At the residence of the bride’s father, in this city, May 28th, by the Rev. G. R. Palmer, Mr. Samuel P. Danly, drum major of the 16th regiment of Illinois volunteers, to Miss Emma Fox of Macomb, Ill.
Letters from Camp, — No. 1.
Correspondence of The Macomb Eagle.
Camp Wood, near Quincy,
May 27, 1861.
Our principle business now is to get used to a soldier’s life. This comes slowly and with an occasional “cussing,” on the part of those who have not lived rough heretofore. – We drill about five hours a day; the rest of the time we cook, eat, sleep, read the “four kings;” or obtaining a permit to go outside the lines, we take a walk up to town to see if the world turns around as usual, and throw ourselves around “suthin to take” – i.e. some of us do and some of us don’t. Old soldiers say we live like fighting cocks here – board shanties to shelter us from wind and rain, straw to sleep on, Uncle Sam to haul us wood and water, and our friends near enough to furnish us a few “goodies” to eat. They – the old soldiers – say that, wait until we march with guns and knapsacks for five or ten hours under a hot sun, drink prairie water luke-warm after skimming off a green slime and strain out the wiggle-tails with one’s teeth – have fat pork, hard bread, and swamp-water coffee for dinner, supper, and breakfast – only a sheet of canvass between one and the dashing storm – then we may begin to think we see something of the under side of a soldier’s life.
Last Friday was a big day in camp. Captain Pitcher, on behalf of the government, was on hand to “swear in” the regiment into the United States service “for three years unless sooner discharged.” Previous to this being done, the troops were called out to hear a speech from Browning on the duty of enlisting for the war. The great O.H. was excruciatingly eloquent and did a big thing for so small a gun as he is. I may say that the most of his half hour’s speech pleased the boy’s well enough. But it was certainly very bad taste in him to come over such abolition slang as this: “The South boast that they can make us cower at their feet with the same whips which they have used to lacerate the backs of their poor negroes.” Browning mistook the men he was talking to, if he supposed that such execrable argument as that was needed to incite us to discharge all our duty. He was followed by Mr. Grimshaw, who, as he said nothing pointed, I shall have no point to make against him.
Col. I. N. Morris next came forward amid mingled cries of “Let us take the oath!” – “Morris” – “Let us take the oath!” – “Morris.” The American Eagle had been pretty much used up by the preceding speakers, and my friend the Colonel was somewhat embarrassed. But he struck out right and left with his stentorian voice and rounded periods. – For once in his life, he said nothing about Old Buck, Lecompton, or the “Quincy traitors that are trying to put me down.” The Colonel told us what a fine gentleman and good officer Col. Smith is – (as though we didn’t know it when we elected him) – puffed the other officers as though he were doing it like a newspaper editor, for so much a line; and finally concluded by telling us that his own son was in the United States navy, “and although he loved him, he must take his chances.” The Colonel then subsided.
The different companies were then inspected and sworn into the United States service. Out of Capt. Ralston’s company, sixteen concluded that they had seen enough of the war, refused to take the oath, and went off to their quarters amid the groans of spectators. Three or four of Capt. Wells’ company also took the same shoot. As the other companies were brought up to the mark, there were more or less who refused to serve any longer. Capt. Mcallister’s company was left considerably short, as was also that of Capt. Hatch of Henderson. A comrade at my elbow suggested that if Capt. Mc. Had the men he took into McDonough county to vote against the Democrats last fall he would have plenty. I rebuked my friend by saying that he must not mix up politics in this war.
Our camp, I might have said before, is probably one of the finest in the State – high and dry, well shaded, and just south of the city limits. A correspondent of one paper in your town has located us “half a mile west of Quincy,” which as I understand the points of the compass, would locate us about the middle of the Mississippi River – a location that, as the river is now booming full, would furnish more water privileges than is desirable by every
We have had an interesting time in Camp since we were sworn into the service of the United States, on the 24th inst. The men that could not go for the war have returned home, and their places are being filled up by new recruits. There were about ninety men who refused to take the oath, and I would not have it go abroad that they refused on account of cowardice. Such is not the case, most of them expressed their intention to return as soon as they could arrange their business, so as to permit their absence from home. But there has been such a rush of new recruits, that they will not be needed, if they should return. The companies are nearly all full, and large numbers will have to return home disappointed in their expectations. There were 830 men in Camp yesterday, besides the commissioned officers, and the number has been increased to over one thousand by the arrival of recruits last night and this morning (nearly 200 in less than twenty-four hours). Your readers can judge by this whether the patriotism of the country has fallen any or not. I believe that another Regiment could be raised here in less than one week’s time.
Capt. Pitcher is expected here to-morrow. He comes to swear in the new recruits.
It is reported here in camp that the Government has purchased the fine steamer City of Louisiana for the purpose of carrying troops on the Mississippi. What the Government intends to do we cannot tell; but one thing we can tell and that is this: The 16th Illinois Regiment will at any and all times be ready for active service. The friends of this Regiment need have no fears – if it is ever called into action it will add by its achievements new luster to the glory acquired by our Volunteers upon the bloody fields of Mexico. Some may think that we are counting our chickens before they are hatched. “Let ‘em think,” is all we have to say. The men here are all in excellent health, with the exception of a case or two of ague and fever; they are all in high spirits and anxious to get to work.
I have been told that the good people at home believe us to be in a starving condition. For my part I cannot imagine whatever gave rise to such a belief. We have plenty to eat. If men are in a starving condition when they throw away the very best of bacon and bread, then we are in a starving condition. I have said this much to let our friends know the truth.
We have been disappointed in the news from Washington. We were elated considerably on Monday morning by the news that a battle had been fought. But our joy was soon blasted – it was a false alarm as usual.
I have already extended this to a greater length than I had intended and will retire into the