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Kehrwecker Family Papers - MS 641
Direct to: Lexington, Kentucky
Co. C, 96th Regt. O.V.I.
on the march
When you write agan send me a darn needle. Harman broke his.
It rained all night and this morning it still looks for rain. There was a man in Co. E. by the name of Valentine that died in his tent last night. That makes two out of our Regt. Our Co. has the most sick of eny in the Regt. There are between 23 & 24 that are on the sick list.
As to sending us enything, you can do as you pleas. It is not sertain that we would get it enyhow, for I think we will still go further south.
[unsigned fragment - probably John Kehrwecker]
This morning when I wakened up, I found ourselves landed at Friarspoint, a small town about 100 miles belo Memphis and the report was this morning that ten shots were fired at the first boats that landed. Wheather that repoart is so or not, there were about a half a doz. buildings burnt whilst we were laing there, I supose by our men. When the rebelion first broke out, there was a northern man there teaching school. He was taken by the sitizens of that town\r & put in a hogshead with a niggro and fasend up & roaled into the river, so you can judge what kind of people there are in that town. In Miss. they don't stand along the shoar and wave their hankerchiefs down here like they ladys did at first as we pased the Indiana & Ills. shore. There they stood out in groups all along the river waveing their hankerchiefs & hats, espesly the ladys, but down here we scaresly see any thing. Once in a while see a half scart negro or a loanly chimly and once in a while a plantation with a lot of negros shanties. It looks almost like a soldiers camp.
The weather here is like it is in Ohio in the fall of the year when we have Indian summer. This is a grand expedition. Up where we were landed this morning I counted 42 boats. Two of them were gun boats. General Sherman is with us. He commands the expedition. The distance from Memphis to Vicksburg is 400 miles. 5 & 1/2 p.m. we are now pasing the mouth of the White River. We expect to spend Christmas at Vicksburg. We may get a warm reseption. I think if we whip them there, they will be played out in the south west for ever.
Tuesday morning, Dec. 23. Last night the boats all stoped about ten miles belo the mouth of the White River. Our Co. was sent out on picket. I was with them. We were rite a Arcanses cane brake. I slep rite on the round by a large elm tree. The bushes were so thick that it was almost imposable to get there. We all returned safe to our boat this morning. We got an early start this morning at half past eight. We pased the mouth of the Arcanses [Arkansas] River & Napoleon, a small town rite at the mouth. It is nearly all deserted. All the business bildings were shut up. The pilot of our said they were all in the army. As we have no chance to send our mail I will hafto keep on riting. I will stop for today.
Wednesday, Dec. 24. We are still all rite yet. There was an accident hapened whilst we were on picket last night. One of 23rd Wisconsin boys got shot by one of there own men about 150 yds from where we were posted. I herd the shot. We stoped at Gasters Landing. There we left our mark, took one prisner with three guns, one pistle, six or seven horses branded U.S., got some corn and fense rails, as they were within distance to cary them at the landing. Quite a number of bilding, one warehouse, and also an old boat that lay on shore ful of corn, they all caught fire before we left.
We started from there about noon. We are not far from the Louiseana line. We also got news last night that the rebels had gone into Memphis again. I presume they mearly went in to steal and plunder and not to stay. They may have got some of our sick and perolled them. We have had it roomered here that Richmond was taken. There are some large plantations down here. There was but little cotton planted, mostly corn. No more today.
Dec. 27, 1862, Lousana, on the boat agan
This morning we have just ben out on a reconaisance 28 miles. I haven't got time to write further as a boat just ready to start which will take the mules, so I will send what I have got. I am well yet, but out of money and stamps. You all have my best respects.
I am well and all rite yet. We had a rather sad time for a few days. Last Sunday at 1 p.m. the battle begun. It lasted 3 1/2 hours. The artilary & gunboats comments first & done the princiable part of the work. Our Regt. was sent forward about 2 1/2 p.m. within about 300 yds of the Ft. & riffle pits. We then kep up a conauel [continual?] fire and advanced by degreas about 100 yds, rite in an open field. The gunboats & batrys done well and 3 1/2 o'clock the rebels stuck up the white flag. Our boys commenst holering and the some of the rebels comensted fireing agan, so our boys got down and give it to them agan. The white flags then cam up all along the line and then we went in.
I did not get rite away. I took care of George Curren. He was wounded in the hip while lying on his fase. He will get well agan I think. It is only a flesh wound, but Cyrous W. Devore & Daniel Linder was killed, side by side, within about 15 ft. from where I lay. Devore was shot thru the left brest, Linder in the top of the head. Elisha Evarts died on the boat on Friday night last and was berid with Linder & Devore yesterday & last night A. S. Coomer died\r & we berid him today. The dead of our Regt are all in one row, the no. is 13, 10 were killed in battle, the other 3 died on the boat. Ther were 26 wounded in our Regt. Ther were only about half of our Regt in the fight, the rest were on the sick list on the boat. Our loss is about 500, about 100 killed. The rebel loss in killed I think exceedes ours.
I haven't time to write eny more at present. The Ft. is cauled Hindiman. You have my best respects. Remember my folks.
I am not very well at present. I have had the diahrea & flux togeather for about one week now, the very worst kind, but I think I am geting better now. At least I feel better. The most of the time there was nuthing that pased me but bloody mater with an awfull strain. There would not more than one spoonfull pass at eny one time, but as often as once an hour & sometimes oftener. It has redused my weight at least 20 or 25 lbs.
I am a going to send this leter with John Grayham. He is here & is going back today. He came down after the bodys of Barnhard Boys. One of them he could not get, for he is burid up Yazoo River & that is blockaded by our gun boats, so he did not take eather of them.
On the 14 of Feb. our brigade started up the river about 200 mi. to chase the rebs and steal. On the 17 we marched out about 6 or 8 mi. in mud nearly over boot top all the way & rained all the time we were gone. We were gone from the boats three days. We found nuthing. We then went up the river a little further & took another scout. We then had good weather. We got one cannon from the rebels, kill one & took one prisner & returned to our boats without loosing a man. We then came back to the same plas where we first went out. There they took another trip. I did not go, I was excused by sergeon on the acount of my diarhea. We only took seven days rashens with us. All we then got was what we stole. It was princaply all fresh meat, hogs, catle & chickens. Eny thing we could git.
I must close. Grayham is geting ready to start. I received letter from Fred Renz dated Jan. 14 before we went up on that stealing expedition. I receiver two letters from you, one for me & one for Harman. Harman was not here so I opened boath letters & found five dollars & som stamps. It all come in good play. I took the muney and used, so you can charge it to me. I herd from him the other day. He is geting beter. He is at Jefferson Barracks Hospital, St. Louis, Mo.
Write soon. I send you all my best respects. I hope this may find all well.
I am well & I hope these few lines may find you the same. We have ben on the march agan for two days and expect to go further in a few days. We are round to strike the river belo Vicksburg at Carthage. That is 10 miles from here. We have com 24 miles from Millikins Bend. The day before we left Millikins Bend we were paid off 4 munths pay. I received $68.00 and I sent home $50 by Lieut. Terry of Co. A. He is discharged and is going home on the account of his health. He lives in Mt. Vernon. He will go home & send the muney to Cardington by express. I also sent my overcoat & 1 pair of gloves by expres from here. The express charges are paid on it. It is warm enuff to do without overcoats down here, espeshly on a march. We sent them Mr. Reichelderfer, you will get them of him. We thought if we would nead them agan next winter we could send for them ant that would beter than to throw them away. The last one I sent did not cost me enything. I found it on the boat.
I would of wrote on pay day, but I did not have time. I got a letter from Metzner on payday. He is geting beter & I think he will get his discharge. Well, I must close. I have a chance to send this letter by the teamsters. They are going back to the boats. Write soon.
I send you my best respects and to all who may enquire of me.
Adress as before
Vicksburg is ours. The rebels have surrendered. The surrender commensed yesterday at nine o'clock in the morning. General Boen & Col. Mtgunmary came out under a flag of truse with a dispach to General Grant. They came rite past our Regt. & went to our brigade headquarters. A part of our regt was on picket rite where they come out. One of our Caps., of Co. B, blindfolded them and then they were led by some of our to headquarters. They were out about 2 hours & then they went back. General Grant sent an order to General Pemberton to come out himself, that he wanted to see his equal. So at three o'clock another flag came out. It went out in our rite in Logans Div., so we did not get to see old Pemberton and at night the orders went round the picket line not to fire another gun. In the morning, when the first flag came out & while it was out, there was no firing done. All of our men & the rebs too jumped rite up on their works & commenst rejoising & talking to each other. Some of our men were surprised when they got on top of the works & saw how close they were togeather. In one place where our men were, the rebels pit & ours were only 8 ft. apart. The rebs swore we did not shoot them out, but we dug them out. I tell you what it made a fellow feel good to git up on top of a rifle pit to breath the pure and free atmosphere. It does not seam like the same plas sinse everything is so quiet. We don't hear the cannonading nor the whistle of the bullets & explotions of shell. I wish it was so everywhere else in this U.S. We have orders now to march to Black River to whip old Jo Jonson. We will probely start tonite, that is our Division.
I must close. I have not time to write more at present. Rite soon. I have not had a letter from enyone for some tim. I am well. I hope these few lines may find you the same. You all have my best respects.
Horah for Vicksburg. The stars & stripes are aflote on the Coart House.
Adress as before
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