August 11, 1865

Macomb Journal

LIFE IN THE ARMY.

Being the Observations and Experiences
of a Private Soldier.

By J. K. MAGIE.

CHAPTER IV.

(Continued.)

            My last chapter closed with the arrival of our regiment at Jeffersonville. When daylight appeared the men began to look about for means to prepare breakfast. Our mess pans, kettles, &c., were designed for large messes of twenty or more, and these were stored away in the cars and difficult to get at. The men that morning were cross and impatient – the different messes could not find their own proper utensils, some persisted in sleeping, while their comrades were punching them up to go for wood or water. After much toil and perseverance, and the upsetting of numerous coffee-pots, the men made out a sort of muddy breakfast. I have often thought of the troubles, perplexities and difficulties attending the preparation of breakfast that morning in contrast with the later experience of the soldiers in reference to their culinary affairs. It soon became apparent that each man must depend upon himself if he wanted his proper share of rations and wanted it cooked properly. On our tramps through Tennessee, Georgia, &c., each man was generally independent of his neighbor. He carried his own rations, coffee pot, frying pan, &c., and cooked for himself. It was common, however for two, and sometimes three or four to form one mess and take their turns in toteing the frying pan or coffee pot. In Sherman’s army there was more coffee boiled in small quart cans, which had been used for preserving fruits, than in all other vessels combined. But some of the men made very poor cooks. I was never disposed to boast of own proficiency in preparing a meal, and if I should set up any such claims my old comrades I know would dispute them, for to tell the truth I could eat a meal much better than I could cook it.

In the course of the day a camping ground was selected in the eastern suburbs of the city, on land owned by that eminent sympathizer with treason, Jesse D. Bright. It was night before our tents were erected, and I think we all enjoyed as good a sleep that night as we ever did at home, although our beds were made upon the cold damp ground.

The next morning we breakfasted on coffee and crackers – and such crackers – they were about as hard to bite as an old dry shingle, and about as tasteless. There was a screw loose somewhere, and no meat, sugar or rice to be obtained. Coffee and crackers were the only commodities. The Quartermaster was vigilant, but for several days we saw no other food but coffee and crackers.

In the course of the day we received our arms and were considerably disappointed to find that they were the same old guns which had been rejected at Quincy. But it was these guns or none. Bragg was then threatening Louisville, and the excitement ran high. All business was suspended both in Louisville and Jeffersonville, and men took to drilling and throwing up breastworks. It was expected every day that an awful conflict would ensue, for the Union leaders were determined that Louisville should not be given up without a desperate struggle. We now began to see something of the paraphernalia of war – troops were hourly arriving, and army wagons without number. The constant moving of wagons and the tramp of soldiers filled the roads, and indeed all the country around there, with a fine dust several inches in depth. The air was dry and excessively hot, and the dust so thick as to render an object invisible two or three rods distant. Towards night we received marching orders. It was ten o’clock before the regiment began to move, but movements at that time were not executed as rapidly as in after times. In the Georgia campaign I have seen the regiment on the march in ten minutes after receiving the order, having in that time struck tents, packed knapsacks, &c. We moved toward the river which we crossed that night about twelve o’clock. We marched in a southwesterly course through the city of Louisville. Occasionally the men would be halted for a rest, when the most of them would drop in their tracks, dust over shoe, and leaning back upon their knapsacks, would catch a little sleep. It was just before daylight that we were halted on some vacant lots in the extreme south-western part of the city. Here we were ordered to rest, and each man rolled himself in his blanket and made up his bed upon the ground. We laid there until about noon, when the regiment was called into line, ready for another march. We proceeded the distance of just one block when a halt was ordered with instructions to prepare dinner. Hard crackers and coffee for dinner. A board sidewalk was appropriated for fuel with which to cook our coffee. Our tents had not yet arrived, and no prospect of their arriving for at least a day or two, and as we then thought we could not do without a shelter, the board fences in the vicinity were tore down and the boards so placed against other fences as to form for us a very good shelter.

The next morning at 3 o’clock the regiment was called into line, each man with his knapsack, gun &c. Vague rumors were whispered from one company to another, and from man to man, that at daylight a terrible battle would commence. – There surely must be something in the wind or the regiment would not be called up at that unseasonable hour and required to stand still for hours in the same position, unless it was that the enemy was supposed to be creeping up stealthily and it was determined that he should be greeted with a warm reception. Soon after daylight the day passed off with a few hours drill and coffee and crackers.

The next morning the regiment was ordered into line at precisely three o’clock. – Now there was something up surely. – There the regiment stood for two long hours, men with their knapsacks on, and guns and accoutrements. Men listened eager to catch any sound in the distance that might give a solution to the wonderful vigilance that seemed to be exercised by the commanding general. The men were dismissed for breakfast, and then immediately ordered into line again. All that day, in a broiling hot sun, the men were obliged to be on their feet, with knapsacks and accoutrements on, and were not dismissed until ten o’clock at night, except the few minutes they were allowed for meals. By this time it was reported that Gen. Buell was on the outskirts of the city with his army, and that Gen. Bragg was retreating. These “knapsack parades,” as the men learned to call them, were understood to be ordered by on Captain Gilbert, who was exercising authority as a Major-General, and were justified on the ground that they were necessary to inure the men to hardship and fatigue. This system was persevered in by that same individual months afterward in Tennessee, and I have heard the officers of our regiment express it as their opinion that scores of men were killed outright by that cruel and inexcusable practice. At this time our regiment with the 80th and 86th Indiana, formed a Brigade. At the end of three days, under the “knapsack parade” system, there were over three hundred men in the Brigade on the sick list. – An old grist mill in the vicinity was generously tendered by the owner, and was used for a short time as a hospital.

It was about this time, the 29th of September, that the difficulty arose between Gen. Nelson and Gen. J. C. Davis in which the former was killed by the latter. According to the reports current at that time, and which have been since confirmed, it appears that Gen. Davis called upon Gen. Nelson at the Galt House to receive some information respecting arms and ammunition, for his Brigade. Nelson was his superior officer, and had command of the post at Louisville. He was notorious for his gruff and insulting manner to all who approached him. He asked Davis how many men he had. Davis replied, “About three thousand.” Nelson retorted, “About three thousand,” and repeated the expression in a most contemptuous manner, and then fell to abusing Davis and disparaging his military qualifications for not knowing the precise number. Davis felt himself insulted and remonstrated against such language, upon which Nelson slapped him in the face. Davis then sought a pistol and a friend, and in fifteen minutes afterward approached Nelson and told him to defend himself. He then fired, the ball taking effect in Nelson’s breast, from which he died in fifteen minutes afterwards. I never heard that Davis was ever arrested for his connection with this affair. I saw a newspaper paragraph a few months afterward that Davis had been indicted in that county for manslaughter. The general feeling in the army was that Nelson was served about right.

It was about the last of September that General Buel marched with his army into Louisville. They had made a rapid march of over two hundred miles. The weather at that time was hot, dry and dusty, and this brave and gallant army looked rather the worse for wear. The men were much incensed against Buell, as the opinion seemed to prevailed that Bragg could have been worsted at any time.

On the 28th of September, our regiment was marched to the eastern part of the city, and a camp laid out of on some vacant lots, near the Bardstown pike. The fear and alarm which had prevailed in consequence of the threatened attack now began to subside, and business in the city slowly resumed its usual activity. Company drill was resumed in all the regiments. Exciting rumors were still current respecting heavy battles between our pursuing army and the retreating rebels.

It was while located at this point that a serious accident occurred to a member of our regiment, which ultimately, resulted in his death. James Tipton, of Blandinville, while out shooting at a mark accidently caused a premature discharge of his gun. The ball passed through his wrist, causing such wound that amputation became necessary a few days thereafter. He was subsequently discharged, and started for home before his wound was sufficiently healed to travel. He was taken with fever on his way home, and died at the Randolph House in this city.

[TO BE CONTINUED.]

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            → Mr. A. J. Veal, who advertises a farm for sale in this paper, will please call or send for a letter at this office calling for information respecting said farm.

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            Thanks. – Tatham; at Louisville, will please accept our thanks for numerous favors received.

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The Fall Election.

            The election this Fall is for County Officers. A County Clerk, County Judge, Treasurer, School Commissioner and Surveyor are to be elected. The State Officers, with a Legislature, are not elected until next year.

It may be argued by some that no national questions are involved in a county election. In one sense this is true; but it cannot be denied that these local elections have a bearing and an influence upon our national concerns. The Copperhead party, although the advocates of no special policy, and striving for power. Let them attain sufficient supremacy in the councils of our nation to form a working majority by an alliance with rebels and rebel sympathizers, and the mischief they will work will be incalculable. Success in our county elections only gives them more power, and better chances for success in future elections where important national questions are involved.

We trust that the importance of our county election will not be overlooked. We should select good, competent and faithful men – men who have stood firmly by the Union from the first to the last. We are not among those who think that soldiers only should be selected to fill our offices, but we think they should be fairly represented upon the ticket. Heretofore we have been called an ungrateful people, but let it be said no more. Let us show a willingness to promptly recognize the claims of those who have made sacrifices in behalf of our common country.

We publish this week announcements from two candidates for public favor. Col. Samuel Wilson and Captain Wm. Ervin. Both these gentlemen are eminently qualified for the respective positions for which they are announced, and they have both manifested their devotion to the Union cause on their battle-field. But while these two gentlemen are in every way unobjectionable, there may be others equally entitled to consideration. We hope to see wise and judicious nominations made, so as to do justice to the soldier, to the people and all concerned, and we need have no fear of the result.

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            We do not claim to be the only friend soldiers have, but we do claim that we think as much of them as the man who would induce a soldier to take his paper, and after the soldier was killed, urge his comrades to make up the pitiful sum. – Eagle.

If the Eagle has reference to us in the above paragraph, we wish to say that during our entire service in the army, we never asked a single individual to subscribe for our paper, although it would have been perfectly legitimate for us to do so, and we never asked or even hinted to the comrades of deceased soldiers to make up to us the “pitiful sum.” If we ever did the Eagle has abundant opportunities to prove it. – Such fabrications evince a low, mean, and base disposition. We did, however, after the order was issued for our muster out, issue some printed circulars which brought several hundred subscribers. If the writer of the above extract was any “friend to the soldiers,” he would not be inventing base and mean fabrications to disparage the honorable record of one of the number.

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            → The copperhead print at Carthage dolefully exclaims – “The People no longer govern, but are governed.” When the people govern whom do they govern? Answer that is you please.

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The City Printing.

            It is an axiom that public opinion has come to approve that “To the victors belong the spoils.” The history of all political parties in this country for the last thirty years, is in accordance with this sentiment. With a change of party in the Administration there has been a change of the bestowal of patronage. The party in power all over the country usually show in the distribution of their patronage, in the matter of advertising and printing, a partiality for those newspapers advocating and supporting their own political faith. We don’t know of a single instance in the whole country where a Democratic Board, whether it be in State, county, or city, are in the habit of bestowing their patronage upon Republican newspapers to the exclusion of Democratic journals. But since our return from the army, the City Council of this city, which has a Republican Union majority, has been pleased to withdraw from us their patronage and to bestow it upon that pro-slavery and notoriously disloyal sheet, the Macomb Eagle. The justification of the Council is that the Eagle establishment does the printing cheaper. We have not the least doubt that that establishment would do the printing for nothing, and that its party would make up the amount, rather than to see us get it at any price. It is a stroke of policy with them, and adds something to their political capital. We have seen the figures at which they do the work, and there is not a printer or any other individual with any knowledge upon the subject, but who will say that they do the work at a positive loss. We submitted a proposition to do the printing at three-fourths our regular rates, which would merely cover the cost of hire and material, and the city ought to have been satisfied with the proposition. If they see fit to take the city printing to the Eagle office let them do so, but in the name of reason and justice and humanity let them pay at least a reasonable price for the work they require. They pay the mechanics employed upon the school house, and the laborers upon the streets, and others in their employ, a reasonable price for their labor, but some how or other they seem to think that a printer should work for nothing, and receive the kicks and curses of community in the bargain.

It is a very common practice in both parties, in cities, counties and States, to bestow lucrative patronage upon some party organ, in order to put it on a firm and substantial basis. We hold this to be wrong. The people should not be taxed in order merely to throw money into the coffers of some newspaper establishment. But we hold that all corporations should be willing to pay fair remunerative prices to all they find necessary to employ, whether they be mechanic, laborer or printer. The sentiment has become too common that a newspaper publisher can afford to do a great amount of work gratis. In the course of a year we are called upon by political parties or benevolent societies to do at least five hundred dollars worth of work for nothing. For instance, we this week publish the call for a County Convention. Nobody thinks to pay us a cent for this, and we do not expect to receive any pay for it, but such a call as this could not gain insertion in the Chicago Tribune or the New York Tribune, or any other of the party papers in the large cities, at one cent less than the regular advertising rates. There is not a notice of a political meeting or a religious meeting that goes into the columns of the large city papers, but what is paid for. But we do all such work gratis, and a great deal more that we might enumerate. But when we do such work as a favor to the party, we have a right to expect that the party will reciprocate the favor when it is in their power to do so.

In this connection we will say that we are the only publisher that this paper ever had who did not come on the party for contribution to sustain it. We have never asked nor never received one dime as a bonus or contribution to sustain this paper. During our connection with it, it has lived by its own legitimate patronage. We came to Macomb and took editorial charge of the paper at the urgent solicitation of a number of leading Republicans in the county. When we first came here, we found that the office had not credit for a loaf of bread or a pound of flour, and our family went hungry in consequence. The situation is vastly different now. If the city council thinks that we have grown rich enough to live without their patronage, all we can say is, that they are not far from right.

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            One thing seems to be settled, viz: that Johnson is to be President. The postmaster at Macomb, has been removed and one Jas. K. Magie appointed his successor. So far, so good for President Johnson.

The above paragraph is taken from the Macomb Eagle. That bird is inclined to be profuse in its quotations from our columns, and to be fair, we reciprocate.

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            The soldiers in the late war. * * * They are as despicable as they are degraded. Their hate is better than their friendship.

The above language we gather from the columns of the Macomb Eagle. It is arranged equal to anything that may be found in the clippings from “Magie’s lamentations.”

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            The Eagle says he has been told that “the music of rebel bullets wasn’t a bit soothing’.” Of course he was told. Who ever suspected otherwise of him.

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The Eagle Screams.

            The editor of this paper has been appointed Postmaster and the numerous editors of the Eagle wax very wroth threat. They shriek, and scream, and gnash their teeth, and foam at the mouth, and howl, and rave, and cavort, and take on terribly. At first they could not believe it – no, it couldn’t be so – the intelligence was too appalling – it was too grievious even to think of. But at last “it was soon settled beyond a doubt that it was so.” It is awful to contemplate what must have been their feelings when the terrible conviction was forced upon their minds that it was even so. That Magie should have an office, and above all things, the Post Office – oh, is there a remedy – who will help us in this dire affliction. They turn their imploring eyes even to us, and they tell us that if we will call a meeting of the friends of the Administration, and if we can get twelve men who would favor our appointment they would “cheerfully acquiesce” – yes they would cheerfully acquiesce. It appears then that the great burden which afflicts their soul is that the “friends of the Administration” may not be suited. If the friends of the Administration are suited, “we cheerfully acquiesce.” Was there ever such an instance manifested of Copperhead sympathy with the friends of the Administration. We don’t believe there ever was. The numerous editors beseech and implore still further. In the agony of their spirit they cry out – “yea, we will even go further.” How dreadful must be their feelings. Without waiting to hear a response from their first proposition they rush on to make a second proposition. This they think cannot fail to move us – it is so very liberal in its terms. In pathetic strains they tell us that if we will find six men who would favor our appointment, they “will surrender all objection.” What a high appreciation they do have of themselves, surely. If we will do so and so they “will surrender all objection.” They want to be “consillyated” it seems. We do wonder what will be the dreadful consequences if those Eagle folks should not be prevailed upon to “surrender all objection.” We shudder at the thought. But the Eagle is moved to still another proposition. They did a job of printing from the Post Office, amounting to two dollars, and if we will be moved by their appeals they will make us a present of this enormous sum. We could not think of it – they must bid higher.

The Eagle closes its “lamentation” by calling us a “meanly, corrupt negro-shrieking demagogue.” That’s what’s the matter. And it quotes an epigram, closing with

“A stable-man in the Post Office chair
Offends the gods and pollutes the air.”

What presumption! These Copperheads styling themselves “gods.” And then that a “stable-man” should be a Post Master. It was hard enough on them to see a “rail-splitter” and a “tailor” made President, and now when a “stable-man” is made Post Master, it offends the gods, or in other words, the Copperheads.

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Was the War a Failure?

            There is not a soldier in the land, but would give this question an indignant NO! But the man who writes for the Eagle, and who claims to be the friend and champion of soldiers, insists that it was, for he objected to the sentence which was printed on our Fourth of July bills which declared that, the war was NO FAILURE. He in connection with one or two others, kicked up a big fuss because our Fourth of July bills, which were issued as an invitation to soldiers to come and partake of the hospitalities of the citizens, contained that truthful declaration that the war had been no failure. One distinguished Copperhead, the first letters of whose name is James Campbell, came upon our premises and tore down one of those bills because of the offensive declaration in said bills, thus violating a city ordinance against the destruction of handbills, posters, &c. These Copperheads have the faculty of blowing hot and blowing cold in the same breath. They boldly proclaim that the war was a miserable failure – then they take a soldier by the hand and say, “Noble defender of our country,” “sun-browned hero,” “I greet your manly, vigorous form,” “we honor those to whom honor is due,” and then they settle back upon their old platform – “after four years of failure, &c. Of course, they are friends of soldiers. Who can doubt it.

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            → The man who writes for the Eagle claims to be a friend to the soldiers. How long is it since the editor of that sheet, with a sympathizing friend or two sat up all night in the office, armed with guns, pistols, bowie knives and bludgeons with the avowed purpose of massacreing the first soldier who should set foot in the office?

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Out Again.

We notice that our old companion in the war, James Welsh, has sufficiently recovered to be upon the streets again. He has been confined to his house for three or four weeks by a severe attack of fever.

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Accident.

As a daughter of Captain Lipe, of this city, was riding upon horse back Monday evening, the animal ran away with furious speed, and when opposite the residence of Mr. Burton, she was thrown to the ground, but fortunately escaped without serious injury.

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A Call.

We had a call this week from Harry Hampton, who has been for several months past publishing the New Era at Savannah, Missouri. He has sold out and is now “foot loose.” Harry served a full term of three years in the 16th Illinois, and made a bully good soldier.

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Watches Found.

On Tuesday morning of last week one of the section hands on the railroad, found near the Randolph street crossing, a parcel containing three gold watches and three silver watches. A day or two after a dispatch came along the lines making inquiry after them, as it was claimed they had been dropped from the cars. We suppose they have been restored to their owner by this time.

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Beauty and Utility.

We stepped into Ray’s Boot and Shoe store one day this week to make a purchase and we made note of the beauty and neatness of his store, and of his goods. We never saw a better quality of boots and shoes offered for sale. Mr. Ray manufactures largely himself and prides himself on selling a good article at as low rates as can be obtained elsewhere. He has the largest assortment of Hats and Caps to be found in the city.

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Removed.

Dr. J. H. Williams, of this city has recently located at Bardolph for the practice of his profession. He has been appointed agent for the Pioneer Stock Ins. Co., and will give his services in that line when called upon.

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Billy the Barber.

Has got into his new room on the east side. Billy has razors sharp enough to shave a mouse asleep without waking it. Billy’s shaving saloon is now the popular resort.

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Accident.

A conductor on a freight train at Colchester had two of his fingers of the right hand badly mangled this last week. One of the fingers was amputated. He was a returned soldier.

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The Equescurriculum.

This establishment that has met with special works of favorable consideration from the community wherever it has been, will be in Macomb on Saturday the 19th inst. As the institution was here last season, and made a decided impression upon our people, the announcement of its second annual visit, through the columns of the Journal, we should insure for it crowded houses, inasmuch as liberal attendees in[?] a reward those exhibitions that the people now are not of the humbug order. The Equescurriculum is all that its management claims for it, the best ever formed in the world. Mr. James Robinson, the famous and gifted bare back rider and madame Tourniaire and her troupe of French dancing horses are now included among the beauties of the Equescurriculum.

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The Issue to be Met.

Since the war has come to such a glorious conclusion, and 4,000,000 of human beings have been freed from slavery it has become evident that further guarantees are necessary to make that freedom and independence more complete.

John Venable, on the North side considers he will not be committing himself either for or against these measures for their further protection, we say that he has some of those unparalleled COVERLETS – warranted all wool – which he is willing to dispose of to any person or persons, Black or White – having the requisite amount of greenbacks.

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Fire.

The roof of the house lately occupied by [?] D. Steele, in the east part of town, but now occupied by Mr. Milligan, caught fire in the roof on Wednesday about noon, and would probably have been burned to the ground but for the timely discovery and prompt interference of Mr. William Gould, who happened to be passing at the time.

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“The Union Combination Show.”

This monster show will be in town on Tuesday, August 22d. We refer our readers to the advertisement for the catalogue of great attractions.

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Mr. Editor:

Please announce the name of Captain WILLIAM ERVIN, of the 84th Illinois, as a candidate for County Clerk, at the ensuing election, subject to the decision of a Union Convention.

MANY VOTERS.

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To Editor of Journal:

Please announce the name of COL. SAMUEL WILSON, late of the 16th Ill., as a candidate for the office of County Judge, subject to the decision of the Union County Convention, and oblige

MANY VOTERS.

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Watermelons.

This delicious fruit has made its appearance in town; they sell from forty to sixty cents apiece.

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