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The Civil War Journal of
Seymour Gilbert

1st Lieut., Co. G, 28th Wisconsin Infantry Volunteers

Little Rock, Arkansas
December 1864

Typescripted from the original holograph by
H. Wayne Overstreet
Further editing and background research by
M. Alan Overstreet, MA, MLIS

December 1, 1864 On the March
Dec. 2 On the March
Dec. 3 Little Rock, Ark.
Dec. 4 Little Rock, Ark.
Dec. 5 Little Rock, Ark.
Dec. 6 Little Rock, Ark.
Dec. 7 Little Rock, Ark.
Dec. 8 Little Rock, Ark.
Dec. 9 Little Rock, Ark.
Dec. 10 Little Rock, Ark.
Dec. 11 Little Rock, Ark.
Dec. 12 Little Rock, Ark.
Dec. 13 Little Rock, Ark.
Dec. 14 Little Rock, Ark.
Dec. 15 Little Rock, Ark.
Dec. 16 Little Rock, Ark.
Dec. 17 Little Rock, Ark.
Dec. 18 Little Rock, Ark.
Dec. 19 Little Rock, Ark.
Dec. 20 Little Rock, Ark.
Dec. 21 Little Rock, Ark.
Dec. 22 Little Rock, Ark.
Dec. 23 Little Rock, Ark.
Dec. 24 Little Rock, Ark.
Dec. 25 Little Rock, Ark.
Dec. 26 Little Rock, Ark.
Dec. 27 Little Rock, Ark.
Dec. 28 Little Rock, Ark.
Dec. 29 Little Rock, Ark.
Dec. 30 Little Rock, Ark.
Dec. 31 Little Rock, Ark.

Dec. 1st On the March

We were up very early in the morning, and before 5 O' clock we had eaten our breakfast of bread and bacon. There was a great deal of grumbling in the Mess because Old John had not furnished something more to eat. We started before it was fairly daylight, our Company being Advance Guard, the reverse of the day before. My feet were quite sore, and the cords of my legs very sore, and I found marching to be very hard work, for at first I could scarcely stir. We marched over the same kind of country as the day before, covered with Pine and Oak timber, and scarcely any houses, and they deserted. We marched about 10 miles - yes 12 - and then stopped and hour and a half for dinner on the bank of a bayou, a couple of miles past a cotton gin that was gun by water. I ate dinner with the boys - hard tack and bacon, not considering Old John's dinner of cold kid and hard tack worth going back after. We went about 8 miles in the P.M. and camped about 2 miles from a steam saw mill that was run by the Government and at which one of ur outposts were stationed. I was immediately detailed to take charge of the picket guard, and a horse was furnished me to ride while stationing the pickets, 48 men and 12 Non Commissioned Officers. I made four posts, and after seeing that all was right, I went and ate supper with Old John again, and it consisted of a scanty supply of hard tack, and a very little bacon. I then lay down and slept until about 1 O' clock A.M. when I mounted the horse again and made the Grand Rounds. Finding everything right, I went back to camp and lay until morning. My legs were very lame all day, and I suffered a good deal trying to keep up with the Company. About noon we sapped a house that was not deserted.

Dec. 2nd On the March

We were up and on the move again about the same time as the morning before, and we had gone but a short distance when it commenced to rain. It was the first rain we had seen since leaving the Bluff, and it rained only about two hours, but enough to wet the boys, most of whom were without rubbers. I had mine, and got along very well. When three or four miles from the Rock we marched over a high hill, that was perfectly covered with stones. It was the strongest ground I ever saw, and I saw more stones in marching half and hour than I had seen all the time that I had previously been in Arkansas. As we passed the lines around the Rock, we were met by General Salomon and Staff, and the boys gave three cheers. As we passed St. John's College we were met by the General's Brass Band who escorted us to the camp of the 9th Wisconsin, where we stacked arms. The boys then went into the Men's Quarters and ate a dinner that the 9th had prepared for them, and the Officers went into the Sutter's shop and ate a fine dinner that was furnished by the officers of the 9th. There was plenty of liquor on the tables, and most of the officers showed its effects afterwards, but as usual I touched not, tasted not, handled not. After dinner the Band escorted us to the old camp of the 36th Iowa Infantry where we found some very poor unoccupied barracks, which were assigned to us until we could erect Quarters of our own. About night we got a mail that was awaiting us, and I received one letter each from Mira, Alvarus, Juliette and Luriette, and I was very glad to learn that my family and friends were well. At night I slept with some of the boys on the ground, the Captain and I having no Quarters. I was real sick for a short time but soon got over it, and I slept quite well.

Dec. 3rd Little Rock, Ark.

We found it real cold in the morning, and comfortless enough, as we had scarcely any facilities for making fires. I went down town for a short time in the P.M. but I found no particular change in the appearance of things. Our recruiting Party Captains Smith and Murray and the Sergeants etc., came in on the afternoon train, and brought me my sword, sash, belt, coat, pants, etc., etc., that were bought at Milwaukee. I was very much pleased with the things, and very glad to get them, as I had got along on borrow since my muster. The revolver was very nice too. They brought no particular news, but confirmed some that we had previously received. A mail came through on the same train, and some later papers, and from them we learned that Sheridan had been made a Major General in the Regular Army in place of General Mc Clellan, who had resigned, and that General Sherman had reached Milledgeville, and probably Macon and Augusta, leaving destruction in his path. We did not get our mail that night, on account of the shiftlessness of some one, probably the Quarter Master Sergeant. At night I had a violent dysentery, and a severe griping in my bowels, and getting chilled through while up in the night, I had a slight shake. I was real sick all night, and slept but little.

Dec. 4th Little Rock, Ark.

I felt miserably in the morning, and could not eat any breakfast, nor in fact anything to speak of during the day. We received our mail toward noon, and I received one letter from Uncle Hiram, written in reply to one that I wrote him some time before we left the Bluff. He wrote a very good letter, but scarcely anything concerning his own affairs, and no news. I felt quite sick all day, having a headache, and my diarrhea continuing. I remained in camp until toward night, when I walked down to Alick Mc Neill's Quarters, where I remained until after supper. I took a cup of of coffee, and a mouthful of two of bread, but was too sick to relish anything, or keep much on my stomach. A Detail of men were out in the woods cutting logs, but they did not accomplish much, as the timber was five miles out, and scarce at that. Only a few teams were hauling timber, and but few logs were hauled. I felt a little better at night, and slept some more than the previous night, though I was by no means well, and almost every one was making remarks about my sickly looks. I nearly made up my mind to apply for a leave of absence, being afraid that it might be some time before I should get well on duty in such a miserable country.

Dec 5th Little Rock, Ark.

I felt a little better in the morning, though I was still too sick to eat much or do much. I finished and mailed a letter that I had commenced to Mira, and also wrote one to Alvarus. I went down town during the day, with Lieutenant Alvord, but his company was not at all congenial, for he wanted to drink, and spend his time as I never spend mine. I bought a pair of number 14 boots of the Post Q.M. for Mose, paying $3.25 for them. I thought they were the largest boots I ever saw. I had to certify that they were for my own use, and a person seeing the certificate - and the boots might have cause to laugh, or to suspect the truth of the statement. But they were for my own use, but for my servant's wear, so it required no great stretch of conscience for me to certify as required. Mose was as pleased with them as though they had been made to fit the most delicate of dandy feet, and he had been their possessor.

Captain Tichenor commenced his duties as Member of the Division Court Martial - General Birchard of Waukesha was Judge Advocate, and if I am not mistaken a Lieutenant Colonel Jenkins was President. The Captain broke in my new sword by wearing it on that Duty. The boys complained of going hungry for want of sufficient rations, and I gave Sergeant Donaldson permission to use $5.00 of the Company Fund for the purchase of bread for the men, which he did. At night I slept on the ground with the men as usual, but I concluded not to do it much more, as it was a dirty hole, and I was afraid from something that Jake said he was lousy - or that some of the other boys were, and I did not fancy the idea much.

Dec. 6th Little Rock, Ark.

We had quite a pleasant day though a little cloudy. I went down town for a short time in morning, and while there I saw a tame coon, a tame fox, and a tame owl - and the latter looked as wise as an owl, as he sat up on his perch. The coon would stick his paws in peoples' pockets, and feel for something nice to eat, and seemed the funniest part of the lot. When I returned to camp I found two letters from Mira awaiting my perusal, the mail having come in the previous night. They were written from about the 20th to the 26th of November, when my little family were all well. I was very glad, as I always was, to hear from home again, and to learn that my family and friends were well. I learned from them that Doctor Ingersoll and some of the other folks around the Hill had got into trouble with a Mrs. Smith for horning her on account of her intimacy with Walter Grant, and they settled it with her by paying $16.00 and costs, she having sued them for damages. I always thought it much better to keep out of such troubles. I wrote to my wife in the P.M. but wrote a short letter on account of having no accommodations for writing. We had no desk up, and I had to write in the mens' Quarters. There was Dress Parade at 4:30 conducted by Colonel Gray, he having been released by order of General Stul because the charges preferred against him had not been forwarded from Pine Bluff. The order for his release was read by Adjutant Kowing, Kendrick having been detailed as a. a. a. Gen. at Brigade Headquarters. I forgot my white gloves, and felt ashamed enough in my bare hands. In the evening Loughney and I took quite a long walk down town, and I mailed the letter that I had written to Mira. I then, after returning to camp, moved my bedding into another shanty and slept on a bunk with Walton and others. I had examined my shirt, and found two or three crawlers, that I believed I caught from H_______n, and I did not feel thankful to him at all. I immediately sent off my shirt, socks etc, by Mose to the washerwoman. I did not sleep very well, it being past midnight before I could get to sleep at all, and I felt as though I should have the ague again soon.

Dec. 7th Little Rock, Ark.

We had a heavy, cold North West wind, and it was more than the boys could do to keep comfortable. At 8:30 A.M. I went down to Division Guard Mounting to see how the thing was managed, and I found that it was about the same as any Guard Mounting, only there were several Officers of the Day, and a good many Officers of the Guard. As I did not wear my sword and sash, I did not go up among the officers, who stood in a group in front, back of the Officers of the Day. From Guard Mounting I went round by Alick's Quarters, to see what the prospect was for getting a bunk, and then round by the Pioneer Corps - and then back to my Quarters. Dan went with me from Alick's. When I reached my Quarters a small mail had just come, and I received a Milwaukee Sentinel of Nov. 28th from my wife. Chicago and St. Louis papers of the 2nd just came by express, and they contained a report of a battle at Franklin Tennessee in which our forces were victorious, killing and wounding a large number of the enemy, and taking 1000 prisoners, including one Brigadier General. I wrote a letter to my wife, and about 2 P.M. I had a slight shake of the ague, but I knew from my feelings that it would not be the last, unless I could break it again. My sickness, and the wishes of my wife cause me to desire to go home for a short time, but I thought that Tichenor did not want me to go, though I could see no good reason why he should feel so. But he did not seem willing to assist me any, and I thought treated the subject much more coldly than though he were personally interested. I had to lie on the ground, or sleep with the men, and was so miserably situated in every respect, that I made application to be taken to the Officer's Hospital, just at night, but Doctor Smith said it was too late, and I would have to wait until morning. I was quite sick in the evening, and the cords of my legs were real sore, and cramped so that I could scarcely straighten my legs. Alick brought up the frame work of a bunk, but there was no bottom in it, and he could not obtain lumber enough to make a bottom, though though Brigade Carpenter, and we could not obtain a foot, so I went down and slept with the boys again, sick as I was, as the Captain did not seem disposed to find a sleeping place and leave the only bunk to me. But I slept much better than I anticipated, and spent the night quite comfortably.

Dec. 8th Little Rock, Ark.

I felt a good deal better in the morning, but I knew well enough that my ague would return regularly in two days, so I went to Doctor Smith for his advice. He seemed to think it better not to go the Officers's Hospital, and I did not feel like insisting upon it, though I told him that my accommodations were so poor that I thought the prospect for getting well where I then was, was not very good. He gave me to understand that Lieutenant L________e was there - at the Officers's Hospital on account of a miserable private disease, and that nearly all that went there, went from the same cause, and he seemed to think it not creditable to go there if it could be avoided. I introduced the subject of a furlough, but he seemed to think there was not much of a chance and discouraged it in every way. I saw that I could obtain no assistance from him, and I gave up the idea of going to the Hospital of obtaining a furlough (Leave of Absence). I was entirely out of money, but I thought that in case I could obtain a Leave of Absence, that I could manage in some way to raise money enough to take me home. This was quite early in the A.M. and I employed the remainder of the A.M. in writing, reading etc. There was Battalion Drill in the P.M. but as I was reported on the sick list, I did not have to go out. I put on my overcoat and went down to Brigade Headquarters to get the Brigade Blacksmith to put heel and toe plates on my new boots, as the rocky ground around Little Rock would wear out the best of soles in a short time. The Captain slept in Captain Slawson's Quarters, and I slept on the bunk that he had been using, but it was a real cold, windy night, and the latter half of the night I suffered a good deal with the cold, and did not sleep much.

Dec. 9th Little Rock, Ark.

I was very cold in the morning, and as we had no wood, I suffered with the cold a great deal, and long before noon I was shaking with the ague. I shook a long time, and was real sick all day and until midnight. After Taps I had a very hard spell of vomiting which lasted until midnight after which I went to sleep, and rested quite comfortably until morning. The Captain thought I ought to go to the Officer's Hospital and went to see the Doctor about it in the evening, but I think the Doctor did not commit himself at all. The old Cadot came up in the evening, and brought the boys, things that were left behind, and the mail that had been sent down to the Bluff. I received two letters from my wife, and one from Sylvanus, I had received later letters, but those were very welcome, notwithstanding. The men were at work on the Quarters every day, but owing to the disadvantages under which they labored, they progressed but slowly. Our Company Quarters were not yet commenced, on account of no timber with which to commence them. In the evening a. a. Cowing came to my Quarters and asked me if I thought I should be well enough to act as Officer of the Day the next day, but I thought I should not, unless I got better very fast. There was nothing new in camp, and no news from any quarter.

Dec. 10th Little Rock Ark.

The weather seemed somewhat moderate in the morning, and continued so during the day, but some time in the night there was another sudden change, and it became very cold again, with a keen high wind. I felt quite well most of the day, but for some reason I could not go to sleep until after midnight, and then it was so cold that I soon woke up again, and I was so cold that I had to get up and put on my clothes and make a fire, and then I lay in my clothes until morning, but I slept scarcely any. I saw Doctor Smith during the day and he advised me to continue taking Quinine - two doses of 10 grains each, one at night and one in the morning, and I followed his advice. He said nothing of sending me to the Officer's Hospital though the Captain said that he spoke to him about it the night before. Captain Murray called upon me, and we had quite a long talk about matters in Wisconsin and especially in New Berlin. He said that he opposed Ben Hankins and supported Byron, which corresponded with what I had previously learned from home. He seemed to be radically changed in politics, and I did not doubt that in his later views he was honest, though I could not say as much for his old Democratic ideas, as he termed them - for in them I did not consider him honest. He said he saw Mother and my sisters and they were quite anxious that I should go home on a Leave of Absence if possible. We had quite a pleasant talk, which was interrupted by dinner. In the evening Alick brought me my boots, which the Brigade Blacksmith had finished up by putting on heel and toe plates, at a cost of $ .75. They were the boots I received from home by Captain Murray.

Dec. 11th Little Rock, Ark.

The morning was very cold, and as we had no wood, and it was nearly impossible to obtain any, I for one suffered considerable. Mose went down under the river bank and cut a tree, and after cutting it up, backed it up to our tent for wood, or we should have nearly frozen. I was afraid I should have another shake on account of getting so cold, but I took a large dose of Quinine in the morning, and by keeping as warm as I could, I managed to keep it off, though I felt considerably like it at one time. My appetite was not good, and as Old John had nothing to eat but miserable bread of his own baking, poor butter, and salt meat, I could manage to eat scarcely anything. I sat near the fire and wrote and read a good part of the day, and I had something to read, and something to answer, for we received a small mail in the forenoon. I was so fortunate as to receive three letters, one from my wife, one from Delia, and one from Cousin Maria. Almira proposed to move into our home, and in answering her letter, I favored the idea, as I thought it the best thing under the circumstances, for both Mira and Baby, their being so many small children at Father Nash's. I was glad that she proposed the thing, as I considered it better for the proposition to come from her than from me. I also wrote to Delia to Cousin Maria and to Uncle Hiram - making four letters in all, and I might have written the same number in half the time if I had been in a good comfortable place for writing. We had plenty of wood in the evening, and I managed to keep warm, though it was real cold. I was warm after going to bed a part of the night , but I woke up real cold and got up and made a rousing fire, put on my clothes, went to bed again, and lay comparatively comfortable until morning. In the evening Vosburgh and the Captain had a settlement, Vosburgh showed himself the smallest kind of a man. The Captain gave him some pretty plain talk, and told him just what he thought of him. But I thought that the Captain did not take exactly the most dignified course in regard to the matter, as he threatened to have satisfaction out of him for telling around camp the he (the Capt.) owed him (Vosburgh) and would not pay him. I did not blame the Captain for being angry, but I did not like to hear him threaten.

Dec. 12th Little Rock, Ark.

We had another very cold morning, and the river was filled with ice. During the day such a bulk of it accumulated about the Pontoon Bridge as to break it, and a part of it went 80 or 100 rods below, if not further. It moderated before night so that it was comparatively comfortable, but it was still quite cold. I was, by my own consent, detailed as Officer of the Day, and I attended Guard Mounting at 7:45. Doctor Smith consented that I should go on if I so chose, or I should not have allowed myself to be detailed at all. A. A. Kowing said there would be nothing to do, and I found it to be so. I was called upon once to go with a citizen around the Regiment and search for a couple of door locks that he said had been carried off with the doors, but after going into a few of the houses or huts, the man said it was needless to prosecute the search further, as the boys would know enough to keep them out of sight if they had them so I was relieved of a very unpleasant duty. The previous report that the Pay Master General had suspended further payments, except to disabled and discharged soldiers, until further orders, was confirmed, some of the officers having seen the order. Capt. Tichenor also saw an order discharging all officers or authorizing their Muster Out, three years from their first Muster into the Service - same as Enlisted Men. Those that had been held against their wishes in Veteran Organizations, or in Detachments, were also entitled to their Muster Out, according to the order, and many were taking advantage of their rights, being Mustered Out and going home, In the evening we heard a report that old Price had died of disease some where, but no reliance was placed upon it. It was also reported that it was telegraphed from De Vall's Bluff that Sherman was in Savannah, and that a boat and mail had arrived at the Bluff, bringing the news - but the report did not seem traceable to any reliable source. General Clayton and some of his staff were at the Rock, having come in on Saturday night. I knew nothing of his business. I felt pretty well all day, and slept well at night for the first time in about a week. I wrote a letter to Sylvanus during the day, and in the evening I made my Ordnance Report for the month of November.

Dec. 13th Little Rock, Ark.

We found it warmer in the morning, and the ice was rapidly disappearing from the river. It clouded up, and we thought it would storm, but it remained comparatively pleasant during the day, though the wind arose considerably in the afternoon. A short time before noon Captain Bastin entered our Quarters, he having come in from De Vall's Bluff on the cars at one or two O' clock in the morning. He looked well, seemed to be in good health and spirits, but out of money, like the rest of us. He was not yet mustered as an officer, not having received his Commission from Washington. We were expecting a mail, later papers having come, and in the evening we received it. It contained two letters for me, one from Alvarus and the other from Philena Evans. I hoped that I should receive one from my wife, but I was disappointed, and the other letters did not do me half as much good as they otherwise would, on that account. The letters contained no news, but were very welcome, notwithstanding. The St. Louis papers of the 7th did not contain any definite news from Sherman, though they contained rumors of his defeat, taken from Rebel papers. It seemed that he had not demonstrated against Macon or Augusta, and to me it looked as though there was some kind of an understanding between him and Governor Brown of Georgia. There was a rumor around the streets that Thomas and Hood had fought a great battle near Nashville, resulting in the route of the Rebel army, and the death of Hood - also that Sherman had released a large number of our men that were prisoners in the hands of the Rebels - but neither of the reports - could be traced to any reliable source. I felt quite well all day, and I wrote a long letter to my wife, and employed most of the time in reading and writing. I slept real well all night and did not suffer with the cold at all.

Dec. 14th Little Rock, Ark.

The day was quite warm and comfortable, though cloudy, and threatening to rain. The Captain went away in the morning with the intention of remaining all day and all night, and until the next day afternoon, it being his intention to stay over night with Doctor Miller at the Officer's Hospital. During the day I wrote to Brother Charley, in reply to the letter I received from a day or two before, in which he took exceptions to some things I had written to him about his Canadianism. I replied to him in the same spirit, and answered his letter somewhat in detail. I also wrote a short letter to Almira, which I enclosed with the one to Charlie. In the evening I went down to Brigade Headquarters with Jake Heaton, and we called upon Alick a short time. The Brigade Blacksmith told how he had just cured the ague by the use of cotton seed. He took cotton seed, burned it as he would coffee, smashed it or ground it, and then steeped it as he would steep coffee, and drank a cup of it two or three times a day. He said he was, or appeared to be completely cured, and he felt better than he had for months before, and he had used the cotton seed tea only three or four days. I thought that I would try the same remedy. In the afternoon I went to A. A. Cowing and offered to go on picket the next day though I was excused by the Doctor and was then acting as Officer of the Day - and he said that he would detail me, as the officers were pretty hard run. Things in camp went on as usual, and the new quarters were progressing slowly. Lieutenant Watts of Company "D" had charge of the building operations, but every one seemed to think that he did not manage well at all, and that some other officer might have got along much faster with the work. He was a man of ordinary capacity and intelligence, but with a disagreeable manner, and no faculty of getting along with the men. He was decidedly unprincipled, and did not seem to be governed by the consideration for whether or not a thing were right or wrong at all. He had a family at home, but was notoriously licentious, if the testimony of many witnesses could be relied upon. I look upon him as a most despicable character, and I was barely on speaking terms with him, and did not desire to be on more familiar terms.

Dec. 15th Little Rock, Ark.

We had Guard Mounting at 7:45 and we reported on the picket lines and relieved Lieutenant Bennett and his Detail of 35 men and 9 Non Commissioned Officers about 8 O' clock. Our post was within 30 rods of the Penitentiary, on a high ridge, and in a cold bleak place, on the Fort Smith Road. We had been there only a short time when the Brigade Officer of the Day, and Infantry Captain came around, and in the afternoon the Division Officer of the Day - and Infantry Major came around. The Brigade Officer of the Day gave me the countersign, which was "Chemburco", a name I never heard of before, to my recollection. The Parole was "Shilas", so I though that "Chemburco" was probably in Mexico, though I did not recollect any such name in reading the History of the Mexican War. Loughney and I visited the posts between ours and the river during the day, and at one place we procured some specimens of crystalized Quartz. Old John sent me most miserable grub, and I was very much dissatisfied, thinking that he might have done much better had he tried. At night I lay down by myself, and I rested quite well. Once we fell out, thinking that the Grand Rounds had come, but it proved to be the Officer of the Day of the Cavalry Pickets, and we had our trouble for nothing. We were not visited by Grand Rounds at all, though there were two Officers of the Day. I found that the picket line was run rather loosely - much more so than the line at Pine Bluff, and citizens seemed to think that there should be no restrictions whatever upon their liberty to go out and come in at their pleasure. The Cadot came in from Pine Bluff, but Heigley was not aboard,, and she did not bring any news.

Dec. 16th Little Rock, Ark.

We expected to be relieved at 8 O' clock in the morning, the same hour at which we relieved the Post the morning before, but we waited and waited, and looked and looked, hour after hour, breakfastless and hungry, and finally between 11 and 12 O' clock, Lieutenant Hartwell came along in charge of the Detail, and we got into camp just about noon, or in time for our dinners. We were very glad to be relieved, and I was hungry enough too eat two meals in one. We learned that the reason we were not sooner relieved was that General Stul was about leaving the Department to report at New Orleans or Cairo, and the Regiment was marched out to bid him Good by, or to receive a parting word from him, and the guard were not mounted until after the ceremony was over. Our Regiment were called upon to give him three cheers as he passed, but I was given to understand that they were not given with much of a will, but quite feebly. Notwithstanding the ceremony, I understood that he put off his leave until another day. I employed the afternoon principally in writing, though I did not finish a letter. When I walked down town with Heaton the night before I went on picket - (the 14th) I mailed two letters to my wife, one of them containing one to Charley.

In the evening Lieutenant Coates of Company "A" made out the Muster in Rolls of 1st Sergeant Rulif F. Hopper of his Company he having received a Commission, as 2nd Lieutenant of Company "A" - and the Company at the time being a minimum Company; First Sergeant Hebbard of Company "E" had also received a Commission as 2nd Lieutenant and was about to be mustered. A Detail of 25 or 30 men, a number of Non Commissioned Officers, and Lieutenant Bingham was made late in the evening to report as guard for the Steamer Cadot to Pine Bluff and back at 5 O' clock in the morning of the 17th, the Detail to report with six days rations. Mose being homesick and really not well, and desiring to return to the Bluff, the Captain wished to make arrangements to have him go with Lieutenant Bingham.

Dec. 17th Little Rock, Ark.

For some reason I could not sleep after four in the morning, and I was up long before daylight. Mose was up and off with the Detail to guard the boat to the Bluff, even before I was up, and we supposed that would be the last of him as far as we were concerned. He did not seem to be well at all, and as his wife was taken to the Small Pox Hospital about the time we left the Bluff, we mistrusted that he might be coming down with the Small Pox, so we were not sorry to have him away. I finished a letter to my wife early in the forenoon, and then Corporal Edwards and I went by way of the Post Office to the new camp, and I mailed the letter on the way. We found the Quarters going up slowly - as the timber was not hauled fast enough to admit of much speed. There was no timber for us too commence our Quarters with, and no prospect of any during the day, so we returned to camp with the conviction that we should be unable to erect our Quarters for some days to come. In the P.M. I wrote to Alvarus and Philena Evans, and sent the letters to the Post Office by Bowers. I spent $ .75 for apples, and treated a number of the boys to them. It was real dull in camp, and I went down in the Mill for an hour, and watched the circular saw as it worked its way through the timber -- large Cottonwood logs. The Captain seemed homesick, and was all the time talking about resigning, and going home on Leave etc etc., and I could scarcely tell whether he were in earnest or not. General Stule started for Cairo in the morning, and a great many seemed to consider it a good riddance, and it was my opinion that most of the mourners were to be found among citizens and Rebel sympathizers. I considered him a weak, but perhaps not ill meaning man - one not fit to command a Department or Army Corps - and only useful when under the immediate command of some energetic superior Officer. I sincerely hoped that Major General J. J. Reynolds would prove a more efficient commander, and either accomplish more, or attempt to do less. We were expecting a mail, but foe some reason none came, and there was a complete dearth of news of every description. In the afternoon there was and order for Inspection by the Brigade Inspector at 8 O' clock the next morning. The weather was cloudy, but warm, and in other respects pleasant.

Dec. 18th Little Rock, Ark.

When I awoke not far from four O' clock in the morning it was raining, and it continued to rain most of the day. As usual with me at that time, I could not sleep any more, and not far from five O' clock I was up and walking around, there being a slight lull in the storm. We had General Inspection at * O' clock notwithstanding the rain, the Inspecting Officer being a Inspector General of Colonel Mackay's Staff - Mackay being Brigade Commander. I did not learn the Captain's name, or Regiment. The Captain (Tichenor) being on Special Duty as member of the Division Court Martial, I was in command of the Company and took it out on Inspection. The Inspection Officer complained because the butts of the pieces were not all scoured, and because one or two hats and blouse coats were worn, there not being a perfect uniformity. In the P.M. we received a small mail, but I only received one letter from Sarah. It was just a week since I had received a letter from my wife, and I was greatly disappointed at receiving none from her, and afraid that she or Baby was sick. We could obtain no late Northern papers, and could not learn whether or not there were any important news. I wrote to Almira, and answered Sarah's letter in th P.M. and in evening attended Religious Service at the Presbyterian Church. A citizen Preacher preached from Col. 3.1 and his sermon was quite good. We prayed for peace, for the soldiers in the field, for the sick and wounded, and for the Rulers of the Country, as well as his congregation, but his language was so ambiguous that I could not tell whether he intended it as a Union prayer or not. The singing was quite good, and I noticed one or two in the choir that I saw more than a year before. the same train of cars that brought the mail, brought Lahee of our Company on his return from Wisconsin, where he went on sick furlough, more than two months before. He looked well, and seemed in good spirits, but I was afraid he would not stand it long, roughing it around, as I thought his lungs affected.

Dec. 19th Little Rock, Ark.

It rained most of the latter part of the night, quite hard, and it was rather damp and chilly in our tent. King made a fire about daylight, and I got up at once, as I had not slept any for an hour or two. It continued to rain most of the day, and our Quarters did not progress much. The wind changed to the North West in the morning, and it became real cold. Our wood gave out, and we suffered some but after a time a load of wood was hauled, and King and I managed to cut enough to keep us comparatively comfortable the rest of the day, and the evening. I found that I was very weak, as chopping five or ten minutes tired me very much. It seemed to me that I was never so weak before in mu life. I found that the ague did not have a tendency to increase ones strength. I borrowed $50.00 of Lahee, and gave him my note, payable on demand. I paid Old John $5.00 bought a pen of Loughney for $5.00 and took up a note that he held against me for $5.00 which left me $35.00. The pen I bought of Loughney was a $5.00 1st quality - Number 6 Morton pen, and this day's history in this Diary is my first writing with it. In the A.M. I sent two letters to the Post Office by Loughney, one for my wife, and one for Sarah. Captain went to attend to his Court Martial Duties, but it seems that there was nothing for him to do, as the Court adjourned sine die, and when Foster made out the morning report at night for the next day, the Captain was reported for duty, and I was relieved from the command of the Company. I was glad to be relieved too, for it was not pleasant to be in Command of a Company and another man responsible for all the Ordnance and company property. Lt Alvord returned rom the Officers' Hospital, and counted one more officer for duty. He had not been sick much, according to all accounts, and what sickness he had, according to Doctor Smith, was caused by his drinking. He seemed to be quite a clever, accommodating fellow, but he was a drunkard, and though having a wife in Canada, he boldly told of his connections with other women. He was evidently unprincipled and licentious, but was naturally a person of fair sense and judgement. He was very neglectful of his duties, and had the name of shirking, and doing as little picket and fatigue duty as possible. He seemed quite pleasant and agreeable, and always treated me well, but I should never choose him as an intimate friend.

Dec. 20th Little Rock, Ark.

Toward morning it became quite cold, and I suffered so much that I could not sleep, so I got up early, made a fire, and then went out and cut some wood. Old John's breakfast was ready, and I ate my share of it before the Captain was up, he having not yet changed his lazy habit of lying in bed late in the morning. It became a little warmer later in the day, and it began to rain once more, freezing as it fell. We were short of wood, and were likely to be entirely without a fire at night but just before sunset a load was hauled up, and I went out and managed to cut enough before it was all carried off, to keep us comparatively comfortable until bed time, with enough left to make a fire in the morning. It was the second anniversary of our parting with our friends at the Depot in Milwaukee, as we were starting for the seat of war, and i wrote the most of along letter to my wife on account of the anniversary. Neither of us thought, as we kissed a good by at the cars, that we should not again see each other in two years, and it was for the best that we did not know the future. I thought, and Mira thought, and our friends thought that I would return in a few months, probably the next Spring or Summer, but we were all greatly mistaken. While reflecting that two years had passed since that time, I derived great consolation and encouragement from the fact that so much of my term of service has passed, and that then I have less than 10 months, at most, to serve, less than 10 months to spend away from my family. I tried to write an encouraging letter to my wife, and I thought I succeeded. There was a rumor among the boys that one of the two Infantry Divisions in the Department had been or was to be ordered to Tennessee - and we did not consider it at all unlikely, though I hoped we might be left in peace until Spring. I felt somewhat like the ague again, but I hoped I might escape. Matters in camp and in the Regiment went on as usual, Colonel and Q.M. not half attending to their business, having too much whiskey to drink and too many Arkansas grass widows to look after.

Dec. 21st Little Rock, Ark.

I was detailed the night before, to take charge of a Fatigue Detail, and report to Captain Tanner, at the wharf, at 6 O' clock A.M. so I was up early, and had just swallowed a cup of coffee, and a little piece of dry bread at Old John's when I had to go out and take charge of my Detail of 36 men. It was real cold, but I dressed up warm, and after I was once started I did not care much about it. We had to wait an hour or an hour and a half before I could find Captain Turner, and then we went to taking Q.M. and Ordnance stores off the Carrie Jacobs. After taking off a large quantity of such stores, we roll off about 100 barrels of flour, and 20 hogshead of bacon. When we loaded most of the stores we had taken off, onto wagons, and by that time it wa about sunset, and we returned to camp. The Mate of the boat asked me to eat breakfast with him, which I did, as I was hungry, and I bought a pie, and some cakes and apples for my dinner, at a cost $.75. On my way back to camp I stopped where a Cotton Gin and Steam Saw Mill were run by one engine, and the man in charge took me over the establishment and showed me the works, and explained the process of ginning cotton, and the lesson caused me to think more highly than ever before, of the genius of Whitney. I was real tired, felt like the ague, and was real glad to get back to camp, and to get some supper to eat. General Reynolds was reported at De Vall's Bluff on his way to the Rock, and a mail was expected on the evening train. I carried a handful of cotton seed from the Gin, which King parched for me, so that I could make a tea of it to drink for my ague. The report that Fort Smith was being evacuated by our forces seemed to be confirmed, and it was said that a large train came in from that place.

Dec. 22nd Little Rock, Ark.

I did not sleep much after two or three O' clock in the morning, on account of the cold, and so I was up quite early. The Captain was going on picket, but Old John did not get any breakfast for us, and we were obliged to go and get something to eat of the men. I gave Foster $5.00 and told him to expend it for something to eat, as I wanted to eat with his squad until I made arrangements elsewhere, as I had quit Old John. I ate with the boys during the day, and I ate with a better stomach than after Old John;s cooking, for I considered him a dirty old fellow. At night he came to let me know that supper was ready, but I gave him to understand that I had made arrangements for board elsewhere. In the A.M. a salute of 13 guns was fired in honor of General Reynolds, who came the night before. Some said it was because Savannah was in our possession, but I did not believe it. The mail that came on the train with him was not distributed so that we could get ours in the A.M. though we got it about 2 O; clock P.M.. I expected as a matter of course, to receive letters from my wife, as I had received none in eleven days, but there was nothing for me, and I was afraid that sickness was the cause, as I had never been so long without a letter from her where the mails were regular. I thought that I should be very glad when it would no longer be necessary to depend upon the mails for a knowledge of the situation of my family, and when all such suspense and anxiety should be at an end. I finished a letter to my wife, and wrote one to Mother, thinking that should she receive a letter from me once in a while, she might feel less anxious concerning me than she otherwise would. In the evening Company "B" were Detailed to guard a boat to Fort Smith, but it was said that Captain Slawson was too drunk to take charge of this Company so Company "H" were ordered to go instead, and it seemed a good break in for Captain Murray after his long rest. I was taking cotton seed tea, for the purpose of keeping off the ague, as I felt somewhat like having it. According to the latest news in the papers, Sherman had invested Savannah, and there was or had been some fighting there.

Dec. 23rd Little Rock, Ark.

I ate breakfast with the boys in good season, and at 7:45 attended Guard Mounting, and took charge of the picket Detail. We reached the picket line and relieved Captain Tichenor and the old guard at 8:15. The Brigade Officer of the Day visited us about 10 O' clock in the A.M. and the Division Officer of the Day, the same one that had charge of the line the time I was on before - at 2 O' clock P.M. just as I had gone down in the hollow with a number of the men to get a load of wood to keep us from freezing at night. The boys at the post called me back, but the Officer did not find any fault. I then visited the three posts between ours and the river, finding everything all right. The day passed away quite quickly and pleasantly, the boys bringing out a plenty to eat, and everything passed off well. At night the boys kept a good fire, but I lay down before nine O' clock and slept well until the Brigade Officer of the Day made his rounds at four O' clock in the morning. I lay down with Walton, and though the night was cold, we slept warm, as we had plenty of blankets. During the day there was a rumor among the boys that we were ordered to New Orleans, but there were so many rumors among them that we paid no attention to it, and did not believe it at all.

Dec. 24th Little Rock, Ark.

We were relieved at just about the same hour at which we relieved the post the morning before - 8:15, by Lt. Seymour. When I came in to camp, the Captain had just got up, and we ate breakfast together. I then went down to our Division Quartermaster's in the Arsenal Yard, and bought a couple of damaged wool blankets at $1.00 each, and a Cavalry overcoat at $5.00. I also bought a blanket for Foster at $ .50 - and the 50 cents I let go into his mess fund, he being the Treasurer - and it made $5.50 that I had paid in. I commenced boarding with the boys on the 22nd. As soon as I returned to camp I sold the overcoat to Sergeant Snirder (Schnieder) for $6.00, as I could get along very well without it. While down there I learned that General Thomas had fought a great battle with Hood near Nashville, completely routing Hood's army, and capturing 5000 prisoners, 7000 stands of small arms and 39 prizes of Artillery. The news was of the best, and I rejoiced accordingly. The paper also stated that Sherman had taken Fort Mc Allister near Savannah, and that he had invested the place so closely that he had demanded a surrender, giving the Rebel Commander two days in which to decide. All the news seemed to be good, and the soldiers rejoiced accordingly. After Dinner Loughney and I took a walk down town, and I paid 50 cents for a singing book, the authors being southern men, and residents of Richmond Va. By the time we returned to camp the mail that came in the night before was distributed and I received a letter from my wife written on the 11th and 12th, one from Pa, one from Myron and one from Doctor Ingersoll. His was written on the 15th and mailed the same day. In one more day it would have been two weeks since I had heard from my wife, and I was very glad to learn that she and Baby were well, as I had been quite uneasy in regard to them for several days. In the evening - Christmas Eve - I wrote my wife a letter, and in part because it was Christmas Eve, before going to bed I had a good wash all over, and then I slept excellently.

Dec. 25th Little Rock, Ark.

A cloudy, but otherwise pleasant day, quite warm and comfortable. The Captain fixed up and started over to the Officer's Hospital quite early in the morning and left me to attend to Company Inspection, which we had at 9 O' clock A.M. I then went down town and attended Religious Service at the Presbyterian Church, and heard a sermon upon Christ and his mission. I ate my Christmas Dinner with Foster's squad, and it consisted of common Government Rations. It was the third Christmas Dinner I had eaten away from home, in the army, and it was the first one at which we had had nothing but Government Rations to eat. My promotion did not bring me a good Christmas dinner, if it did bring me salutes when walking the streets, and a little show of false honor - false, I say for it was not shown on account of my own merits, but on account of the position I occupied. I employed the afternoon in writing a letter to my wife, and one to Pa, thinking that as rational a way of spending the day as any within my reach. The Captain returned from Doctor Miller's in the evening, much pleased with the entertainment he had received there. In the morning General Reynolds issued an order, subject to the approval of the President, dishonorably dismissing from the service, two 1st Lieutenants, one belonging to the 3rd Regular Cavalry, and the other to the 2nd Missouri Light Artillery, and the order reached our Regiment Headquarters in the evening. It seemed that it ought to serve as a warning to some of our officers - for Lieutenant Alvord was led to his Quarters in the morning, too drunk to take care of himself, and Captain Slawson had been drunk, if reports could be relied upon, for a number of days. I was glad that those officers were dismissed, and I hoped with all my heart, that General Reynolds might continue the policy. Both of the officers mentioned merited no better at the hands of the commanding General, and I hoped that unless they reformed, they might be treated and dealt [with] by [sic] [him] in a precisely similar manner. The Colonel and others of the officers instead of spending the day in a rational manner, employed it in drinking etc., as they plainly showed in look and manner.

Dec. 26th Little Rock, Ark.

I was up and ready for breakfast about daylight, and the breakfast was ready as soon as I was. The Captain complained that he had not slept any, but had rolled and tumbled all night, so I joked him about his Christmas Dinner, and the boys kept it up all day. I reported at Guard Mounting as Officer of the Day, but I had no duty to do during the day, and was just as free to go where I pleased, and do what I pleased as though I had not been on any kind of duty. I went down town soon after Guard Mounting, and Lucius L. Bowers went down with me. I called at a Mustering Office on my way to ascertain if we could enlist him and get him mustered - he having hired for six months as Teamster. I then went to Blelock and Company's and bought a quart bottle of Arnolds Writing Fluid, and a couple of blank books for the Captain. After I returned to camp, I enlisted Bowers, and after dinner, I took him over to our new camp to be examined by Doctor Smith, and then to our Division Commissary of Muster's Office where he was Mustered into the U.S. Service for one year. I then finished a letter to my wife, and wrote one to Doctor Ingersoll in answer to the one that I received from him two days before. Young Hendrickson, son of the Company Superintendant of Waukesha Company, came into our Quarters in the evening, and told some things about Lieutenant Watts of Company "D". One thing was that on Christmas Eve the Sutler handed him $ 70.00 with which to buy whiskey for the Regiment as a Christmas treat, and that after buying the whisky, he got so drunk on it in a short time that he did not know what he was about, and that all the whisky was stolen from him before morning. Hendrickson said that he was the drunkest Christmas night that he ever saw him. It was no worse than I had thought of him for some time.

Dec. 27th Little Rock, Ark.

It was a little chilly in the morning, but it soon became warmer, and we had a very comfortable day. A Detail of 150 men, too work on Fort Solomon, started off almost before daylight, and I heard the Colonel say that the same number of men would be required every third day until the work should be completed. There was Division Guard Mounting once more, and the Captain being Field Officer of the Day, had to attend. Soon after breakfast French came with four Muster-in-Rolls - the ones I filled up for Lucius B. Bowers the previous P.M. not being the right blanks according to a recent order. I filled up the blanks, and soon after they were finished, the colonel came in with Mr. Tichenor, the Captain's Uncle, and the Colonel signed the rolls. An hour or so after, Donaldson took them down to our Division Mustering Office in the Arsenal Yard. About noon a petition to the colonel was presented for my signature asking that Mr. Tichenor might be the Sutler of our Regiment and I signed it. He brought the news that we had captured 9000 of Hood's men, and 54 pieces of Artillery, and that we were still in pursuit of him, with a prospect of utterly ruining his army. Reports from other sources placed the number of prisoners captured at 10,000, and the Artillery at 69 pieces. There was no further news from Sherman at Savannah. The Captain went down town with his Uncle in the evening, and I was left alone in our Quarters, much to my own satisfaction. I employed the time in writing to my wife, and to Myron. Toward night the first boat of a fleet of 10 or 12 that were coming up the Arkansas, arrived, loaded mostly with Government wagons.

Dec. 28th Little Rock, Ark.

It was arranged that our Company should commence our Quarters, by moving a few logs that "K" Company had laid up, from their ground to ours so shortly after Guard Mounting I took what men there were in camp over to the New Camp, and we went to work. It did not take more than an hour to move the logs from "K"'s grounds and lay the foundation of one of our buildings, but there were no more logs for us to use and as we could do nothing more, we returned to the old camp again. We got back just as a small mail was distributed, and I had the pleasure of receiving two kind cheerful letters from my wife. They were written from the 13th to the 16th, days when my little family were quite well. How pleasant it seemed to receive letters from my own family, kind, cheerful, loving letters. I saw so many worthless women all the time, that I realized more fully than I otherwise might, how fortunate and blessed I was in having a kind, faithful, loving wife - one that I could confidently trust at all times and under all circumstances. May God bless her, and may she be as happy as she deserves to be, and I so faithful and true as to be worthy to be her husband. It cleared up toward night, or the clouds passed away, and with a North West wind, it grew rapidly cold. The appointment of Isaac P. Tichenor as Sutler of the Regiment was approved by Colonel Mackay - and he became our Sutler. All the Officers of the Regiment except Kenyon, Bingham and Coates signed his recommendation, and they would have signed it if they had been in camp. In the afternoon I sent to the Post Office a book made up of papers from the scalped, and a couple of letters.

Dec. 29th Little Rock, Ark.

Rather a cold, but not unpleasant day, though the sun was clouded under most of the time. I spent the forenoon in camp, writing etc., but in the P.M. I went down town with Foster and Walton. I bought a case for my new gold pen and holder, and a dozen gutta-percha buttons - paying 50 cents for the former, and 60 cents for the latter. I also bought 40 cents worth of apples, and the boys and I ate them. Adjutant Kendrick also ate one of them. There was no news and everything was as dull as usual. I went to the Commissary's to get some dried fruit, but there were none. After returning to Camp, I received an order to report as Officer of the Picket Guard at 8 O' clock the next morning and I made calculations accordingly. We intended to work on our Company Quarters, as Colonel Gray said there would be 18 teams hauling logs, but the teams did not report, and we did not have anything to do. I had a headache, and did not feel at all well in the evening but I kept about as usual. At Division Guard Mounting in the morning, the boys said that Lieutenant Alvord was too drunk to go through with his part of the ceremony correctly, and the Adjutant General (acting) corrected him in one or two instances. He was drunk on the picket line too, and when the Officer of the Day visited the post, the boys would not wake him out of his drunken sleep, but made some plausible excuse for his absence - and this from shame. In the evening I finished writing a letter to my wife, as I should be on picket the next day. Frederick Harrison visited us just before noon, looking well, but only just recovered from a severe illness, as usual.

Dec. 30th Little Rock, Ark.

I reported for Picket Duty at 8 O; clock according to order, when I took that part of the Detail that belonged to the old camp and went over to the Arsenal, where I found those from the New Camp in charge of A. A. Kowing, who verified the Detail, divided it into Platoons, and took it over to the Division Parade ground, and formed it on the line. He then left it in my charge, and returned to camp. We had to wait some time for all the Details to come, but as everything must have an end, Guard Mounting - My first Division Guard Mounting - was finally over, and we went to the picket line, where we relieved Lieutenant Alvord and his Detail. The Brigade Officer of the Day, visited us soon after we reached the line, and about noon the Division Officer of the Day, the same one that had visited me in that capacity - the two previous times I had been on picket at the Rock, visited the post. It was cloudy all day and quite chilly, and at night it became real cold and cleared up. I slept with Dan, and Conns, and was quite comfortable. Grand Rounds visited us at 5 A.M. and everything passed off as usual. We learned that Sherman had taken Savannah with 800 prisoners, 150 pieces of Artillery and 25000 bales of Cotton, and about noon a National Salute of 36 guns was fired from Fort Stule. Of course we all rejoiced.

Dec. 31st Little Rock, Ark.

It was still very cold in the morning, and as our wood that the boys backed to the picket post the day before was gone, we could not keep very comfortable. It was 10 O' clock when Lieutenant Seymour appeared with his Detail to relieve us, and it must have been nearly 11 when we reached our Camp. Our Company had then gone over to the New Camp to be mustered for pay, so we were saved that travel and trouble. I ate a breakfast of bread and butter, but I was hungry enough to have made just a hardy a one of hard tack and bacon. It was the third Muster that had passed since my Muster in as a Lieutenant fro all of which I had been absent fro the first two on account of the ague. In the afternoon the Captain and such of the men as were not on Duty, worked on the Quarters at the New Camp, but I remained in our tent. N.P. Harrison and Captain Bastin visited me, or the Quarters, I could not determine which. We learned that Lieutenant Chandler of Company "H" had been discharged probably on account of physical disability, and the Captain Tichenor - told me he thought McGill, the Sergeant Major would be his successor. I commenced a finger ring that I intended to make for Mira - material - gutta percha. We received a small mail the day before, and I was so fortunate as to have a letter from Mira, written on the 18th and the 19th. Instructions were taken out to the picket post at noon. It was all the mail I received.

Journal of Lieut. Seymour Gilbert
Nov. 1864 | Dec. 1864 | Jan. 1865 | Feb. 1865 | Mar. 1865 |

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