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February, 1862.

February, 1

The Colonel sent in his resignation this morning. It will go to Department Headquarters tomorrow.

Saw the new moon over my right shoulder this evening, which I accept as an omen of good luck. Let it come. It will suit me just as well now as at any time. If deceived, I shall never more have faith in the moon and as for the man in the moon, I shall call him a cheat to his face.

February, 2

The devil is to pay in the regiment. The Colonel is doing his utmost to create a disturbance. His friends are busy among the privates. At noon an effort was made to get up a demonstration on the color line in his behalf. Now a petition is being circulated among the privates requesting Major Keifer and me to resign.

The night is as dark as pitch. A few minutes ago a shout went up for the Colonel, and was swelled from point to point along the line of company tents, until now possibly five hundred voices have joined in the yell. The Colonel's friends tell the boys that if he were to remain he would obtain leave for the regiment to go back to Camp Dennison to recruit; that [102] he was about to obtain rifles and Zouave uniforms for them, and that there is a conspiracy among the officers to crush him.

February, 3

Petitions from four companies, embracing two hundred and twenty-five names, have been presented, requesting the Major and Lieutenant-Colonel to resign.

February, 4

We closed up the day with a dress parade, the Colonel in command. The camp is more boisterous than usual. No more petitions have been presented.

The Major received a package from home to-night containing, among other articles, a pair of slippers, which, greatly to my advantage, were too small for him. They were turned over to me, and it happens that no little thing could have been more acceptable.

The bright moonlight of to-night enlivens our spirits somewhat, and fills us with new courage. The days have been dark and gloomy, and the nights still more so, for many days and nights past.

From the band of the Tenth Ohio, half a mile away, come strains mellow and sweet. The air is full of moonlight and music. The boys are in a happier mood, and a round, full voice comes to us from the tents with the words of an old Scotch song:

March, march, Ettrick and Teviotdale!
Why, my lads, dinna ye march forward in order?
March, march, Eskale and Liddlesdale!
All the blue bonnets are over the border.
Many a banner spread flutters above your head,
Many a crest that is famous in story;
Mount and make ready, then, sons of the mountain glen!
Fight for the King and the old Scottish border!


February, 5

The Major and Mr. Furay are engaged in a tremendous dispute. Furay is positive he can not be mistaken, and the Major laughs him to scorn. When these gentlemen lock horns in dead earnest the clatter of words becomes terrible, and the combat ends only when both fall on their cots exhausted.

February, 6

The Colonel's resignation has been accepted. He delivered his valedictory to the regiment this evening. Subsequently he passed through the company quarters, shaking hands with the boys and bidding them farewell. Still later he made a speech, in which he called God to witness that he was a loyal man, and promised to pray for us all. The regiment is disorderly, if not mutinous even. The best thing he can do for it and himself is to get out.

February, 8

The Colonel has bidden us a final adieu. His most devoted adherents escorted him to the depot, and returned miserably drunk.

One of the color guards, an honest, sensible, goodlooking boy, has written me a letter of encouragement. I trust that soon all will feel as kindly toward me as he.

February, 10

We left Bacon creek at noon. There were ten thousand men in advance of us, with immense baggage trains. The roads bad, and our march slow, tedious, and disagreeable. Many of the officers imbibed freely, and the senior surgeon, an educated gentleman, and very popular with the boys, became gloriously elevated. He kept his eye pealed for secesh, and before reaching Munfordsville found a citizen twice as big as himself in possession of a doublebarreled [104] shot-gun. Taking it for granted that he was an enemy, the Doctor drew a revolver and bade him surrender unconditionally. The boys said the Doctor was as tight as a little bull. What phase of inebriety this remark indicated I am unable to say; but certain it is that he did not for a moment lose sight of his gigantic prisoner, nor give him the slightest opportunity to escape. He was quite triumphant in his bearing; directed the movements of the captive in a loud and imperious tone, and favored him with much patriotic advice.

A wagon with six unbroken mules attached is an uncertain conveyance. If the mules are desired to stop suddenly, they are certain not to do so, and if commanded to start suddenly, they are just as sure not to obey. If, after an immense amount of whipping and many fervent asseverations on the part of the driver that all mules should be in Tophet, they conclude to start at all, they go as if determined to reach the place indicated without unnecessary delay. If a mudhole, ditch, tree, or any other obstacle lies in the way, and the driver cries whoa, the mules redouble their speed, and rush forward as if they did not in the slightest degree consider themselves responsible either for the driver's neck or the traps with which the wagon is laden.

It was about eight o'clock in the evening when we crossed the bridge over Green river. The moon had around it a halo, in which appeared very distinctly all the colors of the National flag-red, white, and blue-and the boys said it was a good omen; that [105] they were Union people up there, and had hung out the Stars and Stripes.

February, 12

To-morrow we start for Bowling Green, our division in the lead. Before night we shall overtake the rebels, and before the next evening will doubtless fight a battle.

February, 13

Long before sunrise the whole division was astir, and at seven o'clock moved forward, our brigade in the center. Far as the eye could reach, both in front and rear, the road was crowded with men. A score of bands filled the air with martial strains, while the morning sun brightened the muskets, and made the flags look more cheerful and brilliant. The day was warm and pleasant. The country before us was, in a military sense, unexplored, and every ear was open to catch the sound of the first gun. The conviction that a battle was imminent kept the men steady and prevented straggling. We passed many fine houses, and extensive, well improved farms. But few white people were seen. The negroes appeared to have entire possession.

Six miles from Green river a young and very pretty girl stood in the doorway of a handsome farm-house and waved the flag of the Union. Cheer after cheer arose along the line; officers saluted, soldiers waved their hats, and the bands played “Yankee Doodle” and “Dixie.” That loyal girl captured a thousand hearts, and I trust some gallant soldier who shall win honorable scars in battle may return in good time to crown her his Queen of Love and Beauty.

From this on for fifteen miles we found neither [106] springs nor streams. The country is cavernous, and the only water is that of the ponds. In all of these we discovered dead and decaying horses, mules, and dogs. The rebels in this way had sought to deprive us of water; but while their action in this regard occasioned a vast deal of profanity among the boys, it did not in the least retard the column. We were, however, delayed somewhat by the felled trees with which they had obstructed miles of the road. At sunset we halted and pitched our tents in a large field, near what is known as Bell's Tavern, on the Louisville and Nashville Railroad. We had marched eighteen miles.

The water used in the preparation of the evening meal was that of the ponds. The thought of the rotting dogs, horses, and mules, could not be banished, and when the Major sipped his coffee in a doubtful way and remarked that it tasted soupy, my stomach quivered on the turning point, and, hungry as I was, the supper gave me no further enjoyment.

February, 14

Resumed the march at daylight. Snow fell last night. The day was exceedingly cold, and the wind pierced through us like needles of ice. I think I never experienced so sudden and extreme a change in the weather. It was too cold to ride, and I dismounted and walked twelve miles. We were certain of a fight, and so pushed on with rapid pace. A regiment of cavalry and Loomis' battery were in advance. When within ten miles of Bowling Green the guns opened in our front. Leaving the regiment in charge of the Major, I rode ahead rapidly as I [107] could, and reached the river bank opposite Bowling Green in time to see a detachment of rebel cavalry fire the buildings which contained their army stores. The town was ablaze in twenty different places. They had destroyed the bridge over Barren river in the morning, and now, having finished the work of destruction, went galloping over the hills. When the regiment arrived, it was quartered in a camp but recently evacuated by the enemy. The night was bitter cold; but the boys soon had a hundred fires blazing, and made themselves very comfortable.

February, 15

This morning we were called out at daylight to cross the river and take possession of the town; a sorrier, hungrier lot of fellows never rolled out of warm blankets into the icy wind. It was impossible for many of them to get their wet and frozen shoes on, but we hurried down to the river, and were there halted until it was ascertained that our presence on the opposite side was not required, when we went back to our old quarters.

February, 16

To-day we crossed the Big Barren, and are now in Bowling Green. Turchin's brigade preceded us, and has gutted many houses. The rebels burned a million dollars worth of stores, but left enough pork, salt beef, and other necessaries to supply our division for a month; in fact the cigar I am smoking, the paper on which I write, the ink and pen, were all captured.

General Beauregard left the day before our arrival. It is said he was for days reported to be lying in General Hardee's quarters, dangerously ill, and that [108] under cover of this report he left town dressed in citizen's clothes and visited our camps on Green River.

February, 18

The weather is turning warm again, the men are quartered in houses. I room at the hotel. This sort of life, however pleasant it may be, has a demoralizing effect upon the soldier.

February, 19

Spent the forenoon at the river assisting somewhat in getting our transportation over. It is a rainy day, and I got wet to the skin and thoroughly chilled. After dinner I went to bed while William, my servant, put a few necessary stitches in my apparel, and dried my underclothing and boots. I am badly off for clothing; my coat is out at the elbows, and my pantaloons are in a revolutionary condition, the seat having seceded.

The Cincinnati Gazette of the 14th instant reports that I have been promoted. Thanks.

February, 20

We learn from a reliable source that Nashville has been evacuated. The enemy is said to be concentrating at Murfreesboro, twenty or thirty miles beyond.

The river has risen fifteen feet, and many of our teams are still on the other side. The water swelled so rapidly that two teams of six mules each, parked on the river bank last night so as to be in readiness to cross on the ferry this morning, were swept away.

Captain Mitchell returned this evening from a trip North. We are glad to have him back again.

February, 21

Hear that Fort Donelson has been taken after a terrible fight, and ten thousand ears are eager [109] to hear more about the engagement. No teams crossed the river to-day; we are flood bound.

There was an immense number of deaths in the rebel army while it encamped here. It is said three thousand Southern soldiers are buried in the vicinity of the town. They could not stand the rigorous Northern climate. A Mississippi regiment reported but thirteen men for duty.

February, 22

Moved at seven in the morning toward Nashville without wagons, tents or camp equipage. Marched twenty miles in the rain and were drenched completely. The boys found some sort of shelter during the night in tobacco houses, barns, and straw piles.

February, 23

The day pleasant and sunshiny. The feet of the men badly blistered, and the regiment limps along in wretched style; made fifteen miles.

February, 24

Routed out at daylight and ordered to make Nashville, a distance of thirty-two miles. Many of the boys have no shoes, and the feet of many are still very sore The journey seems long, but we are at the head of the column, and that stimulates us somewhat. Have sent my horse to the rear to help along the very lame, and am making the march on foot.

The martial band of the regiment is doing its utmost to keep the boys in good spirits; the base drum sounds like distant thunder, and the wind of Hughes, the fifer, is inexhaustible; he can blow five miles at a stretch. The members of the band are in good pluck, and when not playing, either sing, tell stories, or indulge in reminiscences of a personal character. [110] Russia has been badgering William Heney, a drummer. He says that while at Elkwater Heney sparked one of Esquire Stalnaker's daughters, and that the lady's little sister going into the room quite suddenly one evening called back to the father, “Dad, dad, William Heney has got his arm around Susan Jane!” Heney affirms that the story is untrue. Lochey favors us with a song, which is known as the warble.

Thou, thou reignest in this bosom,
There, there hast thou thy throne;
Thou, thou knowest that I love thee;
Am I not fondly thine own?
Am I not fondly thine own?


Das unda claus ish mein,
Das unda claus ish mein,
Cants do nic mock un do.

On the banks of the Ohio river,
In a cot lives my Rosa so fair;
She is called Jim Johnson's darky,
And has nice curly black hair.
Tre alo, tre alo, tre ola, ti.

O come with me to the dear little spot,
And I'll show you the place I was born,
In a little log hut by a clear running brook,
Where blossom the wild plum and thorn.
Tre ola, tre ola, treo la ti. [111]

Mein fadter, mein modter, mein sister, mein frau,
Undt swi glass of beer for meinself,
Undt dey call mein wife one blacksmit shop;
Such dings I never did see in my life.
Tre ola, tre ola, tre ola ti.

February, 25

General Nelson's command came up the Cumberland by boat and entered Nashville ahead of us. The city, however, had surrendered to our division before Nelson arrived. We failed simply in being the first troops to occupy it, and this resulted from detention at the river-crossing.

February, 27

Crossed the Cumberland and moved through Nashville; the regiment behaved handsomely, and was followed by a great crowd of colored people, who appeared to be delighted with the music. General Mitchell complimented us on our good behavior and appearance.

February, 28

Captain Wilson, Fourth Ohio Cavalry, was shot dead while on picket. One of his sergeants had eight balls put through him, but still lives. [112]

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