The Waukesha Freeman
March 15, 1864
PINE BLUFF, Ark., Feb. 28, 1864
FRIEND WRIGHT: - It is with a feeling of indignation that I seize the pen this evening to express my views upon the manner in which Bounty money is to be raised in Wisconsin to induce men to volunteer, so as to avoid the necessity of a DRAFT, that would otherwise be certain to fall upon some of the 'pet lambs' that are determined to roam ad libitum, and will do so as long as they can force those that are already in the army to pay a pretty good share of the sum required to induce certain ones to take the responsibility off from their selfish souls. How much better are those that are left in the State than those that in an earlier day buckled on their armor and left all of the endearments of home and friends to go among scenes of blood and carnage, to rescue a nation from shame, chaos, and ruin. Well, Mr. Editor, to tell the honest fact, we think some of them are not quite as good - and one thing that strengthens that opinion is that certain ones propose to tax us 'right smart,' so as to raise convenient fund, wherewith to purchase the services of some more daring spirits and thus relieve them from a part of the most sacred duty that ever man was called upon to perform. I assure you that many others are of my opinion; we would not willingly give one dime to save any man from serving his country. Please give us your opinion upon this subject, - we may be in the dark, but we think we can see holes through a ladder yet.
There was a fleet of nine or ten vessels arrived at this place from Helena, on the 18th inst. It consisted of two gunboats, two ferry boats, and several transports. - Their voyage was slow and tedious, and one of the transports ran upon a snag, and sunk some eight miles below here. As they came in sight, and near this place, a salute of - I think - 24 guns was fired in honor of the occasion. Yesterday one of the gunboats and a part of the fleet steamed on up the river; some of the others are loading with cotton at this place; a number of our boys helping to roll the bales to the boat, for which they receive fifty cents an hour.
As a Regiment we are in good health.
There will be a Grand Ball in this place to-morrow evening, in which officers and citizens will participate.
FEBRUARY 22nd. - There is something singular in the misfortune to a part of the Fleet that lately came up to Pine Bluff. - One of the transports, on its way up, ran upon some kind of a snag - backed down a little way, and soon sunk in shallow water, which came but little above her lower deck, rendering necessary the removal of a portion of her freight. The sunken vessel being but seven or eight miles below here, has been guarded by water and land most of the time to keep it from being destroyed by the enemy. The escort (gunboat) left at this place ran down yesterday to the unfortunate vessel, and returned last evening. This morning she ran down again, and about 9 or 10 o'clock news came back that she, too, was snagged and sunk very near where the other lies. We are very sorry for much misfortunes, but hope to see both vessels afloat again in few days.
That portion of the of the fleet that left here some days ago for Little Rock were making very slow progress, the stream being too low for any but very light draft steamers to run with safety.
The weather is very warm and pleasant - looks like rain. The seasons are at least two months earlier than they are in Wisconsin. Some early garden stuff has been planted fifteen or twenty days; the time for planting seeds here is not so precise as it is in a colder climate.
FEB. 23rd - Later reports are to the effect that the sunken transport has been raised and will be here to-day.
Sixteen new recruits arrived here last evening for the 28th Regiment.
'Washington's Birthday Party' was a pleasant affair, though the attendance of ladies was small, being about 20; - the males, (officers and citizens) numbered nearly one hundred, all told.
Accept my thanks for several copies of the sprightly little 'FREEMAN,' and believe me,
Examination of the 28th Wisconsin roster indicated only one soldier with the initials "V. H. K.", namely, Volney H. Porter, 1st Sgt. of Company K.
Information transcribed from the Waukesha Freeman newspaper of 15 March 1864 and generously shared by Bruce Laine.