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Liberty Warner Papers: Transcripts - MS 624
May 4, 1863
We are all well as usual. Nothing of importance has transpired along our lines of late. We were out 5 miles in a scout (that is, our Brigade was out) and stayed out there 3 or 4 days. We did not meet any enemy, but our pickets could hear their drums. We suppose they were about 6 miles in advance of us, but we did not deem it important to go any farther from there, considering the position of the rebs. Yesterday I was compelled drop my letter writing until we had torn down our large tents and put up our dog tents. The little shelters we term dog tents are large enough for 2 men. Jim and I roost together as usual. We have been pardners since we were at Bacon Creek. John Bill & Chris Grundy tent together, Frank Burkhardt and Bob Black together, Burcksted & Henderson together, Ike Van & Hale bunk together. That comprises mess one, as we stand in our shoes. George is one of the Co. cooks and nests in the cook tent. I can stand in any of the streets of the tented city and look over the roofs of the entire place. The little domicil occupied by my pardner and self is about 6 feet by 5 on ground, 14 inches high at the eaves and 4 1/2 feet at the peak. Our bunk occupies one side, leaving about 18 inches at the foot. There we stough away our haversacks, canteens, and cartidge boxes. At the side of the bed we glory in 20 inches of space. There stands a black junk bottle with a candle stuck in it, also a little shelf made of a piece of clapboard. This is a general deposit for all sorts of trash. Our rifles rest on either side of us, they being our wives and business companion as a matter of course occupy the same perch.
It is wet today and Jim and I are in our bunk taking it easy. I am writeing on a novelette and Jim is devouring the contents of another. I suppose you would think these rather slim quarters, but we like them. We have been furnished with oil cloths lately, so if we hapen to be caught in the rain on a march or in duty, we have something to keep out the water.
Bob Buffum arrived here a few days ago, glad enough to see the old mess once more and we in return as happy to see him. He is somewhat under the weather yet. I shall be on brigade camp guard tomorrow.
I would not be angry if I could give you a call and see the folks eat a little of your extra feed. The boys luxuriate on eggs at 60, 70, etc. per doz, the investment of shin plaster in them rather paperafies them. Sometimes half of them are rotten, otherwise all of them are.
Liberty P. Warner
May 21st, 1863
Dear friends at home.
I received you very welcome letter of the 5th inst. yesterday. It found us all in good health and excellent spirits. I had just returned from town. The houses look bad and are scarred up by the soldiers. Murfreesboro was a nice place when we passed those few weeks here one year ago. There is scarcely a building to be seen between this place and Nashville. All are in ashes. If any person wishes to behold the horrors of war, he only has to look at the town of Murfreesboro and its surroundings. Deserters from the rebbel army come into our lines almost daily. They are hard looking customers, dirty, ragged, illfavored fellows. The uniform worn by their chaps is just like grandfather's yellow homespun coat. I would say they were originally of the same material, but they are generally painted with dirt and the sacred soil is set in the cloth with grease.
I suppose you are working away after the old stile and would like to be with you if the rascally rebbels were whipt, but I know it is much better for all of the old soldiers to stand to the front, because they are more used to the climate and the rebbels to. I myself having to be one of that class (one of the old stock the boys call it). I am willing to carry my rifle and cartrige box for sometime to come. There exists a decided aristocracy among the soldiers; No. 1 old stock, no. 2 recruit, no. 3 is supposed to be several noches below and is supposed to be forced in to the service. This is the draft. I must stop now for the drums are beating for brigade drill.
Well, drill is over and I am in my tent once more. Tatoo has beat and Jim is on the bunk making all sorts of noises to amuse himself. I have just read to Jim the last paragraph. He says just tell them I send my spectacles. I was verry glad to hear Grandpa had got home once more. I wish I could see him and the rest of you to. Grandpa, I have seen the Elephant several times, sometimes he looked dreadful cross, but I fed him on lead a while. That made him sick to his stomach and also gave him the hint to vamoose. When I was listening to your own experience in war-like service, I little thought that I would ever see contests so fearce. When you come in to line of battle and see the enemy 5 or 6 columns deep advancing on your single column and single reserve, you invaredly think some one might get hurt. Ouch, ouch, quit your pinching. And when you see men and horses piled up, you think some foolish boy has cut his finger or got the nose bleed.
My love to Grandpa, to Grandma, and all the rest of you.
your son & brother
Write sisters, write to me
I wonder if Leroy Droot is raising flax to make a rope for his own love sick neck or the copperhead papereens.
June 1, 1863
We are all well , with the exception of George, who is a little indisposed at present, but is able to be about and will be harty in a few days. Nothing of importance has happened here of late. Everything is still. Little skirmishes occur once in a while and sometimes twice, but they amount to nothing. Rebbel deserters come into our lines every few days in two or threes together, but I think they are growing less. I have just returned from town and am most pleasantly surprised to receive a letter from you. But you are not ahead of me, for this will be on the way in a half hour.
Our regiment, or 7 companys of it, have changed arms again. We have got Colts five repeating rifles. The other companies will have either carbines or Henry rifles. With either of these rifles we can do tremendous execution. If we had been provided with these arms before the battle, we could have piled the ground with sesesh worse than we did with our single shuters, although they worked admirable. We expect to get horses soon. If we do, we will have revolvers and sabres (won't we eat then). This brigade is considered to be one of the first class and I suppose it is equel if not superior. Col. Miller, who commands the brigade, says it fought equel to anything known since the war and it is consideration of these things we are supplied with such arms. It is an honor to us to be thus distinguished. The whole army is bettered armed than it was at the time of the fight and if we get at it againe, we will make something come. Rosencrans will review our division tomorrow. I always like to see his smileing face when he rides along the lines, as we are drawn up in line of battle.
Well Elliot, I suppose you have grown a considerable and probably changed a good deal in your appearance and I would like to see for myself if it could be so. But it seems to me that when I have served out my time and probably not before that time can I do so. I have grown some taller since you saw me and the day after I was of age weighed 153 lbs. Last fall when we were at Nashville I weighed 160 lbs. All the boys in the company have stretched up amazingly, all but George who is bound to be a titman anyhow.
I would not be surprised if we moved before long. Things look so to me, although I may be mistakened.
Give my love to grandma. Tell her I have not forgotten her if I have not written. I suppose grandpa is in Ky. by this time.
June 10, 1863
Dear friends at home,
As I have nothing else to do, I will just write a few lines by way of keeping up conversation. I pass the time the best and easiest way possible, sometimes I read a while, then stroll about a while, then take a lazy sleep of a couple of hours. Probably by that time I may suddenly be brought to my senses by the cook yelling dinner or the drums beating drills or dress parade as the case may be. The monotany was broken a few days ago by breaking a fellows neck on the scaffold. Such things are getting common, a couple have to rid the earth of themselves today and two more on Friday go through the same performance. Part are soldiers and part citizens. I don't care anything about the citizens, but I hate to see a soldier stretch hemp or be shot. The more citizens are killed, the less sneaks and gorillos we will be bothered with later.
Today is rainy and sunshine by spells. We drilled this forenoon on skirmishing a while. An Irishman named Joe Todd was brought here handcuffed a few days ago. He was one of the men taken prisioner the same time George was, and when exchanged and started for the Regiment, he sliped out and came back to Tontogany. He says passed by our house several times and saw Pa and Elliott to work in the field. Probly Elliott remembers the fellow that treated Henderson and myself to the bar one night when we were beating those drums in Tontogany. His appearance is about as proposing at present as it was then, one eye black, his back covered with an old ragged citizens coat. The only thing I begrudge him is the sight.
We have the orders to keep 3 days rations in our haversacks ready to march at any time. That time is very uncertain. It has been an standing order some time. If Bragg sends part of his force toward Vicksburg, he may look out for a few of us, as we may visit him. If you could see me laying on my bunk with this paper on an old novel, you would say, lazy fellow. Soldier life is hard and lazy both. Duty is duty and lay on the bunk is just the opposite thing. Well, I will have to go to work and get the dirt and rust of my gun. These take lots of cleaning.
Eliza and Mary, I would like to hear of your once in a while at least, whereas I hardly hear from you at all. Don't be afraid to say a word. If you find it difficult reading this pencilling, let me know & I will use a pen & ink hereafter.
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