HISTORY OF THE 84TH REGI-
MENT ILL. VOLS.
BY L. A. SIMMONS.
Camp near Murfreesboro, and at
Cripple Creek, Tenn.
On the 23d of March 1863, we again moved camp and took position only about a mile from the town of Murfreesboro. Col. L. H. Waters was now in command of the brigade, in the absence of Col. Grose, who was at home on leave of absence. The drill by battalion and brigade had been most vigorously continued, and our Regiment now could in almost any maneuver compare very favorably, with the best drilled regiments of our division. A few days were occupied in putting our new camp in order, as the field selected had been last planted in corn, the ground had to be leveled, the stalks carried off and burnt, and soon we were sweeping it off every morning and keeping it level, smooth and cleanly. While in this camp, many of our Regiment were the happy recipients of boxes of good things, such as better, dried fruit, pickles, onions, etc., etc. from home.
We continued to use our old, unhealthy, Sibley tents, until the 26th of March, when a large lot of new shelter tents were issued, and before the end of the month, all the Sibley tents, and all the wall tents except one for each company, and four for the use of the field and staff of each regiment were turned over, and sent away. Not a little grumbling was there throughout the camp when this new style of tents were introduced. They almost instantly received the name of “purp” tents, which was long retained. In a few days however, the men began to find that they could be much more comfortable in these tents than in the old ones. Each mess of four could have a snug little shanty of their own, covered by these small tents, and within a month, all were perfectly satisfied that they were a great improvement on the Sibley.
From this time the health of the Regiment improved rapidly, and to this change of tents, we doubt not it may be fairly attributed.
About the 28th we again marched out to Cripple creek, and remained two days awaiting an attack, but the enemy were only reconnoitering, after testing our lines they retired, and our brigade returned to camp. During the last few days of the month we had one officer and twenty two men detailed for duty on picket each day, one hundred and forty men to work a new line of fortifications which were now being erected about a mile and a half east of the town.
Early in this month it had been proposed to present our honored Colonel with a fine sword, and within two hours after the subscription was started more than a hundred dollars were subscribed, the men giving from twenty cents to a dollar each. Capt. Ervin having an opportunity to purchase the proposed present while on his way home on leave of absence, was the agent of the Regiment in procuring it, and when he returned on the evening of March 31st, it was at once proposed to make the presentation after dress parade, the next evening. We had succeeded in keeping the scheme a secret from the Colonel, and he was a little surprised that the brass band of the brigade should be in attendance at dress parade. As soon as this was over, the Regiment was drawn up in a hollow square, and the band played “The Battle Cry of Freedom” splendidly. The writer had been selected to make the presentation address, and at the close had the honor of placing in the hands of Col. Waters, the beautiful memento of his Regiment’s esteem, respect, love, and admiration. The sword was valued at $150. The blade was of very fine quality, the scabbard heavily gilt, and with pearl, mountings or settings. Verily he may consider it one of his brightest laurels, and we doubt not it will be an heirloom in his family for many generations. On receiving it, he responded in his usual happy style, and drew tears, and in turn cheers loud and long from the assembled Regiment, his companions in trials, privations, hardships and the deadly conflict, where the reaper Death, gathered his awful harvest.
During the first week of April we again marched with the brigade to Woodbury, when we met the enemy’s pickets and drove them back after a brief skirmish, then fell back a mile or two behind a hill and waited for an attack. Our Regiment was left alone during the night, the remainder of the brigade going still further to the rear, but in easy supporting distance, in case assistance was needed. But the enemy did not advance, and in the morning the brigade marched through Woodbury, then turning to the left, marched up the valley of Stone river seven or eight miles toward Short mountain. The valley was narrow and the road crossed the river very frequently. We had to wade it twenty one times, in going out and as many in returning. The march was tedious, and not only this, but being so frequently in the water, almost every man in the Regiment returned with feet badly blistered. The cavalry advanced still further into the country and brought in two rebel sutlers with their wagons loaded with tobacco. Thanks to Gen. Palmer! we had a share of this capture, without price a few days later. The next day April 7th we marched about six miles back toward Readyville, and then turned south up Locke creek eight miles to Bradyville, where we halted an hour for dinner (didn’t stop at the hotel,) then started on the roughest pike in America, toward Murfreesboro. We had gone but two or three miles when our rear guard was attacked by the enemy, but it was only a single dash, and they were gone before the 84th could double-quick to the support of the regiment attacked. The battalion of cavalry which had accompanied us on the scout, were to have met our brigade at Bradyville, and failing to do so or come up, we halted for the night, some four or five miles from Bradyville, fully believing that they were captured, and that the enemy would next try to take in our small brigade; but morning came, and we proceeded to camp, where we learned that the cavalry were safe at Readyville, when we expected them at Bradyville. The mistake having grown out of the similarity of the names of these places.
We had known something of blistered feet before, in Kentucky, and on marches with trains, but this short trip came nearer taking “all the hide off at once,” as we heard a soldier remark, than any we had before undertaken. On the evening of April 8th Jos. G. Waters was elected 1st Lieut. company C. He had refused a commission at the organization of the Regiment, preferring to take his place in the ranks, and win promotion by doing a private soldiers whole duty. He had served faithfully in the ranks and on special detail up to this time, and now began to receive the reward most justly merited.
On the 11th day of April, we were again paid, and the railroad having been opened from Nashville, we were able to procure the daily papers, and some light literature, yellow-backed principally.
Our camp was one of the finest we laid off or decorated.
About this time, the Colonel had a minute inspection of arms at guard mounting, and excused each day from duty, the three men whose arms and accoutrements were in the best condition. This led to competition, and soon our Regiment could boast of as highly polished arms, and as complete accoutrements as any Regiment in the service. It soon became almost an impossibility to excuse from duty, on this account, and the clothing and general appearance was made the test. This brought out the guard every morning as neat and tidy as though dressed for a holiday, and induced habits of cleanliness and neatness, which were of substantial advantage.
It would be most unkind to omit to notice the rare present at this time, April 14th, received from the Needle Pickets of Quincy Illinois. It consisted of one barrel of pickles, one of sour kraut, one of onions, two or three of potatoes, some dried fruit and other delicacies which were received with shouts of joy, and were esteemed the greatest of luxuries by all. Long life and the best of Heaven’s blessings to this noble society, the Needle Pickets of Quincy. These things were received when we were needing vegetables very badly. We could now and then buy a few potatoes at Murfreesboro, at the moderate price of $20 per bbl, and these were all that could be had at any price.
On the 1st day of May, the vexed question of rank, among the captains of the Regiment, was decided by lot, Many, and among them the author, thought Capt. Ervin entitled to this honor, as he organized the first company for the Regiment. But it was decided by lot, Capt. Higgins drawing No 1, Capt. Cox No 2, Capt. Tousely No, 3. Capt. Ervin, No, 4, and so on. Drills, parades, reviews etc. were now every day exercises, and this continued until May 12th when we set out on a march a little after midnight, and were expecting to go forward to McMinnville. But we halted at daylight, near Cripple creek and after lying there a day or two again encamped about a mile north of the pike and some forty rods from the creek, where we remained until the 24th of June. Only two days were allowed for laying out, and policing camp and then drilling, generally by brigade or battalion, was the daily routine. During this month most if not all the officers of the Regiment commanding companies, made out their returns, and began to acquire a pretty good understanding of this important part of their duty.
At this camp several new officers were elected, and a few received promotion. Sergt. Edson was elected 2nd Lieut. of Co. A. vice Starnes resigned. 2d Lieut. Logue of Co I was promoted to 1st Lieut. Private D. M. Alexander was elected 2nd Lieut. vice Logue promoted. Private W. F. Jones of Co. C. was elected 2nd Lieut, vice Pearson resigned. Sergeant R. S. Roeshlaub of Compay K elected 2nd Lieut. vice Lieut. Lewis promoted to 1st Lieut. 1st Lieut H. P. Roberts of Company E having been very severely wounded at Stone river was promoted to the chaplaincy of the Regiment, vice Harris resigned, and rejoined the Regiment on the 8th of June. Most of the officers above named were mustered on the 9th of June to date from the day of promotion or election. Several times during our stay at this camp the enemy were reported advancing upon us, and we were two or three out on a scout, but the enemy showed no disposition for an attack, so we were daily looking for an order to march toward them at Tullahoma, or Chattanooga.
At this time we were daily getting the news of Gen. Grant’s successes in the neighborhood of Vicksburg, and at least twenty times did the report come, that the almost invulnerable citadel had fallen. These rumors made all anxious for an advance. It is irksome to lie idly in camp, and day after day read of another army achieving grand and glorious victories. The soldier forgets the trial of march and danger of battle when he hears of success, and becomes impatient to go forward to do his part, and secure his portion of the laurels bestowed by the nation, up on the victorious.
Early in June, nearly every preparation for a campaign was completed, and we were unable to comprehend the cause of our delay. However, we were in a very pleasant camp, we were very fortunately situated in respect to rations, for besides the usual rations issued, we were able to barter coffee, sugar, salt, etc. for vegetables, butter and eggs, which were brought to our lines daily by scores of women. The trade in these articles was lively, and almost every day scores of men went to the picket posts to exchange a portion of their rations for these farm products. Ah, yes, we had almost forgotten one of the most important articles of traffic, snuff, eagerly sought for by the fair ladies of the south, to be “dipped” with brush or a stick chewed to resemble one. Many, but we are happy to state, not all the ladies of the south are addicted to the filthy and disgusting habit of “snuff dipping.”
June 23d 1863, we were called upon to witness the only military execution that ever took place in our division. The whole division was was assembled, and a deserter, who had been the third time convicted, was marched back and forth through the entire command, then placed next a steep hillside, upon his coffin and shot dead. He was quite young, had been guilty of many misdemeanors, and bore upon his countenance the marks of dissipation. His manner while marching was careless, almost reckless, and he met his fate with a real soldiers indifference and stoicism. He was a member of the 1st Ky. Vols.
The evening after the execution, we received orders to march at 7 o’clock a. m. the next morning, and were informed that the whole army would by different roads advance towards Tullahoma.
ADVANCE TO TULAHOMA AND ELK
The long expected order to march had at length been received. Immediately the Surgeon’s call sounded, and all who did not think themselves able to march, assembled in front of the Surgeon’s quarters. Upon his certificate they could march back to convalescent camp near Murfreesboro, but if he decided that they were fit for duty, they must go forward. It was worthy of remark at this time, that some of the men who came up for examination were apparently the most robust and healthy to be found in the Regiment. Not all who came to the Surgeons tent were sent to the rear. On the morning of June 24th, 1863, the advance from the vicinity of Murfreesboro commenced. Our Regiment was detailed as rear guard of the division, and this placed us in the rear of the wagon trains. We were hardly upon the road, before a heavy rain set in, which continued almost without interruption that day and night; yea, for more two weeks. We marched nearly south from our camp on Cripple Creek, to strike the pike from Murfreesboro to Readyville; and in so doing followed an old woods, or neighborhood road, which after a few hours rain became almost impassible. The artillery cut it up so that the wagon trains found it impossible to pass, until new routes were selected and cut out through the woods. We had started with full baggage, having seven teams to each regiment, but before night all the teams of the division were found to be overloaded, many wagons were broken down, and considerable baggage abandoned. Our division trains reached the pike about dark, and the Regiment bivouacked at 10 o’clock p. m. about half a mile south of Bradyville. We now learned that the whole corps (21st) under command of Maj. Gen. Crittenden, had halted for the night in and around Bradyville; and that this corps was to advance directly on Manchester, while Gen. Thomas’ (14th) and Gen. McCooks’ (20th) Corps took the direct road to Tullahoma.
The next morning the rain poured down in torrents, but soon the bugles sounded forward; and starting nearly due south from Bradyville we traced a small stream in a deep valley five or six miles, nearly to its source; and after crossing it many times, turned to the left and began to ascend the mountain, which was quite steep for at least a mile. The troops ascended almost as rapidly as though on a level, but the artillery and trains found it a most toilsome and wearisome task, and for about three days and nights were incessantly employed before all were upon the table lands at the summit. – We heard the distant thunder of artillery on our right, almost incessantly after nine o’clock in the morning; and we knew that a battle was going on at Hoover’s, and probably, also at Liberty Gap. We were upon the enemy flank, and found only here and there a picket post, but no force whatever to oppose our advance.
The citizens of McDonough county are requested to meet in Macomb on Saturday, September 16th, 1865, for the purpose of forming a Soldiers’ Monument Association. Let everybody attend.
T. K. ROACH,
B. A. GRIFFITH.
A Word for Newspapers.
We clip the following artical from an exchange. It is true, and we commend it to every man who has an interest where he resides. Nothing is more common than to hear people talk of what they pay newspapers for advertising, &c., as so much in charity. Newspapers by enhancing the value of property in their neighborhood, and giving the localities in which they are published a reputation abroad, benefit all such particularly if they are merchants or real estate owners, thrice the amount yearly of the meagre sum they pay for their support. Beside every public spirited citizen has a laudible pride in having a paper of which he is not ashamed, even though he should pick it up in New York or Washington A good looking thriving sheet helps to sell property, gives character to the locality, and in all respects is a desirous public conveniences. If from any cause, the matter in the editorial columns should not be quite up to your standard, do not cast it aside and pronounce it of no account, until you are satisfied that there has been no more labor bestowed upon it than is paid for If you want a good readable, sheet, it must be supported. And it must not be supported in a spirit of charity, either, but because you feel a necessity to fupport it. The local press is the power that moves the people.
Soldiers’ Rallying to the Flag.
At a reception dinner given to the returned soldiers at Franklin, Morgan Co., Ills., on the 17th, inst., some of the soldiers who had become tired of a three hours’ abolition tirade, delivered by one Col. P. G. Smith, called out one of their number to answer him, whereupon the valiant Colonel and his friends attempted to adjourn the meeting and carry of the company flag, that floated above the stand. This is more than the boys could bear, and they rallied as in the olden time, captured their flag, raised it over the stand with three cheers for Sherman, and three groans for Halleck and Stanton. Two of their number then made speeches handling the negro equality gentlemen without gloves.
To the Citizens of McDonough
The undersigned were a few days since at a public meeting in this county, selected as a committee to address you on the subject of organizing a Soldiers’ Monument Association, and erecting a Soldiers’ Monument in this county. The design is to organize an association by the election of a President and Trustees, a Secretary and Treasurer; to proceed to procure a site for a Monument, and to collect by subscription sufficient funds to erect in this county a Monument sacred to the Memory of the brave Soldiers who went out from this county during the late civil war, and sacrificed their lives for the good, the honor, glory and integrity of the country. It is proposed that upon this Monument shall be inscribed the name, Company and Regiments of all the soldiers from this county, who have been killed in battle, or have died of wounds received or disease contracted in the United States service during the War.
This county sent many noble martyrs into the field. Some of our noblest and bravest friends and comrades perished on the field of battle. Many more were severely wounded and lingered but a few weeks or months, and a larger number were stricken down by disease. For their priceless courage and unflinching devotion, for their great sacrifice, we should be sincerely grateful; and it now becomes one of our first duties to ourselves and to posterity, to commemorate their unshrinking, patriotic devotion, and self-sacrificing zeal for the integrity and salvation of our Government, by the erection of a suitable Monument. – It will serve to remind us, while we live, and generations that succeed us on the stage of action, not only of the awful guilt of those who occasioned the great and terrible loss of life, who had brought untold grief, suffering and wretchedness upon hundreds of thousands of their countrymen, and draped in mourning nearly every household in a great and mighty nation; but also of the pure and fervent patriotism which dwelt in the breasts of the masses of the North of the immediate response by thousands and hundreds of thousands, when the very existence of our Government was, by the rebellion, placed in jeopardy, and the call was made for volunteers to defend it; of the zeal, energy and devotion of the loyal people in this county, and the whole North to cherish, protect, preserve and sustain the free institutions which were bought with the blood of our ancestors, and which are the pillars of our glorious Temple of Liberty. More than this, it will refresh the memory of each beholder, and cause him to reflect upon the great peril and imminent danger in which our Government was placed; of its threatened overthrow, dissolution and destruction; and he will learn to read the names of the lamented dead thereon inscribed, with profound, if not religious veneration. Yea, all who approach this Monument and read the names inscribed thereon, will realize the condition of our country in her hour of greatest peril, and will sacredly cherish the memory of the noble unrelenting heroes, stricken down in the flower of youth, in the strength and glory of manhood, while striving and battling for preserving and sustaining the best Government the world has ever known.
All returned soldiers will earnestly favor the undertaking. It comes home to the heart of every one, who, mindful of his own trials, hardships, privations and sufferings, cannot fail to cherish with fraternal affection the memory of his fallen comrades, who perished in the glorious struggle and determined defense of the right. – We doubt not that every true soldier who has survived the carnage and slaughter of the battle-field, and run the gauntlet when the death-dealing minnie and shell, grape and canister were upon one side, and frightful disease upon the other, will now come forward and do his part toward commemorating the services, devotion and sacrifices of those whose patriotism led them into the tented field, who bravely fought and gloriously fell, and will be with us no more on earth forever. Can you who have remained at home, who have been enjoying all the comforts of life, who have been accumulating property, while your friends in the army were barely gaining a subsistence for themselves and their families, venture to be found dilatory and careless in this matter? Have not all those who have returned as well as those who have fallen, taken part in the great struggle, performed a great task, achieved a grand and glorious victory as well for you as for themselves? Did they not leave home, friends, kindred, and all the dearest objects of the purest and truest affection that can exist in the human heart, and stake property, health, honor, even life itself upon this issue? And are you not benefitted by their effort? Do you not share equally with them the blessings of a good government, sustained and secured only by their sacrifices and exertions? How can you now permit them to go forward in this undertaking alone, without your co-operation and assistance? We trust not. We believe you realize the magnitude of the benefits secured by their timely devotion to the cause of our common country, and realizing what the cause was in which the noble and brave, who have fallen were engaged, we are confident you will join with their surviving comrades and build a monument which will be a credit to the citizens of the county, as well as a justly deserved honor to the brave men to whose memory it is erected. Then, come, citizens of McDonough, come to the Mass Meeting and hear what may then and there be said in regard to this project. Advise with your friends from all parts of the county, counsel with them how this noble work shall be undertaken, how carried forward, how completed. It is worthy of your closest attention, and we trust will receive your cordial support. But at the beginning do not forget that to carry forward to completion such an undertaking as this, there must be a concentrated, united, persevering effort. We hope you will take hold of it with spirit and feeling, and freely contribute the necessary means for the erection of a Monument sacred to the memory of deceased soldiers. To insure a united effort we have proposed the organization of a “Soldiers’ Monument Association,’ and on Saturday, the 16th day of September, 1865, at the Court House, in Macomb, we hope to see assembled all, without regard to party, age, or sex, who are interested in this matter, that the work may be properly and zealously commenced. Come resolved and prepared to do something worthy of yourselves, and which will prove that you really honor the memory of those who have died for our Country. Again we say, come one, come all.
T. K. Roach.
B. A. Griffith.
Sherman on negro suffrage.
On the fifth inst, Gen. Sherman addressed the returning soldiers at Chicago. On the question of giving the negroes the right to vote, that veteran soldier said:
“I want those who have been in the South to bear testimony to the condition of these freed negroes. My opinion is, that they are not fitted for exercise of the franchise. [Lond applause.] I want them to get a fair price for their labor, but I do not think they are fitted to take part in legislation of the country.” (Renewed cheering.)
A sample of the fall style of bonnets which has arrived in New York from Paris, is described as an awkward, unattractive, coal scuttle shaped affair, possessing no commendable feature whatever.
→ The French Patent Vucanized Skirt, the lightest and most flexible skirt ever offered in this market, for sale only at Abbotts, southwest corner of the square. Ladies are invited to examine them.
Circuit Court. – This body commenced its September term on Monday last. Judge Higbee is dispatching business in his usual manner. The following lawyers from abroad are present: N. Bushnell, Quincy; E. C. Lamphere; Galesburg; M. M. Morrell, Carthage; Adam Swartz, Nauvoo; Granville Barrere, Canton; S. O. Judd, Lewistown. The following criminal cases have been disposed of:
People vs. Richard Peel, for keeping gaming house, fined $50 and costs.
People vs. Michael Krantz for selling liquor, fined $40 and cost.
People vs. James Goodwin, for selling liquor, fined $30.
People vs. Joseph Cope, for selling liquor, fined $10.
People vs. E. Cadwallader, for contempt discharged on payment of cost.
People vs. Isaac Harris, et. al., for riot, continued.
People vs. Moses Wooley, et. al., riot, continued.
People vs. George Lutz, et. al. assault with intent to commit murder, defendant called, made default, and forfeiture of recognizance.
People vs. Henry and Austin Fry, for entering enclosure and taking apples, etc., nol. pros. entered against Austin, and Henry Fry, fined $10.
People vs. Jack Lewis, assault with intent to commit rape, sentenced to five years in the penitentiary. This caused the republicans to go into hysterics, and the Journal will appear dressed in mourning.
People vs. Chas. Gilchrist, et. al., for riot; defendants Sidney M. Johnson, Jas. Stewart, Elizabeth Mourning and Nancy Chapin found guilty and fined respectively $50, $30 and $20.
Make Tight Cribbs. – Farmers who have grain to store should make tight board cribs, for rail cribs will leak, thereby causing your grain to rot. Those contemplate buying lumber or this or any other purpose will find it to their advantage to call on H. R. Bartleson, as he is selling lumber very low.
Thanks. – I most cordially return my sincere thanks to Mr. Benj. Towler for the return to the Eagle office of those new boots I lost the 22d of last month, and regard him as a friend and an honest man.
N. L. Hunt.
→ There will be a lot of new household furniture sold at public auction on the public square on Saturday, September 9th, at 1 o’clock.
→ We had the pleasure of a call from Mr. John M. Parks, on Thursday last, who has just returned from Idaho. He is of the same opinion of others that McDonough is the best place to live.
→ Notwithstanding the great rise in all kinds of cotton goods in the wholesale market the best styles of calicoes and the best quality of muslins can be bought in Macomb at the old prices. The only house in the city where these things are done is Mr. Abbotts, southeast corner of the square. His goods were purchased before the late rise in price, and his customers can have the benefit of it. For proof of all this go and see.
→ Magie in the last Journal wants to know if somebody “can’t give old man Wilson a dime.” We do not know that Mr. Wilson is in need of charity; on the contrary we rather think that he is able to provide for his own household and have something to spare. That he does not work without compensation is probably his own business, but Magie’s wanting “somebody to give something” is not new with regard to him; it is a chronic complaint; he is always wanting “somebody to give him something;” he wanted the boys of the 78th to give him a lieutenancy; but they knew him too well. He wanted the powers that be to give him the post-office, and after coming out in favor of negro suffrage and negro equality generally, he got it. Not to be too tedious in relating Magie’s wanting of “somebody to give him something,” we conclude with referring to his appeal to a feather dealer of Newark, N. J. We do not know what inducement he held out, which induced the Jerseyman to send him $150 to be invested in feathers; but six months after he had not – we forbear to state what. How are you on the goose, Magie?
We learn that a terrible outrage was on Saturday evening last, committed upon the person of a little child about four years of age, daughter of David Adams, residing near Greenbush in Warren county. A daughter of Samuel Snapp of the tender age of ten or eleven years, probably incited by her mother, and others, went out into the street where the little girl was playing, and deliberately thrust a hot iron into her eye, burning the ball so that it was white and seared, and the sight greatly if not entirely impaired.
Dr. Randall of Greenbush was immediately called, and dressed the wound, but before the next morning, it was so terribly inflamed that the life of the child was considered greatly endangered. So fiendish a design we can hardly imagine originated with so young a person as the child who made the assault and perpetrated the awful crime, and we hope that the instigators, and really guilty persons who made use of her to accomplish their wicked and malicious purposes may be speedily brought to justice.
→ Wilson, on the north side, still has a large supply of those celebrated American watches. The genuine American watch is the best and most fashionable watch now in use, and Wilson has the genuine and there is no mistake about it. He has the best jewelry in town.
→ If it be so, as Wendell Phillips says, that the negro soldiers bears the palm for gallantry, patience, and heroism in the late war, then Sherman’s campaigns were not of the brilliant character ascribed to them, and Foster’s negro fizzles along the Atlantic coast were sublime achievements, for Sherman would not have negro soldiers. He had no negroes in his army, except as pioneers with pick and shovel, and as servants, cooks, and hostlers. But our republican friends are mistaken. Sherman’s capture of Atlanta, his march to the sea, and his movement upon Lee’s rear, closed the war – and Mr. “Nigger wan’t thar.” But this is the reason why our white soldiers are so coldly received by leading republicans? Are they ashamed of them because Wendell Phillips, the father of republicanism, says the negro soldiers bear the palm? We thought our McDonough boys entitled to bear the palm, but republicans say “No, the negro must bear it!”