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William Chapman Papers: Transcripts - MS 652
Nov.1. Saturday. No drill today and we have been ordered to wash up our clothes so as to have them clean on the Sabbath.
2. Have attended Presbyterian Church in Frankfort today. The discourse was from Math. 10th, 32.33 and was good except that the speaker tried to steer between Union and Secession sentiment in such a manner as to give offense to neither. Many officers in glittering uniforms were present and some 75 or 80 soldiers. The singing was congregational and the organ was in one corner of the church. The people all rose during prayer and sit in their seats while singing. One returning from church our Co. recd. marching orders very unexpectedly. We were ordered to proceed 9 miles toward Louisville to guard a railroad bridge which has once been burned by the Rebs and so we left about 3 o'clock and arrived at our present quarters at the bridge at about 9 this evening after a tiresome march up hill and down and over the stoniest roads I ever saw in my life. But here we are in the valley of North Benson Creek for an indefinite period.
3. We have done but little today except to pitch our tents and get ready for the duties which are to come. We came to relieve Co.B, 104th Ill., who have been very lawless trespassing upon the private property of Union and Secession people alike. We expect to redeem the honor of Northern men while we stay here. The Ill. men leave tomorrow. This country about here is a very rocky and barren and does not look as if the inhabitants could subsist upon it at all. The timber growing or that would grow if it could is walnut, hickory, sycamore, with quite a sprinkling of cedars. 12 of our men with Orderly Connolly have gone about a mile below to guard another bridge. We find the people here favorably disposed toward us and they have brought in many things considered luxuries by us, but the Paymaster has not yet been round and our purses are extremely lean.
5. Last night our boys arrested a young fellow who had formerly enlisted in the Rebel service and he will be sent to Louisville tomorrow. 25 prisoners passed by this morning for that place.
6. Commenced making out new Pay Rolls this morning and have finished this evening. Recd. letters from Fi and Nellie King today.
Nov.7. Have been up to Frankfort today to carry our Muster Rolls to Regimental headquarters. Took quite a trip through the city while there and was not very favorably impressed. Brot back mail this evening for Co. H and recd. 4 letters as my portion.
9. Sunday, and the most quiet Sabbath I have enjoyed for a long time. There has been no drill and no beating of the drum.
10. Capt. Brady went out scouting last night for rebels and brought in four of the gentry who were taken to Frankfort this morning and the Capt. has returned with 6 of the 9th Ky. Cavalry bringing in another prisoner.
11. Lieutenant Booth has been to Bagdad with a few of the boys in search of Rebs to take to Louisville. The Capt. is unwell today and we have had no drill.
12. Lieut Booth goes to Louisville this morning with Rebel prisoners. Recd. a letter this evening from my favorite cousin, Minnie, giving me the information that her husband had gone into the army in Kansas as a Capt. of Cavalry and her heart is almost broken. Another vibration of heart strings caused by this cruel war.
15. Our Co. received Enfield rifles this p.m. from Frankfort and we are right glad to give up our Austrian humbugs.
16. Still at Benson Bridge. This evening "the melancholy darkness gently weeps in rainy tears". Three of our boys have gone out with two of the 6th Ky on a scouting expedition, having first pressed in horses to ride.
17. Rained pretty much all night, it being the only rain of any account since we lay behind the trenches of Ft. Michell. Our scouts have come in, but brought no trophies, if I except a fine fat turkey confiscated on rebel premises. Capt. Brady has gone up to Frankfort today & Ira Griswold and Willie Howes have gone up to the hospital quite unwell. We learn this evening that there is a probability of our regiment going down the river to Vicksburg.
18. Evening. We are lying beneath our canvas to the incessant pattering of the rain and we are ready to exclaim "Who wouldn't be a soldier"!! Our boys who are on picket guard tonight are in no enviable position.
19. Another rainy day. It has come down in perfect torrents and North Benson and Indian Creeks are rapidly rising. Capt. Brady has been obliged to move his quarters to the hillside to get away from the water. Four express boxes came to our Company tonight and I shall look for one tomorrow.
Nov.20. We have moved our quarters today to a higher position and now think ourselves free from further inundations. Our Eaton and Ridgeville boys have experience a wellspring of joy this evening in the shape of a large express weighing about 500 pounds and filled with all the good things which the folks at home imagined we would relish. Father came with it and we are enjoying a visit with him. I no more expected that he would come than I looked for the veritable John Morgan. The surprise is as pleasant as it is complete.
21. Have had 4 hours drill today in the manual of loading and firing. We are in this way using up our Austrian cartridges, when we shall be supplied with the regular Enfield Two of our boys are gone to Louisville to see some of their friends in the 42d.
22. Father and I have together visited Frankfort today and I have had two pictures taken to send to Fi. He expects to return home on Monday.
23. This morning our Co. was called upon to bury a soldier of the 6th Ky., ug!, with military honors and of all the backwoods places I ever got into that beat them all. A correctly drawn picture of the dwelling in which the man died as well as the scenery around would be highly entertaining as illustrative of lower life in the South. Father accompanied us and read a chapter and made a prayer at the house at the request of Capt. Brady.
24. Some of our boys have been up to Frankfort today and this evening they bring back the sad intelligence of the death of Elbert Fauver, who died of typhoid fever at the general hospital last night and father has left us this evening to look after his body and to take it home with him in the morning if possible. This is the first death that has occurred in our Co. Father took a multitude of letters and pictures home from the boys. I would liked to go with him, but Providence and Uncle Sam has ordered otherwise.
25. We learn today that A.B. Fauver same to camp Gilmore last night and that he and father left for home this morning with the body of Elbert.
26. Had two conflagrations last night and the big bell tent occupied by me and most of the Eaton boys was one of them. It caught fire from contact with a California oven and was all in a blaze when I awoke and pretty nearly burned up before it was extinguished. Harlan had his cap burned and handle from his revolver. It was lucky for us that the fire did not get to the 3000 cartridges which were in the tent in large boxes. We have been busy all day constructing a board shanty and we have a fine one. Capt. Brady has been in telling stories all the evening and Lieut. Booth has been urging me to sing for him.
Nov.27. Thanksgiving Day all over the United States and our friends at home are undoubtedly feasting themselves around their well filled tables. I sent out Towner this morning for a turkey out of which to manufacture something having the semblance of a Thanksgiving dinner. After going 5 miles he managed to get a good one and Geo. Phelan has served us up a meal that a Maj. General might covet. But instead of having fine cabinet ware to support our edibles, we have to gather around like the North American Indians with tin plates for our soup and iron spoons to ladle it and tin cups for our coffee. Up at Frankfort the citizens have been giving the 103d a picnic & Lieut Booth reports that nearly all the officers were drunk. What a shame! I am particularly glad that our Co. officers are temperate.
30. Sunday. Inspection this morning and Lieut. Booth and myself have been round searching for stolen cans of butter and peaches, which some lightfingered gentry succeeded in taking out of our quarters during the night. No good soldier is a thief and when brought before the enemy I have no doubt but the pilferer will show his heels.
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