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William Chapman Papers: Transcripts - MS 652
Feb. 1. Another rainy day and we are surrounded by an ocean of mud. Have spent the day in reading. The Secessionists of Frankfort are just now doing their utmost aided by members of the Legislature and ertain strangers from Ohio, Ind. and Ill who have been pledging men and money to aid their nefarious designs. Secret conclaves have been held at night in the Senate Hall, but they are under the watchful eye of Gen. Gilbert.
2. Marching orders again for Benson at our old post, while Co.I takes the lower bridge. This evening I am sitting by a rousing fire in the old Bakery and Capt. Brady is indulging in his favorite pastime of story-telling.
3. This is the coldest morning I have yet experienced in Kentucky. Pitched our tents again this morning and are comfortable again. Capt. Brady has been to Frankfort after his wife, who is on a visit.
4. Geo. Phelon came down from Gen. Hospital tonight.
5. Snowed all night and most of today and it is now four or five inches deep. Hinckley came from Frankfort today, whither he has been for rations that our whole brig. had been under marching orders for Crab Orchard, but the order was countermanded after everything had been packed. The 7th Ky. Cav. went to Louisville today.
6. Emory has been to Frankfort today, returning with an express box for Harlan; also intelligence that mine is in the Ex. Office.
7. Have been to the city today after my box sent from home and this evening we are regaling upon its contents. I found Sol. Alcott's wife at the depot unexpectedly and have brought her to Benson with me. I also visited both houses of the Legislature today.
8. Sunday. Capt. Brady and wife have gone to Frankfort today on a hand-car. He goes to Lexington tomorrow to be examined by the Medical Director, preparatory to a sick leave. Lt. Booth is sick at Frankfort and we miss him very much. The boys who took the Capt. up on the car have returned crazy with whiskey and this evening which of all others should be quiet is resounding with their drunken orgies.
10. Weather quite warm. No fire necessary. Lt. Booth returned last night and was warmly welcomed. The Lieut. is a universal favorite.
Feb.14. Sergt. Freeman and myself have been to Frankfort again today. Thomas Bunnell died last night at the new hospital and his brother-in-law came this morning and will take home his body. Capt. Brady left Lexington for home yesterday.
16. Alcott, Abby and Blain, with their wives have gone up to the city today to look at some of the very few notorieties of the capital.
18. Have been to Frankfort again today and while in the Gen. Hospital came across Uncle Lev. Taylor who came to look after McKendree Seeley, who is very low at the hospital. He came to Benson with me this evening. The Butternut Democracy, alias Copperhead Rebels met in convention today at Frankfort in Merriweather's Theater Building. Col. Gilbert brought down six companies of our Brig. and surrounded the building with bayonets fixed. After securing the names of all the delegates from the 44 counties represented, he politely disperse. The ostensible object of this convention was to carry the state out of the Union.
21. Froze a little last night and has been raw all day and tonight the weather has changed from bad to worse & we are enjoying a severe snow storm. Hinckley has returned from Frankfort bringing blankets for the company of the rubber poncho sort furnished by government.
23. Have finished writing names upon payrolls today. Mrs. Alcott and the other ladies have left us today for home. They attempted to go by Lexington, but could not get through as the Rebels are making another raid into the state and all the cars are used to transport troops. Col. Gilbert went to Lexington Saturday with the 44th and 104th Ohio and today the 100th Ohio and the 19th Battery have also been ordered away. Great excitement exists at the capital. Secessionists are jubilant predicting that "Cousin John" will be in , in a day or two. The ladies came back on the evening train on their way home via Louisville.
24. A beautiful day. The telegraph announces that a skirmish has taken place a few miles beyond Lexington between our pickets and a few Rebels. Sergt. Allen and a few of our boys have been out scouting this p.m. and have captured an Martin Cook, one of Humphrey Marshall's men and a desperate fellow, and we now have him under a strong guard. Have written a letter to Capt. Brady.
25. Have been up to Frankfort today to headquarters. The excitement is abating and the Rebels are retreating in the direction of Mt. Sterling.
26. Rained pretty much all of last night. Have learned that the Rebs are reenforced and that fighting is going on at Richmond.
Feb.27. Weather beautiful and the ground is fast settling. We learn this evening that our forces are falling back on Lexington, followed by double their number of Rebels. Excitement is greater than ever there now, and 700 men have been taken out of the hospitals to assist in defending the city. Our Regt. also left for that place last night, taking away all guards from Frankfort and leaving Co.I and ourselves in a very exposed situation, some 38 miles from any Union troops with only five days rations. We sleep tonight with loaded guns ready for any emergency.
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