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Diary of Rev. J. G. Law.

June 1st, 1861.--On my return from Hatchie river, General Sneed signed a furlough, giving me leave of absence for five days. Arrived at Memphis at four o'clock this morning. Enjoyed the luxury of a bed and a home breakfast for the first time in four weeks. The city seems quite deserted. Most of the young men have volunteered to defend their native land.

June 2nd.--This is the holy Sabbath. Strange emotions were awakened in my soul as I entered the house of God, and taking my accustomed seat, listened again to words of wisdom from the lips of my pastor. War is demoralizing. How much the poor soldiers do need the restraining influences of the sanctuary. [565]

June 3rd.--Stephen A. Douglas, the greatest of living statesmen, died this morning at his home in Chicago. Left Memphis at one o'clock on the fleet little steamer “Grampus,” and arrived at Randolph at half past 9 o'clock.

June 6th.--To day John Trigg and I agreed to read a chapter in the Bible every night. Am reading Plutarch's lives.

June 8th.--This is the day that is to decide the future course of the State of Tennessee. The question is submitted to the people of this sovereign State. Shall we break the iron chains that bind us to the abolition horde of the North, and unite our destiny with that of our Sisters of the Confederate States; or shall we continue in subjection to a government that has destroyed the peace and prosperity of our once happy land, and brought upon us all the horrors of a civil war? This place voted four thousand for separation, and not one in favor of union.

June 12th.--Again on fatigue duty. Carried rails for two hours, and piled brush for two hours more. Weather very warm.

June 13th.--This day has been set apart by the Hon. Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America, as a day of fasting and prayer. At ten o'clock we formed in regimental order, and under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Marcus J. Wright, marched to a beautiful grove, and listened to a sermon from Rev. Dr. Collins. Dined on turtle soup.

June 14th.--Beautiful day, but very warm. Detailed for fatigue duty. Shoveled dirt on the entrenchments for three hours. Received a beautiful little Confederate flag with the compliments of Miss Mary Facklen of Huntsville, Ala. That helps a soldier to shovel dirt on a hot summer day.

June 19th.--Arrived in Memphis at five o'clock this morning. Better to-day; no fever, but coughing frequently. General Pillow, and Mr. Russell, correspondent of the London Times were passengers on the boat from Randolph. Vigorous preparations for defense are going on in the city; the streets are barricaded and breastworks are thrown up. It begins to look like war in earnest.

Sunday, June 23d.--Found myself seated in the old family pew in the Second Presbyterian Church, listening to an excellent sermon from my pastor, the Rev. Dr. Grundy. Spent the afternoon reading his fast-day sermon.

July 4th.--How different the celebration of this anniversary of American Independence from any that have preceded it. Formerly it was a day of jubilee, and general rejoicing; the booming of cannon in honor of the day was heard throughout the length and breadth of our [566] great Republic, from the shores of the Atlantic to the golden beach of the Pacific, from the snow-clad hills of the north to the land of flowers and tropic fruit. Now it is celebrated by the South on the tented field, and by the North, by the assembling of the remnant of our National Congress to devise means for the subjugation of a brave and independent people, who have risen in their might, and thrown off the yoke of a corrupt and oppressive government, hostile to our institutions, and totally at variance with Southern customs and manners. The morning of the 4th July dawned bright and clear on the tented fields of Randolph. At eleven o'clock the band of the Fourth Tennessee Regiment marched to the Headquarters of the Thirteenth Tennessee, playing the Marseilles hymn. Major H. S. Bradford, a truly eloquent man, and a brave soldier made an oration to the troops, which was received with great enthusiasm. After the oration, I remained in the camp of the Thirteenth Tennessee and dined with some friends of the Yancey rifles. At four o'clock we had battalion drill. The regiment formed on the parade ground, and under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Marcus J. Wright marched to an old wheat-field about a mile from camp, where we were drilled for about two hours. The weather was intensely hot and many of the boys were compelled to fall out of ranks, so great was the fatigue. The day was closed with speaking by the captains of the several companies; many privates also addressed their fellow-soldiers, among whom were James Brett, Jr., Eldridge Wright, and a son of the lamented General Haskell. So ended our first Confederate fourth of July.

Sunday, July 7th.--A beautiful Sabbath morning. Spent the morning writing letters, when I should have been attending the preaching service. Try and excuse myself, but conscience reproves me. Captain Gennette was to day elected Major, and Mr. Haskell chaplain of the regiment. Why was the election held on the Sabbath?

July 8th.--Drilled in skirmish drill for about two hours this morning. Very warm day. Suffered from the heat. Cleaned my gun, and read Plutarch's comparison of the lives of Numa and Lycurgus.

July 11th.--Received from home some flannel shirts and letters. Spent the day playing chess, reading Macauley's History of England, and drilling. Drilled in skirmish drill for four hours this morning, and bayonet exercise in the evening.

July 12th.--On picket guard for twenty-four hours. Carried Macauley along, and read one hundred and twenty pages during the intervals of relief.

Sunday, July 14th.--Regimental guard mounting this morning for [567] the first time. It really seemed like a desecration of the Sabbath, the band playing lively airs, and the officer of the day passing the guard in review. I miss the chiming of church bells, and in fact there is nothing to remind one of the sacredness of the day, until at inspection of arms, it is announced that our young and gifted chaplain, Mr Haskell will preach in a beautiful grove near at hand. The Rev. Samuel Watson of Memphis conducted the services, and preached a fine practical sermon to a congregation of about one hundred of the one thousand soldiers of the regiment. Such is the proportion of God-fearing men in the camp. I feel as if I had lost the day; have done nothing; neglected reading my Bible, though not intentionally. Mr. Haskell proposed to organize a Sunday school, and prayer meeting; but for some reason, no one was present at the appointed time.

July 19th.--On picket. Post at the river. About nine o'clock, immediately after relieving the old guard, a deep rumbling noise was heard, similar to that of steam escaping from a boat. As there was no boat at the landing my attention was turned to the river for the cause of the noise. The water from one bank to the other, and as far down the river as the eye could reach, was in a great commotion, huge waves rolling on high, and breaking upon the shore, impressed us all with the thought of an earthquake, but the cause of the disturbance was the caving in of a bank, carrying with it many large trees.

July 21st.--A beautiful Sabbath morning. John Trigg and I walked down to the spring this morning, and enjoyed the luxury of a cold bath. Attended preaching at eleven o'clock. The service was conducted by our young chaplain, Wm. Haskell, who preached a short sermon, but very appropriate and impressive. He begun by saying that as chaplain of the regiment, commissioned by the State, he might claim the attention of his fellow soldiers, but he made his claim on a higher ground, and that was, that he was commissioned by him who rules the universe. He then presented some very beautiful and striking thoughts, and succeeded in gaining the undivided attention of his congregation.

Read a chapter in the Gospel of Mark, also the Message of President Davis. Slept about one hour, and went on dress parade at six o'clock.

July 24th.--Tidings of a great battle in Virginia have been received. While we were listening to the word of God on the Sabbath, our brave boys in Virginia were facing death on the field of battle. General Beauregard, it is said, defeated McDowell at Manassas Gap on the 21st of the month. The loss is said to be heavy on both sides. Received marching orders to day. A dispatch from General Pillow, orders us to [568] be ready to march to-morrow with two days rations. Our destination is not known, but we will probably go either to Virginia or Missouri. Some think that we are to attack Bird's Point, Missouri. If so, we will have some very hard fighting, and many of the brave and gallant Tennessee volunteers will bite the dust.

July 26th.--In pursuance with the orders of General Pillow we have been busy to day making preparations for our march. It is now reduced to almost a certainty that we are going to Missouri. The last scene at Randolph is a sublime one. I am writing by the brilliant light of a bonfire made from dry boxes and barrels, the remnants of the camp of the Hickory Rifles, and as I look around, and take a fare-well view of Randolph I can but be impressed with feelings of sadness, to think that so many of our brave boys who are leaving the old camp ground in such high spirits will never see their homes again. Several steamboats are at the landing to convey us to our destination, and in a few hours we will be ploughing the waves of the mighty Mississippi, and hundreds of miles will separate us from our homes, and those we love. The greatest excitement in camp to-night. Cheer upon cheer is given for the different companies, as with slow and measured tread their bayonets gleaming in the light of a thousand fires, they take up the line of march for the front.

July 27th.--This morning found us still at Randolph. Left the camp at ten o'clock, and waited on the river bank for about five hours, for the steamer W. M. Morrison. Left Randolph at sunset.

Sunday, July 28th.--Arrived at New Madrid, Mo., about four o'clock this evening. We were most heartily cheered from both the Missouri and Kentucky shores as we steamed up the river. This portion of the State is all right for the South. After disembarking and unloading our boat, I was detailed to go on a scouting expedition, but the scouting expedition, proved to be two hours hard work, pulling “thirty-two pounders.” Supped to-night on middling and cold bread, soldiers fare; never enjoyed a meal more; imagined that the Gayoso could not furnish a bill of fare that would be more agreeable to my appetite. After the despatch of that important business, and I had retired to my soldier's couch, on the ground, promising myself a sleep such as visits only the weary, I was summoned from my slumbers, to go to the river as “corporal of the guard,” to protect our worthy General Gideon J. Pillow. I am excusable for any hard thought I entertained at that time against the General.

July 29th.--Was relieved from duty this morning at nine o'clock. Paid twenty-five cents for my breakfast on the boat. Spent the morning [569] sleeping and walking about the neat little town of New Madrid. It is quite a pretty place; streets are wide and level. The houses are all painted white, and have an air of comfort and neatness which make a favorable impression upon the stranger. The inhabitants are hospitable, and treat the soldiers with marked respect and attention. We are encamped in a beautiful grove about one hundred yards from the town, immediately on the banks of the Mississippi. Near at hand is a winding stream of clear water which affords an excellent bathing place for the soldiers. There are about five thousand troops here, including cavalry and artillery. We will be reinforced by about ten thousand men, and then expect to take up the line of march for some unknown place. St. Louis seems to be the place fixed upon in the minds of the soldiers after an attack upon Cairo.

Dress parade this evening in the streets of New Madrid. There was quite a crowd of spectators.

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