Sergeant William S. Bolerjack

Company G, 29th Illinois Volunteer Infantry

Letters and Diary

Contributed by Jim Wicker

William S. Bolerjack was married to Elizabeth Walters on 03/19/1845 his birth and death dates are unknown to me. He resided someplace right outside of Norris City, White Co. Illinois, and was a farmer, and he does show a good education. I will try to interpret this diary and letters as best I can, but some of the entries are not quite legible even after the third time reading it. The spelling and phrasing will be the same as it is in the diary. The sections that are not legible are mostly in 1864 after the company was mustered as veterans.

This is the first letter, it is to his brother who I believe is Henry J. Bolerjack who was also of the 29th Co. G .

Dear brother
I received yours of the 19th was glad to hear you was gting well and would be able soon to rejoin your regiment.
Tusday May 27th 1862
I arise early this morning to finish my letter I wrote last night till the lights ware all blowed out with the bass drum and while ( J.B. ?) Williams and Charls Edwards gets brecfast I write. Through God’s murcy I am well this morning, health is good in camps. Theare has been an order made and read on dress parade that all soldiers at home on sick furlough able to walk that did not return imediately to their regiment would be considered deserters and treated as such. All is quiet no detail this morning, the citizens in this country is in suffering condition what remains in our lines. No one is allowed to pass the lines and theare is no provisions inside except what belongs to us. Wheare we stood picket Friday and Saturday theare was five women widows in one hous with a man and his family one of thems husband was killed at Fort Donelson the other fours is at Corinth. Hoping you will write soon I close.
Remaining yours W.M. Bolerjack

Dear brother
I have but little to write this morning. I hope you have had rain so you can go on with your farming. We had abundance last week heare the first for some time continue your favors.
Wm. S. Bolerjack

Marry Bolerjack, Dear sister
Your kind favor was gladly received ,hope the good sisters will carry on the Institutions of the church. Rite again.
Wm. S. Bolerjack

Dear sister M. C. Bolerjack
I would like to take breakfast with all of you this morning. (after breakfast ) I reccon you think Henderson is the prettiest boy all about rite often if it is but a line on tow. No more at present.
But yours as ever
Wm. S. Bolerjack

I wrote to you to send me two shirts if you can send them by Henry, light checks on solid blue. Preastly (Priestly F. Bolerjack also of the 29th Co. G )is very poorly the Capt. offered him a certificate of disability. The surgeon said he would have to treat the case before he would give one. I have felt better for going on three days than I have for four months, whitch I attribute to the special providence of God for I feel to thank God and take courage. Whether this rebellion is put down or not the time will soon come that we will meet on earth if life is spared and if death should be the lot of either of us I have an abiding hope that we meet in heaven.
Wm. S. Bolerjack


I enlisted in the U. S. Survis the 6th of July 1861 at Shadsville White County Illinois. About the 8th the company was organized at Shadsville by electing

Solomon S. Brill Capt.
Henry Wakeford 1st Lieut
Theodore Millspaugh 2cnd Lieut.
Wm. G. Gosset 1st Sgt
Henry Milspaugh 2cnd Sgt
R.( N. ?) Millspaugh 3rd Sgt
And myself 4th Sgt

The 15th of August I left home for Shawneetown got supper at (?) house the companys that turned out, to be B,C,D,E , and G all staid in the depo of all the night, for nois and fuss this surly jelled all, it seemed as if men was trying to dround sorrow with yells and horrid oaths.

2. O.C. pm we boarded the Charley (Boar ? ) sailing pleasantly down the Ohio. At Smithland the rebel rag was floating in the breece and a rebel citizen fierd on us. Sometime in the night we landed at Cairo, remained on the boat until 4 O.C. am. 17th we took the cars for Camp Butler the cars was open. I sufferd with cold between Decatur and Camp Butler. Early in the morning of the 18th we landed at Camp Butler situated _ mile south of the Ohio and Mississippi R.R. 7 miles east of Springfield Illinois. Drew rations. Camp Butler to me presented quite a military appearance tents, commissary stores, camp and garrison equipage, officers and soldiers in full uniform was something I had never saw before.

The 28th my company was sworn into the U.S. Survis by Maj.( ?) and assigned to the 29th Regt. Ills. Vo. I. James Reardon Col., Dunlap Lieut. Col., M. Braman Maj. Capt. Ferrils Co. took the letter A, Capt. Mckenzie Co. B, Capt. Calicot, C, Capt. Whiteing, D Capt.( ?) E, Capt. Hall F, Capt. Brill G, Capt.( ?) H. Capt. Millington J , Capt.(R?) K, U.S. Clifford got the Chaplin, Dunlap was appointed Qtr. Master and Armstrong acted for some time Adj., James Whiteside Commisary Sergt.

Here we drilled some. Our (?) was good tents new.

30th We started for Cairo, reached there the 31st found pt of the 31st Ills. Col. Logans Regt. there. The 18th was at Birdspoint. Here we found burs of all kinds growing in the back streets to the vary doors of the scattered dwellings a filthy loathsome place.

The 18th, 27th,29th, and 31st, was formed into a brigaid under Brig. Gen James a. Mclernard. Capt.’s Ferril Millington and(?) was appointed Drill Masters for Officers and non commishioned officers. We drew old U.S. muskets of a very inferior quality.

Hear we had a great deal of fatige duty to do during day. Large stumps and ditching drill ground, loading and unloading boats at the river. The weather was warm and sickness soon set in, dierahrer and fevers then measles, until there was but few men able for duty. Surgeon Guard and assistant surgeon Johnson was bissy all the while and a great many was discharged from the regt. On surgeon certificate of disability.

Some time in September the rebels took possession of Columbus Ky. And fortified strongly plasing troops on the opposite side of the river at Bellmont. About this time Brig. Gen. Grant was put in charge of troops at Padduca, Cairo, (?) and Birdspoint. Our first aggression was toward Bellmont, boarding the steamer Gen. Scott, at night led by a gun boat we landed just above Bellmont. Noisless fit our way through a cottonwood swamp and we had orders that .if the Gen. Scott gave one long and fifteen short whistles to return to the boat At lenth the signal was given and we got back soon. Went up opposite Cairo anchord out in the river remaind till morning went down the river landed a few miles above Columbus Ky.,reconnoiterd around through the country,found Capt. Noleman’s Cav.drawn up in line expecting we were johnnys at night. We went to camp.

A little incident occurred at the hospital whitch shows the sower that the passion, joy has over the human system. A young man was sick but not considered dangerous his father and mother came in,his father under the influence of strong drink, in blustering way aroused him out of sleep, his nervous system could not stand the shock he died immediately.

By the 15th of October several other Regt. was at Cairo and a post established on the other side of the river in Ky. About this time the 29th went up the Mississippi and sacked Shelby Thompson’s farm boat a barge with corn , and went back. I think it was the 4th day of November the 29th , 18th had orders to march. Boarding the Gen. Scott we went up to Commerce 40 miles thence to Bloomfield stopping one night on Jeff Thompsons farm to the deathe of many geese, goats, sheep and greatly to the sorrow of his rebble wife,though she was protected in person and household affects by a guard whitch was abused as a rebble lady only could abuse a yankee soldier. We reached Bloomfield just in time to be to late to find Jeff Thompson . We then went back by the way of Cape Gieardau. While we was on this scout Comd by Col. Oglesby, Gen Grant attacked Bellmont with the 31sh ( 27th ?) Ills. And 7th Iowa and perhaps some other regt. In this engagement the rebbles claimed the victory.

I lost my diary up to Jan. 1st 1862 from that time I write as I find it noted in my diary except some abridgements.


Wednesday Jan. 1st Iwas detailed for guard. Some friends came by Martha Bolerjack and Isabella Roper. Spent the day pleasantly. Nothing of interest occurs until the 8th

8th rains all day received orders to march drew 5 days rations

9th drizly day marched down to the river the 18th 27th 29th 30th 31st and 20th regt Ills. Vol. In.,some Cav and some field pices all marched back to quarters to await further orders.

10th off this morning through the mud for the river the steamers Memphis city Memphis (Alic?) Scott, and (Alphs?) was in readiness the Key-stone brought down the 10th Ills. FromMound City co’s G,H,J,(?),K went aboard the Alps the whole fleet moved down the river accompanied by two gun boats six miles landed on the Ky. Side Raised tents and put out guards at 5oc pm 650 men out of the 29th the expidition comd. By Brig. Gen. U.S.Grant dark cloudy day

11th two gunboats went down to Columbus and fierd 42 shots rest in tents clears up at noon

12th turns cold in the evening no drilling the 10th 18th regt went 2 miles towards Columbus but failed to draw the rebbles out they bilt a bridge across Mayfield creek
Mrs. Roper and Morris came to Cairo but could get no further.

13th cold-snow falls one inch deep in the eavning no military movements. Drilled we commenced to and hard bread for dinner, coffee and a dodger of cornbread with some butter brought down by Mrs. Roper for our mess at supper vary cold

14th had orders to strike tents and march at 9 oc am the march was in this order first the 10th 18th 30th 27th 29th left 31st 40th on the ground Swarts Battery in the center of the 29th we took Easterly direction passing over a hilly country covered with as fine poplar and oak timbers as I ever saw. At half past 4 oc pm we campt on the sids of two hills, prepard supper having traveled 9 miles we are in _ mile of Glendsdale

15th marched at 9 oc am changed our course and went towards Columbus. At Mayfield Creek formed line of battle then passed through bottom land came to more elevated farming landwith good farms large tobacco houses appears good livers traveled 6 miles camped at Mercers farm Ballard county (Glands?)county seat

16th orders to start this morning at 7 oc am clear butiful but cold morning. Strike tents take up the time of march, turn squar to the right travel due east over beautiful farming country neat houses, strong fences indicate a once happy and prosperous people travel 4 miles bare to the left 3 miles further and we counter march _ turn to the right take Padduca road marked 31 miles follow this 3 miles. Camp on large farm, burn rails, and sleep on corn stalks.

17th strike tents travel east of north towards Paddu Ky the country is broken, mallatter soil, timbers scarce, barrin ,cloudy showing rain in the eavning , camp near (Louiaceville?)in a large clearing have traveled 10 or 12 miles , heavy rains water rises in our tents

18th ordered to strike tents and march at 9 0c am raining heavy, wait 2 hours at (Louiaseville?) in drenching rain for the train to pass, the right wing following the Padduca Ky road, the left turn square to the left persuing on east cours. The mud deep the teams stauling constantly, dark comes on our advance guard 6 miles and us 2 miles from whear we started. Pitch tents our provisions are out wagons was sent this morning to Cairo for grub. The land roling and poor. Rained most of the day . It is said thear is 500 waggons in the train we was detailed by the regt to help with the train and thear was mud holes literly bridged with tents and left

19th Sunday start for Blandsville the trains travel better today. Blandsville is a small plase with an ordinary courthouse . on the whole Ballard county is barren and poor most of the land tillable. Farmers depend on tobacco crops for money, but few slaves in the country we have passed through today, pass the camp ground of the 14th pitch tents at Mcneals mill on Mayfield creek 2 pm

20th strike tents before daylight and start for camp Jefferson the 10th regt. Ills. Was left behind to destroy Mcneals property for secesh proclivitysand furnishing the south with breadstuff and lumber. Reached Camp Jefferson at 4 1/2 pm drew 1 days rations most of the troops is gone to Cairo the 20th embark this eavning

21st struck tents at 8 oc am marched to the river went aboard the Memphis City with the 10th Ills. Half after 4 we reached quarters in Cairo HUNGRY,DIRTYand WORN OUT after 12 days marching in rain and mud with unnissary baggage and with filled knapsacks. But the design of the expidition is not yet known

22nd J.W.Rise came down today, cloudy and warm

23rd Nothing of importance

24th remarkable fine weather this is the day Aaron died in the hospital of overjoy

25th beutiful day received orders today for 27 men of co. G to go to Shawneetown (a sell) Dr. Johnson lecturd at night in quarters on health and morality

26th Sabbath went to the Presbitirian Church to hear the Episcopalionspreach they administered the ordinance of Babtism to 2 persons and conformation to 5 dressed in robs

27th 3 sergents 4 corporals 20 privats was chosen to go to Shawneetown on a pleasure trip

28th rains

29th snows all day Wm. And Sally Millspaugh, J.D. Gossett, Mariah Bruce and John Mckenzie is down from White county to see friends. Drilled in bayonet exercise

30th WINTER no military duty allquiet

31st Williams, co (D?) fell dead on the street

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