February 14, 1861
Bird’s Point, Feb. 3.
Messrs. Editors: With nations events will often occur of such importance to its present and future interest, that it becomes strictly necessary to have them recorded. It is the same with States, and we, the few members of a company of McDonough County Cavalry, have come to the deliberate conclusion that the same is true with us. And as our record will not, in all probability, benefit us nor be appreciated beyond the limits of said county, we would ask for it, a small space in some portion of our paper otherwise unoccupied. Would that “we had the pen ready writer” that we might forcibly express to certain ladies (names unknown) in the townships of Bardolph and New Salem, the thankfullness we feel to them for sundry delicacies furnished us through their patriotic benevolence. That we might express the amount of present satisfaction, the amount of material for future reflection, and the amount of encouragement we received from those dainties to urge us forward in the endeavor to preserve the political liberties they now enjoy.
We came from drill at 4 p.m., hungry and tired, as we supposed to partake of our usual rations of beef and bread. When, lo! as if by magic, a table had arisen just in the rear of our tents of sufficient length to accommodate all. It was loaded with pies, apple, mince, peach, etcetera; with cake of quality from the good old gingerbread, up to that which might grace the table at our future weddings. None, however, has been reserved for that purpose. Now the question arose from whence did all this come.
After having concluded that by some extraordinary “freak of nature” “Aladdin’s wonderful lamp” had been “dug up” at Bird’s Point by some of the boys and put to immediate use, we were informed by Mr. D. Porter, who is here on a visit to his brother, Lieut. W. W. Porter, that they had been sent by him to us, and that advantage has been taken of our absence to prepare the table and “fixings,” that we might meet with surprise. We had no objection of course to such a meeting, but thought we would prefer to meet with the donors at the close of the war if not sooner. At the close of the feast, for such it really was, a vote of thanks from its earnestness known to come from the heart, was given. Several speeches were made which, from the want of a reporter, have sunk into oblivion, and the following resolutions were unanimously adopted:
Resolved. That we, the members of this company do return our sincere, heartfelt and undivided thanks to the donors of these luxuries, not merely because we have been afforded an opportunity to satisfy our craving appetites for “better fare,” but also from the fact that it proves to us that we have their sympathies with us while we attempt to crush this “Hydraheaded” rebellion, which has already spread sorrow and death throughout our land, and separated us from tender associations of home and friends.
Resolved. That this act of benevolence shall remain fresh in our memory as we go forth to meet the enemies of our country, and the destroyer of our national peace, and shall serve as a stimulous to nerve our hearts, if necessary, to wipe every rebel from the face of the earth.
The Star Spangled Banner in triumph shall wave,
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave,
Ladies who have been so thoughtful of us in our absence.
A certain individual who always “looks ahead” then proposed the following toast:
The Ladies – “May they not despair of ‘our Union’ until after the war.
February 15, 1861
Letter from the Sixteenth Regiment.
Bird’s Point, Mo., Feb. 4th, 1862
Friend Abbott: Perhaps it would not be uninteresting to your readers to know what the 16th boys are doing; or, at least, that there really exists such a regiment – which is undoubtedly the case, as not a few rebels have found out, to their utter dismay.
The 16th Illinois regiment have had a pretty hard time of it since they have been in existence – nevertheless they have had but little fighting to do. I presume you have been posted in regard to our contemplated move towards Cairo, or vicinity, prior to said move being made; but, on the other hand, you have doubtless not heard anything definite in regard to the particular good and bad times they enjoyed and suffered on that march, or rather migration.
We left St. Joe, Mo., on Monday the 27th of January, about noon, and would experienced a very pleasant trip, as far as Quincy at least, had not the weather been so inclement, and had we not been forced to take passage in common cattle or freight cars, and nothing to sit down on save the floor of said commodious apartments in said first class freight or cattle cars. The rain appeared to discover us, as though there had been a previous arrangement made to render them more agreeable, in the way of hindering the dust from settling on our delicate tenements, or perchance our superb broadcloth habiliments, alias monkey jackets; which was rather an oversight, I fear, from the fact that when we reached the Mississippi river opposite Quincy, we were forced to “roll up breeches,” in the language of the good old song “Jordan,” for it was certainly a “hard road to travel” (the river, I mean). The ice was scarcely perceptible at the distance of six or eight inches below the surface of the water, and “brave men” and “fair women” were alike induced to ford the river together. Had this been the only trouble, we still would have been lucky; but there was one thought that appeared to predominate in the minds of all, viz: “How am I going to succeed best in crossing without going through the ice?” This thought weighed so heavily upon the mind of one unfortunate individual that he went through, — but luckily he lodged before had proceeded further towards the bottom than up to his middle.
Another oversight appeared to exist somewhere, perhaps among the officers – perhaps not – it is not politic for me to say where. I mean the fact that we were careful not to eat too much; as our provisions were carefully loaded into the cars of one train, while we were compelled to get aboard of another, making it perfectly easy for us to do without eating, from the fact that we had nothing to eat.
On arriving at Quincy we were hospitably provided with comfortable quarters, – where we remained till Thursday the 30th, when we again boarded the cars en route for the far-famed city of southern Illinois, more justly styled the “city of mud” – as it is undoubtedly a little the muddiest place I have ever had the pleasure of visiting, being something less than fifteen inches on an average, at least in the public thoroughfares; but that of the suburbs being unfathomable, we of course had no means of ascertaining to a certainty. From what we could glean from confidential sources however, we were led to believe that not more than a small regiment of cavalry had sunken entirely out of sight, perhaps to take the under track via Cairo to the Southern Confederacy.
Fearing, perhaps, that our fate might be a similar one, our officers thought it best to board the large government steamer Alex Scott, bound for Fort Holt, Ky., but after getting ready to migrate thither, we ascertained that the troops at that point were leaving, in consequence of the Ohio river rising so fast that their safety was getting doubtful. I have come to the conclusion that troops in this section would be more profitable to Uncle Sam, if they were all put aboard of gunboats, as these appear to be doing the business here.
After ascertaining the stage of water at Fort Holt, we were next ordered to this beautiful (?) garden of Eden; but I fear, if possible, we made bad worse, as this point and Cairo appear to be rival places for the muddiest. While we are once more located, we still “live in hope” that a better day dawns – that we may once more, ere long, reach America again, when we will all join in the good old song, “Home again,” never to meet the doom of castaways again forever.
We have fine prospects here that some of these days we may yet have a little fun, as our pickets are fired upon nearly every day or so, and the rebel gunboats approach in sight quite often. Our marines fired on a rebel boat this afternoon, causing her to hoist a flag of truce and heave to, till our troops boarded her. The particulars I did not learn – and it is as common here that we care but little about such minor affairs.
Hoping to be able to give more particular details from time to time, during the troubled condition of our country, I wish you all a happy good night.
Yours truly, J. Wes. Wolfe.
Plows, Corn Planters, etc.
Moline, Canton, Quincy, and Keokuk Plows.
Eight kinds of Reapers and Mowers,
Corn and Cob Mills,
Brown’s Corn Planters,
Osage Orange Seeds,
Farm Tools generally,
Etc., etc., etc.
For sale at Manufacturers’ prices, with freight added. Prices low and goods warranted.
If Farmers will leave their orders early, it will prevent disappointment to them.
S. F. LANCEY,
Agent for McDonough county, ect.
First door south of L. H. & J. G. Waters’ law office, Macomb. Feb. 15, ’62.11.3mi.
A large assortment of valentines can yet be found at Clarke’s bookstore.
The measles have taken the “grand rounds” through several portions of the county this winter. We hear of but few deaths, however, resulting from them.
Hugh Ervin, Esq., has returned to his home, after an absence of several months. – He has been commissary for the 28th regiment, but he has seen fit to resign.
The soldiers’ relief society will have a social meeting at Mrs. Henry Twyman’s, next Monday evening, where all ladies and gentle men are invited to meet and contribute, as they may feel inclined, for the benefit of the society.
Answers to Correspondents.
“Puss.” – Men wear mustaches to conceal their ugly mouths.
Susy. – Kissing was invented in the garden of Eden. When Eve persuaded Adam to eat of the forbidden fruit she finished the argument by kissing him. Either the flavor of the fruit that lingered on her lips, or the natural luxury of the kissing, was more than he could resist. The art has not been forgotten, as you will find out “when you get there.”
Quip. – Jim Lane has “lost his jerk.” – That’s what ails the republican party.
Sam. – You are mistaken this time. There will be six eclipses the present year – three of the moon, two of the sun, and one of republican party. The latter will be total throughout the United States, and visible in Macomb.
Tyro. – The positive and negative poles of a battery form the electrical current. The republican and secession parties form the disunion element of the country, to the great shock of patriotism and possible destruction of the nation.
Sonny. – Correct, “mi boy.” A man who would as soon vote for an educated [African-American] as a white man for President, is just fit to be editor of a republican journal.