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September 1861.

September, 19

Reached camp yesterday at noon. My recruits arrived to-day.

The enemy was here in my absence in strength and majesty, and repeated, with a slight variation, the grand exploit of the King of France, by

Marching up the hill with twenty thousand men,
And straigtway marching down again.

There was lively skirmishing for a few days, and hot work expected; but, for reasons unknown to us, the enemy retired precipitately.

On Sunday morning last fifty men of the Sixth Ohio, when on picket, were surprised and captured. My friend, Lieutenant Merrill, fell into the hands of the enemy, and is now probably on his way to Castle Pinckney. Further than this our rebellious friends did us no damage. Our men, at this point, killed Colonel Washington, wounded a few others, and further than this inflicted but little injury upon the enemy. The country people near whom the rebels encamped say they got to fighting among themselves. The North Carolinians were determined to go home, [68] and regiments from other States claimed that their term of service had expired, and wanted to leave. I am glad they did, and trust they may go home, hang up their guns, and go to work like sensible people, for then I could do the same.

September, 23

This afternoon I rode by a mountain path to a log cabin in which a half dozen wounded Tennesseeans are lying. One poor fellow had his leg amputated yesterday, and was very feeble. One had been struck by a ball on the head and a buckshot in the lungs. Two boys were but slightly wounded, and were in good spirits. To one of these — a jovial, pleasant boy--Dr. Seyes said, good humoredly: “You need have no fears of dying from a gunshot; you are too big a devil, and were born to be hung.” Colonel Marrow sought to question this same fellow in regard to the strength of the enemy, when the boy said: “Are you a commissioned officer?” “Yes,” replied Marrow. “Then,” returned he, “you ought to know that a private soldier don't know anything.”

In returning to camp, we followed a path which led to a place where a regiment of the rebels had encamped one night. They had evidently become panic-stricken and left in hot haste. The woods were strewn with knapsacks, blankets, and canteens.

The ride was a pleasant once The path, first wild and rugged, finally led to a charming little valley, through which Beckey's creek hurries down to the river. Leaving this, we traveled up the side of a ravine, [69] through which a little stream fretted and fumed, and dashed into spray against slimy rocks, and then gathered itself up for another charge, and so pushed gallantly on toward the valley and the sunshine.

What a glorious scene! The sky filled with stars; the rising moon; two mountain walls so high, apparently, that one might step from them into heaven; the rapid river, the thousand white tents dotting the valley, the camp fires, the shadowy forms of soldiers; in short, just enough of heaven and earth visible to put one's fancy on the gallop. The boys are in groups about their fires. The voice of the troubadour is heard. It is a pleasant song that he sings, and I catch part of it.

The minstrel's returned from the war,
With spirits as buoyant as air,
And thus on the tuneful guitar
He sings in the bower of the fair:
The noise of the battle is over;
The bugle no more calls to arms;
A soldier no more, but a lover,
I kneel to the power of thy charms.
Sweet lady, dear lady, I'm thine;
I bend to the magic of beauty,
Though the banner and helmet are mine,
Yet love calls the soldier to duty.

September, 24

Our Indiana friends are providing for the winter by laying in a stock of household furniture at very much less than its original cost, and without [70] even consulting the owners. It is probable that our Ohio boys steal occasionally, but they certainly do not prosecute the business openly and courageously.

September, 26

The Thirteenth Indiana, Sixth Ohio, and two pieces of artillery went up the valley at noon, to feel the enemy. It rained during the afternoon, and since nightfall has poured down in torrents. The poor fellows who are now trudging along in the darkness and storm, will think, doubtless, of home and warm beds. It requires a pure article of patriotism, and a large quantity of it, to make one oblivious for months at a time of all the comforts of civil life.

This is the day designated by the President for fasting and prayer. Parson Strong held service in the regiment, and the Rev. Mr. Reed, of Zanesville, Ohio, delivered a very eloquent exhortation. I trust the supplications of the Church and the people may have effect, and bring that Higher Power to our assistance which hitherto has apparently not been with our arms especially.

September, 27

To-night almost the entire valley is inundated. Many tents are waist high in water, and where others stood this morning the water is ten feet deep. Two men of the Sixth Ohio are reported drowned. The water got around them before they became aware of it, and in endeavoring to escape they were swept down the stream and lost. The river seems to stretch from the base of one mountain to the other, and the whole valley is one wild scene of excitement. Wherever a spot of dry ground can be found, huge log fires are burning, and men by the dozen are grouped around [71] them, anxiously watching the water and discussing the situation. Tents have been hastily pitched on the hills, and camp fires, each with its group of men, are blazing in many places along the side of the mountain. The rain has fallen steadily all day.

September, 28

The Thirteenth Indiana and Sixth Ohio returned. The reconnoissance was unsuccessful, the weather being unfavorable. [72]

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