CHAPTER 3 – Enlisting in the Confederate Army
We arrived at camp one mile from town on Dec. 23rd, in a grove of oaks, which gave us plenty of nice wood, we were so much in need of it all the time. I spoke to several of the boys in my company, about joining the Confederate Service, and be sworn in for two years, but I only found one, Jonnie Wharton, that was ready, that had made up his mind to go and join the artillery service with me. So on the 24th of Dec. we walked over to Capt. William Wade’s Battery, called the First Missouri Artillery of Confederate Volunteers, attached to the First Missouri Brigade of Confederate Infantry, and was sworn in. After spending some time with the Company. The Captain treated us nicely, and told us that Sargent Lawrence Murphy, was the best Serjent in the Battery and that he would place us on his gun. We found him to be as recommended. The battery was fully equipped with officers and men at the time, Wharton and I were about the last to join. We came back and spent that night with our company, as many of the boys were neighbors of mine. Some of the boys wanted to go back home and see the home-folks, get a supply of clothing, and then come back and join us. I told them their course was suicidal, that they could never get home without being captured; nevertheless, many started for home and I have never heard from them since.
Dec. 25th, 1861, Capt. Bledsoe, fired a salute this morning at day-break, in honor of Christmas.
I sold my saddle and horse also to James Victor of Shelby county, for the sum of eighty dollars, on credit. This sale was made forty-six years ago and still unpaid. I have never seen Jim since the day of the sale, therefore have never made a demand for my money.
I went over to my new home and spent my first night as a Confederate soldier, with Wade’s First Mo. Battery. I think two thirds or more of the men are Irish, of the laboring class, and several very low morally. The second, third, and forth Lieutenants are Irish, and about all the Sargents and corporals are Irish. Capt. Wade is a small man about five feet and four inches, and weighs about one hundred and twenty-five pounds, he has blue eyes, light hair, and a large Roman nose, and is very quick tempered.
Lieut. Sam Farrington is about six feet high, slender and very straight. Capt Wade is a fine conversationalist, very intelligent, and popular with his superior officers and loves his men and gets many favors for them, that other batteries failed to get. He is proud or vain, and puts on as much style as any Brigadier General, rides the best horse in the regiment, and has a negro man named Dolph to attend to his horse, black his boots and keep his quarters in good condition. Besides he had a white man, named Malcom E. Finley to cook and attend to the table. Lieut. Samuel Farrington and our battery docter, Lucius McDowell, messed with the Captain. Dr. McDowell and Capt. Wade are about thirty years old and I think Farrington is about twenty-six. I do not know whether they are married or not. Walsh our second lieutenant, is a highly educated Irishman and can speak more words clearly and distinctly in a minute than any man I ever saw. He is a good officer. Kearney is the third lieutenant and very brave officer. Harris the forth lieutenant is a vain, weak man with no influence. Walsh, Kearny, and Harris mess together and occupy the same tent. They too, have an Irishman that does the cooking. Kerney is cultivated and brave but rather harsh and dictatorial, and not popular. Rev. John Bannon a catholic priest, is chaplain of the battery.
During the first week in January, my mess went to work and built a room eight by ten, out of logs and such pieces of plank, as we could find. We built a good mud chimney with a six foot fire-place. From that time to the twelfth of Feb. 1862, we had comfortable quarters, and spent many happy hours reading Milton’s “Paradise Lost,” and “Don Quixote.” First one and then another would read aloud, while the others would sit and listen. John Wharton, did most of the reading. Sarjent Lawrence Murphey, Peter Bush, who was our Corporal, James Goddard driver, William Young, Henry Gum, and myself. There was also a Dutchman, whom we nicknamed, “Knight of the Bone,” were the listeners. We were all mess-mates. At nine o’clock, we had roll call and when ordered to break rank, there was a rush for our cabin door. One night the Dutchman was in the lead, he tripped and fell right in the doorway, others fell on him and he got hold of a bone and fought his way through, he was after-wards called “Knight of the Bone.” He disappeared at the surrender at Vicksburg.
We are in camp near the Fair grounds; winter cold, but our quarters are so much more comfortable than at Sack river. We have got nothing from the Quartermaster Department of the Confederate Service as yet, but have only such clothing as we brought from home. We drill almost daily and keep our guns in nice order. Our horses are nice and fat and kept well groomed by Sargent Wilson.
Feb. 2nd, 1862. John Worton and I went out to the Oak Hills battle ground to-day. Some ten miles from Springfield. Many signs of the bloody contest are yet fresh to the eye, as this battle was fought some six months ago, and every bush and tree, tell of the deadly work. Most of the missels of death, have been extracted from the trees, by visitors as souvenirs. I saw the remains of Gen. Lyon’s grey horse, that was killed a few minutes before he fell, leading his last charge. The Southern army were surrounded and could not get away. I viewed the bluffs that the Third Louisiana Regiment climbed, in capturing Seigle’s Battery. This battle cost Missouri two hundred of her sons and eight hundred wounded. Many personal acts of bravery were noticed in this battle. Gen. Price mentions some that came under his eyes. In his official report; he says, “I desire especially to recommend to the favorable notice of those in command, Mr. J.P. Orr, who was our color bearer. Although Mr. Orr was severely wounded, he never left the field until the victory was won.” Col. Dan Rawlings was also mentioned for his bravery, and there were many others.
Our battery, is attached to the First Missouri Brigade under Brig. Gen. Henry Little’s command. He has been in the U.S. army as an officer for a long time. He is also a thorough tactician, and he is much praised by his men for his gentleness and kindness. Wright Schaumburg is his A.A. General, he is a handsome, intelligent young man, and a beautiful horseback rider. Young VonPhul is his aid-de-camp, he sits on his horse like a tired farmer boy, but is a good fellow. W.C. Kennerly is our Ordinance office, John S. Mellon, Commisary, J. Brinker, Quartermaster, E.H.C. Baily, Surgeon, E.H. Hull, Inspector, the brigade is not fully made up. Volunteers are coming into the Confederate Service very fast.
The First Confederate Regiment, commanded by Col. Jim S. Bowen, is with Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston’s army. The Second Regiment commanded by Col. B.A. Rives, the Cavalry Reg. by Col. Elijah Gates. Those officers are about all that compose the brigade at this time. Other companies and battalions are being organized among the State Guards, and many joined Little’s Brigade later. Our Infantry Regs. are quite large. Perhaps one thousand men in each regiment. I am told that Col. Gates has twelve hundred in his command. Capt. Churchhill Clark, quite a youthful looking man, is in command of the Sec. Mo. Battery C.S.A. He is camped within a few hundred yards of us. I do not know whether he is under Gen. Little’s command or not.