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.

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