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Lacey’s Daybook & Journal


Sergeant Fayette Lacey U.S.A.
Company B, 37th Regiment Illinois
Day Book and Journal of Company B while in service in the Western Army in the State of Missouri

Organization of 37th Illinois

The Fayette Rifle Company was organized in La Fayette, Stark County, Illinois in June 1861 under Captain Stewart and tendered their service to the Governor of Illinois, but were not accepted into service and…


…the Captain organized another Company at Elmira and left the 
La Fayette Company.

After some time and trouble, the citizens of La Fayette succeeded in forming a company and were accepted into service and received marching orders. Accordingly everything was done for our departure on the 19th of August. The young ladies made and presented to the Company a nice flag and the county presented each member of the Company with a Testament.

I had served three months in the Plainfield Light Artillery (at Cairo, Illinois) which belonged to the 10th regiment, Illinois Volunteers, Co. K.  After we were discharged from the three months service, I made a visit to La Fayette to see my sisters and friends that I had not seen for the space of three years.

When I arrived there, I found all my old schoolmates enrolled as defenders of the Stars and Stripes and after a visit of only five days, I joined the company to help sustain the Constitution of the United States, which I think every man should do that can possibly leave home and business.

I reenlisted August 10th 1861. Sunday, August 18th, the soldiers all attended church and in the evening the church was full to hear the last sermon in La Fayette before departure of the Company. After church was out, the young men took…


…their ladies home for the last time until close of the war. Monday the company was formed up at two o’clock and marched about town for two hours and were then marched to the church where they received their flag and Testament, after which they were all marched into the church to partake of a nice farewell supper prepared by the ladies. After supper was over, we had half an hour to bid our friends adieu and then we got into the wagons and carriages to go to Galva to take the cars for Chicago. There were sixty wagons and carriages in our train and a number of men went on horseback.

We started at dark on the eve of the 19th of August 1861—a time long to be remembered by the citizens of La Fayette for most every person had in the Company someone that was near and dear to part with. We drove slow for no one felt like going faster than necessary as most of the men were accompanied by their ladies and all felt downhearted. We arrived at Galva at the Railroad depot at nine o’clock. The train was to start at 12 ¼ o’clock, leaving three hours for all to enjoy as they could.

At eleven the Captain gave orders to form the Company in order that none should be left after the train started but part of the…


…soldiers could not be found until the train came in and then it was worse than ever for the part which had not been witnessed by many was to be performed—that was parting of man and wife, parents and sons, brothers and sisters, lovers, perhaps never more to meet. Tears were shed, kind words were spoken, and all was solemn, but the brave heart of our soldiers were softened at the parting scene. At quarter past twelve the train started. For a short time all was still except the rumbling of the cars, then we could hear all our friends behind cheering us on our road to either death or victory. Some were tired and fatigued with the excitement of the day and went to sleep in their seats. Some of us were too busy thinking of those left behind to indulge in sleeping.

All went off well while on the cars. We could see but little until we got to Aurora at day break. There we passed a camp of soldiers that cheered us as we passed. At every town and station along the railroad line we could hear the cheers of all that were left to provide for the wants of those that could not go to defend their country (for all had gone that could before we had passed). We arrived in Chicago at seven o’clock A.M. and were received by our Colonel and a company of our regiment together with a multitude of the citizens of Chicago and a band to…


…escort us through the city. Preparations had been made by the Sherman House for our breakfast. We were all very tired and a good meal was very welcome. We were marched into the House. The company that were at the depot awaiting our arrival accompanied us, in all numbering about 175. We all took or seats at the tables and were eating our first meal which we expect was furnished by the government, when to our surprise our Colonel arose and made a short speech and informed us that there had been no arrangements for our breakfast and that he did not know what to do about the matter for he did not feel able to pay for it himself, so he went to the proprietor of the Sherman House and stated the case to him. Accordingly the proprietor informed him that he would furnish breakfast for all of us free of charge.

After he had finished his speech, we gave him three hearty cheers and also returned thanks to the proprietor of the House for his hospitality by giving him three cheers. After we had finished our meal, we were ordered to form into ranks to march to our new camp. We marched three miles north from the Court House on North Clark Street past the city limits where we were marched into a beautiful…


…grove where our regiment was to be formed. When we arrived, there was part of two companies there encamped in small tents which looked rather hard to those who had not experienced camp life and had left their homes not thinking of the hardships which soldiers are obliged to endure.

We were marched into camp and ordered to rest which did not have to be repeated the second time for we were all tired and sleepy. Most of the soldiers layed down on the grass in the shade to rest and sleep while others commenced to write letters to their friends to tell them their views on a soldier’s life as far as they had seen. At one o’clock we were formed into ranks to receive our rations of dinner which was an entirely new mode of living to all our Company except myself. We were marched to a pile of tinware where each man received a tin plate and cup, knife, fork, and spoon. Then we received our rations consisting of one potato and one piece of fat pork and a small piece of bread and a cup of coffee. The soldiers thought it was hard fare but were very well satisfied after we had finished our government meal. Each man cleaned his dishes as well as he could and put them away for safe keeping.

Some of us thought…


…that we would walk around to view our new home when to our surprise we found that we were guarded in on all sides the same as we would have been in an enemies country with the exceptions that our sentinels were armed with pine sticks in the stead of muskets with bayonets. At dark our tents were ready for us to commence our new career as soldiers. Wood and rations were found in abundance and all went to work to prepare their food. It was new business for us all but was very well done. After supper was eaten, each man commenced making preparations for the night. It was hard to sleep on the damp ground but our brave-hearted soldiers were willing to undergo every hardship to serve their Country.

Previous to leaving La Fayette, I was elected Corporal and acted as such the first night in our camp at Chicago. I was afterward promoted to Sergeant. All moved on nicely. Every man was well pleased with his situation as soldiers. We had seventy-nine men enrolled when we arrived in camp. All young stout men able endure anything in order to serve our country’s cause. After our camp was in order, we commenced drilling which was rather a blind business to both officer and soldier as we were all entirely…


….inexperienced in tactics, both officers and men progressed finely. To enable the officers to instruct their companies, it was necessary that they should go through the drills, which they did every morning from eight o’clock until nine A.M. Company drill was from nine to eleven A.M. and two until four P.M., after which we had dress Parade at five P.M.

It was not long after we arrived in Chicago before our Regiment was full. We were sworn into the United States Service Aug. 10, 1861. Nothing of importance transpired until September 2nd. It rained hard during the night and in the morning until eight o’clock which prevented our soldier cooks from preparing our morning rations. Our kitchen was in the open air exposed to the sun and frequent showers that we were blessed with to our great sorrow for when it did rain, it dampened our beds as well as our camp and parade grounds while making it very disagreeable to us new beginners to camp life.

September 2nd 1861 at 4 o’clock we had an election of Regimental Officers, selecting Julius White (a citizen of Chicago) Colonel, Capt. [John Charles] Black as Major, Capt. Barns (of R.I.) Lieut. Colonel, 
A. Neiman as Adjutant, Hartley as Sergt. Major.

It will be stated hereafter how our new officers suit….


…Our Regiment looks very well when formed in line of battle but their citizens clothes do not add much to their appearance. But Uncle Sam has so many soldiers to clothe, that it is not to be expected that our regiment could get their uniforms until their turn came. One thousand men in line of battle could be seen at Dress Parade. All young men in the bloom of life, ranging in age from eighteen to thirty five, and in hight from four foot and a half to six feet, ten inches. The order was issued by Col. White that no soldiers could obtain a pass without acting on guard duty the day previous. By this way every soldier could obtain leave of absence as often as once a week for four hours, but if not returned by time they were sentenced to hard work one day or extra duty.

About the time our regiment was formed, a speculator commenced a sutler’s establishment claiming to be sutler and I suppose he expected the appointment. He commenced selling pies, cakes, soda water and to some he would sell a little whiskey with a few roots in it calling it bitters and porter ale for which he charged an enormous price, doubling on some articles. It did not suit our soldiers and soon he had gained the ill…


…will of all in camp and the soldiers consulted on the matter and determined it would be a joke to clear him out of the regiment at once for he had already eased the soldiers of the greater part of their change. The following night was a very dark one. Everything appeared to be quiet until about nine o’clock when a sudden crash was heard which aroused the whole camp and men were running in every direction. Some with melons, others with cakes, pies, sugars, and whatever they could get to carry away. One carried off a cheese weighing 40 pounds, which he divided with his fellow soldiers and officers. Col. White was presented with a piece of cheese and a supply of sugar which he pronounced verry good. (I suppose he did not know where it was bought).

We received our Government gaiters. They were very nice, the soles were half an inch thick and uppers in proportion ornamented with a copper ribbit in the side to hold them together, but these shoes were cheap among our soldiers for they did not fancy them and sold them for whatever they could get for them. We received blankets but two men had to share one blanket as there were not sufficient number sent…


…to the regiment to supply each man with one at that time. But shortly afterward we were all furnished with double blankets. They were coarse but answered very well and kept us dry and warm at night. We were promised our uniforms from time to time until we began to think that we would get none, but at last they came. They were dark blue but very thin and poor. Our caps were good. They were dark blue and the same shape as the officers wore. Our men were not very large but they felt big when they were dressed up in their new clothes with brass buttons.

Our soldiers were not very well satisfied with their rations (altho we had plenty and better rations than soldiers generally get). There was something that did not suit. The bread was a little sour or a little scorched in baking, and the pork was too fat to salt which caused many complaints among our men that were unaccustomed to hardships.
Little do they think they will be glad to fare as they do now, hereafter. But they will do well if they can get half the rations of hard bread (which they have not had a specimen yet) before the close of the war.

After I had been in the camp two weeks at Chicago, I obtained a leave…


…of absence from our company for seven days to go to La Fayette, but I could not start until night of the first day but I made the best I could out of the time I had. I left Camp Webb (that was the name of our Camp at Chicago) at six o’clock. The cars started at eight P.M. I took a seat in the cars and did not know of any that was going on for I slept most of the time while on the cars. At four in the morning of the 12th of September I arrived in Galva. Everything was still and dark after the train started. As I could attain no conveyance until daylight, I concluded to walk as it was only seven miles to La Fayette (the place of my destination) where I arrived at sunrise and in time to get a good breakfast which I enjoyed very much. After I had rested sufficiently, I strayed out in the quiet little town to see how it appeared after the departure of our company, but it did not have the lively appearance that it did the week that I was there when the company was preparing to leave only three weeks before. There was but five to six men to be seen and part of those had joined our company and were to join our company at Chicago on the tenth of September, which they did, accompanied by our…


…Gallant Captain [Charles V. Dickinson] who had been home recruiting for a week and had obtained a sufficient number to fill the company numbering seventeen.

September 11 was a busy day in camp as well as in Chicago for the State Fair had commenced and a number of friends of soldiers visited Camp Webb.

Monday, September 19, Capt. C. V. Dickenson (and recruits) accompanied by his wife started for Camp Webb. I went as far as the railroad with them accompanied by the remaining few that were left in La Fayette. We all returned to La Fayette but it was worse to think of remaining in that town three years than it would be to die in the battlefield and I was glad to know that I was not obliged to stay there. Sunday I was bothered to get a horse and buggy, but at last I managed to get one. One of our soldiers being home on furlough and a friend of ours and myself got into the buggy and off we started for Kewanee—a town on the C. B. & I. R.R. twelve miles from 
La Fayette. We drove fast and arrived there at one o’clock. Each of us took our course in different directions and saw no more of each other until at church in the evening [when] we all happened to meet at the door. Then, all together, we numbered six. At nine o’clock we started home.


We drove slow going home as we were in no hurry. At twelve o’clock we got our stopping place, but soon I had forgotten all my troubles for no sooner had I retired than I fell asleep and did not awaken until the sun was shining in my eyes the morning after.

I remained at La Fayette until Tuesday September 11th when I returned to camp accompanied with my sister, Mrs. M[aria] L[acey] Jones, wife of Lieut. [Francis Asbury] Jones—2nd Lieut. in our company. We arrived in camp at 8 o’clock A.M. September 11th 1861. My sister stayed in camp four or five days, then she returned to La Fayette accompanied by her husband Lieut. Jones.

We received our cartridge boxes, belts, canteens, haversacks, and everything that we needed except our arms—those expected as soon as we arrived at St. Louis (where we expect to go). We were getting along finely, everything in order. Our tents were very good and large enough to accommodate sixteen men (they were Sibley tents). Each company had six making in the regiment sixty. The officers tents were small “P” Wall tents. To each company, there was two, all together making the appearance of a small town. They were nicely arranged and looked well. At last we received marching orders. They were very welcome for every man was eager to strike a blow…


…for his country even if it was too late.

September 17th 1861. Our orders were to march on the nineteenth to the Potomac as they were in want of reinforcements in that quarter at the time, but we did not altogether want to go there for our regiment was called the Fremont Rifles and we wished to serve under Major General Fremont, as he was commander of the western division, it would take us to St. Louis in order to join the western army. Our hopes were not given up for our officers did not wish to go to the eastern army and they would do their best to go west.

At two o’clock on the 17th we drilled as usual until four when we were marched to our quarters as usual, but we were halted and then formed an open square making 250 men on each side; officers all inside as always is the rule. Then our Colonel followed by a number of ladies and gentlemen entered to the centre of the square. It was all a mystery to us to know what it all meant but all that we could do was wait. After everything was ready, our officers marched to the centre and everything in order, a man commenced to address to us which we were very glad to hear and kept good order.


After he had spoken to the soldiers and officers, he presented Col. White with a very fine brown horse to use serving his country and to lead us on to victory. His friends at Evanston also presented him with a fine sword, belt and scarf and then there was a prayer made after which the regiment was presented with a beautiful flag with the inscription 37th Illinois on each side. We were then introduced to Messrs. [Lyman] Trumbull and [Isaac N.] Arnold, Senators of Congress. Each made a brief speech. Our Col. then made a reply. We then gave three hearty cheers for the speakers, three for the flag, and three for the Union. Then we were marched to our quarters, all well satisfied that we would be soon in the Rebel States, ready and willing to beat down the Rebellion.

September 18th, we received orders to strike tents at nine o’clock A.M. on the 19th which we did and packed our knapsacks, everything in order, each man filled his knapsack as full as he could not thinking that he would have to carry it on his back. At half past eleven we had dinner at one we were formed up in line of battle and marched to the city of Chicago. The weather was very warm and we marched very fast and I think…


…if we had have marched much farther, it would have killed some of our soldiers. One did faint and was carried away.

When we arrived in the city we were marched into a closed square and were addressed by several prominent speakers and presented a splendid banner with a portrait of Gen. Fremont on one side and Fremont planting the Stars and Stripes on top of the Rocky Mountains and traveling through the snow with Indian Guides on the other. After we were marched to the Illinois Central depot where we found a train awaiting for us. The train consisted of twenty-one coaches, eight box cars drawn by two engines. We all got on the cars and took our seats and were ready to go. The depot and streets were crowded with men and women and children to see our departure.

37th Illinois Leaves Chicago

The train started at last and we found that we were going to St. Louis which suited all on board. As the cars moved off, as usual, we could hear the cheers from the crowd that could not go. It seemed their hearts were with us.We were guarded in so that no soldiers could move off the train. I was Sergt. of the Guard and…


…I had a very busy time to attend to all the calls and guards in our two cars. As we passed along the line we were cheered by everyone that could see us and at every town we could see the Stars and Stripes flying which soldiers are always glad to see. The soldiers on the train made their part of noise returning cheers hollering if they happened to see anything strange or new to their view. We traveled down the Illinois Center Railroad until we arrived at Mattoon at daylight of the 20th of September. We changed cars to go west on the Terre Haute Alton and St. Louis R.R. The train was divided into two parts both together as one on the I. C. R. R.. After we had travelled two hours, the two trains joined together and were moved slow for fear of accidents which were common on all railroads at the time where Rebels could do their work. For only three or four days previous to our leaving Chicago there was a train on the Ohio & Mississippi Railroad loaded with soldiers going east at full speed and in crossing a bridge where the Rebels had cut the timbers, it gave away and but few out of one unlucky company escaped death or severe wounds. It seems to be their main object to destroy life in the…


…most unexpected ways and when least expected.

The train moved on slow but steady with the exception of stopping for wood and water until eleven o’clock when the train stopped to change engines which took considerable time. Our soldiers by this time were tired of confinement in the cars. As soon as the train stopped in a small town called Litchfield, about half of the regiment got off the cars and started out in to town to procure refreshments of which they were supplied with plenty for no sooner had they entered the store than they were supplied peaches, apples, and tobacco together with pies, cakes and cider. One man in that town had a load of fruit which he distributed amongst us. The scene put me in mind of a man feeding a drove of sheep. He was standing in a wagon throwing fruit as far as he could each way which the soldiers were falling over each other and rolling in the dust to pick it up as fast as it fell upon the ground, each man hollering as loud as he could at every jump, but I must leave the little town and proceed on our way toward St. Louis.

After the train started as it moved off we all joined in giving three cheers to the citizens of that beautiful little town. As we moved on we could see the ladies at…


…every house swinging their handkerchiefs and men swinging their hats and children swinging small flags. At any sight of this kind the soldiers would commence anew to cheer them in return keeping up a constant cheering all of the time. At one place the train moved slow enough to enable men to get off. A few took advantage of the chance and started towards an orchard a few rods off. They had no sooner commenced picking up peaches than the train moved on at full speed leaving them behind. They were lucky enough to hire a few laborers with a hand car to overtake the train. They all worked as hard as they could and after a chase of about five miles they overtook the train.

The country in the southern part of Illinois is very rough and many bridges made their appearance as we moved on our winding way. At last we arrived in sight of St. Louis when every man was glad to leave the railroad for we had been on the cars 24 hours. The train moved on slow until it reached its place of destination—the east side of the river opposite St. Louis. There was a steamboat awaiting our arrival to take us across the river. After we had left the cars, we were marched aboard the boat and were not allowed to move. The boat laid at the wharf about an hour in order to take on…


…army stores, tents, officers, horses. And after everything was loaded, the boat moved across to the city. It was then dark so we were obliged to remain on board all night. We all made our beds on the deck by spreading our blankets down. There was hardly room for us to crowd in but at last, after we had all got fixed for the night and most of us were asleep, our rations came to us. They were very acceptable for we were all very hungry. Each man received one hard cracker and a piece of raw meat. It was soon devoured and soon all was quiet again.

37th Illinois Arrives in Missouri

At four o’clock on the morning of September 21st, reveille was beat on to awaken us. Soon all was ready to perform the orders of the day. At five o’clock we again received our rations and at six we were marched ashore and formed into lines of battle. Then we were moved up Vine Street until we reached Fourth Street, then we turned to the left and proceeded down Fourth Street for about one and one half miles. Then we turned to the right and angled about considerable and at last we were halted in the center of a street and lined up making as good an appearance as we were capable of doing. After we were all ready,…


…Major General Fremont made his appearance. He had inspected our regiment and had pronounced us the best regiment that ever crossed the Mississippi River and said that he would go to the battlefield with us himself. After they were done with us, we were marched to the Pacific R. R. depot where we filled our canteens with water. It was warm and looked as yellow as gold for it was river water. After our canteens were all filled, we marched on as we were supposed to pass away time for we had turned at nearly every corner, but at least we could see that we were marching out of the city and we soon found that we were going into quarters. At last we came into Benton Barracks. There was a fine lot of soldiers there awaiting orders to march. (I will return to the city and take a view of it.)

St. Louis does not have the lively appearance that it had three years before the war commenced, but instead everything was still with the exception of now and then a regiment of solders, a battery of artillery, or a squadron of cavalry passing through the city or a train of wagons loaded with army stores or arms or General Fremont riding through the…


…city at full speed accompanied by his staff and body guards. Many of the large wholesale establishments and banking houses are closed and everything has the appearance of distress. The streets are not kept as clean and nice as they used to be and they are seldom sprinkled. The dust would nearly suffocate a person crossing the street.

As we passed through the city, the dust raised making the appearance of heavy fog. It settled on us and made us look as though we had been rolling roads. The streets were crowded with citizens as we passed, all anxious to know where we had come from. They gazed upon us as though they had never seen a body of soldiers before. Occasionally we could see the Stars and Stripes hanging from the upper windows of the houses or a gay lady holding one in her hand which our men would cheer as loud as they could for we all expected to fight and perhaps die under them soon afterward.

I will now return to the barracks a distance of five miles. We were marched to the south end of the barracks—a distance of one and one half from the…


…entrance at the north end. We were formed into divisions at closed column making a full square. We rested about two hours and then were called to order and marched to our barracks. They were nice and comfortable. Each company had a room 30 x 100 feet. The officers had two nice rooms 16 feet square. In the company quarters, each man had a place to sleep that was as good as can be expected with the exception that we had no straw and we were obliged to sleep on boards which was hard for those who were not accustomed to such fare but we were well satisfied for we had plenty of room and good rations. We also had a building or shed with two tables forty feet long and a bench on each side and a room on one end to keep our stores in. I would like to be as well fixed in every camp but we will not be.

There was when we arrived in Benton Barracks about forty thousand soldiers and they were coming and going every day. We drilled every day and progressed finely. After we had been in the barracks a few days our regiment received four hundred Colts Revolving five shooting rifles. Each company received…


…forty. They have Sabre Bayonets. They were very nice and bright, but after they pass through the war, they will be of but little value as they are too finely finished to do good service.

I was Sergeant of the Guard one day while we were in the barracks. The orders were very strict but easily obeyed by those that were inclined to do their duty and observe the regulations. The barracks were all guarded in with guards ordered to let no soldier pass without their pass was counter signed by the Commander of the camp and regiment and the General commanding the Barracks. Commissioned Officers were not allowed to pass without a pass. All that were not back before eight o’clock at night, were put under arrest and court martialed. I arrested four soldiers and put them in the guard house for safe keeping.

There was a number of Rebel prisoners in the guard house awaiting to be taken the arsenal in the city where they were kept as prisoners of war. There was one hundred and eighty five guards watching about the barracks and the picket guards surrounded the whole country a distance of nineteen miles.

After we had been in the barracks a week, we received our guns. We had the…


…promise of rifles and to our great surprise, when our arms came, they were old condemned English muskets. It caused considerable excitement among our men for they did not like to take them, but we were sworn to obey orders and our Colonel assured us we would not keep them over ten days and we would not have to fight with them, so we consented to take them and we were supplied with cartridges, but they were of very little use for they would not half fill the bore of the muskets.

The next day we received orders to leave the barracks. To what place we were going, we knew not; neither did we care. Altho our arms were not fit for use, we were determined to do our best with them and if we were called into action, we intended to sell our lives as dearly as possible. We had not drilled in the manual of arms but awkward as we were, we were willing to face double our number of Rebels.

September 26th. Again we were under marching orders. Accordingly, everything was ready to march at eight o’clock. Our army stores were all loaded into wagons and then our regiment started. We marched…


…to the city. There we found the steamers waiting for us. We marched aboard. Six companies on one named War Eagle and four on the other named Sam Gatz. Our company was on the Sam Gatz. At about two o’clock, the two steamers started up the Mississippi River. Before dark we were in the Missouri river on our way toward Lexington [Mo.] where there had just been a battle lost by our side and all of Col. [James A.] Mulligan Irish Brigade [23rd Illinois Infantry] taken prisoners together with a company of cavalry from Knoxville, Ills. Everything appears quiet along the banks of the river. At dark, our boats landed and tied up for the night. As soon as the boat was made fast, all of the men that had Colts rifles were picked out for picket guard and were stationed on a circle half a mile from the boat.

In the morning the whistle was sounded at daybreak for the guards to return, which they did, well loaded with apples, peaches, honey, and paw paws that they had found in abundance a short distance from the river. As soon as the boat was ready, we started up the river again. We passed several fine towns but they had the appearance of hard times and we could see but very little stirring. We had nothing to check the speed of our boats except the frequent sandbars…


…that always obstruct the navigation on the Missouri River.

37th Illinois Arrives in Jefferson City, Mo.

September 29th. At nine o’clock A.M., we came in sight of Jefferson City. We expected to stop there to await orders. Our boats were landed. There were two steamers laying at the wharf when we landed. Soon after we stopped our overcoats were distributed, they were very good ones. We will now take a view of Jefferson City as it appears the town is a small one situated on the south side of the river. The locality is very rough and stony and the sidewalks are in bad order. The Penitentiary and the State House are here. They are both built of stone on high ground at a distance of one half mile apart. They are both well filled with prisoners. The Penitentiary has its convicts and the basement of the State House is filled with prisoners of war, taken from the Rebel army.

There is about thirty thousand soldiers stationed here. A number of the houses are used for hospitals for the sick. The town has the appearance of being an important commercial point in the Northern and Western part of the Missouri. The Pacific R.R. passes through the north side of town. Our boats were heavily laden with army stores and munitions of war, which were unloaded for the use of the troops encamped here. It took most of the night to unload the boat.


Our regiment stayed aboard all night. In the morning, September 30th, we received orders to remain aboard until further orders. At nine o’clock we observed that preparations were being made to continue our trip up the river. At ten o’clock our boats started accompanied by the Steamer Traveller with the Missouri Ninth Volunteer Regiment and two pieces of cannon aboard.

Our boats ran aground several times during the afternoon. At dark the boats landed at a wood yard for the night and to take aboard wood to last for the next day. As soon as the steamers landed, the guards were as usual stationed around our boats on shore. As soon as the hands that belonged to the boats commenced to carry the wood aboard. The Officer of the day (Capt. of Co. G) ordered his company to assist in carrying wood, but no sooner had they stepped on shore than they started for a barnyard (that was but a few rods from the river) where they found a flock of geese. They catched and carried eight of them to the boat. The owner followed and overtook them just as they were going aboard. He could not get the geese but in exchange he received a nice piece of pork, not half paying for the property taken.

The boats started again…


…at daylight and run along finely. The river in places had the appearance of once running a mile from where it does now and islands of clean white sand can be seen on either side of the channel. At ten o’clock we passed the mouth of the Osage River (twelve miles below Boonville). At noon we passed the battleground where General Lyon with men fought Rebels and gained a victory [Battle of Boonville]. The battle commenced in a cornfield on the bank of the river. Gen. Lyon retreated until he had the Rebels in an open field on a side hill when a sharp firing commenced on both sides but did not last long for the Rebels soon found that they were losing men and took to the woods in great confusion, but were followed by Gen. Lyons until they had passed Boonville three miles from the battleground. Gen. Lyon lost but few men, while the Rebels loss was large.

37th Illinois Arrives at Boonville, Mo.

At one o’clock we landed at Boonville and marched ashore and stacked arms and then we looked around to see what we could discover new in the Rebel State. The first thing of importance that we could see was a great breastwork (built of dirt). It looked as though the inmates were perfectly safe against the fire of the Secesh Shotgun Army, and so they were for they had a trial of their safety and patriotism only ten days previous to our…


…arrival. The fortifications were commenced by the Rebels in the spring of 1861 but as they wished to take Lexington and were short soldiers, they left Boonville. Soon after, the union men of Boonville formed three companies all numbering two hundred forty men. After the companies were armed by the U.S., they completed the fortification and occupied them when we arrived.

One morning at daylight (ten days after our arrival), twelve hundred Rebels made an attack on the Home Guards as they passed through town. Before the battle the officers Col. Brown and others were enjoying their breakfast. They said they were going to whip those Dutch Rascals and return in half an hour. They did return in half an hour well paid for their trouble for they had lost their Colonel and three Commissioned Officers and nine soldiers were found dead on the field and about sixty wounded. The Home Guards lost but one Orderly Sergeant. He was shot just as the Rebels retreated while in the hurrahing for the Union. All of the Rebels that were able to fight had joined Jackson’s Army before the Battle with Gen. Lyons.

After we had been there about two hours, fruit began to come into camp in plenty for there was an abundance of it close to our camp. As there was no guard stationed around our regiment, 
I concluded…


…to find out where the fruit came from so I started and went in the direction that the soldiers came from with their fruit, about half a mile to a large orchard. The trees were large and some of the limbs were broken off by this fruit. There were apples and peaches scattered all over the ground and soldiers were about as plentiful as the fruit. I got a few very nice peaches and returned to camp and there I was surprised to find that fifty of our company had been sent under our Capt. and First Lieut. to guard the steamer Sam Gatz up the river to Glasco to get to the Fifth Iowa Volunteer Regiment and return to Booneville the next day, which they did.

At four o’clock our tents were unloaded and we pitched them for the first time after leaving Chicago. We put them up in order and prepared for night but had no straw and the night was cold but we could do no better than to lay down on the damp ground and shiver until morning came and everyone was busy arranging cooking stoves and preparing breakfast. At two o’clock our men returned on the steamer. The camps of three Regts. were all arranged in orders during the day. At night all was quiet until 10 o’clock when we received orders to sleep on our arms and be ready to fight…


…at a minutes warning. So every man loaded his gun and carefully placed it by his side and expected to use them before morning. But morning came and we were all alive, but not satisfied for they were anxious to meet the Rebels and give them a warm reception.

As soon as our camp was arranged for comfort and convenience we commenced drilling—mostly the Skirmish drill. We progressed finely in the school of soldiers. There was picket guards stationed around Boonville at a distance of one and one half miles. Their duty was to watch their posts and allow no one to pass without proper authority and give the alarm in case of the enemy approaching by firing off their guns and retreating to camp. One night after we had been there about a week, the report of a gun was heard at nine o’clock. It was supposed to be one of the Pickets guns and caused considerable excitement. Our company was ordered out to ascertain the cause of the signal of alarm and marched around the picket line, but everything was quiet and they returned to camp. Such alarms were frequent in our camp but all proved to be false. In Boonville as well as all the towns along the river it looked forsaken and business was nearly all ceased. There were a few…


…stores and groceries yet in operation but their stock of goods was small and poor and they charged double the value for every article.

Every day when the weather was suitable except Sundays we drilled from six to eight hours a day. No soldier could by any means obtain a pass to leave camp except to go for water to the spring a quarter of a mile distant from camp. The order was issued after we had been in camp ten days prohibiting any man or soldier from buying or eating any fruit, pies, cakes that was sold by peddlers that are always plenty in or about our camp. At several camps there had been fruit bought that proved to be poisoned and caused several soldiers to go to their long home before they were prepared, for soldiers seldom live a Christian life.

I was on guard duty several times during our stay in Boonville and when I was, I had considerable to attend to as our orders were very strict. The guard house (a place of confinement for prisoners) was generally occupied by ten or fifteen soldiers who has disobeyed orders and were sent there for punishment or to await court martial. I was detailed for picket and sent in charge of nine men to take charge of an important post west of town. There was plenty of fruit near the post and the guards had their share. I was fortunate enough to get a good supper and breakfast at a farmers. He had…


…the appearance of being a good Union man and I think he was. He told me that his intentions were to move to Illinois to get away from the Rebels for they had destroyed nearly all his property for the reason that he would not join the Rebel Army. That night was a very disagreeable one for it rained all night and we had nothing to keep us dry or warm except for our overcoats. I returned to camp at nine o’clock A.M. but the picket were not relieved until three o’clock P. M.

Nothing of importance occurred until we had been at Boonville three weeks, then we received marching orders but there was not teams enough to transport our tents, army stores, etc. so a detachment was formed of one hundred and fifty men commanded by a Capt. and sent out in the country to prepare teams into service. They was gone two days and returned with four teams and wagons. Several expeditions of this kind were made with similar success. Teams were very rare as the Rebels had taken nearly all and had left many farmers without even a horse to carry on their farm with.

The weather was warm and the water poor which caused considerable sickness and one soldier belonging to the 9th Missouri Regiment, after a short sickness, he died. The whole Brigade was formed up and marched to the grave to witness the first military funeral that had…


…been where we were camped. The funeral was conducted according to the army regulations. It was a grand scene but a very solemn one. We had two cooks for our company but that did not suit all so we concluded to make a division of four mess was done. Each mess was in charge of a sergeant. One man was detailed out of each mess to cook three days and then another making a change of cooks most too often for as soon as they had learned to cook they had to stop. A few days before our march was to commence, a drove of three hundred mules was brought to our camp to be caught and broken for use, so most of the soldiers were engaged in doing this.

At last our teams were all ready and orders were to march. Eight companies were to hold themselves in readiness to march on the following day. The other two were to remain to hold the post until further orders. On the morning of the 13th of October we was ordered to strike tents at nine o’clock A.M. which was done and soon after we had them loaded into wagons for the first time. 

Each company was furnished with one wagon for transportation of all the property belonging to the company and the officers. After our company wagons were loaded, I was detailed with four men in charge to load…


…Army stores which detained me until the entire train had left camp. Then I was sent with three men to help the teamsters along with their new teams. Each wagon was drawn by six mules and as they were not broken very well, it took a soldier to lead each one.

The regiment marched ahead of the teams and they thought that they had a very hard march but they rested several times during the day and at night they camped on the banks of a beautiful little stream six miles south of Boonville. The roads were very rough, hilly, and dusty which caused the train to move along very slow and it was an hour after dark before the train reached the camp. The night was clear and warm so we did not pitch our tents but got along finely. At daylight on the morning of the 15th of October, we started on our weary march. No one knew where we were going but we all supposed that we were going in the pursuit of the Rebels. We got along very well and marched to a nice prairie where we encamped for the night. It was cold and rained before we stopped for the night, so we pitched our tents. There was no wood to burn and our Col. would not allow any rails to be burnt so we could not cook anything, but we had…


…our rations of hard crackers and pork in our haversacks. Before we left Boonville there was three of our company left in the hospital sick, and one was left at a farmers at our last camp.

As usual at daylight we struck tents and started on. We marched thirteen miles and stopped for a few days to await further orders. Our camp was two miles west of Otterville on a small prairie surrounded by small trees. We were very tired as the roads was very muddy. We crossed the Lamine river two miles east of Otterville. There was three companies of infantry stationed near the Pacific R.R. Bridge to keep the Rebels from destroying it. The soldiers were encamped on a hill at a short distance from the river with a temporary fortification around them. We stayed at our new camp one day and one half and again had orders to strike tents. We were soon on the road marching west and marched two miles to a large prairie halfway between Smithton and Otterville where we again pitched tents. The object of moving was to find a more convenient place to drill. There was plenty of room to drill and it was used for that purpose for we were drilled from six to ten hours per day. No soldier was at any time allowed to leave…


…camp except when they got so sick that they could not stay in camp and were sent to the Hospital.

After we had been in this camp two weeks one member of our company was taken sick and died. His loss was felt by all who were acquainted with him. He was a favorite with all our company. His remains were sent to his parents at La Fayette to be buried by his friends. He was placed in an Atmospheric Coffin and sent express on cars accompanied by Lieut. C[asimir] P[erry] Jackson (1st Lieut. of our company). Our Colonel went to St Louis to obtain suitable arms for our regiment but before he returned, they were expressed to us. They were Belgian Rifles and very good guns, altho some were dissatisfied with them. The Colts Revolving Rifles were given to the right and left flanking Companies and Sergeants of the other companies were furnished with Belgian Rifles.

We were busily engaged most of our time either on guard duty or drilling. It was very unhealthy here. Several mornings there was as many as twenty of our company on the sick list and some were in the hospital at Otterville. Some time before we left this camp, the regiment was very well drilled and fit for…


…service. Every day peddlers came to camp with teams (to pick up the loose change that soldiers had, but it was getting scarce and we had not been paid since we enlisted). Their articles for sale were apples, pies, cakes, corn bread, syrup, etc.  Nothing more of importance transpired during our stay at this camp.

We received marching orders. Accordingly we made preparations to start the following day. Two days rations were cooked and placed in our haversacks. Knapsacks were packed and everything was done toward our new march. At nine o’clock we struck tents and in an hour every thing was in readiness to move on toward the enemy’s hidden quarters. Two of the members of Co. B were sick so as to cause their removal from camp, but instead of them going to the hospital they were sent home on furloughs. At eleven we started making the second march we had made. It seemed more pleasure than duty to leave that camp for so many had sickened and died during our stay that it seemed more like a grave yard than a camp.

An advanced guard was formed and placed a quarter of a mile ahead of our moving column. The wagons and teams…


…followed in the rear and in the rear of all was a guard to guard our stores and prevent anyone from interfering with them. We marched a southwest course to a station on the Pacific R.R. called Smithton. The Stars and Stripes were waving over the town but it had the appearance of being destitute of the former inhabitants as no one could be seen except those dressed in uniforms. Our music played a march as we passed the town all was done in order and a fine appearance was made by our 37. Here we changed our course to south and about a half mile, we stopped for dinner or rather to eat our rations. It did not take us long as we were not tired so at one o’clock we again started. The country was very nice changing from prairie to timber intervals and occasionally a nice stream of clear cold water. We marched on steadily until sunset with the exception of a few minutes rest which we were allowed every two hours. At sunset we were halted on the bank of a small creek and pitched tents for the night. It was rather rough camping and cold weather. At daylight in the morning of [  ]….


…we struck tents and soon were ready to commence our long and weary days march. It was sunrise when we started. We marched on steady and at noon we began to feel the effects of constant marching. We halted at noon to eat our rations and rest an hour then we were again started on our way.

At night we stopped at Cole Creek four miles from Cole Camp. Our two days rations were gone when we had eaten our supper and a new supply was necessary. Several Beves were killed and dressed and divided among the companies. Then the beef was cooked during the night and in the morning our two days rations were again dealt out. As usual we struck tents at daylight and commenced our march at sunrise. The country began to change in appearance. It was rough and stony and most every piece of timber there was a small stream passing through it. At one farm house we passed and old Negro selling apples. He found no trouble in dispensing of his fruit but he received no pay for it. Several scenes of this kind occurred during our march and it was a very common occurrence to see chickens and geese and etc. taken into our camp at night, but no one knew where it came from…


…when asked by an officer. At four o’clock we arrived at Warsaw—a town that has the appearance of once being an inland commercial town but since the war had commenced business has entirely ceased. There are some nice buildings here and several stores. Most of the dwelling houses are unused hospitals for Federal soldiers that are taken sick on the road going south of which there were about three hundred. Two members of our company were left there, not being able to march.

We were halted in town to rest and to receive orders concerning our camp. After we had been here half an hour we were called to attention and marched across the Osage River where we camped for the night. The river was a nice stream. There had some day been a ferry boat playing between the banks but it did not afford transportation for so many soldiers so a temporary bridge had been built across the river. There was a squadron of cavalry encamped near the river opposite the town. The night previous to our arrival a scouting party of cavalry came into came with a prize of one piece of artillery taken from the Rebels only twenty miles…


…south. As usual, we started on our long tiresome march at daylight. I was Sergeant of the advance guard today and Lieut. Jones was Officer of the Guard. (Lieut. Jones later married Fayette’s sister Maria).

After we had been on the march an hour, we received orders to send two men out one on each side of the road fifty yards distant to detect any one that might be skulking around the woods as spies to ascertain our movements. To the rear of those scouts there was twelve men with their guns loaded and ready at a moment’s warning to fire. At a few rods in the rear were sixteen more guards and half a mile further to the rear was the head of the Battalion. The road was very hilly and rough and in places very muddy. At nine o’clock we crossed the Pomme de Terre River. There was a large covered bridge across the river and we halted for a few moments rest and then started on.

This was our fourth day march and it began to be anything but pleasure to march with our pack saddles on our backs weighing twenty to fifty pounds and our haversacks, canteens, etc. which made a load of about sixty pounds to each man. We marched eighteen miles this day and camped at night near a small…


…town called Quincy on a prairie. It was dark when we arrived in camp and ten o’clock before we got our tents pitched. 
I stationed the gunners around the camp in squads of three men and a Corporal and gave them their proper orders. Then I returned to camp and retired for the night and soon I forgot all the troubles of the day. No one knew where we would stop or cared much, but all we wanted was to find a camp of 
Secesh to pay us for our marching for so long.

The night before we arrived here General Davis’s command of eight thousand soldiers camped on the same ground that we did this night and moved on in the morning leaving a space of only one days march between them and our regiment. We started on again at daylight and marched on a south course for two miles. Then we changed course, leaving the main road and turning a little westward. There had been but little travel on the road and it was very difficult for the teams to move on the roads at all. At noon we stopped at a creek for rest and to eat our rations and then we moved on. This was the roughest country that I had ever travelled over. Before night…


….a number of soldiers tired out and stopped by the wayside to rest and it was long after dark before they came in to camp at night.

We camped in sight of Humansville—a small town in the woods. Here we expected to overtake Gen. Davis’s Division but the night before we arrived there (at nine o’clock) they received orders to leave their teams, knapsacks, &c, and start on a forced march to Springfield. At this camp we received the same orders and our men were formed in two ranks and all had their chance to go on the forced march of thirty miles per day for two days or stay and follow on with the teams. But as tired as we all were—and some hardly able to walk—there was but three or four of our company that would consent to stay behind but several were left against their will and it was better for them for many that did go was tired enough before we had reached our destination. We marched on our way as soon as we could see and did not stop until we had marched three hours at a rate of three miles per hour.

At three o’clock we again came on a road that we had left the morning before. Soon after we passed a small town called Boliver.


It was Sunday that we passed this town and there was a number of gay young ladies to be seen. They did not look like our lovely girls at home but it seemed as though I could enjoy myself conversing with them as I have with ladies before I joined the service of the United States. But we could not even speak to them but we looked at them as long as we could for ladies were seldom seen. We did not stop in town but marched on as fast as we could conveniently.

At dark we were marched into an open field and slept on the ground with nothing but our blankets to keep us from freezing. Our rations were nearly all eaten and we had no more with us so a beef was killed and each man roasted a piece on a stick to last him the following day. At daylight we started on and marched as fast as we could. At noon we met General Fremont and his Body Guard. We were lined up to salute the General as he passed and had our flag and banner both spread just as they came up the wind caught our banner (that had been presented to our regiment in Chicago) and tore it two. As Major General passed, he held his cap in his hand (we stood at present arms). He felt bad for…


…only a day or two before he had been superseded by Major General Hunter.

Major General Fremont’s Body Guard made a fine appearance. At the head of the column was one hundred mounted Indians armed with old hunting rifles and dressed in Indian costume. Next in the rear was the General and his staff followed by three hundred mounted riflemen and in the rear was another hundred Indians. They moved on and were followed by a long train of wagons and several companies of infantry. A few days before, General Fremont’s Body Guards while at Springfield, made a tour in the country and as they were passing through a lane (140 in number), they were fired upon by a force of 1900 Rebels. They were all ready and commenced their fire as soon as the guards came in reach. The guards could do little until they had dismounted and lowered the fence on both sides of the road and again mounted their horses. Then the battle commenced in good earnest. But as soon as the Rebels found that they were losing men, they turned and ran for the woods and dropped their guns and the guards followed and killed and wounded…


…140 of them. The Federal loss was 18 killed and wounded.

We will again proceed on our march. After the General’s train had passed us, we again resumed our march and at two o’clock we arrived at the picket guards that surround the camp at Springfield. We passed them and marched a mile and a half farther and arrived in camp where there was about thirty thousand soldiers encamped. As our train and tents were behind, we were obliged to sleep in the woods for the night. The next day our train came in and we arranged our camp one mile north of the city. We expected to have a fight as soon as we arrived at Springfield but were sadly disappointed to find none of the Rebel forces there or within reach. We had been on half rations for three days and when we arrived there we had but three days rations for the whole army so we were obliged to do something immediately. But we could do nothing only to retrace our march back north.


The remainder of our marches will be written hereafter commencing at Springfield or where I stopped writing with ink. I could have filled this book but I have a chance to send it home now and so I will send it as I may not have another chance to send it for some time.

Camp Lamine, Jan 12th, 1862

Dear Sister [page excised]


Spared & Shared 21

Saving history one letter at a time.

Spared & Shared 20

Saving history one letter at a time

Notes on Western Scenery, Manners, &c.

by Washington Marlatt, 1848

Spared & Shared 19

Saving History One Letter at a Time

Recollections of Army Life

by Charles A. Frey

The Civil War Letters of William Kennedy

Co. B, 91st New York Infantry

The Glorious Dead

Letters from the 23rd Illinois Infantry, the 111th Pennsylvania Infantry, the 64th New York Infantry, and the 14th Pennsylvania Cavalry

Cornelius Van Houten

1st New Jersey Light Artillery

Letters of Charley Howe

36th Massachusetts Volunteers

Sgt. Major Fayette Lacey

Co. B, 37th Illinois Volunteers

"These few lines"

the pocket memorandum of Alexander C. Taggart

The Civil War Letters of Will Dunn

Co. F, 62nd Pennsylvania Volunteers

Henry McGrath Cannon

Co. A, 124th New York Infantry & Co. B, 16th New York Cavalry

Civil War Letters of Frederick Warren Holmes

Co. H, 77th Illinois Volunteers

"Though distant lands between us be"

Civil War Letters of Monroe McCollister, Co. B, 6th OVC

"Tell her to keep good heart"

Civil War Letters of Nelson Statler, 211th PA

Building Bluemont

The Origin of Bluemont Central College

"May Heaven Protect You"

14th Connecticut drummer boy's war-time correspondence with his mother

Moreau Forrest

Lt. Commander in the US Navy during the Civil War

Diary of the 29th Massachusetts Infantry

Fighting with the Irish Brigade during the Peninsula Campaign

"Till this unholy rebellion is crushed"

Letters of Dory & Morty Longwood, 7th Indiana

"I Go With Good Courage"

The Civil War Letters of Henry Clay Long, 11th Maine Infantry

"This is a dreadful war"

The Civil War Letters of Jacob Bauer, 16th Connecticut, & his wife Emily

Spared & Shared 16

Saving History One Letter at a Time

Lloyd Willis Manning Letters

3rd Massachusetts Heavy Artillery, Co. I

The Yankee Volunteer

A Virtual Archive of Civil War Likenesses collected by Dave Morin

William Henry Jordan

Co. K, 7th Rhode Island Infantry

No Cause to Blush

The Bancroft Collection of Civil War Letters

William A. Bartlett Civil War Letters

Company D, 37th Massachusetts Infantry

The John Hughes Collection

A Virtual Archive of his Letters, 1858-1869

The Civil War Letters of Rufus P. Staniels

Co. H, 13th New Hampshire Volunteers

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