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May, 1863.

May, 1

The One Hundred and Thirteenth Ohio is at Franklin. Colonel Wilcox has resigned; Lieutenant-Colonel Mitchell will succeed to the colonelcy. I rode over the battle-field with the latter this afternoon.

May, 4

Two men from Breckenridge's command strayed into our lines to-day.

May, 7

Colonels Hobart, Taylor, Nicholas, and Captain Nevin spent the afternoon with me.

The intelligence from Hooker's army is contradictory and unintelligible. We hope it was successful, and yet find little beside the headlines in the telegraphic column to sustain that hope. The German regiments are said to have behaved badly. This is, probably, an error. Germans, as a rule, are reliable soldiers. This, I think, is Carl Schurz's first battle; an unfortunate beginning for him.

May, 9

The arrest of Vallandingham, we learn from the newspapers, is creating a great deal of excitement in the North. I am pleased to see the authorities commencing at the root and not among the branches.

I have just read Consul Anderson's appeal to the people [267] of the United States in favor of an extensive representation of American live stock, machinery, and manufactures, at the coming fair in Hamburg. Friend James made a long letter of it; and, I doubt not, drank a gallon of good Dutch beer after each paragraph.

May, 11

The Confederate papers say Streight's command was surrendered to four hundred and fifty rebels. I do not believe it. The Third Ohio would have whipped that many of the enemy on any field and under any circumstances. The expedition was a foolish one. Colonel Harker, who knows Streight well, predicted the fate which has overtaken him. He is brave, but deficient in judgment. The statement that his command surrendered to an inferior force is, doubtless, false. Forrest had, I venture to say, nearer four thousand and fifty than four hundred and fifty. The rebels always have a great many men before a battle, but not many after. They profess still to believe in the one-rebel-to-three-Yankee theory, and make their statements to correspond. The facts when ascertained will, I have no doubt, show that the Union brigade was pursued by an overwhelming force, and being exhausted by constant riding, repeated fights, want of food and sleep, surrendered after ammunition had given out and all possibility of escape gone. The enemy is strong in cavalry, and it is not at all probable that he would have sent but four hundred and fifty men to look after a brigade, which had boldly ventured hundreds of miles inside his lines. In fact, General Forrest seldom, if ever, [268] travels with so small a command as he is said to have had on this occasion.

May, 13

An order has been issued prohibiting women from visiting the army. I infer from this that a movement is contemplated.

May, 14

General Negley called to-day, and remained for half an hour. He is a large, rosy-cheeked, handsome, affable man, and a good disciplinarian.

I am going to have a horse-race in the morning with Major McDowell, of Rousseau's staff. Stakes two bottles of wine.

When we entered Murfreesboro, nearly a year ago, the boys brought in a lame horse, which they had picked up on the road. The horse hobbled along with difficulty, and for a long time was used to carry the knapsacks and guns of soldiers who were either too unwell or too lazy to transport these burdens themselves. The horse had belonged to a Texas cavalryman, and had been abandoned when so lame as to be unfit for service. Finally, when his shattered hoof got well, he was transferred from the hospital department to the quartermaster's, where he became a favorite. The quartermaster called my attention to the horse, and I had him appraised and took him for my own use. Under the skillful and attentive hands of my hostler he soon shook off his shaggy coat of ugly brown, and put on one of velvety black. After a few days of trial I discovered not only that he was an easy goer, but had the speed of the wind. When at his fastest pace he is liable to overreach; it was thus that his left fore hoof had [269] been shattered. To prevent a recurrence of the accident, I keep his hoof protected by leathers. I believe he is the fastest horse in the Army of the Cumberland.

May, 15

Major McDowell did not put in an appearance until after I had returned from my morning ride. He brought Colonel Loomis with him to witness the grand affair; but as it was late, we finally concluded to postpone the race until another morning.

Some one has been kind enough to lay on my table a handsome bunch of red pinks and yellow roses.

My staff has been increased, the late addition being “U. S.,” a large and very lazy yellow dog. The two letters which give him his title are branded on his shoulder. He sticks very close to me, for the reason, possibly, that I do not kick him, and say “Get out,” as most persons are tempted to do when they look upon his most unprepossessing visage. He is a solemn dog, and probably has had a rough row to hoe through life. At times, when I speak an encouraging word, he brightens up, and makes an effort to be playful; but cheerfulness is his forte no more than “fiten” was A. Ward's, and he soon relapses into the deepest melancholy.

May, 16

Read Emil Sehalk's article on Hooker. It is an easy matter for that gentleman to sit in his library, plan a campaign, and win a battle. I could do that myself; but when we undertake to make the campaign, fight the battle, and win the victory, we find it very much more difficult. Book farmers are wonderfully successful on paper, and show how fortunes may [270] be gathered in a single season, but when they come down to practical farming, they discover quite often that frost, or rain, or drouth, plays the mischief with their theories, and renders them bankrupt.

It can be demonstrated, doubtless, that a certain blow, delivered at a certain place and time, against a certain force, will crush it; but does it not require infinite skill and power to select the place and time with certainty? A broken bridge, swollen stream, or even the most trifling incident, which no man can foresee or overrule, may disarrange and render futile the best-laid plans, and lead to defeat and disaster. After a battle we can easily look back and see where mistakes have been made; but it is more difficult, if not impossible, to look forward and avoid them. War is a blind and uncertain game at best, and whoever plays it successfully must not only hold good cards, but play them discreetly, and under the most favorable circumstances.

May, 17

Starkweather informs me that he has been urged to return to Wisconsin and become a candidate for governor, and for fear he might accede to the wishes of.the people in this regard, the present governor was urging his promotion. He is still undecided whether to accept a brigadier's commission or the nomination for this high civil office. Wind.

May, 18

Two deserters came into our lines to-day. They were members of a regiment in Cleburne's division, and left their command at Fosterville, ten or fifteen miles out. They represent the Southern army in our front as very strong, in good condition [271] and fine spirits. The rebel successes on the Rappahannock have inspired them with new life, and have, to some extent, dispirited us. We do not, however, build largely on the Eastern army. It is an excellent body of men, in good discipline, but for some reason it has been unfortunate. When we hear, therefore, that the Eastern army is going to fight, we make up our minds that it is going to be defeated, and when the result is announced we feel sad enough, but not disappointed.

May, 19

Generals Rosecrans, Negley, and Garfield, with the staffs of the two former, appeared on the field where I was drilling the brigade. General Roseclrans greeted me very cordially. I am satisfied that those who allow themselves to be damned once without remonstrance are very likely to be damned always.

I aim becoming quite an early riser; have seen the sun rise every morning for two weeks. Saw the moon over my right shoulder. lucky month ahead. Am devoting a little more time than usual to my military looks.

Colonel Moody, Seventy-fourth Ohio, has resigned.

May, 20

This afternoon I received orders to be in readiness to move at a moment's notice.

May, 21

The days now give us a specimen of the four seasons. At sunrise it is pretty fair winter for this latitude. An hour after, good spring; at noon, midsummer; at sunset, fall. Flies are too numerous to mention even by the million. They come on drill at 8 A. M., and continue their evolutions until sundown.

Wilson, Orr, and DuBarry are indisposed. My castiron [272] constitution holds good. As a rule, I take no medicine or medical advice. In a few instances I have acceded to the wishes of my friends, and applied to the doctors; but have been careful not to allow their prescriptions to get further than my vest pocket.

The colt has just whinnied in response to another horse. He is in fine condition; coat as sleek and glossy as that of a bridegroom. Yesterday I rode him on drill, anil the little scamp got into a quarrel with another horse, reared up, and made a plunge that came near unseating me. He agrees with Wilson's horse very well, but seems to think it his duty to exercise a sort of paternal care over him; and so on all occasions when possible he takes the reins of Wilson's bridle between his teeth and holds it tightly, as if determined that the speed of the Adjutant's horse should be regulated by his own. My black is also in excellent condition, and certainly very fast. My race has not yet come off.

May, 23

Received a box of catawba wine and pawpaw brandy from Colonel James G. Jones, half of which I was requested to deliver to General Rosecrans, and the other half keep to drink to the Colonel's health, which at present is very poor.

Colonel Gus Wood called this afternoon. He is one of those who were captured on the railroad train near Lavergne, 10th of last April, and has returned to camp via Tullahoma, Chattanooga, and Richmond. He says the rebel troops are in good condition and good spirits; thinks there is an immense force in [273] our front, and that it would not be advisable to advance.

The enlisted men of the Third are at Annapolis, Maryland, and will soon be at Camp Chase, Ohio. The officers are in Libby.

The box of cigars presented to me by my old friend, W. H. Marvin, still holds out. Whenever I am in a great straight for a smoke I try one; but I have not yet succeeded in finding a good one. I affect to be very liberal, and pass the box around freely; but all who have tried the cigars once insist that they do not smoke. They will probably last to the end of the war.

May, 26

The privates of the Eighty-eighth Indiana presented a two-hundred-dollar sword to Colonel Humphreys, and the Colonel felt it to be his duty to invest the price of the sword in beer for the boys.

Lieutenant Orr was kind enough to give me a field glass.

Hewitt's Kentucky battery has been assigned to me. Colonel Loomis has assumed command of his battery again. His commission as colonel was simply a complimentary one, conferred by the Governor of Michigan. He should be recognized by the War Department as colonel. No man in the army is better entitled to the position. His services at Perryville and Stone river, to say nothing of those in West Virginia and North Alabama, would be but poorly requited by promotion.

Hewitt's battery has not been fortunate in the past. It was captured at this place last summer, when General [274] T. T. Crittenden was taken, and lost quite a number of men, horses, and one gun, in the battle of Stone river.

May, 28

At midnight orderlies went clattering around the camps with orders for the troops to be supplied with five days provisions, and in readiness to march at a moment's notice. We expected to be sent away this morning, but no orders have yet come to move.

Mrs. Colonel B. F. Scribner sent me a very handsome bouquet with her compliments.

Mr. Furay accompanied Vallandigham outside the Federal lines, and received from him a parting declaration, written in pencil and signed by himself, wherein he claimed that he was a citizen of Ohio and of the United States, brought there by force and against his will, and that he delivered himself up as a prisoner of war.

May, 30

Captain Gilbert E. Winters, A. C. S., took tea with me. He is as jovial as the most successful man in the world, and overruns with small jokes and stories, many of which he claims were told him by President Lincoln. From this we might infer that the President has very little to do but entertain and amuse gentlemen, who apply to him for appointments, with conversation so coarse that it would be discreditable to a stable boy.

May, 31

Received a letter from daughter Nellie, a little school girl. She “wishes the war was out.” So do I. [275]

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