February 21, 1862
Letter from Charley Waters.
The following is a private letter from Charley to a brother in this city. Although it was not written with any thought of publication, we trust Charley will make no fuss with us for printing it:
Head Quarters 28th Reg.,
Ft. Heiman, Ky., Feb. 10.
Dear Bro.: Your letter of Feb. 2d was received yesterday. I was very glad to hear from you. We have had a great many changes since you heard from me last.
We were ordered from Fort Holt to Smithland; when we got to Paducah our orders were countermanded, and we were ordered to remain in Paducah, where we disembarked and remained three days. At Paducah I saw a great many Macomb boys. We were ordered from there to Camp Halleck; we embarked on board the steamer D. A. January in the morning, and arrived at the place of our destination about 6 p. m., when we were ordered across the river to join our Brigade, which, by the way, is as good a Brigade as there is in the service. It is composed of the 8th Missouri, 11th Indiana, (the famous Zouaves), the 23d Indiana and the 28th Illinois, Company A Chicago Light Artillery and Companies C and I of the Regular Cavalry. At 7 in the morning we disembarked and formed in line of battle, there we had to remain until 12 m., when we commenced moving. We made very slow time having to ford two streams which were about waist deep. At 1:30 the first sound of the cannon was heard, the shout was taken up by the 11th, followed by the 23d, until the whole Brigade sent up a shout that this section of country never heard before. We were resting at the time, some eating, some wringing their clothes, some trying to get a little sleep, and some rambling around, when the word came to fall in. We were sure for a fight. – Shot after shot rent the air, until the woods seemed fairly alive with artillery. We started for the field of action, little knowing who, if any of us, would ever live to see the light of another day. – We were placed in a situation from which we never could retreat; if we were not successful we would all be taken prisoners. We arrived at what we thought we supposed was to be the field of action. But they had fled. They ran like fugitives from justice. We marched in to the tune of “Oh, I’m glad I’m in the land of cotton.” Looking all around us we saw how the defeat was, it was one general stampede; they left everything here, not taking anything with them; it is surely one of the greatest victories of the campaign. But they did not get off so easy on the other side, they were looking for an attack, and when our gunboats moved down to engage, Gen. Tilghman sent 3,000 Infantry out to engage our troops, not receiving any news from them he sent a messenger to ascertain what had befallen them, the messenger returned and reported that he could not find them. – The General now says that he thinks they are running yet, every one believing there is a gunboat at his heels. It was a splendid victory and no mistake.
Fort Henry is in Tennessee, this place in Kentucky, although we are farther up the river than they are; there is a job in the State line right where we are. The road is open to Nashville, the loyal people of Tennessee can now rally around the stars and stripes for protection. An order has been issued that the stars and stripes now floating in Tennessee shall never be removed.
This is one of the finest places I ever saw. There is one immense hill on this side where the fort is erected that is truly a sight to look at. We are awakened in the morning by the bands playing the Star Spangled Banner, Dixie, and others. We went in the country yesterday and got 2,000 lbs. Bacon from a secesh, who had left the night we arrived here. Some citizens rode up to our pickets and asked the boys if they had whipped the d – d Yankees, the boys made them get off and told them they would introduce them to General Grant.
I am in fine spirits and never enjoyed better health. I have not been sick a day since I left home. I do not think the war will last six months at the farthest. I live finely.
I Remain yours, truly,
Chas. E. Waters.
Letter from a McDonough Volunteer.
Bird’s Point, Mo., Feb. 11.
Messrs. Editors: I will endeavor this evening to pen you a few items of news from this place, though I must confess the circumstances under which I do so, are rather unfavorable and discouraging to the accomplishment of that resolve. I write in a somewhat dilapidated and cold building, and besides am surrounded by from 14 to 15 “responsibilities” in the shape of “soger boys,” who are continually discussing the merits and demerits of certain officers and men connected with the war, together with various other subjects, all of which are very annoying and disagreeable to one who is attempting to write a letter of interest to friends and acquaintances at home. However, as we are taught to “take the world as it is, and not as we would have it,” I bow submissively to the circumstances around me, annoying though they be, and apply myself to the task before me.
Respecting our trip from St. Joseph hither, I will say nothing, further than to remark that we left that place on the morning of Jan. 27th, arriving at Quincy at noon of the 28th, where we remained until Thursday evening, when we started, via. Quincy and Toledo R. R. for Cairo. There are a number of amusing incidents connected with our short stay in the Model City, some of which I will here relate. We crossed the river from the Missouri side on the ice; which, by the way, was a rather dangerous operation, the surface being covered with some 5 inches of water – and the ice melting very fast; and notwithstanding we were ordered to march across it in single file and to keep six feet apart, the boys in their eagerness to reach “America,” would crowd up and rush ahead without any regard whatever to orders. Reaching Quincy amid a drenching rain; we were soon snugly quartered in Court House, City Hall, &c. But we were again in America – in the midst of friends and not of foes – and to remain in those dismal halls for the night, and “bunk” on the floor, as we had done for near eight months in the mother land of Missouri, we thought too hard for toleration, when we could get better, and forthwith we shouldered gun and knapsack to seek quarters at a public house. To eat, sleep and “be merry,” as of yore, was to us a luxury, indeed; and this being the first good opportunity afforded us since going into rebeldom, we availed ourselves of it most freely. It was a novel question for one to ask a soldier at what house he was putting up at, how much he had to pay for board, &c., but nevertheless such was true of us at Quincy. While there, matters went along about after this fashion: One soldier meeting his comrades would greet them with; “Good morning Jim, Joe, Sam – where you putting up at, and how much are you paying for board?” “Well myself and “gun” are putting up at the “Virginia House,” pay $1.00 a day for board and bed – get plenty to eat there – wont you come and go long?” “No, my gun’s at the Quincy House, can’t go – like that house the best – good morning.”
While there we were visited by a great many friends, relatives and acquaintances from old McDonough, whose presence cheered and enlivened us beyond description. Among them I noticed Col. W. W. Bailey, J. W. Nichols and George Ayer, of Macomb; Asa Markhalm and Harry Westfall, of Bushnell; J. D. Hainline, of Spring Creek; Wm. H. Head and Byrd Smith, of New Salem. There were also others present whose names I did not learn. – Some of our boys stole an opportunity of seeing for themselves the land of their nativity, and jumping aboard the evening train on the Q. & C. R. R., were soon moored safe at home. Their stay was but short, however, they being compelled to return next morning. – Upon their return they were greeted with “have you been home – did you get to see your duck?”
We were landed at Cairo 9 o’clock Saturday. We found the whole place abundantly supplied with mud, interspersed with snow and water. Upon the whole it was one of the most muddy, God-forsaken places I ever saw. But as enough has been told of Cairo already, I will drop the subject.
Since coming here we have met with old friends from McDonough, as follows: Capt. George W. Scott, of Bushnell; Lieut.’s W. W. Porter and Ambrose Epperson, of New Salem, all of the 7th Cavalry; also Daniel Markham, of Bushnell, and a number of others too numerous to mention.
Capt. J. D. Walker and Frank H. Kyle passed through Cairo during the latter part of last week, from Paducah, en route for Macomb. The Dr. resigns his position as captain, and Kyle returns home on a discharge or account of disability.
It has been quite muddy and disagreeable all the while since we arrived here, so much so that until to-day all drill exercises had to be suspended. To-day, however, the sun shone warm and pleasant, indicating that we are soon to have spring, if it is not already upon us.
The health of our Regiment has undoubtedly been greatly impaired by the sudden and severe change of climate. The Hospital is being crowded daily with those who have never experienced any sickness since coming into the service.
There are no indications as yet of a move on Columbus soon. On the contrary it is the general belief that all communication will be cut off from that place before it will be taken, troops are continually arriving and departing for up the river. The recent victory achieved by our forces at Fort Henry adds a new impetus to the movements which perceivable at once. Promising another letter soon I close.
Very truly yours &c.
The News in Macomb.
There was a high time in Macomb last Monday evening on the receipt of the news of the capture of Fort Donelson. The trains in the course of the day had brought news that the fight was still progressing with the greatest desperation on both sides, and every body appeared waiting with the greatest anxiety to hear further news. The Quincy train reaches here a few minutes after seven in the evening, and this train usually brings us the Quincy Whig with the latest telegraphic dispatches. The papers are received at Randolph’s Hotel, and there distributed. Every subscriber was on hand, and as soon as the bundle could be broken and a paper opened the shout went out, “Fort Donelson is taken.” In less than two minutes the news had passed around the square. Cheers rent the air in all direction. People who were ignorant of the news just received rushed out from their stores, and shops, and dwellings to learn the cause of the excitement. Piper’s corner store was crowded to its utmost capacity with anxious listeners to the reading of the news. Preparations were immediately made for a huge bonfire. Several old oil barrels were procured, dry goods boxes and other combustibles were also obtained, and they were all piled together near one corner of the square, and the torch applied. The flames illuminated the whole city. Some boys brought out their pistols and blazed away. In short there was the heartiest, liveliest manifestation of genuine rejoicing that we ever witnessed on any occasion.
But amid the general rejoicing many could not repress their anxiety to know the fate of friends and relatives who were probably engaged in the strife. – Though many precious lives have been taken, every loyal man felt that the sacrifice was not too great if it should be the price for the restoration of our once happy and glorious Union.
We have said the rejoicing over the success of our armies was general. – There were a few inglorious exceptions. The individual who keeps a grocery and provision store not half a mile from Clarke’s Bookstore was about to sell a [?] barrel to some boys who wanted it to add to the illumination, when the individual in question learning their object, told them they could not have it for three times the price he had asked for it. The wrong side of him had slipped.
In another smaller grocery and provision store, no distance at all from where Wilson Atkinson keeps, a little group of mournful countenances were observed looking out through a window upon the joyful demonstrations outside. A hatchet was called for to break in the heads of some of the barrels used for the bonfire. A boy ran to the store in question as the nearest and handiest place to procure the implement, when he was told by the proprietor that he couldn’t have his hatchet – “Go to Piper’s if you want one.” Everybody knows that Piper is true and loyal to the government, and there’s the difference between the two.
P.S. We learn from the man who refused to lend his hatchet that he had a reason for it. He says he has friends in the South. Very likely.
Answers to Correspondents.
The Eagle last week had six answers to correspondents. We have seven this week – one ahead.
Pinkeye. – The Buzzard is considered a foul bird.
Simon. – If the girl you love positively refuses to become your wife, you had better compromise – that is, let her have her own way.
Bea. – An abolitionist is a abolitionist. He is an out and out abolitionist. He only differs from a Republican in the fact that he is an abolitionist.
Job – You are correct, but the Eagle has changed since then. It is now opposed to a blind adherence to a party platform, and it says “sacrifices of party cannot be expected of small men.” It is a wonderful change, and is supposed to have been brought about by a certain school house discussion.
Sam – Johnson is the man. Read his advertisement and then speak to your wife about it.
Soldier – Correct again “mi boy.” A party which would elevate to the Vice Presidency a white man with a colored wife can’t be much opposed to mixing the races.
Toby – That “educated [African-American] was a son of Dick Johnson, a former Democratic Vice President.
A Secesher’s Wish. – The inspiring events of the last few days have disturbed the feelings of a few seceshers about town who cannot repress their chagrin at the glorious success which has crowned the Federal arms. A certain Democratic Alderman of the 4th Ward, whose secesh proclivities have been known for a long time, on Tuesday, before a number of bystanders, expressed a wish that the 16th Regiment had been placed in the front of the battle at Fort Donelson and the last man of them killed, and that every other thieving regiment might be served the same way. We presume the reason he was not knocked down on the spot was that it was deemed best to hand him over to the tender mercies of the boys of the 16th on their arrival home, who will, no doubt, be glad to pay him some of their richest compliments.
February 22, 1862
Wheat and Rye Wanted.
20,000 bushels of wheat and 10,000 bushels of rye wanted, for which the highest price in cash will be paid, delivered at the Macomb depot. Apply to J. Haggerty, at Brown’s Hotel.
About big Hogs.
– The Quincy Whig notes a lot of 57 hogs raised by Mr. C. Quigg of Mendon, Adams county. The heaviest hog weighed 400 lbs, and the average was 395 ½ lbs. Pretty good hogs; but they are not some distance behind the lot raised by Mr. Harkrader of this county.
– The Freeport Journal says a hog was sold in that city which weighed 701 lbs, and that a packing firm had put up several hundred at one time, which averaged nearly 300 lbs.
– A Cincinnati paper says that Mr. W. A. Gallagher of Warren county, Ohio, this season, sold 71 hogs, the average net weight of which was 473 lbs.
Our old friend George Hire was married to Mrs. Harrison last week. Mr. Hire has lived a little more than three-score and ten years, and still finds that it is not good for man to be alone. We congratulate him with all our heart, and trust that the frosts of many a winter to come will fall but lightly upon his cheerful face.
The boys had quite a bonfire Monday night, on the reception of the news of the Fort Donelson victory.
The roads and streams are still frost-bound. The weather this week has been almost as cold as it was during January.