HISTORY OF THE 84TH REGI-
MENT ILL. VOLS.
BY L. A. SIMMONS.
We advanced only two miles after ascending the mountains, as we were forced to wait until the artillery and wagon trains came up. Heavy details were sent to assist in the work of bringing these forward, and most of the artillery was pulled up by the men, fifty or more pulling up a piece with long cables. The next day this work continued, the rain still falling in frequent heavy showers. The sound of cannon toward the west, seemed to be slowly moving southward, and by this we were informed that the enemy were giving way. No enemy appeared in our front, but some scouts took prisoner an old man by the name of Johnson, who had frequently been in ur camps at Cripple creek, lived only two or three miles from there, and when taken, had a hoe on his shoulder said he “was going to hoe on his farm,” We happened to know that his farm was some twelve or fifteen miles in the contrary direction. He was a shrewd old spy.
About noon on the 27th, we were again ordered to march, and having thrown out of our knapsacks and wagons, all surplus apparil, equipage, and baggage; we set out for Manchester, now about sixteen miles distant. The sun soon came out scalding hot, and as we marched unusually fast, the heat speedily became very oppressive. Our route lay through a thickly timbered level country, wading here and there around swamps and across miry streams. We marched about ten miles and bivouacked in an open field, when we were again during the night, almost deluged. The oldest soldier, (inhabitant was not at home,) never saw it rain harder. We were now within supporting distance of the cavalry, who, on the following morning took possession of Manchester without firing a gun. On the 29th we marched through town, and camped about a mile southeast of it, on the Hillsborough road. The rain still continued, drenching us each day, and and soaking us every night; but all were light hearted and cheerful, unmindful of exposure, toil or hardship; so that the enemy were being forced back toward their “last ditch.” We now found the shelter tents of great service to us; and these, together with a rubber pouch, were all that was carried by officers and men, for shelter, bed and bedding. On the 30th we stored knapsacks and camp equipage at Manchester, for the remainder of the campaign and prepared to set off pay rolls. Today Wilder’s brigade of mounted infantry returned from Decherd, where they had gone to cut the railroad, but found Bragg’s retreating army too strong for them. The next day, (it having rained nearly all night,) was one of the hottest we had ever seen; yet about noon we marched, taking the old road to Pelham. Three miles south of Manchester we came into a swamp, which we found almost impossible to cross. The artillery and ammunition trains were mired every few rods. Our Regiment being again rear guard, had a hard afternoon’s works in getting part of the ammunition train through and having accomplished it, we encamped expecting to be relieved; but at daylight the next morning, 150 men were ordered back to bring out the ammunition. Before 9 o’clock this severe task was accomplished, and we set forward to rejoin the brigade. We had scarcely advanced half a mile, when Col. Grose ordered us back, to bring another train out of the swamp, with much cursing it was done, we were by this time accustomed to his unjust treatment, and we again pushed forward and overtook the brigade. We marched rapidly, for it was said we were a day behind time; and as the thermometer stood, (or would have stood, had there been one in that wooden country) at about 100 degrees, we suffered severely from heat. Many fell out of the ranks entirely overcome by it, and came up during the evening. Five cases of sunstroke were reported in the division.
On the morning of July 3rd, we struck a road leading from Hillsborough to Winchester, and turned towards the latter place; but had advanced but three miles till it began to rain, and before we could reach Elk river, the whole river bottom was overflowed, and we found it utterly impossable to cross. So Gen. Palmer turned back until a good camping ground was found, and then we rested until July 8th. We were now almost entirely out of rations, and the moment we halted to go into camp, hundreds of men started out without permission to forage upon the surrounding country. They found large patches of potatoes, which they dug; and abundance of hogs, cattle and sheep, not a few of which they speedily slaughtered. Soon the citizens poured in from the country, reporting that the soldiers were ruining them, and Gen. Palmer immediately sent out patrols, guards who arrested all engaged in the work of devastation. Over two hundred men were arrested that evening; of whom we are gratified to state, but one belonged to our Regiment. We had brought in abundance before the patrols went out, only the laggards were caught.
On the morning of the 4th it was reported that the enemy were on full retreat to Bridgeport, Ala., and that the summer campaign was ended. We drew half rations, and on these, with our “former produce” made a very good dinner. We had many rumors in camp during the day, and news of a convention at Springfield, Ill. All the soldiers who read or heard of this convention and its proceedings were very indignant, and nearly all were inclined to vote the members of it uncomfortably warm quarters in the Hereafter. We were to a man in favor of a “further offensive prosecution of the war,” and alliterated Macbeth’s famous oath, to “Damned be he, who now cries hold, enough.” On the 7th we began about noon to hear the heavy artillery, in the direction of Murfreesboro, but could hardly think that strongly fortified place attacked. Two hours later, the same steady firing was heard nearly west of us, and we were satisfied that it must be a national salute. What has happened? why is it fired? was asked on every hand, but no one could answer with certainty. Soon the news came that Vicksburg had surrendered, with 30,000 men, and that Gen. Meade had defeated Gen. Lee after three days hard fighting at Gettysburg. In a moment our camp was wild with enthusiasm, and cheer succeeded cheer so rapidly, that an almost unbroken shout of joy resounded for hours, until after a heavy rain drove all to seek shelter in their tents. Such an outburst of feeling, such an expression of enthusiastic joy, was never before witnessed in our army. On the 8th we marched back via Hillsborough almost to Manchester, a distance of at least sixteen miles, wading in mud and water, from six inches to three feet deep, nearly the whole way. Many called it the hardest days march, they had ever made; but if this was the case, they had not been with us all the way from Louisville. This was the second day, it did not rain during the campaign. We encamped just before sunset, about a mile and half east of Manchester, on a high dry piece of land, near good springs and abundance of timber. The next day we laid off a nice camp, and within a week built arbors to protect us from the midsummer’s sun. The rail-road was soon completed thus far, and rations and all kinds of supplies became plentiful. Every day details were sent out to gather blackberries which grew in profusion in this vicinity, and were large and luscious. The brigade camp guard, (Col. Grose’s pet torment) was the especial nuisance of our stay, which was of several weeks duration, and meanwhile we were kept constantly employed. First, our division had fifteen thousand railroad ties to cut; of which, the share of our Regiment was about seven hundred: then a large lot of rail road wood, our portion being abut forty cords; and then come foraging, and the usual picket and guard duty. On the morning of the 18th our highly esteemed color sergeant, Eddy Piper, died of typhoid fever, induced by the exposure and hardships of the recent campaign. He was one of the youngest members of the Regiment and a faithful, diligent, brave and noble-hearted boy, beloved by all who knew him; and it seemed hard that he should die so young, so far away from home and kindred. Peace be to his ashes; while in our hearts his memory is fondly cherished. His life was a willing sacrifice for his beloved country, he fills a martyr’s honored grave. The next day Chaplain Roberts rejoined us, and we had meeting in camp by our own chaplain for the first time since we left Nashville. On the 21st we were again paid, and having the money we could have purchased a good many vegetables, etc, from the country people, had it not been an infringement of Col. Grose’s very stringent orders. He even undertook to prohibit the men from going to the brigade bakery, which was established on the road to the Springs, from which all brought water and was scarcely fifty yards from camp. On the 21st the whole Regiment was painfully surprised to learn that Captain Pepper had received notice that he was dismissed from the service, with loss of all pay and allowances then due him. The Captain was very highly esteemed, and few could that he was guilty of making fraudulent returns, as alleged against him. We are happy to state that he was many months after reinstated and honorably discharged. Before leaving the Regiment; the officers (ecept those of company B and Capt. Tousely of company E contributed one hundred and twenty-five dollars to purchase him a watch, as a memorial of their high estimation, and accompanied him to the depot when he returned home, On the 25th Lt. Col. Hamer received notice that his resignation was accepted and made immediate preparations to leave us. He had never fully recovered from the wound he received at Stone River; where he was struck by a minnie ball directly over the heart, and had it not been for his steel plated vest, he would have been instantly killed; but the steel plate though bent and depressed, turned aside the terrible missile and saved his life; yet the shock was so great that the Lt. Colonel was unhorsed, and very severely bruised both by the bullet and the fall. He rallied for a few days, but soon was obliged to ask a leave of absence to recover at home from the effects of his wounds, after two months he returned to the Regiment, but was never really able for duty. He had many warm friends in the Regiment, who were sorry to see him go, though realizing that it was from a life full of hardships and dangers to one of comfort, enjoyment and safety.
On the 29th Lieutenant and Quartermaster J. A. Russell, having previously sent in his resignation, started for Nashville, his health being so precarious that very few thought he would live to reach home. His resignation was accepted on the 26th, and on the 28th the author was appointed to fill his place. The promotion from private to 1st Lieutenant and Quartermaster was thankfully, and gratefully received, and on the 1st day of August, we (individually) entered upon the duties of the office. Lt. Col. Hamer having resigned. Major Morton was promoted to fill the place, and now arose the question who should be Major. It had been settled some months before that this should be determined by a vote of the officers of the line. Captains Ervin, Garternicht, and Cox were the prominent candidates. With many others the writer believed that Capt. Ervin should have the place, but when the election come on it was found that he could not be elected.
On the 9th ballot Capt. Cox secured thirteen (13) votes. and Capt. Garternicht (his only remaining competitor) eleven (11) votes; when Capt. Cox was declared duly elected major. Lieut. Joseph Nelson, was the next morning promoted to Capt. of company F. and Sergeant R. R. Dilworth elected 1st Lieut. by a vote of the company. The election of Major created a very unusual excitement throughout our camp, and we venture to say that had the election been by a vote of the men, the result would have been attained on the first instead of the ninth ballot.
From the 1st to the 15th of August, there was the usual routine of camp duty, constant drill, frequent inspections, and two or three reviews. There was constant attention given to putting everything in readiness for a move. Stores of all kinds were accumulated at the depot, the wagon [fold] and on the 11th all men not fitted and [fold] were sent by railroad to the rear. – We knew that within a few days some movement would take place, was not a little speculation as to the direction. Chattanooga was most generally named as the abjective point. On the 5th we had orders to be ready to move at 6 a. m. the next day, and learned that that the other divisions of our corps had a day earlier received the same orders. Gen. Wood’s division was at Hillsboro, and to-day they commenced turning into store, at the depot at Manchester, al surplus baggage, including knapsacks, desks, trunks, etc. We prepared to do the same, and on the morning of the 16th deposited at the depot two thirds of all the baggage we had, including all the wall tents but one or two, and nearly all the knapsacks.
We would frequently take pleasure in giving some description of the country through which we passed if it were not making our history tedious, and here cannot forbear a brief description of an old fort near Manchester. It is probably a thousand years old, for there are many marks of great antiquity about it; and even the Indians, who formerly resided here, are said to have had not the least tradition in regard to it. It is situated upon a high point of land at and between the forks of Duck river. – The banks of each of the confluent streams are high and bald, rising from the water to the height of twenty, and in some places fifty feet. The streams run only about two hundred yards apart, half a mile above the forks, but diverge so as to be four or five hundred yards from each other, at the widest place between that and their junction. Across this neck or narrow place appears to have been once built a high, thick solid wall of rough broken stone; and near the centre there still remain vestiges of an enclosure some three rods by six, which most visitors are inclined to think was an entrance or sally port from the main fort or enclosure. The wall across this neck of land extends along the banks of each stream until they come together, and the whole area thus enclosed contains about twenty or twenty-five acres. – The walls are now only three or four feet high, though they were no doubt nearly double that when constructed. They were built of a sort of slatestone, and have been for centuries yielding to the action of the elements, till there remains only a ridge or embankment some twenty feet wide, and three or four feet high, along the banks of the streams, and upon this there are large trees growing. – We noticed several trees two feet and upwards in diameter, and upon the stump of one counted the growths of over two hundred years. Many centuries must have elapsed before the slatestone wall crumbled, and the rocks disintegrated so that shrubs and trees could grow upon it; but finally chestnuts ad acorns found sufficient mold in which to germinate, and trees sprang up and flourished upon this decaying structure – this singular monument of contention and strife: centuries before the discovery of America. We noticed where a wagon road had been neatly cut through this embankment, and below the shallow covering of earth the strongly laid wall seemed yet firm and solid. The area enclosed is covered with timber, but from this, nor even the walls, can we draw sufficient data to make any estimate of the time that has elapsed since this singular work, evidently built for defense, was erected. We can scarcely believe that the Indian race were the architects and builders, but while examining the ancient citadel, were inclined to attribute it to an earlier, and more enlightened race than the one found upon this continent at its discovery. Enough barely remains to indicate that works of defense were found necessary hundreds and probably thousands of years ago, and that an immense amount of labor was here performed; but of those who toiled, or those who fought upon these crumbled walls, no record, no vestige of legend or history remains. These had passed away, even before the savage race who hunted here a hundred years ago, became the possessors of the soil; and only this outline of a fort remains to indicate that such a race existed, this work alone endured defying time until the era of civilization and letters, and now the traveler and antiquary are enabled to snatch from utter oblivion this remaining trace of an extinct and forgotten race, who toiled and built and contended a thousand years ago. They slumber in mother earth; their trials and toils unrecorded; their victories unsung, and but for this structure all clue to their existence on the stage of human affairs would be gone forever.
[To be Continued.]
To the Voters of McDonough
The time is fast approaching when the electors of McDonough county will be called upon to fill some of the most responsible offices in the county. How shall this be done? By first coming together, selecting the best men for the places, and going to work and electing them. In order for this plan to succeed, there must be some one to take the lead in the right direction, and this we think has been done by the central committee, who call upon all voters who are opposed to equalizing the white and black races, to meet together on Saturday the 23rd day of September and appoint delegates to a county convention to be held at Macomb, September 25th, and here select the very best men in the county for the places to be filled, and then elect them, thus securing to this county in the future what it has enjoyed in the past, a set of county officials who add dignity to the position and worthy the confidence of the people. It is not only the privilege of the electors to do this, but absolutely their duty. They owe it to the position they hold as citizens of one of the first counties in the proudest and best of States in the Union. They owe it to their children, to enable them to [fold] fame of McDonough county unspotted and unblemished. Then, gentlemen, do not shrink the responsible position now before you. All who are opposed to negro suffrage, and in favor of a white man’s government, come and meet together in a band of councilmen, and adopt such a plan, and put such men on the track as will effectually wipe out of existence in McDonough county, those who are in favor of putting the negro upon an equal footing with white men. We want this convention to be composed of men who feel the responsibility that rests upon them, and not the mere tools of a pack of soulless, political tricksters, who care nothing for the interest and welfare of the county, so that their selfish ends are promoted. Give us a ticket of good, honest, capable men and we will wipe out the open and secret allies of negro suffrage and negro-equality in McDonough county.
Three years ago a young lady in Nashua knitted a pair of drawers for a soldier’s fair, and in them enclosed her address. The soldier who drew the drawers corresponded with her; afterwards visited her, and now the loving hearts are one.
The Republican alias Union county convention met at the court house in this city on Saturday last, and went through the farce of nominating a ticket, everything was cut and dried, for the occasion, and the gentleman selected are those whom every person in town knew would be selected. For county Judge they laid on the shelf W. S. Hendricks, a man who was a republican when it was considered a disgrace to belong to that treasonable organization, and nominated Lieut. L. A. Simmons, a man who has deservedly denounced its principles as unfit for demons to advocate. If Mr. Hendricks wishes to get a nomination by the republicans for any office, he must first become a democrat and then the republicans will nominate him for any position he may wish. Personally, we think Mr. S. a clever man, a gentleman and qualified for the position, but “in the wrong pew.”
For county clerk, they nominated a rank Breckinridge democrat, Capt. William Ervin. If Mr. E. should be elected then we will have a good chance next time, Mr. E. belongs to that party which the republicans say “broke up the democratic party” at Charleston, in order to enable them to accomplish their hell-ish designs in destroying the Union. Birds of a feather, etc.
For treasurer, they nominated – Hainline, – we believe they call him “Dock.” We don’t know him, but suppose him to be a gentleman, he beat the best man in the republican party, Mr. Joseph E. Wyne, we suppose the reason was, he was a soldier.
For school commissioner, they walked right over Prof. Brauch, a No. 1 scholar and a man that if nominated and elected would have made a splendid commissioner, and nominated Wm. Venable, a clever young man, but we doubt whether he is qualified for the position, at least we think he will be more venerable before he is elected.
For surveyor they nominated James W. Brattle, a thoroughly loyal man on the negro question.
Their resolution consisted in the word “soldiers,” but could not say a word for or against negro suffrage. In fact they would not commit themselves on that question. Yet we are creditably informed that a majority of their candidates are in favor of negro suffrage or anything pertaining to the negro.
It is stated on good authority, that President Johnson lately said in conversation with some gentlemen who visited him, that “the country has more to fear from consolidation than secession.” It would seem that this conclusion of the distinguished chief magistrate is a correct one. Secession is defunct. Not a prominent man in the United States now advocates it – not a bayonet is pointed in its defence. But while the death-throes of secession have been witnessed, the clutch that was deemed necessary to throttle it, is not in the least relaxed. The extraordinary measures said to be needed to keep in check the masses while excited by the violence of war, are continued, although the original excuse for them has passed away. Military commissions supersede civil courts. The general government reigns supreme over half of the States, dictating their laws, and assuming the right to establish their domestic institutions. To no other conclusion can we come, than that Andrew Johnson was right when he said that “the country has more to fear from consolidation, than from secession.
→ Magie says he was not reduced to the ranks for charging ten cents for old papers. Will he tell us why Gen. Steadman called him a low, sneaking, contemptible yankee, and reduced him to the ranks, if it was not for swindling the soldiers. Again, if you had acted like a man, don’t you think when you told the soldiers that you intended to publish a history of the 78th, some of the boys belonging to company I, would have taken your paper? Magie don’t you know that the soldiers despise and detest you?
→ The defamer of women says he did not sell old papers to soldiers but to citizens at ten cents a copy. In his “Experiences of a Private Soldier” he says that the southern people were s ignorant that they did not know what a postage stamp was for, and he might have added that they were too ignorant or too honest to engage in the feather trade.
The Democrats of Emmett township are requested to meet at Union school house on Saturday, September 23rd 1865, at 2 o’clock for the purpose of selecting delegates to the county convention.
Sold Out. – Dr. S. Ritchey has sold his Drug Store to Messrs. Delaney and Gash. We congratulate our young friends upon their entrance into business and trust that their hopes may be realized. Messrs. Delaney and Gash have been in the United States service ever since the commencement of the war, and now that the war is over, they have returned to enter upon the discharge of their duties as citizens. Mr. Delaney is a thorough druggist, having until the commencement of the war been connected with the drug business in Tennessee. Their stock is large and complete. Those wishing paints, oils, etc, cannot patronize a more gentlemanly or deserving firm.
→ As time, with swift wings, hastens us on, nearer and nearer, to the goal of eternity we should think of leaving some memento to our friends, and what better could we leave than a counterfeit resemblance of ourselves. Then go to the picture gallery of Hawkins & Philpot, southeast corner of the square, and sit for your picture.
→ Everybody knows that clothing, within the last two weeks, have gone up fearfully at the east. Dernham & Jehlinger, two doors south of Brown’s Hotel, were lucky enough to make their purchases for the fall trade, before the rise, and while their new goods just received, are the pick of the market, they got them at figures that will enable them to do better by customers than other dealers who have bought later, or who are now buying, and Dernham & Jehlinger say they will do it.
→ Watkins & Co. have just received another large invoice of those celebrated Buell boots. These boots are justly regarded the best ever brought to this market. Every person who has once used them could not be induced to wear any other. They are manufactured expressly of Watkins & Co. and can only be had of them. Try them and be convinced.
Editor of the Journal Whipped
A Rich Scene – A Merited Casti-
gation – A bad Smell.
In last week’s Journal Magie made an attack upon the reputation of a lady, in this city, by the name of Mrs. Dickerson, or Mother Dickerson as he termed her. Learning of his vulgar and unmanly abuse, Mrs. Dickerson went to the post office, found the thing that edits the Journal, and gave him a merited castigation. She slapped him in the face three or four times and accompanied the blows with sharp invectives. Magie was terrified; he thought of war and for the hundredth time felt his inability to withstand the charge. He tried to rally, but couldn’t. He tried to turn the flank but his army disease coming on he gave way in the rear and took refuge in a small house back, where the enemy would not likely pursue on account of the noxious vapor. Magie soon arose, as he had from many a battle field, but “horrible dictu” he had raised the butternut flag and his pants were no longer of the royal blue. – He called in the physicians, who recommended him to Cobb and to the sympathy of Admiral Seems. He felt that he had been defeated and abused, and at some future time would write a full history of the battle as a private, who had volunteered his services without any desire of remuneration. Let the public prepare for the 2nd chapter of Magie’s lamentations; which with him has become chronic – a disease which he says has already killed one of his family. As it turned out the whole thing was ludicrous beyond description. Every body thinks Maggie deserved all he got, and more too. We now deliver him over to the castigate of public opinion as a common defamer, liar and vulgarian.
→ Magie declines to enter into controversy about who insulted soldiers wives. He says we can out lie him. So you intended to lie did you? Don’t talk about being beat lying, for the devil has quit in disgust since you entered upon the stage of action.