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Diary of a Confederate soldier.

By Rev. J. G. Law.
[One of the most important offices of the historian is to show the inside life of the people concerning whom he writes, and anything that contributes to an understanding of the feelings, habits, character, and private life of “the men who wore the gray,” will prove valuable material for the future historian. The diary of Rev. John G. Law, just as it was written at the time in camp, or on the march, will be, therefore, both interesting and valuable.]

Wednesday, Nov. 6th, 1860.--Cast my first vote to-day for Bell and [379] Everett. Very little excitement. Citizens go to the polls, cast their vote and return to their homes, impressed with the solemn fact that this day is to decide the destiny of our country. Dark and lowering clouds hover over the political horizon. The recent elections in the northern States indicate the triumph of the Republican party, in which event a disruption of the Union, and a civil war will probably follow, as the South will not submit to a sectional President, and the North will not submit to a peaceable separation.

January 1st, 1861.--Another year with its pleasures, and its pains, has passed away. The year 1860 will be as memorable in history as the year 1776. The one witnessed the birth of the Union; the other, its death. We are no longer a united and happy people. The “star spangled banner” no longer waves “o'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave.” That proud banner, once the emblem of liberty, and manly independence, has been torn down by the hands of the intoxicated North. The people of the South cannot consent to live under a government in whose administration they virtually have no voice. They are, therefore, compelled to assert their independence, and withdraw from the Federal Union.

May 4th, 1861.--Left Memphis to-night at 9 o'clock, on the steamer H. R. W. Hill, in the company of “Hickory Rifles,” under the command of Captain John D. Martin.1 Our company marched in the afternoon to the Second Presbyterian church, where we were presented with a beautiful flag by the ladies of Memphis. The presentation was made by Miss Sallie White, and was responded to by Sergeant Chas. Pucci,2 in a very appropriate and handsome speech. The Rev. Dr. Grundy,3 pastor of the church, presented the company with one hundred pocket Testaments, and sent us forth with patriotic words, together with an earnest prayer, and benediction. The officers of our company are John D. Martin, M. D., Captain; Tony Bartlett, First Lieutenant; John S. Donelson,4 Second Lieutenant; Carter B. Oliver, Third Lieutenant; and George Mellersh, Orderly Sergeant. I bring up the rear as Fourth Corporal.

May 5th, 1861.--Arrived at Randolph this morning at 11 o'clock. Raining all day. Was detained on board the boat as “Corporal of the guard,” which was very fortunate for me, as the company, after marching [380] up a very steep hill to their camping ground, about one mile from the river, returned to the boat, as the inclemency of the weather prevented the pitching of tents. Our gallant Captain marched his men up the hill and marched them down again.

May 6th, 1861.--This morning at 5 o'clock we were roused from our slumbers by the booming of cannon, fell into line, and answered to “roll call.”

Our “mess” is composed of six good fellows, among whom is “Dan,” the “baby of the regiment,” or the “infant” as some are pleased to call him. He is about six feet and three inches in height, and weighs about three hundred pounds. He has the peculiar faculty of purchasing chicken and pigs without money, looking upon such locomotive property, when brought within his reach, as the gifts of providence. This morning he accidentally, as he says, let an axe slip from his hand, and struck a fat pig on the head. Fresh pork was on the bill of fare for dinner, and the neighbors wondered where the soldiers got so much pork. But the “mess” will pay for the pig, and “Dan” will learn, before we meet the Yankees, that one of the duties of a good soldier is to respect, and protect private property, even though it be in the form of a trespassing pig.

Ordered with a squad of twenty men, to pitch tents for the company.

May 7th, 1861.--Roused from sleep this morning at five o'clock by the tap of the drum. Sleeping in an open tent with one blanket is not comfortable.

Wednesday, May 8th.--Beautiful day. Squad drill at nine o'clock, company parade at four o'clock, and regimental drill at five o'clock is the order of the day. Our respected Captain, Jno. D. Martin was today elected Major of the regiment by a handsome majority. Our regiment is the One Hundred and Fifty-fourth Tennessee, and is under the command of Colonel Preston Smith, with 5Marcus J. Wright as Lieutenant Colonel.

May 10th.--A dark and gloomy day. No morning drill on account of the unfavorable weather. Spent the day in walking to Randolph, and cleaning my gun which was considerably damaged by the heavy rain last night.

May 14th, 1861.--This morning, Sergeant George Mellersh was unanimously elected Captain of the “Hickory Rifles.”

May 17th.--To-day at two o'clock the alarm was sounded, and [381] springing to our guns we were promptly on the ground ready for action; but the alarm proved false, and we returned to our camp with “nobody hurt.” Received a box of cakes from home, for which my thanks are due to my excellent mother.

May 20th.--This morning the Third Regiment of Tennessee volunteers arrived at Randolph. There are now about three thousand troops stationed here under the command of General Jno. L. T. Sneed.

May 24th, 1861.--To-night we sleep on our arms, ready to meet the foe at a moment's notice. Captain James Hamilton, of the “Southern guards,” dined with me to-day.

May 25th.--Beautiful day. Pleasant drill at noon. Summoned to go on “picket duty.” A detachment of the “Memphis light Dragoons,” arrived this evening amid the cheers of the “Bluff City Grays,” and the “Hickory Rifles.”

Sunday, May 26th.--No sleep last night, as I was “Corporal of the guard,” and could not, with my sense of a soldier's duty, sleep between watch. Spent the night walking from post to post. Read a chapter from the gospel of Matthew this morning. Have been very negligent of my religious duties, owing to the publicity of camp life, but hope by the grace of God to be more careful in the future. A Christian should never be ashamed to be found upon his knees. This evening, the news of the death of Colonel Ellsworth, of the New York Zouaves, was received.

May 27th.--To-day as I was going to the river to meet the steamer Ingomar, from Memphis, the bugle sounded the alarm, and some one of a very fruitful imagination, reported five steamboats coming down the river. The camp was in a blaze of excitement, and the soldiers panted for the opportunity to display their valor, but to the great disappointment of our brave and chivalrous boys no foe appeared. It seems that General Sneed had given orders to the bugler to practice the alarm at four o'clock, and the bugler understanding the order to be, give the alarm, roused the camp, and caused the commotion among the braves.

May 30th, 1861.--Was ordered by General Sneed to detail four men, and proceed to Hatchie river, to guard some sons of the Emerald Isle, who were engaged in sinking a steamboat across the mouth of the river.

The steamer Ingomar arrived from Memphis, about nine o'clock with a number of passengers, among them, many of the most beautiful daughters of the “Bluff City.” Off for Hatchie river with my guard in the morning.

1 Killed at Corinth, Mississippi, in command of a brigade.

2 Killed in battle.

3 Died in Kentucky.

4 Killed at Chickamauga.

5 Promoted to the rank of Brigadier-General.

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