LIFE IN THE ARMY.
Being the Observations and Experi-
ences of a Private Soldier.
BY J. K. MAGIE.
It was while our regiment was camped at Beech Fork, in the latter part of October, that we were paid our twenty-five dollars advance bounty. There was considerable dissatisfaction expressed in the regiment against our colonel, Wm. H. Bennison, in reference to the delay in the payment of the bounty. It is a fact that our colonel about this time was extremely unpopular in the regiment. He was passionate, haughty and surly, and at times very overbearing in his manner. He seemed to lack a proper knowledge of human nature, and had a faculty of getting the ill-will of the men when there was no occasion for it. The men had enlisted under the promise of $25 advance bounty, and many had counted confidently on this money to leave with their families. But nearly three months elapsed from the time of enlistment before it was paid to the men. Now I happen to know that Col. Benneson was not at all in fault in the matter of this delay, but he was too independent in his feelings to make any explanation to the men.
With the exception of two or three days, when we were visited by a snow storm, the closing days of October were very pleasant. Hickory nuts and persimmons abounded in that section, and the boys gathered them in large quantities. During our stay at Beech Fork the boys had no occasion to go hungry. Honey and fresh pork were the staple articles, as the farmers in that section can well testify. Whenever the boys got information respecting the possessions of some inveterate secesh sympathizer, if it was not over three or four miles distant, he was very likely to receive a visit from some of our venturesome soldiers who believed in the policy of levying contributions on the enemy.
The ignorance of the poor whites in that section was deplorable. There were many who came to our camp to sell pies, cakes, &c., who had never before seen a postage stamp. The boys explained their use and value, and at length induced them to accept them in exchange for their nick-nacks. – But these poor pie vendors did not know the difference between a one cent and a three cent stamp, and so they all passed current for three cents. There was one urchin in our company who had brought with him from Quincy one of those printed cards in the form or appearance of a bank bill, which were once more common than they are at this time. This was passed off on a farmer in that vicinity for ten dollars, the purchaser receiving seven dollars in produce, one dollar in money, and the balance in a due bill. Another youngster known as Joe Bayles, upon hearing of the ten dollar operation, produced a very neat and fancy label form from a sweet oil bottle, and sallied forth, and soon come back with as many pies as he could carry, telling us he had bought a dollar’s worth with it.
There was one farmer living near Beech Fork who awoke one morning and found his fattest shoat missing. He hunted around and shortly found in a fence corner the head and hide of his missing porker. – Seizing the head by an ear he started for camp to see the “boss.” The tent of Captain Blackburn, of Co. A, was pointed out to him as that of the “boss.” Laying the remains of his hog on a stump near by he entered the tent of the Captain and laid before him the particulars of the loss and finding of the remains of his hog, and he desired to know if he could be remunerated for the same. The Captain replied that he could only act upon the fullest evidence, and how was he to know that the hog killed was his. “But,” replied the farmer, “I happen to have the hog’s head with me, and I can prove it by the ear marks. I will convince you of that;” and the farmer rushed out of the tent only to discover that the “mischievous boys” had removed the head to some place beyond his knowledge. The captain told him he must see the head before he could do anything about it, and as the captain never did anything about it, the presumption is he never saw that defunct hog’s head.
Another farmer living in that vicinity named Florence was known to be strongly in sympathy with the rebels. – It was said of him that he acted as guide for the rebel Morgan when he passed through that section of country. Some of the soldiers had visited his premises and had committed some slight depredations. He forthwith visited camp and happened to fall in with Lieut. Courtright of Co. C, to whom he entered his complaints. The Lieutenant requested him to be seated on a stump and taking a pencil and a piece of paper from his pocket he proceeded to make particular inquiry into the respective losses which the said Florence had sustained on account of soldiers. From the manner of the Lieutenant Florence began to think he was now sure to get his pay for all the losses he had been subjected to.
“Now,” said the Lieutenant, “let me have the first item, and I don’t want you to name too high a price because you think our government is rich.”
“Well,” said Florence, “there were two bee gums, they were worth at least three dollars a piece.”
“Yes, that’s reasonable,” said the Lieutenant; “two bee gums at three dollars a piece, six dollars. Anything else?”
“I have missed one of my pigs, and my black boy Joe tells me that he saw two of your soldiers shoot it and carry it off.”
“But you don’t know that a black boy has no business to be a witness in this country? That’s no evidence that my soldiers shot your pig because a black boy saw them do it.”
“We’ll leave that out then,” said Florence, “as the pig was not worth over two or three dollars any how.”
“I don’t wish to be hard on you,” said the lieutenant, “so we will call the pig two dollars – one pig two dollars. Now what else?”
“I have lost some fifteen or twenty chickens and two old turkeys. The chickens were worth fifteen cents each and the turkeys about thirty cents.”
“Fifteen chickens at fifteen cents a piece, two dollars and twenty-five cens, and two turkeys at thirty cents a piece, sixty cents that’s down – now what else?”
“I don’t think of anything else just now.”
“Be sure,” said the lieutenant, “and get everything down now, for you may probably not have another chance.”
“Oh, yes, I came near forgetting some rails. They were used by your teamsters to lay across a mud hole.”
“How much were the rails worth?” enquired the lieutenant.
“I think the rails were worth at least a dollar, but you may call them seventy-five cents.”
“Well, then, rails seventy-five cents. Is that all?”
“That’s all I can think of now.”
“Then I’ll foot it up,” said the lieutenant, and after adding the several items together he announced the result – “Eleven dollars and sixty cents.” Now Mr. Florence if that is all you will lose in this war you will be the luckiest man in the whole South. Get out of this camp as soon as your legs will carry you.”
And Florence obeyed the instructions of the lieutenant forthwith.
[TO BE CONTINUED.]
The County Convention.
The Republican Union citizens of the county will bear in mind that Wednesday next, September 6th, is the day appointed by the Central Committee for them to assemble in their respective townships to elect delegates to the County Convention which meets on the following Saturday in this city. We trust that the friends of the Government will be alive to the interests and importance of the good cause. Let there be a general turn out, and in the selection of delegates let the voice of the people be heard. So far everything indicates success. Harmony, good feeling, and confidence in the administration prevails in the party. Let no side issues or personal considerations be introduced, but let all be animated by that earnest, loyal and patriotic spirit which has carried us through the war so successfully and gloriously.
→ The Bushnell Press states the population of that town to be 1456, as established by the late census. John O. C. Wilson, the man who took the census for this city, is waiting for the citizens to raise him ten dollars before, he will give them the figures. Who will give the old man a dime?
→ The Eagle man caught a Republican the other day by a button-hole, and in pathetic strains presented to him the claims of his paper. The Republican was a kind and tender-hearted man, and soon the tears started in his eyes, and taking a dollar from his pocket he gave it to the accomplished editor and told him he might send the paper to him six months. Every time that subscriber reads the paper he has his little boy to hold it up before him with the tongs, as he will not touch a paper that ever favored secession.
→ The Bushnell Press says there is a butter famine in that town. The epidemic passed through this place but it has now considerable abated.
The Iowa Soldiers.
The following are the resolutions passed by the soldiers convention recently held in Iowa:
Resolved, That we, the soldiers of Iowa, never have affiliated, and never will affiliate with the copperheads of Iowa in any political capacity whatever.
Resolved, That, leaving the question of negro suffrage in abeyance, we will support the nominee of the Republican Convention, held at Des Moines on the 14th of June, 1865.
On Thursday of last week a free dinner was given by the patriotic citizens of Spring Creek to the returned soldiers of the county. A general invitation was extended to all soldiers but it was not generally circulated.
We are indebted to L. A. Simmons for a report of the proceedings. The assembly met at a beautiful grove near the residence of J. D. Hainline, Esq. There were twelve or fifteen hundred persons present, including some three hundred soldiers. – The “boys in blue” assembled at the residence of Mr. Griffith and selected Col. T. K. Roach to take command. He organized a battalion and marched to the grove. Rev. Mr. Kirkpatrick made an address welcoming the soldiers home, which, although brief, was pointed and cordial. Capt. Brink and Lieut. Simmons replied in behalf of the returned soldiers, having been selected for the purpose when organizing at Mr. Griffith’s. Next came the dinner, abundant and excellent, abounding with the good things the country affords. The table was waited on by the fair ladies who spared no pains to please all. The dinner was enjoyed hugely; especially by the men who had so recently been confined to army rations.
After dinner Lieut. J. G. Waters was called out and entertained the audience with an excellent speech. Next came Col. Roach, who before he closed mentioned the matter of building a monument in this county sacred to the memory of all soldiers who have fallen in battle or by disease during the war. Alex. Blackburn, Sr., was next called upon who made some pertinent remarks in regard to the erection of a soldier’s monument, and offered the following resolution, viz:
Resolved, That we are in favor of erecting a monument in McDonough county which shall contain the name and regiment of each soldier who has been killed or died of disease or wounds while in United States service from this county.
This resolution was unanimously adopted.
Mr. Blackburn moved that a committee of three be appointed to prepare an address to the citizens of McDonough county on this subject, to publish said address in the county papers and designate a day for the people to meet in mass meeting at Macomb and organize a “Soldier’s Monument Association.” This motion was unanimously carried, and Col. Roach, Capt. Ervin and Capt. Griffith were selected as the committee.
The exercises of the day closed by the return of the flag to the ladies of the Good Templar’s Lodge, at Spring Creek, which had been presented by them to the company raised n that neighborhood for the 124th Ills. Col. Roach made the speech returning the fag, and Capt. Brink replied on behalf of the ladies.
The day was passed very happily, all seeming to enjoy the festivities greatly. – It was one of the happiest days we have ever enjoyed. Good will to all and the greatest cordiality prevailed. We hope our readers will look out for the address shortly to appear and give a hearty approval to the effort to organize a Soldier’s Monument Association.
The Medical Society of McDonough Co. will meet in Macomb, Ill., on Wednesday, Sep. 6, 1865.
The Public Schools will commence in the Ward school houses of this city on Monday the 11th inst., 1865.
By order of Board of Inspectors
J. W. Blount, Sec’ty.
There will be religious services in the Methodist Church Saturday next, at 2. P. M., and 8 in the evening. Baptism and the Lord’s Supper will be administered Sabbath at the morning service.
Aug. 28th, a gold bracelet, marked “Maggie.” The finder will be suitably rewarded by leaving at this office or at the post office.
S. H. Williams, north side of Jordan’s bank, has sold his stock of dry goods, &c. to Wm. C. Banks, late of Savannah, Mo. Mr. B. is a thorough-going business man, and has tact, energy and enterprise, and no doubt will make his stand the popular place with all who wish to purchase any article in the dry goods line.
Watches, Jewelry, &c.
J. H. Wilson, on the north side of the square, is well supplied with everything in his line, and can guarantee satisfaction to all who favor him with their custom. Mr. Wilson is particularly expert in repairing or cleaning watches, clocks, &c.
Multim in Parvo.
C. C. Chapman &Co. have purchased the stock of Books, Stationary, &c. of Willie Wyne at the Post Office, and are continuing the business at the same place. – They have on hand the usual variety and sell at low prices.
Lizzie Scott, a little daughter of Henry Scott living near Pennington’s Point, in this county, was terribly mangled one day last week by being caught in a threshing machine. Both thighs were fractured and the flesh much torn, and two fingers mashed, besides severe bruises about the head. Drs. Bayne and McDavit of this place were called, who inform us that there is but little prospect of her recovery.
The First Arrival.
Dernham & Jeilinger, the enterprising clothing merchants on the west side of the square, have just received a large and splendid stock of clothing from the eastern markets. See their advertisement.