BY SEPT. 29, 1862 THE 37th WAS AGAIN ON THE MARCH AFTER JOHNNY REB.
ON OCT. 1st REACHED POND SPRINGS, MO. AND BY THE 4th CAUGHT AND DROVE THE REBELS OUT OF NEWTONIA, MO. THEN TO GADFLY - CASSVILLE - OLD PEA RIDGE BATTLEFIELD - AND ON TO HUNTSVILLE, ARK. BY THE 20th.
THE EVENING OF OCT. 22nd SAW THEM AGAIN ON THE MARCH TO BENTONVILLE; MARCHING ALL NIGHT, CROSSING WHITE RIVER ANDCAMPING FOUR MILES SOUTH OF CROSS HOLLOWS OCT. 23rd. TRAVELED ON TO OSAGE SPRINGS THE NEXT DAY. AGAIN BROKE CAMP OCT. 27, MARCHING ALL NIGHT, AND AT DAYLIGHT SURPRISED THE REBELS AT FAYETTEVILLE, ARK. TOOK SOME PRISONERS AND RETURNED TO OSAGE SPRINGS, OCT. 30th.
CONTINUED MARCHING IN LIGHT ORDER, CHASING THE ENEMY FROM PLACE TO PLACE UNTIL DEC. 1, 1862 WHEN THE REGIMENT WENT INTO CAMP AT CAMP LYON, MO.
BECAUSE OF THEIR CONTINUED MARCHING IN PURSUIT OF THE ENEMY THE 37th ILL. AND 59th ILL. WERE KNOWN ALL OVER MISSOURI AND ARKANSAS AS THE 'ILLINOIS GREYHOUNDS.'
DEC. 1862 LT. COL. BLACK WAS PROMOTED TO COLONEL AND THE REGIMENT WAS ORDERED TO PROCEED TO SUGAR HILL, ARK. TO PROVIDE RELIEF TO GENERAL BLUNT. LEAVING THE BAGGAGE TO FOLLOW, THE REGIMENT MARCHED TO PRAIRIE GROVE, ARK. IN THREE DAYS, A DISTANCE OF 112 MILES, DOUBLE-QUICKING THE LAST 10 MILES.
ON THE MORNING OF DEC. 7 THEY ENGAGED THE REBELS AT PRAIRIE GROVE NEAR ILLINOIS CREEK. THE BATTLE LASTED ALL DAY AND WAS VERY BLOODY AND INTENSE. THE 37th ILL. LOST ABOUT ONE-SEVENTH OF ITS NUMBER IN KILLED AND WOUNDED. COL. BLACK COMMANDED THE COMPANY WITH ONE ARM IN A SLING, WHICH HAD BEEN SHATTERED AT THE BATTLE OF PEA RIDGE. LATE IN THIS BATTLE HIS OTHER ARM WAS SHATTERED BY A RIFLE BALL.
THE 37th SPENT CHRISTMAS AT THE PRAIRIE GROVE BATTLE GROUNDS.
Camp at Marionville, Missouri
November 8th, 1862
I received your very kind and welcome letter of the 26th of last month. I received it several days ago but being on the go pretty much ever since I have had no chance to answer it.
We are camped 25 miles south west of Springfield on Goose Creek. We expect to go some place, nobody knows where, but everybody has his opinion. Some say to Saint Louis, from there down the river. Some say to Jefferson City and from there down the river, and some say to Springfield to go into winter quarters. For my part, I rather think that we will go to Saint Louis and then join the army of Kentucky, but I can't tell more. Nobody does unless it is our big officers.
Capt. received a box from home a few days ago and in it came a letter, some paper, envelopes and stamps for me.
The letter was read with interest and the other things were welcome although I did not need them very bad only the stamps the other one you sent me I gave to Serge Reisser to carry for me as I had no place and he lost his pocket book, money, stamps and everything else. This last 15 I will keep myself. Mother, if ever you get a good chance I wish that you would send me some 2 or 3 good pair of yarn socks and I wish that you would make me 3 good flannel shirts, no difference what color so they are good. Drawers I have plenty of them but socks and shirts can't be got out of the commissary department any more. Writing material I have plenty of. I bought me an excellent gold pen some 2 or 3 months ago and a pocket ink stand that will last me some time yet.
If we ever get to St. Louis I will try and get a short furlough although it will be pretty hard to get I expect. Mother, I have learned that the 3 months boys have been discharged now. If Charles Vance is there and has any notion of enlisting again I want you to use your influence in getting him into this Company, for we need several more men here and it is a great deal better for him to be in an old regt. for several reasons. We have a recruiting officer name Corp. John Bailey. I would like to have Charley for a bunk mate first rate for he is a good boy. Well I have several other letters to answer so I will close Give brother's love to sister Lu, Sallie and all of the rest and receive a large share for yourself.
From your affectionate son,
Co. "K". 37th Ill.
Camp Lyons, 24 miles below
Springfield, MO., Nov. 30th, 1862
Yesterday I received your truly welcome letter of the 23rd last and read it with a great deal of pleasure. We are still encamped at the same place that I wrote you last. There is a strong talk of our wintering here or some place close. But then how little does a soldier know where he is going or when he is going.
You were hoping in your letter that on Thanksgiving day I might enjoy a dinner suited to the times. I will tell you what I had for dinner. It was bread, bacon & coffee. But at supper we made it up by contributing 50 cents each. Our mess, 10 of us, had $1.00 's worth of crackers and five cans of oysters.
There is a great deal of game down here. Yesterday for dinner we had wild turkeys, squirrels and rabbits, and some of the messes have venison. There are 4 or 5 deer killed in the regt. daily.
You speak of them three good flannel shirts and as many pair of socks. I have a pair of socks on my feet that I have worn for five weeks only taking them off now and then to wash them. I have one change of things they call shirts, but they are a poor excuse.
We have been drawing some new cooking utensils that will help along considerably. I wish, Mother, when you write next that you please enclose a good fine toothe comb. I wish, too, that once in awhile you would send me a Danville paper. I could read it with interest. I haven't any stamps to put on this envelope because one day when we were marching I got so hungry I traded them off for some cheese and bread.
Much love to Father and the rest of the family; Write soon to your affectionate son.
Camp down in Arkansas on the
Battle Ground of Prairie Grove
Christmas Day, Dec. 25th, 1862
You owe me a letter, I wrote to you last and you never answered. Now that is not treating me right. You ought to answer every letter that any soldier writes to you.
What are you doing today, Jack? Have you got your old gun out making a noise or have you got your skates and down on the ice? I am away down here in the "sunny south" where they don't have any ice. I haven't seen ice this year that would bear you up.
John, what do you want in the secesh line this time? I will try and hunt up something to send to you, but if you don't get anything don't get mad for I may not find anything, but I will try.
I have written two or three letters this morning and am tired so I will stop. Give my love to Sallie and Lu, and write soon to your brother.
Mr. John Baxter Brown
I never wrote you a letter did I? Now I ain't going to this time. I am just going to tell you that I want you to write me a letter for a New Year's present or else get John to write it for you.
Give my love to George and Mary and kiss the babies for your brother.
Mr. Charlie W. Brown
Camp at Prairie Grove
New Years Day,. 1863
Today one week ago I wrote a letter to Mother and intended on sending it by Mr. Miller. But the day that he left, which was on Christmas, I was detailed on picket guard and he went while I was out. I mailed it on the next day and in a P.S. I told her that we were to start the next day, Saturday, for some place, but we did not know where.
When morning came, sure enough at 7:26 in the morning, we started south. We marched that day and until 2 o'clock in the night which brought us to See's Creek which is at the foot of Boston Mountain on the south side. So you see that we crossed there and Oh! such roads. The Artillery could scarcely navigate. It is 12 miles across them and 18 to the fort on this side which made in all 30 miles that day and night.
The next morning they had us out and on the road bright and early. We marched all day and at 9 o'clock we reached Van Buren on the Arkansas river which was the end of our voyage.
We captured 7 steamboats loaded with corn, sugar, molasses, salt and commissary goods in general. We had some little artillery fighting but that was all. We took between 500 & 600 prisoners, 70 or 80 wagons and 2 or 3 stands of colors.
Van Buren is a pretty place and a thriving place. We did not go to Ft. Smith across the river although we wanted to very much.
At 6 o'clock p.m. of the 29th we started back burning all of the steamboats and hauling off a good portion of their sugar and molasses. None of our train went along. The tents and everything was left here. We got into camp yesterday about noon. Tomorrow we march again for where we do not know, but Madame Union says to Springfield, Mo. again. I hope not though. Write soon to your affectionate son.
THEY MOVED TO THE CAMP OF THE 37th ILL. NEAR KEATSVILLE, MO. ON JAN. 28, 1863 AND ON TO CAMP BLISS, FEB. 20th. THEN ON TO ENCAMPMENT NEAR BLOOMINGTON, MO. ON MARCH 3. AGAIN CAMP WAS MOVED TO WITHIN 10 MILES OF ROLLA THEN ON TO THE CAMP TOTTEN BY APRIL 1.
Camp of the 37th Ills. near
Jan. 28th, 1863
Dear Sister Sallie,
Last night we got a mail, a mail that was a mail. The first one that we have had for 2 or 3 weeks. I received three big nice fat letters. One from Mother, one from Web & one from you. I read them all with unusual interest for it has been so long since I got any mail.
Sallie, what do you think the news is with us? It is that we are on the road to St. Louis and out of this department, but then we have had such news so many times. The signs are better though now than I ever saw them before. If we do ever go to St. Louis I shall be greatly disappointed if I do not get to see some of the Danville folks.
By the bye, I am a going to come home one of these days. I can't stand it to see every one going home and me staying out here in this wilderness. I will get a sore finger or a sore toe, or Something. I will manage to come home one of these days if not before, I can after Uncle Sam has got all that he wants out of me.
I like the description that you gave of my room very much. I don't know but what I will have to roust you out of it when I get back. I have been living so high out here I expect that I will have to have the parlor or else that room just over it. And when I get back you will catch me going out to breakfast of buckwheat cakes and fried potatoes many times. I will sit in my easy chair and have my things brought in to me.
* Spelled Keetsville in "Fremont Rifles. Does not show on present maps.
I should like to have been there to have partaken of Web's birthday dinner. It won't be long until my birthday and perhaps I won't invite either him or you to it, but have it all to my self. I should like to see Web very much and maybe we will go down where I will get to see him. I hope so at least. I shall answer his letter very soon and try and keep up a correspondence with him.
You asked how did I enjoy the holidays? Christmas I was on picket guard but the boys in camp got up a fine dinner. Two days after Christmas I started for Van Buren, marched to Van Buren (a distance of 53 miles from Prairie Grove where we were camped) and got back the day before New Years and of course we couldn't have much. We had very fine weather all the time.
That picture of mine was lost. Adj. Bandy thought that he had it in his trunk but he was mistaken. When Lt. Hicks came home I gave it to him and he lost his carpet sack with it in it. But tell Lu that as soon as we get where we can have any taken I will have a good one taken and send it to her.
Sallie, I'll bet that if I was to come into your room just now dressed and looking as I do, you wouldn't know me I have got on a pair of "butter-nut" pants that one of the boys gave me. My soldier pants were clear gave up and I couldn't draw any so one of the boys gave me these.
I weigh just 150 pounds, as fat and as saucy as you please. I can eat more crackers & bacon, drink more coffee and do more guard duty then any man in Co. "K". In fact, I like soldiering & if I could come home now and then I would like it more. Write soon & often to your affectionate soldiering brother.
Camp of the 37th Ills. Vols.
Jan. 31st, 1863
I have received two letters from you. One of the 8th & one of the 20th inst. and have answered neither one of them. But I have written two home, one to Sallie & one to John.
We are now camped 12 miles north east of Cassville on the road to Springfield. We came here yesterday and expect to lay here for several days and then go nobody knows where. Some says to St. Louis, some says to Sedalia and some says down on the Arkansas river.
Ed Robinson told me to tell his mother that he has been unwell for the last week or so but is better now. He says that if we go to Springfield that he would like John Libbie out to see him. He says that he dreamed the other night that Grigsie was dead. He hopes not, but says he shall begin to think so if she doesn't write oftener.
That shirt and sock and gloves, etc. that you sent me by Mr. Miller I have never received nor don't know whether I ever will or not.
You said in your last letter that you had almost begin to look on me as a man. If a chunk of meat & bone weighing 150 pounds doesn't make a man, I don't know where you will find your men.
I have a little diarrhea but other wise was never in better health in my life.
I have written one or two letters this morning and I am tired. There is no news anyhow. Give my love to Mrs. Robinson, Aunt Lizzie and all the rest & remember me as ever your affectionate son.
Camp Bliss, Missouri
February 20th, 1863
Today I received two very welcome letters. One from Mother & one from you. I read them both with the eagerness that a soldier generally reads letters. I was especially glad to receive a letter from you for it is so seldom that you ever write to me.
You asked me if I supposed that you had rebels in Danville. I always thought that they were there & now I know it. I heard by one of the boys the other day that Dr. Lemon drew a revolver on a Union man right in the streets of Danville & if that is the case I think that the thing is going a little too far. Further in fact than it would go if some of Co. "K" was at home. I almost wish that I was there. I think that if I was I would give Dock Fair a sound drubbing. I guess that `150 pounds of soldier's meat is good for him, don't you think so?
Tomorrow we are to have inspection before Gen. Totten, & every body is cleaning up their guns. The old Gen. is pretty particular. Every thing has to be just so with him. My gun is tolerable clean, clean enough to pass I think.
The Paymaster is here with this division now & we will be paid off in a few days. But I am owing so much that I can't any more settle my debts, if that. We do not draw but for two months ($26).
We will start for Little Rock before many days now & when we get there maybe they will pay us all that they owe us.
Johnnie has told me that you thought of building a two story brick where the old shop now stands next summer. If you do, Father, I wish that you would set off a little room for me to sleep in for when I get back I am agoing to be head clerk & bookkeeper in the sales room.
There will be battalion drill in a few moments and I must be ready. Tell Mother that I will answer hers as soon as possible. With much love to all. I remain ever your affectionate son.
Go to page 8