Memoir Chapter 7

MEMOIRS OF THE CIVIL WAR W. L. TRUMAN


CHAPTER 7 – SUMMER 1862

Mar. 12th, and 13th. Continued our march, and are now encamped within a short distance of VanBuren, which is a nice town on the Arkansas river. About a month ago we left Springfield, Mo. with bright hopes of an early return, but that hope has been destroyed and we are called upon to fight it out on other lines.

Mar. 28th. We will leave shortly for Des Arc, on White river, and it is reported that our army will take boats for Memphis, Tenn. We have been resting here about three weeks, doing nothing, not even required to drill.

April, 3rd. Arrived here after a hard march of several days, through rain and mud. This is quite a nice town, some fifteen hundred inhabitants, several boats are here to take us to Memphis. Gen. Price has issued an address to the Mo. State Guards, asking them to go with us across the Mississippi river and stand by the five thousand that had joined the C.S.A. and were going to leave for awhile the Trans-Mississippi Department. Several thousand of them are going with us.

April 9th. We arrived at Memphis. It has been raining the most of the time since we left Des Arc, and it is still raining. We are at the depot aboard the train, ready to move to Corrinth.

Apr. 10th. Arrived at Corrinth today; our men are coming on every train. We unloaded our guns and remained around the depot all night. There seems to be a jam of men and vehicles everywhere and on account of the wet weather, the little town is in a bad condition. Hospitals are numerous and much suffering; passing in the rear of a two-story building, I saw a man’s leg, that had been cut off some eight inches above the knee, it looked plump, fresh and sound, and snow white. I did not examine it closely, and had no desire to do so, but thought it strange, that it was taken off, as it looked so perfectly sound to me. The knee joint must have been shattered.

Apr. 12th. We have parked our guns about three hundred yards from the depot on high ground. Soldiers are encamped everywhere. One of our Irish boys was sauntering about the depot today, when he saw a box and stole it thinking it contained something good to eat, opened it, but found only bandages and other valuable material for the wounded. He surely was sorry and ashamed, because it was not what he wanted. There is a Louisiana Battery close to us and when Gen. Beauragard rode by today, they cheered him, and threw their caps into the air.

After a few days, we were moved to Rienza and remained there until the evacuation of Corrinth. We were on the battlefield of Farmington, but were not called upon to fire a shot, although we were eye-witnesas to part of the battle; it was in an open plain, and as our line advanced upon the Yanks, they would fire and run, our men would return the fire and continue the advance. The enemy would shortly rally, and as our line came up, they would fire a volly and again break and run and kept that up until they disappeared in the woods, with our men following them. We captured some army property in Farmington and many coffins, for the use I suppose of unfortunate officers. Were in line of battle for days at a time while in camp near Corrinth.

Apr. 25th. The papers from Mobile and Memphis contained the sad and unexpected news of the fall of New Orleans, and shorthly afterwards Butler’s beastly order was read to us, by order of Beauregard. Butler authorizing his soldiers to treat, “all Southern women who did not treat them nicely, as lewed women.”

June. 1st. We left or evacuated Corrinth, Miss. and fell back to Baldwin and then to Tupelo and there parked our guns and pitched our tents on a nice high ridge amidst a few oaks and a bountiful blackberry patch. I was sick with diaria, and had been since Sept. 1861, which was a few days after joining the army; the great change in drinking water and cooking, brought diaria throughout the army, and caused many deaths. I was reduced so much, that I could hardly walk. Medicine did me no good, except for a day or two. I now gathered blackberries and just lived on them, as long as they lasted, I would take my quart cup and plenty of sugar, early in the morning and go into the blackberry patch, pick my cup full and eat while picking, and sit right down in the briers, put in sugar and take my iron spoon, eat every berry in the cup there and then. I had an uncontrollable appetite. Would pick my cup full again, take it to camp stew the berries with sugar, and crumble in a half loaf of baker’s bread, when thoroughly cooked, turn out in a pan, take my spoon, and eat all that I possibly could. I kept up that business three times a day for at least ten days or more, not touching any other kind of food, and when I found that the berries were gone I also found myself cured, and the complaint never returned again. I began to gain in flesh, and soon went from one hundred and ten, to one hundred and fifty seven, and never was sick again during the war.

While in camp at Rienza, Island Number ten, Fort Pillow, and Memphis, were given up to the enemy. Island Number Ten, was a disgraceful affair, our small fleet at Memphis, ought to have been saved by going to Vicksburg or up the Yazoo river instead of being sacrificed at Memphis.

June, 10th, 1862. Tupelo, Miss. Sample Orr, the man who was color bearer in the 2nd. Mo. Regiment, at the battle of Oak Hills, Mo., and whom Gen. Price mentioned in his official report of that battle, for promotion, for bravery, being wounded refuse to give up the flag to a comrade until the victory was won. He joined our battery today; we were all glad to welcome such a man. He was not promoted, but recommended by Gen. Price as being a private of high honor.

June. 22nd. The whole army was inspected and reviewed by Gen. Bragg and others. We had orders from Capt. Wade to put on our best clothes and looks, and to the drivers to have the teams and harness in the very best condition, as Gen. Bragg was an old artillery officer, and would see everything that was wrong or missing, even to a buckle, if there was one missing from the harness. We had everything all right and it was decided by Capt. Wade before moving out. The review was a grand affair. Our First Mo. Brigade, with Gen. Little and Staff in front, they looked nicely. To see Little’s A.A. Gen. Wright Shaumburg, going up and down the line at full speed carrying orders, and sitting on his spirited horse so gracefully, aroused a marshall spirit within you. He was the most graceful, soldierly rider, I ever saw. F. Von Phul, Little’s aid-de-camp, was a fine brave boy, but when he came flying up the line with orders, he took all the military spirit out of you, and made you think of country life and a boy trying the speed of his horse.

The day was bright and plesant, and everything passed off nicely. It is said that Gen. Bragg will leave today for Tenn.

Tupelo, Miss. July 10th. Bragg has gone to Tenn. and Gen. Price is in command, a large part of this army will go to Tenn. Gen. Parson, will leave with the Mo. State Guards for the Trans-Mississippi Department. A large potion of them have joined the Confederate State Army, and they will all do so when they cross the Mississippi river. We are having quite a pleasant time; have full rations of meat, flour, sugar, coffee, molasses and fresh bakers bread, too good to last. We find the nights cool and cover is needed, although the days are very hot. Our First Mo. Brigade is encampte some distance from our battery, and I do not get to preaching. Our chaplains have preaching every night when possible and always have crowds in attendence, most of the Confederate army came from Christians homes, and have been brought up under the Gospel ministry, hence they give earnest heed and respect to the Gospel and many accept the truth, and make a public profession of their faith in Christ at nearly every service.

Aug. 1st, 1862. We are now in camp at Saltillo, Miss. We moved from Tupelo to this place on account of water and better camping grounds. This is an ideal camp and all are happy, our camp joins the Mo. Brigade camp. The chaplains have errected large arbers in different places in the brigade for preaching, and have logs for seats. One large arber is close to my battery, and crowds attend every night and on account of the many conversions the services are protracted until a late hour at night. The singing is grand and soul inspiring, as there are hundreds of good voices, that join in the singing those good old Gospel songs.

Sept. 1st. We are still in camp and having a good time. Drill some each day and go to church or preaching every day and night, if we want to. There is a great revival among our Mo. boys and hundreds have accepted Christ and have been baptised. The different churches are not known in the army. We have a temporary organization called, “The Confederate Church.” Its only objective is to have Christians sign their names so we may know who they are and where to find them, as they give company, regiment, and brigade, and we meet while in camp, and have lectures, sermons, prayer meetings, and debates. I notice that when a man professes faith in Christ, he is required to give or relate his Christian experience to the minnisters and bretheren, who may be present, and upon a motion and a second he is received for baptism, and after baptism is considered a member of the Confederate Church. Every man made his own choice as to baptism. The Baptist minister of Columbia, Mo. who baptised the writer, gave me a written certificate of that fact and recommended me to any Orthodox Church, after the war. I suppose every man received something of the same nature, after baptism.

There was a young Methodist brother in my mess, who helped me; as he walked in the Light, his life condemned sin. Two thirds or more of the men in Wade’s Battery were Irish Catholics, and they were a brave, wild and wicked set of men, and acted as if for them to die, was gain. Some others who were not Catholics, were very wicked and died as they had lived. We had one man form Mississippi, to join us here, and he was sworn in by Capt. Wade, and stayed in my tent while here in this camp, (I have forgotten his name). He was a man of some forty years, and had a family, was a substitute for some man, and received one thousand dollars, to take the other man’s place.

We are expecting to leave Camp Saltillo, any day, the camp of “flowery ease.” We may then see the thorny side, and many of our boys will doubtless drop by the wayside, while doing their duty, and no record being kept of the place, time and date, they will pass from memory.

 


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