way and getting drunk, but how they were doing it we could
not imagine. I was the Orderly Sergeant for the Provo Marshall. Whenever the boys
wanted to go out in the city they had to have a pass signed by the Marshall.  One day he
called me to him and said to me, "Orderly, I want you to find out who is bringing that
liquor to those prisoners."  I answered, "Your Honor, I have been trying to do so, but as yet
I have been unable to succeed."   "Well," he said, "You investigate this matter and find
out." Well, I watched every day for awhile to see who got passes and I noticed that a
certain man who went out always took his gun with him.  One day he went down the street,
and after he had gone I went out and went around the block the other way. When I got to
the corner, I saw him step to the side of a house, and I saw him stretch his arm out and put
his hand against the house, then turn and walk away, but he did not have his gun. He
walked around in the street awhile, looking in the show windows, then he crossed back
over the street and went to the house where I had seen him before, stretched out his arm
against the house and turned around and walked away with his gun.  He went back up the
street, passed the office and around the corner of the prison pen.  I crossed over to the other
side of the street so that I could see right down the street where he was standing. He had
his gun barrel stuck through the fence and the prisoners on the inside were catching the
liquor in their tin cups as it trickled from the gun.  As each one got as much as he wanted,
he would shove up the muzzle and the flow would start again.  Then I went back up to my
quarters. After a while he came up and put his gun away. I did not say anything to him but
I told the Marshall what I had seen.   He told me to send him in.   I told him he was wanted
in the office. He went in, but what took place, I don't know.  The Provo called me again
and he told me to detail two men with guns and bayonets on, have them fill his knapsack
full of bricks, strap it on him and march him up and down Barronne Street for six hours.
We were never troubled any more with drunken prisoners.

One day we were sent down to Camp Chalmette, seven miles down the river from New
Orleans, to dedicate it as a National Cemetery for the interment of Union Soldiers of the
Civil War. There was music, singing, and dancing on the boat and band music and speech
making at the cemetery. We returned to New Orleans after the ceremony.

We had to march out to Lake Ponchartrain, which is about seven miles north of the city,
about once every week to capture smugglers - people that were engaged in sending things
across the lake to the Rebels. We would capture them, bring them back to the city and put
them in the pen.

One day I went out and walked over the battlefield of New Orleans where the
Americans gave the British a licking in the War of 1812.  The American line of
breastworks was plainly visible even then, and there was one old cannon lying there but it
was lying on the ground and the carriage was gone.   The old gun looked like it could be
made to work yet.

On March 4, 1864, Governor Michael Hahn, of Louisiana, was inaugurated as the first
Governor of that state after the war, and our Regiment took part in the inauguration
ceremony. It was performed by a very brilliant display of gold braid and shoulder straps,
with bands of music, drum and fife corps.

On the 23rd of March we had a grand review of our Regiment.  Governor Richard
Yates, who was visiting the Illinois soldiers in this department reviewed and inspected us.
It was a grand treat for a good many of us, for we had not seen anyone from God's Country
for so long a time that it cheered us all wonderfully to see him and to hear a few kind
words from him, and his sympathy which he had for the welfare of his soldiers.

In December 1863, we got a lot of recruits which filled up our ranks considerably and
the Recruiting that was going on at this time throughout the country strengthened our
armies greatly. We then went on an expedition to Morganzabend, a big bend in the
Mississippi River and went into camp there.   We stayed here quite awhile, and our
business was to gather up cattle to supply the army with beef.  The whole Regiment had to
march once a week back into the country twelve miles to Atchafalaya Bayou.  The Cavalry
and Cowboys would swim their horses across the Bayou, which was about fifty yards
wide, then go around and gather up a drove of cattle.  They would lasso the one that
seemed to be the leader. They would lead him and all the rest would follow with a little
help from the drivers. The cowboys would pull the leader in the water, and the drivers
would force the cattle in and they would follow the leader and all swim across the stream.
When we got them to the camp, we would make a pen with fence rails and put a partition
across the center. We put all the cattle in one of these pens, and after we had them two or
three days with nothing to eat, we would, throw down the partition fence leaving four rails
up, and all the cattle that could not get over that would be killed and the meat would be issued to the
soldiers. If we got too many at a time, they would die on our hands, as we had nothing to
feed them on. This was how we got meat for the army week after week for some time, one
day we went out and there were some Rebels there.   We got in a mix-up with them and
they killed one of our men.    Some of those big Texas steers had horns that measured about
six feet from tip to tip.

We were sent from here by boats to Dauphine Island, Alabama.  On this trip we had to
subsist mostly on what the boys called flapjacks.   We had but one stove on the boat and
one pan for the whole Regiment to cook on and we were getting flour now instead of hard
tack. We would take a pan, put some water in it, then stir in flour enough to make a stiff
batter about one inch thick, set it on the stove end let it stay long enough so that the
mixture wouldn't run. Then we'd turn it over and treat the other side the same way and the
flapjack is ready for use, but we needed a spoon to eat it with.  That is the way we lived for
two weeks at one time, but even that was a whole lot better than nothing, and I have tried
both ways.

Now to illustrate to you what I can do along that line.  The boys told me it was my time
to cook. I could not cook and told them so, but the answer I got was, "No back talk, do as
you are told." That settled it, so I got busy and got a camp kettle that held about four
gallons of water. I filled it about half full, made a fire, and set the kettle on.   I put about
two pounds of rice in it and stirred up my fire.   I soon had things going fine.   The whole
thing was boiling now like a house on fire.   Pretty soon I saw the kettle was getting fuller
all the time and it wasn't long until it actually did run over.  I did not care so much for the
rice, but I was afraid that it would put my fire out.  I did not have a thing to put it in, and I
thought of my rubber blanket. I got it and my tin cup, spread the blanket on the ground,
and went to bailing it out of the kettle on to the blanket.  The faster it boiled, the faster I
bailed and when the rice in the kettle was cooked, had more on the blanket than I had in the
kettle. But at the same time I had come out ahead, for I had saved my reputation as not
being a cook and I had saved the rice, which was quite a saving.  There was enough cooked
rice for a mess and there was enough half-cooked rice for another mess the next day. Now
this is not a joke. I assure you this is a true story of my experience in cooking rice and
now I am going to leave this cooking business to the ladies where it belongs for they know
more about it in five minutes than I do in a lifetime.

We found ourselves now on Dauphine Island, a small Island in Mobile Bay, where
oysters are plentiful and fat. We went out after the tide went out and picked them up by
the bushel and the beauty of it is, they are ready to eat as soon as you catch them.  All you
need is a knife - just give the shell a knock, pry the shell open, scoop the oyster in your
mouth. You don't even have to swallow him.   He is so slippery, he will just slide down
your throat without any effort on your part.   There did not seem to be anybody living on
this island, at least that I could see I guess that is why the oysters were so plentiful. We
had to leave the land of oysters as we had to get on the boats to go up the Pascagoula River
in Mississippi. We went on the steamboats and went in Mississippi Sound.   The water was
rough, and the boats were rocking as if they would go to the bottom.  The Rebels had
driven piles across the mouth of the Pascagoula River and it was blockaded so that our
boats could not enter. The engineer succeeded in cutting off the piles at the mouth of the
Pascagoula River and our boat's got over the obstruction.

Our main force disembarked about five miles before we reached a town called East
Pascagoula and went in camp here. But our Regiment went on up to the city and went into
camp and when we got established our Colonel issued an order that we should not take any
boards from the piles of lumber that lay all about us on every side.  "Or if you do," he said,
"Don't let me see you do it."   There were millions of feet of lumber here, and after the
Colonel had issued his order, he went in his tent, closed the flap over the doorway, and
stayed there. When he did finally come out, the boys were all pretty well fixed and they
were not lying down in the-mud either.   He looked around but said nothing.   We were in
the midst of a great pine forest that lay in the valley of the East Pascagoula River. It is not
a large river, but it runs through a large valley of pine timber and cane brakes. Our
business here was to load this vast pile of lumber on steamboats and send it down the river
to Mobile for government work wherever it was needed.  So we got busy and went to work
at what looked like a never-ending job, but we knew that all things come to an end
sometime and this did too. Our pay had been advanced up from twelve to sixteen cents
and it was quite an encouragement for us to keep going.  Besides if we were not at this, we
would be at a much more disgusting job, but one that needs to be done worse than his one.
That is killing gray-backs before they can eat us up.  They never stop to rest, day or night. 
They are very active. They seem built that way.

With Christmas drawing night, the Colonel wanted us to decorate the camp and his
headquarters so it would look nice Christmas.   He liked to see nice things and every man's
buttons, bright and buttoned all the way up to the top regardless of weather conditions. We
went out to the cane brake and cut a lot of cane.   Some of it was about twenty feet tall and
1 1/2 inches thick at the butt. We carried it to the camp, made a great pile in front of the
Colonel's tent, made wreaths, and hung them around in different places.  We made arches
over the company street. We had everything spic and span for a Christmas Day social
celebration and everyone was feeling gay and happy when about nine o'clock Christmas
Eve, here came the Rebels down from the north. As there was only one Regiment of our
men here, we had to fall back on our reserves.   The Rebels destroyed our camp and
everything in it, and cheated us out of our celebration also, but we got the lumber and a fair
exchange is no robbery.

Our whole force stayed here until the first of February 1865, then we proceeded by
boats to Barancas, Florida where there was an old fort.  There is no town here but there
was a lighthouse over one hundred feet high.   It was situated on the north bank of
Santarosa Sound and right across south of this fort is Santarosa Island, which contains
another fort called Fort Picens, which the Rebels tried a good many times to capture during
the war but never succeeded in doing so.   We kept a guard stationed all the time on the top
of this lighthouse tower while we were here.   There was another old Fort here, about a mile
north of Barancas. It must have been very old for large trees were, standing all around
about it, which evidently must have grown up since it was abandoned.  The sand here was
just as white as snow, and to look at the sand dunes at a distance they look like great piles
of snow.

On March 20, 1865, we left Barancas and went north through Pensacola, Florida and at
Black Swamp and then crossed this swamp.   We had to build a road out of poles, called a
corduroy road. There was about seven miles of it all grown up with small pine trees and
the water was all the way from a few inches to three feet in depth.  We cut the trees off at
the top of the water. We cut off a log about ten feet long, and then we would float it to the
place where we wanted to build the road, sink it down and put a man on each end of it to
keep it from floating away. We would keep on this way until we had about ten feet of road
laid down, and then would take a pole about ten feet long and lay it cross-wise on the end
of those we had already laid down.   Then we would cut forked sticks and drive them in the
ground on all four corners. Now we had one section ten feet square of road built.  We kept
this up until we got to the other side of the swamp.   We had to keep a man on each end of
the pole while we were building it for two reasons, one to keep the pole from floating
away, and the other to tell where to put the next pole.  After we got our train over this
swamp, we struck a few places where it was so bad our teams would mire down and could
not get out. Then we would unhitch them, tie ropes to them, and drag them and the rest of
the train through in this same way.   The Rebels opposed our march and attacked us with
Cavalry. We had a small squad of Cavalry, but not enough to match them.   They were
shooting and skirmishing all the time.   As soon as we got near to them, they fell back, then
our Cavalry went after them. It was a running fight all day. Some dead horses, saddles,
blankets and other, articles of equipment were scattered along the sides of the road.

We headed for a small town named Pollard, up in Alabama.  The Escambia runs near
that town. It is about one hundred yards wide with a swift current.   There were two
bridges across this river here and when we got the Rebels back near the river, we rushed
them so hard, they crowded on the wagon bridge so fast the bridge broke down with them
and many men and horses were drowned.   The railroad bridge they burned before.   The
bridge was built of trestle work, and in burning it had burned off only one side, and the
other rail was still there and extended all the way over the river.  Now we had to get across
that river in some way to accomplish the object for which we had come so far and worked
so hard. We were almost in sight of the town where our journey would end.   Someone
yelled, "Come on boys, let's crawl the rail."  We made a rush for the bridge and about 2000
of us, all the force we had, crawled the Escambia River on that one railroad iron.
We fell in line and started on our march to Pollard, Alabama, which lay about two miles
away. Here there was a railroad running from Montgomery, Alabama, to Mobile.   We put
our forces around Mobile and in order to prevent reinforcements being sent down from
Montgomery to Mobile it was absolutely necessary that this road be destroyed.  That was
our business here. We formed our men in twos and marched them along one side of the
track. The rank next to the track was number one, and the other one was number two.   The
first man stopped at, the first tie to be lifted, then as the others pass along each man
stopped at every other tie, and when all the men were ready, they stooped down and got
ahold of his tie. At the command they 1ifted it up and with a mighty shove they turned the
track upside down and the fall broke the rail loose from the ties.  Then we went back to
work and picked up the ties and built them in square pens like hog pens.  We made them
about three feet high. Then we took two ties and laid one on top of the other across the
center of the pen. We took the iron rails and balanced them on top of those last ties we put
on, filled the pens full of anything we could find that would burn, set them on fire and
before the ends of the rails would be on the ground the rails were ruined.  Our work done,
we moved on. We ran out of rations and had nothing to eat. We found a mill and sent out
teams and wagons to gather corn. We started the mill and stayed here two days grinding
cornmeal for the army.

We moved on and arrived at Fort Blakely, Alabama, April 2, 1865.  The fort was
already partly surrounded by other troops and some breastworks were built and rifle pits
dug. We took our place and went to sharpshooting. Fort Blakely was situated on the East
bank of Mobile Bay, four or five miles southeast of the city.  There was no town here but
there was a strong fort with breastworks and rifle pits stretching out for a mile or more. In
front of these works was a wide and deep ditch.   A wire was stretched about one foot from
the ground so as to catch our feet when we tried to jump over the ditch.  Between out line
and the Rebels was a quarter of a mile of ground all planted full of torpedoes over which
we had to pass to get to them. We continued our operations of digging rifle pits until April
9, when we found the first torpedo.   We dug one out last night but it did not explode.  My
company had three men shot by the Rebel sharpshooters.

We had to change our tactics. Last night the Rebels came out in front of my company
and dug out a skirmish pit within about twenty yards of our line and put three
sharpshooters in it. There was so much firing all night long that we did not hear them at
work and the firing has been kept up very brisk all day and a good many of the men on
both sides have been sent to their last long sleep.

The time came for the great charge to be made and well we knew that many of us would
never see the light of another day for our eyelids may be closed in death.  We came to the
hour that try men's souls and although it is now more than sixty-nine years ago since this
happened, as I go back and call to memory those scenes over again. The tears are running
down over my cheeks so fast they blind my eyes and I have to stop and wipe them away.
Softhearted, you may say. Yes, but I have seen so much that it would melt the heart of one
made of stone.

About five o'clock April 9, 1865, the drums sounded the long roll which is the signal for
everyone to fall in line. We had just got our coffee for supper.  We sat down in our tents,
grabbed our guns and fell in line and they rushed us up in front and into the rifle pits. In a
few minutes we got orders to charge.   As we got out of the rifle pits the Captain at
Company D struck a torpedo. It blew his leg off below the knee and sent it up in the air
about fifty feet high, and my Captain who stood next to me on my right was shot through
the left shoulder. I and two of my boys made for the skirmish pit.   There was a Rebel
Major and two privates in it. The privates jumped out and ran back toward the Rebel line
but the major stayed and kept on shooting.   We jumped down on top of him.   We picked
him up and threw him out of the hole and told him to go to the rear.  He started to go but
turned around as if to come back, but our Colonel caught him by the coat collar and forced
him to the rear. Just then another of my boys came along and just as he got to the bank of
the pit they shot him through the body at the belt line and he fell down in the pit right on
top of me. I jerked out my knife, cut his belt in two and let his cartridge box off and I went
on. All this happened in less than three minutes time. I had not gone far when a man next
to me on my left stepped on a torpedo with his left foot.  It blew his left leg off below the
knee his right leg off above the knee and passed up between his head and mine, and never
touched me. I grabbed him as he fell but I could not hold him.
  
We went on and when we were within about twenty yards of their works, they poured a
volley into us, which riddled our flag, cut the staff off about two feet from the top. We
went on through that withering flame of fire, which greeted us from the Rebel guns. We
went over the ditch, over their breastworks and jumped down in the rifle pits right on top
of them, too close to shoot them, too close to stick them with our bayonets, but we could
still use the butts of our guns. We ordered them to throw their guns outside the
breastworks. They did so and we gathered them up in groups and put guards around them
until we could get things straightened out.
  
Our color bearer was killed on the breastworks.   He had taken the flag staff out of the
leather socket in the belt that goes around the waist and was holding it in his hands. He
was shot right through the body while standing on the Rebel breastworks and as he fell
forward the flagstaff stuck in the ground.   The Rebels grabbed for one of the color guards
got it first and our flag didn't touch the ground and the Rebels didn't get it either.
  
I went to work trying to got my Company A together which was quite a task for it was
now dark and there were so many men all mixed together by the time I got it was about
midnight. I had forty men when we went in the charge. The battle itself lasted about
twenty minutes and now I could find only twenty-six of my men.  I reported to my officer,
Second Lieutenant, the only officer Company A had.   The others had been killed or
wounded. He said to me, "Orderly, you will have to go back over the battlefield tonight
and see if our men have all been picked up."   Now he had been in a good many battles and
knew well enough that the stretcher bearer corps always picked up the dead and wounded
just as fast as we drove the enemy back. In this case we had made a clean sweep so at first
I thought I would not obey the order. But on second thought I knew that would not do, for
he would have me court-martialed, and I would be shot for disobeying orders.  I knew it
was almost certain death if I went.   There was about one chance in a thousand that I might
escape the torpedoes, but I made up my mind that I would go.  There was no moon and it
was dark as pitch. I struck out expecting every step would be my last, but I got to the other
side of them all right. I went to where the field hospital was located in a hollow under a
tree. I found twelve of my boys there, but one was missing. I saw the Orderly Sergeant of
Company G and he told me where he was lying.   He pointed east about fifty yards.   He was
shot through the body with a musket ball.   He was dead so I went down to the tent where I
left my coffee and hardtack. I sat down on the ground and ate some hardtack.  I sat there
for about twenty minutes before I could make up my mind to make another trip across the
torpedoes, but I finally started.   I went a few steps when the thought flashed to my mind
the Officer might think I had not been out to the hospital. So I went back to my tent, took
my canteen and haversack, and hung them over my shoulder and started again over the
torpedoes. The same kind providence that shielded me in so many close calls was still with
me. I made my report to the Officer. He looked at me and said, "I guess that is all right."  
Then he said, "Did you have your supper?"   I answered, "Yes."   Then he said, "I wish I had
some, I'm awfully hungry." And I thought to myself, 'If you want it, do like I did, go and
get it.'
  
Company A lost fourteen men out of forty, a little more than one-third of their number
in about twenty minutes. This battle was fought after the war was ever and was the last
battle of the Civil War. General Lee surrendered all the Confederate forces to General
Grant about one P. M. and this battle was fought about five P. M., April 9, 1865 at Blakely,
Alabama.
  
Our work was done here, but we remained until the fifteenth.  We captured 15,000
prisoners with all their guns and war equipment of every kind, even their commissary
whiskey. Some of our boys imbibed a little too freely of the latter thereby losing their
heads and running over the torpedoes.   They lost their lives after the war was over.
  
On April 15 we were put on boats and sent across Mobile Bay and went in camp near
the city of Mobile. The main part of the army went to Selma, Alabama, but the boat that
our Regiment usually rode on had sprung a leak and we were sent over to Mobile to wait
until we could get another boat. They put us on the boat and we were bound for Selma,
Alabama. We went up the Mobile River to the junction of the Tombigby and Alabama
Rivers where they unite to form the Mobile River.   I saw lots of alligators and one black
squirrel. It is the only black squirrel I ever saw in my life. He was just where the
Tombigby and Alabama Rivers come together.   He was up in a tree and seemed to be
eating nuts. The alligator's upper jaw works instead of the lower one, and when he opened
his upper jaw it stands right straight up and their tongue looks red.  They lay around in the
swamp and bayous on old logs or under the banks in streams.  They hold their mouths
open, and in the daytime the flies will gather on their tongues.  Snap goes Mr. Alligator,
and Mr. Fly is in the trap. At night they catch mosquitoes the same way.  You can always
hear their jaws snapping. Now we have to leave the subject and move on.
  
We took to the Alabama River. Every once in a while we saw a dead horse lying along
the bank. General Wilson took Selma sometime ago with a Cavalry force.   The river was
very high at that time and Wilson pressed the Rebel Cavalry so hard they tried to swim
their horses across the river and many of the men and horses were drowned.  As we went
up the river we saw them every once in a while.   Some of them were hanging in the forks
of the trees,
  
We were sent to Selma, Alabama to head off Jeff Davis, the Rebel President, who was
headed this way. The Rebels had a cannon factory here. Wilson burned it down when he
captured this place and there were many large guns lying here in all the different stages of
construction before the shop was burnt down.
  
From here we made a surprise expedition to Cahauba, Alabama, about twenty-five
miles down the Alabama River. Here we gathered up a lot of horses and mules and all of
the boys that liked tobacco laid in a good supply as tobacco was very plentiful here at that
time. My officer and I went to a large plantation house to see if we could get some dinner.  
There was a lady sitting close by the door and the officer asked if we could get something
to eat. She said, "No, you can't get anything to eat here," and also said that she prayed that
God would strike every Yankee dead before they got off her place. The Officer said, "Yes,
Madam, but you know the prayers of the wicked availeth nothing."  Then he turned to a
colored boy and said to him, "Do you know where the hams are," and he answered "Yes,
Massa." He told him to get one right quick.   He struck out and pretty soon he came back
with a nice ham. He told him to get half a dozen eggs and away he went and soon returned
with the eggs. Then he asked him if he could cook. He answered, "Yes," and the Officer
said to him, "Get busy now and do it quick. Fry some ham and eggs for we are in a hurry."
He got some bread and we sat down and ate a good dinner while the old lady kept on with
her threats about what she hoped the Lord would do to the Yankees.  We paid no attention
to her and when we were done eating, we got up and thanked her for the meal and told her
we hoped we might have the pleasure of meeting her again sometime. We departed in
peace.
  
From here we went to Marion, Alabama, hoping to capture Jeff Davis and a lively
skirmish took place. We burned the junction depot returned to Cahouba, then to Selma,
Alabama on the 12th day of May 1865.   We were sent back to the city of Mobile,
Alabama, and went into camp about one mile north of Mobile. We remained here about
two weeks. The Government gathered up all the Rebel gunpowder and stored it in a large
cottonward house in the northern part of the city of Mobile. While that was being done, the
Rebels of the city were busy digging an under-ground tunnel from another house and
running it under the house where the powder was stored.  They put powder in there with a
fuse to it and touched it off and the explosion that followed wrecked the north half of
Mobile, leaving not a building standing in that part of the city, and thus I saw the city of
Mobile, Alabama blown up.
  
We were put on an ocean-going steamer and sent down Mobile Bay to the Gulf of
Mexico and across the Gulf to Galveston, Texas where we landed June 29, 1865. We went
into camp on the outskirts of the city.   Now my Company A had but one commissioned
officer and he got married to a southern lady before we came down here and he, brought
his wife along with him. The Government will not allow women to stay in the camp so he
went about a half a mile away from the camp, rented a room and he and his wife lived
there. The army regulations say that there must be at least one officer in camp with the
men. It was my duty to report his absence from the company to the Colonel, but I did not
want to do that so I walked that extra half-mile every morning to get him to sign my
morning report rather than make trouble for him.   He treated me very nice. It was just the
time of the year when figs were ripe and every morning when I would take my report to
him, he would always give me a little paper sack full of nice ripe figs.  We never
mentioned the conditions under which we were laboring to each other, but we understood
the situation all right. All is well that ends well.
  
The city of Galveston is situated on an Island of the same name. It is said there is but
one well that supplies fresh water, the others being salty.  At this time the city depended on
wooden cisterns built on the ground for its drinking water supply.  At this time it was said
there was not a milk cow on the Island, but there were whole herds of milk goats and
sometimes some of the boys were known to have had goat milk for breakfast.  The
seashore here was beautiful. It was almost as hard as rock and a person could wade out
about a quarter of a mile before getting below your depth.  It was great fun to wade as far
as one could and when the tide came in, it would throw you right out on the shore, but
watch out if it is going the other way.
  
July 29, 1865, we were mustered out of the U. S. Service.  We had roll with every man's
name in the company on them and we mustered out, the Officer calling each man's name
and signing his name letter for letter as it was on the roll.  The roll was then given to the
Company Commander. We were now out of the service, but we had to go to Camp Butler,
Illinois, to get our pay and discharge.   We got aboard the ship that was to take us to New
Orleans. We started on our journey at the entrance of the harbor.   There was a large buoy
to mark the place where the channel is it the shape of a steam engine boiler.  It is made of
iron and airtight so that it floats on the top of the water, and was anchored to the bottom
with a long chain - the links of which were made of three-fourths inch iron and attached to
a heavy anchor at the bottom. We had to change pilots at this buoy, consequently they
kept a small sailboat at this point with an extra pilot and one man on board. The wind was
blowing a stiff breeze and just as we passed this buoy, the pilot boat came straight toward
us. We would have hit it right in the middle, but our Pilot turned the helm sharply and
threw the stern of the boat around so the propeller caught in the chain of the buoy. The
chain being so large, it took them about a half a day to cut it in two, but we finally got
started on our way again. The weather got cloudy and they lost their reckoning.   Finally
we ran across a small schooner and got the latitude and longitude and they told us what
point of compass to run on to find the mouth of the Mississippi River.  A storm came up
and the vessel caught fire down in the coal bunkers.   We were quartered on the upper deck.  
As soon as they hollered fire, all of our boys ran down below.  I was the only one that did
not. There was a large cover made of wood called the hatch cover.   I went and stood on
that as I knew if the ship went down that would float.  I was scared worse than I ever was
in any battle, but pretty soon they said the fire was out and we found the river and landed
in New Orleans at night.
  
During the war, the city of New Orleans made script for money.  It was good in the city
but nowhere else. When we left New Orleans I had fifty dollars of this script and I asked
my Officer for a pass to go down town and get it changed.  He had orders not to give any
passes, but under the circumstances if I wanted to run the risk of being picked up by the
patrols he said it would be all right with him.   So I started out and had not gone very far
when I met the Patrols. They asked me for my pass, I told them what my business was and
they told me to go around the block and pointed in the direction and I got to the store
where I had got the script. I showed it to them and told them I was, going home and could
not use it and I wanted to exchange it for greenbacks.  They agreed to take the script and
give me other money for it, I went out of the store and started down the street and had not
gone very far when I met a boy about ten or twelve years old.  "Hello, Mr. can you tell me
where Bullshead is?" he asked. (That was where our boats were).  "Yes, come along with
me, I am going up there," I answered.   I started to go and he said, "It's not down that way
as I just came from there." I said, "Let's cross over to the next street as I know where I an
over there." We went and sure enough the boy was right. We both found our boats.

We had to transfer from the ship to a river steamboat.  We got a one-horse dray. We got
our things off the ship and piled them on the dray and they were pretty high. The street
was paved with cobblestones and as the dray passed one box of hardtack fell off. I ran up
and pitched it back on. As I gave it a swing it hit my pocket in which I had a ladies small
gold watch. It bent the case and broke the watch. I repaired it and it ran all right. I had
paid fifty dollars for it a short time before.   My daughter now has the watch. (July 24th,
1934).

We started up the Mississippi and got to Illinois Town, now called East St. Louis,
August 16, 1865. We left the boat and took a train on the C. & A. Railroad for Springfield,
Illinois. We stopped one hour at Alton, Illinois. Many of the boys lived there and in the
surrounding country. We got to Springfield at night. They dumped us off in a lumberyard
so we didn't sleep on the ground but borrowed a board from the good man and returned it
in the morning. The next morning our Colonel got a train and we went about seven miles
east to Camp Butler. We were now back where we started, but instead of bringing the one
hundred we took away from here, we brought back thirty-five.
  
August 19, 1865, we were paid off and got our discharges. We started for home arriving
there midnight August 19, 1865, having been gone three years and twelve days.
This is my record:
I never drank a glass of any kind of liquor in my life.  I have never used tobacco in any
shape, form or fashion, I never played a game of cards.  I never learned nor don't know the
name of one card from another. I never played a game of dice or chuckaluck.  Never played
a game of baseball, football or basketball.  Never bet or gambled in any way.  Never was
inside of a theater or hospital. Never slept in a bed during the Civil War for more than
three years. I never go to prizefights or horse races.  I never danced. Have not drunk
tea or coffee for fifty-six years. I have not used honey or sugar for more than sixty
years. I use as a beverage water with a glass of milk occasionally.  My policy is to
love and serve God to the very best of my ability.  To love my neighbor as well as I do
myself and to do unto others as I would like them to do unto me.  This is the only road
there is to true happiness in the world and the life that is to come hereafter.  In
politics I am a Republican. I have voted seventeen times for President and always for
a Republican. I believe in freedom and liberty and this is something we get but very
little of under a Democratic Administration.  The war of their party rebellion took the
lives of 640,000 of the boys of the north and it never can be known how many Mothers
died from worry and broken hearts against that party's great rebellion against liberty
and freedom.
Now I think this is the longest article ever written by a ninety-two year old Civil War
Veteran. It has approximately 22,100 words.

Lieutenant W. R. Eddington
Co, A. 97th Reg. Illinois Volunteer Infantry
R. F. D. 1, Box 51
Brighton, Illinois

(copyright 2000 Carl, Christopher, Ron and Mark Strohbeck)






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