Category Archives: 1861

December 31, 1861

Dec 31st  the morning was fine and pleasant  we had heard that there was a rebel camp about seventeen miles distant in the neighborhood of Millersburg So our Col thought we had better take a tramp out that way and see what we could find  we also heard that there were Several hundred unarmed rebels trying to make their way through that part of the country to join Price’s army and this proved true but they were captured by one Col Fry before they got as far South as we were  we got Started a little after sunrise and marched briskly through Fulton with Colors flying  our musicians giving yankee Doodle and Dixie particular fits  we arrived in Millersburg a little after noon  our advance guard being Cavalry got in a couple of hours ahead of us and caught several armed rebels and chased Several more out of town  we have found some folks that I believe were true to the union  one family in particular  I regret that I cannot remember their name although we had our haver packs well lined with provisions  they cordially invited us to come to their house and partake of their hospitality which invitations many accepted  I went to the house but as I was not hungry I did not eat  their black boys brought out baskets filled with apples of which we were kindly invited to partake  we stayed here about three hours during which time these good folks were busy cooking and feeding all that were disposed to accept of their good cheer  they seemed willing to do all they could for the union Soldiers and would accept of no pecuniary reward  many of the boys however on leaving gave their children (of which there were three or four) numerous small pieces of Silver with which they seemed well pleased  the little black boys that brought out the apples were not forgotten  they came in for their share of the five and ten centers manifesting their Delight in the true African Style showing their two rows of Ivory and opening their eyes to their utmost tention [attention] we went about a mile from here where we left three companies with our Col while our Co [Company F] and Co I went three miles farther under command of Capt Moore  we camped for the night close by the house of a man that in evry way Showed himself to be a strong rebel Sympathizer  we Soon had a guard posted round our camp but as our officers intended to give us some little liberty we all soon had the countersign  our Cavalry took possession of the Stables and supplied their horses plentifully with rebel provender while we confiscated the heads off of numerous turkeys and chickens  we also found the way to the old mans apple hole  these were the best apples I saw in Missouri  they were the large Bellflower and we ate of them till we were satisfied  we did not sleep much that night  next morning was New years  we breakfasted on turkey and chicken finishing off with nice mellow apples Soon about an hour high we started back taking with us four prisoners and eight rebel horses  we got back to our quarters in Fulton before night without accident except we lost a man from Co D  he came in in a day or two  Said he had been taken prisoner  had his arms taken away and had been paroled  most of us did not believe this statement but thought he had got tired and stopped a day or two to rest and threw away his gun and accouterments to make believe he had been taken prisoner  here ends our experience of a soldiers life for the year 1861.

December 27, 1861

Dec 27th  this morning we had a chance to take a look at our new quarters  our company was quartered in the basement Story in what appeared to have been the dining room of the establishment  the room was about forty by sixty feet had four good fireplaces two long tables reaching nearly the length of the room and two nice cupboards or pantrys  our company divided off into four messes and each mess had a fire place to do their cooking by  this morning our officers thought probably it might be well enough to go and take a look for the rebs that had caused them so much uneasiness the night before but as the planning of Such an expedition as this required a great deal of time and consideration it was noon before we got Started  we started north from Fulton towards a little town called Concord  the first few miles we were accompanied by numerous reforesents [reinforcements?] they of the colored race going with us as they said to see the fun?  By the time we had marched four or five miles on double quick they had one by one fell to the rear till none were left  we went about twelve miles within a mile of Concord and halted  our cavalry went forward to reconnoiter  they soon came back bringing with them a rebel Captain  they reported a dozen or so of rebels in the town  they all got away but this one our Col now told us that as soon as we got rested a little we would go back and for those that had any thing to eat to eat it  and the roads had thawed so they were quite muddy when we started out but about the time we stared back it began to turn cold  we went back just to suit ourselves not keeping in ranks but in squads of three four and five  the last did not get in till the next morning  I got in about nine Oclock at night but was very tired  we now felt secure from all rebels and there fore rested Several days  There was a Lunatic Asylum stood not far from our quarters and as there was a good oven and other facilities attached to the building for baking bread in large quantities Col Hare concluded we might as well draw flour and have good light bread as to eat hard crackers [instead of eating hard crackers] So the flour was procured and men detailed as bakers  while we Stayed here we had the best of bread  we lived well and enjoyed ourselves here  all kinds of produce was very cheap  we had plenty of money for all present purposes and Uncle Sam furnished us with plenty of good warm clothes  Our Col A M Hare of Muscatine was a very fair and humane man always looking to the welfare of his men and never exacting more of them than was necessary for the welfare of our Country  Sociable and unostentatious he always had a kind word for his boys every ready to grant any favor that did not come in contact with the rules of Military discipline

December 24, 1861

24th dec  we struck tents  got on board the Sioux City  that is five cos of our reg [regiment] the other five having a day or two before been ordered to a little town called California in Missouri  we tried to cross the Mo [Missouri] river that night but could not  the ice was floating so thick in the river  So we gave it up for that night and slept on the boat  the weather was quite cold  next morning was Christmas  we crossed the river on a small ferry boat  all got safe over by two PM  the darkies were having holly days now between Christmas and New years  they flocked round thick to see the yankee Soldiers  Some brought violins and while we lay there on the bank of the river waiting for orders they entertained us with music both vocal and instrumental accompanied with their every ready double shuffle and juber[1] at four Oclock PM we got word that the rebs had some powder hidden in the woods  Seven or eight miles from there so Co F under the command of Capt Moore was ordered out to look for it with a couple of negroes as guides  after a tiresome march about two hours after dark we came to the place where the powder had been but all there was to show that powder had ever been there was a couple of hoops off a powder keg  meantime the rest of our detatchment had moved on towards Fulton the county seat of Calaway Co Missouri  we were to join them at a certain meeting house Seven miles from the river  after a very tiresome march over very rough muddy roads through the agency of our never failing guide about twelve oclock at night we found the rest of our detatchment though the weather turned very cold we slep [slept] some till morning then we all moved on towards Fulton where we arrived just before sundown on the 26th Dec

 We were very tired but as we went in to first rate quarters in the Deaf and Dumb Asylum we soon got rested  that night word came that we might expect an attack from the rebs  our officers held hurried consultations together  while from Corporal to Colonel their looks gave token of the awful responsibility which they supposed rested on their shoulders  we were ordered to sleep with our accouterments on and guns by our sides  the night passed quietly by as many had done before and we awoke next morning Surprised to find ourselves alive

[1] Isaac probably meant Juba.  According to the website,, Master Juba [real name William Henry Lane] was the inventor of tap dancing.

December 22, 1861

22nd Dec  snowed half the day  we had the small wedge tents and six men were calculated to stay in a tent large enough for four  So we thought to make more room we would dig down a couple of feet and set the tents over the hole but when the snow fell and melted the water run in and the Sides caved in and left us in a bad fix

December 18, 1861

Dec 18th  we started back and on the morn of the 19th we arrived in Jefferson City again  Our Chaplain had a large mail for us  I got five letters  we then marched out and pitched tents in Camp  I am in sight of and close to Jeff City  here we could buy plenty of fruit cakes and pies  good apples for 25 cts per bu [bushel] common large pies for 10 cts  other things in proportion  the weather continued pleasant till the 21st Dec when it turned cold  that night it snowed  I was on guard in Jeff City

December 17, 1861

On this night of the 17th Dec about eleven O’clock some darkies came in and reported some rebs camped about ten miles from there  So four cos [Companies] immediately Started out but we found no rebels  they had just left  we got back to the boat before day light  very tired  on this trip some of our boys saw our Comisary Sergeant chasing a goose up a hollow near the road and close to a house   they concluded he was a rebel so they two of them fired at him  fortunately they missed their mark and the goose got away

December 15, 1861

Dec 15th 1861  …marched out 12 miles within 2 miles of Collumbia to see if the town was inhabited by reb soldiers  we found union troops there as we sat down by the roadside to rest and cat a bite preparatory to starting back  the colored population flocked round us all wanted to go with the Yankees but our orders would not admit of taking any at that time  a few choice ones however were Smuggled on board the boat and carried in safty beyond the control of their masters  this was our first march and we got back to the boat about three hours after dark tired enough  our cavalry took eight prisoners part of which were armed as soon as we were on board   the boat pushed out and started on up the river   handed us next morn (Dec 16th) at Franklin landing opposite Boonville  nothing of importance occurred  while we lay there the darkeys brought in plenty of nicknacks in the shape of fruit and nuts which they sold very cheap  they would offer if we would take them with us to give themselves nuts fruit and all

November 24, 1861

Nov 24th we had general Review of all the soldiers in Benton Barracks  about 30 Regs Cavalry & infty [infantry] besides a few cos of artillery  genl Curtis reviewed us accompanied by genls Seigel & Halleck  This was a very windy disagreeable day  genl Curtis made a speech but the wind blew so hard I could not hear him notwithstanding the old genl has good use of his lungs and can give command in a loud clear voice  after dark marched in to camp McClellan  1 ½ miles above Davenport on missippi river  nothing of importance transpired while here except a man got very badly wounded in firing off a cannon  we drilled every day that was suitable and some which we thought was not so suitable  I went home on 5 days furlough  we were fed very well most of the time  a few days provisions were scarse but we had money & bought some  our rations of bread were hardly sufficient so we bought a little every day  when we were mustered from the State to the U S Service our ways and means of subsistence were also changed  the consequence was that through the neglect or avaricious disposition of Capt Chambers we were without food nearly 2 days  some of the boys got very hungry and went in to the sutler[1] shops and took what they wanted  some shops they tore down  we had quite a time generally 

[1]  Sutlers sold provisions to the soldiers.  They either followed in the paths of the soldiers or maintained a store on an army post.

November 19, 1861

Nov 19th  We arrived in St Louis  it was raining very hard  we disembarked and stood on the wharf about 2 hours to give the officers time to go up in town to take a glass or 2 and display themselves  finally by this time we were well soaked and started for Benton Barracks  my load before it got [soaked] 55 lbs  about half way the sand was over shoe top  several of the boys went heels over head  gun knapsack and all in to the numerous mud holes that adorned the road but which owing to the almost sticky darkness were  not perceptible  we arrived in Benton Barracks about 10 Oclock that night as muddy a lot as ever called for lodging  our Co was warmly welcomed by Co H of the Iowa 2nd  they got us a good supper  the boys of Co H of the Iowa 7th also used us like men and treated us to many a knickknack [illegible word] found in our commissary department  I slept well that night with Riley Austin while here  after we got cleaned up we drilled Battallion drills most every day  in these barracks there is a wash house with women employed by government  where soldiers can take their clothes and have them washed free of charge  we availed ourselves of this privilege and soon looked quite respectable  while here one of the Iowa 3rd accidentally shot one of his Co through the head