July the 4th 1861
Independence Day once more dawned upon us. The sun shone with his usual brightness, the soft wind and calm breeze floated o’er us and the green fields waved with just as much splendor as it has in days of peace.
Friday the 5th July 1861
I helped cut rye at Forbes’ & Jimmy plowed in my place. Hot & dry. Looks like rain.
Saturday the 6th
We plowed all day steady. Jimmy helped.
Sunday the 7th
A little cloudy & warm. We hitched to the wagon & went to the [Skunk] River. Got mulberries, raspberries, &c. Went in swimming &c. Got home about 4 o’clock in eve.
Monday the 8th
I ground up the scythes, cut clover till noon, & John plowed. Then we cut wheat awhile & there come up a rain & just poured down till dark.
Tuesday the 9th
Everything rainy. We hauled some wood &c. About 4 in the eve we went into the wheat. Clear & cool.
The 10th & 11th
Pitched in rapidly and got along very well.
Friday the 12th
We finished up the early wheat about 9, then plowed corn & the sorghum. Was over at Miss Permelia Dickey’s picnic. Her school closed today.
Saturday the 13th
I mowed till noon. John plowed the beans & lowed some. We put up hay in afternoon.
Sunday the 14th
Cloudy & rainy. I wrote some this morn & read awhile. Then went across the field to Forbes’ and stayed there all day.
Monday the 15th July 1861
Warm & rainy. Cleared off today. John mowed. Dick & I made a wagon rig. Afternoon worked in the hay &c. on till Thursday noon.
After putting up all the old meadow & part of the new, we then pitched into the remaining 10 acres of wheat. It was very ripe.
Saturday the 20th
When we come in to dinner, it was all slain [?]. We worked till about 10 or 11 every night by moonlight & made dinner rather late today. Shocked up after dinner. Then went to Liberty to drill. Not very many out. Got along well.
Sunday the 21st [July, 1861]
Weather clear & cool as usual. [Elias W.] Shortridge is to preach at Liberty today. I went to Sunday School. Stayed & heard his sermon on spiritual gifts &c. He says he won’t fight. Is sorry he voted for President Abe. The government is destroyed &c. &c. (I don’t believe that.) Congress Extra Session don’t act like it. The people don’t act like it. Neither do they fight that way. He closed his speech & they felt inclined to let him go his way & preach no more. Singing at 4. I went early &c. On the road, overtook the Miller [and] his daughters Miss Smith Liliputian & Sallie on their way to town. Couldn’t prevail on them to stay for singing. They went on their way. We had a good singing. I had some fun in the evening.
We finished cutting grass after working slowly all day. (Dick cut the old corner meadow & about 5 acres of the new meadow: put it up for one third).
Tuesday the 23rd
Clear & cool. We stacked hay &c. Took it easy. Finished stacking hay. Got the first report of Battle Manassas.
Thursday 25 July 1861
We commenced a big rick of wheat & worked hard at it till about 10 in the night. It looked like rain & then we had to leave it open.
Friday the 26th
Looks like rain. We finished the big rick about 11. Then it rained a little & I rested some. We bound up the oats in the eve & mowed some weeds. Went with a company of forest rangers whose minds seemed to lead them in the direction of the Big Creek Forest where it appears they on some previous occasion had caught the smell of bees & honey. The first tree was this side of the creek in the thick brush. It was soon lowered to terra firm & the bees found but to our surprise, instead of getting honey to eat, we got to help saw out & nail up the bees honey & all & then leave. We then had a very peculiar hunt for another tree by the day was found at last, lowered & the honey taken by grabs. Little ones & few of them. We got in about 9.
Saturday the 27th
Finished stacking. Al [Forbes] helped haul with his oxen. Got done about 1 o’clock. Got ready & started with mule wagon for the afternoon picnic on the prairie. Started at Nathan’s, got the girls, started from there at 3½ o’clock for the Elm Grove north of Edger’s where we arrived just as the company were taking supplies. There was a large crowd there & they had been having a good time. We got our suppers. Saw all the friends there. We stayed till nearly all were gone. Clouds were gathering & thunder rolling in the N.W. & we started in a hurry & drove in a hurry for home. Arrived at Nathan’s before dark. The storm had gone by. We stopped about an hour, then come home. Noah and Sallie was here.
Sunday 28th July 1861
Weather clear, hot, and very dry. I read all the accounts of the late Battle in Virginia which is much worse than I thought it would be & I fear it is much worse than we will hear of soon. I talked around till all went off to meeting, then mounted & road towards the west — the hot sun shining down through the tree tops upon the parched earth reflected double heat to the doubtful rider. Arriving after a wearisome ride at the residence of J. R. [John Wesley Rhodes], I dismounted & entered that domicile when to my surprise I met 3 — one of whom I had hoped to meet there — & what more could I ask. The day was spent pleasantly. In the afternoon a circumstance occurred in the shape of a runaway that caused quite an alarm but was soon over on finding out the result. In the evening, I took a long walk & talk with [Sarah Cornelia Alden] — one that will never be forgotten while imagination can look forward with hope. Just after dark, I mounted & rode home on double quick time by clear moonlight. Anon.
Monday the 29th
Clear & hot. We thrashed wheat in ____’s barn slowly.
Tuesday the 30th
We thrashed out & cleaned up some wheat. Hauled some timothy over to the barn. I heard on Sunday that there was a large army of the rebels just over the line in Missouri & this evening word came that they had crossed over on this side & was just laying the country waste. I got on a horse & rode to town in a hurry. Found all excitement. Soon word began to come that things was not so bad. I stayed till 11, got a correct statement. There had been only 8 or 10 ran over there & they was not doing any harm I got home about 1 o’clock.
Wednesday the last of July 1861
Clear & hot. John went to Burlington on the cars to see the soldiers. I threshed out some timothy seed, &c.
Thursday, August the 1st 
We all went over the [Skunk] River hunting blackberries but found them scarce. Had quite a time. Got back about 2. Got ready & went to Lowell with the mules. Took 6 bushels wheat, 12 corn. Got there just after dark, put up mules, & they ground for me. I went in the river & took a good swim in the dark by myself. Then went to bed on the mill floor but the howling dogs &c. kept me awake most of the time.
Friday the 2nd
Got up before it was light. Fed mules, then went in the river again by myself. Got started home about sunup. Went on to town, sold 10 bushels meal &c., went into the old Court House & searched the records & talked with Warwick & Grantham awhile. Got home about dusk.
Saturday the 3rd
All necessary preparations had been made & we were all ready early this morn & went to the chapel to a Sunday School Celebration. Our guard made a good turnout. It was a great day. Too hot though. We drilled a good while in the afternoon. Got home about 5. I went to Johnson’s in the eve & stayed all night.
Sunday the 4th
Weather still hot & dry. Threatens rain at times but remains dry. ‘Tis too dusty to travel anywhere. I come home this morn & went with Dick to look for the forty on the Branch [Creek]. We found it & looked almost all over it. ‘Tis rough. Went to Shaffer’s after water & got dinner too. then went back & looked awhile & come on home. Went to singing at 5. Got there at recess. No exciting news this week. Holt’s speech in Home Journal.
Monday the 5th August 1861
An uncommon hot day. I went to Barr’s and cradled flax for him. We took it very slow and then could hardly stand it. The flax cut hard. Just as we come to supper, Molly Jenkins came to me with the news that the Missouri Rebels had made an attack & we was called upon to go. I eat my supper in a hurry & come home, told the news as I knew it to mother. For awhile I hardly knew what she would do but she soon became more reconciled. We sent word to the company and about dark nearly all were collected. We told them our plans & they started for teams, provisions, guns, &c. &c. They sent us our ammunition from town. Our orders was to start at 2 o’clock and we had a good many things to do first. We rigged the mules in good order ready for anything, took plenty provision, feed &c., & was the first team ready to start. But teams soon came to the number of 5 with plenty of provisions & about 42 men. We bid adieu to Liberty & the friends there & rolled slowly towards the south. All seemed to be in good spirits — only those we left behind and many of them took it hard. But they all acted bravely — much better than I thought all would act on such an occasion. James — the “lone hunter of the Neck” — good marksman & veteran — was sick & couldn’t go with us. Johnny, the oldest veteran, wanted his gun to defend himself with. We couldn’t get that, & the other monster had to go hunting next day with his gun. Poor fellow. Our fifer, H. D. A. feigned sickness & couldn’t be persuaded to leave & a few others I’ll not mention here felt inclined to stay where fancy led them to believe no bullets could meet their grim visages.
The profound stillness of the night together with the nature of the adventure inspired everyone with a solemnity the like of which I never before witnessed. The slow heavy rolling wheels of the train could be heard at times distinctly & then a shout or song will occasionally be heard from some bold adventurer to drown the solemnity of the occasion. Every little thing attracted my attention as the cavalcade moved along. Myself with the mules heavily loaded in front with other 4 teams followed in close proximity while Captain on horseback gave orders & John — riding — acted as recruiting officer & had 3 men & four guns by the time we gained the top of the hill on the other side of Big Creek. Daylight was upon us before we reached the [Skunk] River and it became necessary to increase our speed a little. Nothing of importance occurred on our route to Pilot Grove except a recruit being added who claimed to be a fifer in the personage of Dick Johnson & was placed in the wagon following mine where they had rare sport listening for and failing to hear the melodies strains that had been promised them by the chief operator. On account of being so heavily loaded, the most of the boys had to walk up hill & often we would see a foot race, a scuffle, and many other maneuvers.
We reached the quiet little village Pilot Grove by the time the sun was casting his first rays before the broad landscape. The villagers were soon busy in giving us assistance as we stopped there to take breakfast, mould bullets, &c. Some of the ladies will ever be remembered — especially by coffee sots who was greatly in the majority.
Tuesday the 6th August 1861
We moved forward as soon as possible only stopping a short time. Our route was the same one that Dan & I traveled going to Missouri in 1859. The sun come up into the heavens above as usual casting his fiery glances dan which mingled with the dust could not be described by any only witnesses of this or something of this kind. The teams in the rear began to lag & the cry was to drive slower. Mules with their ears waving to & fro — their little feet pattering in the dust made time that horses could not make. Many things attracted our attention during the day traveling in this manner of which I was a close observer. We soon began to hear from the place of our destination by asking persons we met. About the time passed the little village of Dover, we got the news that the Rebels had been whipped and drove back in confusion. Reports here so numerous we concluded to believe none of them but was anxious to get all of them & also every man’s opinion about the distance to Croton which seemed to differ very much so that it made great sport and was carried to an unlimited extent. We stopped a short time for dinner & to feed just this side of Primrose & there took a cross road leaving Primrose to our right a short distance. We had left the prairie & were now traveling in brush & timber. Jake [Westfall] became alarmed and began to show great signs of cowardice thinking we might be attacked. By a close observance I could see the expression on different countenances. The sport of questioning was kept up & our march was a stead one through dust & heat.
Arriving at Croton about 4 P. M. afters such a travel as this one, all hearts was glad to find all peaceful there & nothing of the rebels but their bloody work & the wounded & prisoners of their ranks. The Regulars were about leaving when we got there & we hurried to the depot. There we met many of our friends belonging to the Iowa 7th. In a few minutes the train moved rapidly away bearing the rafted looking but honest & brave Iowa boys, their bright muskets & bayonets gleaming in the sun. We then moved across the river into Athens, Missouri where the battle was fought, tied up our teams, & took a general survey of the battlefield. Dead horses, wounded men, & all that we could see together with the brave men who had fought so well under the command of Col. [David] Moore.
The next thing of particular interest was this. After we had taken our survey, we drove up in line in front of the house where 25 men lay bleeding from their wounds & received Col. Moore who plead and begged & intreated us to go with him & his brave men. Said they expected to march that night. About that time, the fears began with some of our men thinking that they might be taken by force. Several prominent characters began to insist on our speedy return to Iowa & soon our line was moving toward the wagons in grand confusion. Some of them hurrying themselves a little & in that manner we left the poor fellows to go forth & do their best. We crossed the Des Moines River and camped in the village of Croton just as dark was upon us. After all had partook of refreshments & the poor beasts began to rest (for they needed it), Jake [Westfall]’s fears overcame him completely & Ben joined in with him. They undertook to effect a general stampede arguing the case. Told all their fears — that the Rebels would come and make another attack that night to get some 16 prisoners that was [being held] in Croton, &c. &c. They got some to harness up preparatory to leaving. I believe about half the crowd was willing to retreat — stampede — run and no danger apparent. Finally by talking in the right manner to them, they became more reconciled & things became quiet (all without orders of any kind). I got under the wagon and slept there till all was preparing to leave early in the morning.
Wednesday the 7th [Note: Lot has mis-numbered the dates in his journal for the next couple of days]
We rolled out from there in the dark, took the back track — myself in the lead again — & the mules ears a flopping. Sleep nearly overcame me more than once. We come as much as 8 miles before daylight, then stopped for breakfast only a short time & rolled on again. The day was not quite so hot but the dust fairly rolled and it made the horse teams lag again. My gigantic friend Jim took command of the ears & I walked all the way to Skunk River, having all kinds of fun with the boys, & barefooted most of us was. We made tracks in the dust for certain arriving on the north bank of Skunk River opposite Chaney Poor’s who had accompanied us on our route. We encamped in the shade of some noble Sugars, rested our teams, took a good swim, then dinner. Then each struck out for home as they chooses. I got kicked by that noted Jim as we come home. Arrived a good while before night.
Thursday the 8th
Weather clear and hot & very dry. We tinkered around slowly in the morn. I went to Barr’s, got my cradle, listened with attention to some quibbling that tickled my fancy. We both cradled flax (which rather tests us) till night & Friday 9th also.
[Cradled flax] till time to drill when we went up & had a little cheap drill & some quibbling.
Sunday the 11th
Hot & looked like rain. Nothing of importance occurred during the day. I was at home. Wrote to Frank & Will. It rained after dark.
Monday the 12th
Raining. Ceased about 8 A.M. We went to our task. Al helped us. It cleared off.
Tuesday the 13th
We pitched in & finished the terrible task by noon or a little later and was glad of that.
Wednesday the 14th
Weather clear and hot. I took the team and hauled 2 loads of lumber from the mill. We commenced fixing a threshing floor in the field & Uncle Collin come along [and] persuaded us to go to the barn & thrash. We commenced thrashing in the eve, thrashed slowly Thursday & Friday.
Saturday the 17th
We cleaned up what was thrashed, then rigged up the mules wagon &c. and was soon driving at a rapid rate towards the well known camp ground. Our company numbering 5 stalwart looking fellows, we stopped in Mt. Pleasant a short time, then drove to the camp ground, arriving about dark. We arranged our wagon to suit us, fed mules & commenced doing as we saw others do. About 12 we got into the again to snooze.
Sunday the 18th August 1861
Away in the dead hours of the night while all that vast concourse of people lay snoozing & dead silence reigned around, all were at once aroused from their peaceful slumbers by the dismal howl of the Green Mountain Boy. He missed his horse & cried with a loud voice. All efforts to reconcile him failed until the horse was found a few rods away in the brush browsing. Then all became quiet again but it spoiled my sleep for that night. Got up early, Had Home Journal & read the full accounts of the Springfield Battle [Wilson’s Creek] on the 11th where our boys distinguished themselves & the brave General Lyons fell. Also the Official Report of the Battle of Bull’s Run which has come at last. Soon all manner of mankind began to assemble on the ground at a rapid rate. I then quit reading & began to look on with wonder & admiration as I am wont to do on such occasions. At 11, I listened with marked attention to an address from Senator Harlan who had just returned from the Extra Session of Congress. The after part of the day passed off fast & the night also. Very little excitement. Nothing but War — War. I saw many friends during the day & night but that was about all. Got home about 12.
Monday & Tuesday
We threshed flax slowly after sleeping till noon Monday.
Wednesday 21st 
It sprinkled rain a little. I went to town & heard Harlan make a good speech in the City Hall. It rained a good shower while there. Layed the dust down nice. We threshed slowly all week. Little Johnny riding the horses.
Saturday the 24th August 1861
Weather clear & hot. Afternoon, we went over to the line by D. Brown’s to drill. I went in the wagon. There was a big crowd there to look on but not near all the guards. Neal [Cornelius F. Spearman] commenced trying to make up a cavalry company for service after that was over. I went down to Noah’s. Stayed all night.
Come home this morn about 11. Stayed here all day. Wrote to Uncle John McCue.
Monday thrashed & Tuesday the 27th till noon, then put a mule to Dick’s buggy & went to Mt. Pleasant where we witnessed the reception of the Mt. Pleasant Grays Co. F of the Iowa 1st. It beat anything I ever saw before. Can’t express. The boys all look well. 2 brave fellows fell from their ranks at the battle to ride no more. We got home about 10 o’clock.
We cleaned up the seed that was on the floor & was preparing to take a load to Burlington but Dick went after a load of lumber to Dorman’s Mill & broke one wheel of the wagon down.
Thursday the 29th
It looked like rain last night but cleared off today. We sacked up what seed there was making about 40 bushels, then thrashed till eve. Then I got ready, borrowed a wheel &c., loaded up 26 bushels.
Friday the 30th
Got up half past 2. Got ready. Al went with me. We started before daylight driving mules. Got along well. Nothing unusual occurred on the route. Time & distance passed rapidly away & we reached Burlington about noon. Had some difficulty in selling flax seed. Sold for 60 cts. per bushel and got unloaded about 2 o’clock. Had 26 bushels. Then I got the mules fed &c., then commenced tramping. Got down on the corner of Jefferson & Water Street. There we met Dan. Then looked around awhile & come across A. Cornwell & Joe Killburn.
We then visited the soldiers camp out on the hill west from the city where a thousand cavalry are encamped preparing for war. There we found many acquaintances & very many things interesting to persons who had never before witnessed camp life. They all seem to enjoy it fine. We took supper with them. They have plenty to eat. After supper the come out on parade. We passed along the line to behold some giant like men with their brawny arms ready to strike for their country’s defense — their long line as we behold it numbering one thousand brave heroes & then to look over the records of our country & see that 500 times that many are about ready to strike the fatal blow — it seems to me grand. It certainly is far, very far ahead of anything ever conceived in my imaginations while I ascended the scale from feeble childhood to my present stature. And often during that time have I read of wars in ancient times & as much as 4 times have I read with marked attention what our patriot fathers endured on this continent during the 9 great struggles that have passed & now I find myself in the prime of life possessed of a stature, strength, & a constitution of which I can boast. And our beloved country in a far worse condition than mortal man ever dreamed of before.
Now how can I think of remaining quietly at home while all the civil world is awakened in the manner & my associations, friends, noble & brave, are leaving to fight for our country? I cannot. I long to leave my quiet home and kind friends, fall into ranks with my brave countrymen, and help to sustain the best government on earth. In doing this — if it should be my lot to fall — I feel now that I would willingly do so, & then not sacrifice near as much as the brave Lyons did at Springfield & hosts of others in the last 4 months. I have thought seriously of this & cannot help wanting to go ever since the Athens fight and every day my desire increases & I can’t see where or when it will stop unless I get to go. It was quite dark before we left the camp and then I was loathe to leave & quit looking upon those brave fellows. With reluctance I followed the boys from camp to the city saying but little but thinking very much. We visited different parts of the city but very little did I enjoy it. Retired at a late hour.
Saturday the last of August 1861
Weather clear & moderately warm. We run all over the city today, looked at everything. I went to Cousin McKinney’s awhile, found none at home but cousin Sam. Hadn’t seen him for near 3 years. He begins to decline rapidly. We got tired about 3 o’clock & hitched up the ears. Left Dan in the city. He didn’t know what he was going to do. We drove fast. After passing Middletown at one time, we beheld ears on the double quick very much to our dissatisfaction. We done all we could towards holding them until the lines broke — all but one check. That one Al held to & I jumped out, turned ears up to the fence & stopped them. Found that 2 boys was left behind but Cornwell kept his position. We was soon alright again with one exception — that of course would take some time. We again moved forward at a rapid rate having all manner of sport. We laughed till I was sore at the maneuvers. Frank Yoakum was with us. His stories were rich. We drove in about 9 and soon retired. John & Gigantic was out some place. They crept in at the window about 2.
Sunday, September 1st 1861
Clear & warm. We got up at rather a late hour. Tormented the boys awhile. Cornwell went to meeting with the rest of the folks. I stayed at home, wrote some here &. All come back late from meeting. Cornwell went & got a horse at Forbes’, then him & I mounted, rode to Cornwell’s, thence to Williams’ where we spent a short time. Then mounted & rode to ——- where we found all right & proceeded to have & did have a good old-fashioned time which I enjoyed fine. But I will say no more least some may look this way & draw conclusions.
Monday & Tuesday, 2nd & 3rd
We thrashed very slowly along thinking it was no use to hurry for we are getting used to it.
Wednesday the 4th
I went to Lowell to mill yesterday afternoon and stayed all night. Got my grinding, drove home early today & we took two teams & worked on the roads on the hill by Ben Housel’s all day but in our time. $3.18
Thursday the 5th September 1861
We thrashed till about 11. Then it sprinkled enough to make us quit for the day.
Friday the 6th
Thrashed slowly all day.
Saturday the 7th
About 2 o’clock of this memorable day we finished thrashing flax forever. Then hurried up to the school house to drill. After drilling a short time, called the company in the house to organize under the Military Law of this State & to undertake to describe the scene that followed would be simple folly for me. There might be some writers in the world (had they been there could) but I doubt it. The nominations for officers was made is all I can say.
Sunday the 8th
I stayed at home. Slept part of the time. Wrote here awhile. Read Home Journal. Went to singing at 4. Come home. Ready history awhile. I suffer with a gathering on left knee.
Monday the 9th
Cloudy & southern wind. I went down to the mill which is under the locust trees at the other house. Tried to help build a furnace but couldn’t do much. Come up at noon & went to bed. Knee very bad, headache & fever. I then kept my place. John & Dick finished furnace & ground some.
Tuesday the 10th
Went down early this morn, put a mule to the mill with Tip & had a great time with it. Didn’t do much. John hauled wood & at about 9, I started to go after mother (she went to Noah’s Sunday) & Noah brought her just as I started. Then Capt. Neal [Cornelius F. Spearman] come with news that sesesh was passing through this state with a drove of cattle from Missouri & he was raising 10 men to take them & wanted me to go as one. I soon found myself mounted & carrying a big double-barreled shotgun regardless my health & lameness. We soon had the number & rode to town just after dark & it had all the appearance of rain. In Mt. Pleasant we joined 10 more men, then Maj. [Asbury Bateman] Porter took command of the whole & we rode silently towards the west through the dark woods while the clouds seemed to lower & the raining had commenced slowly but it was not intended that we should have rain yet although all seemed willing to have it come even on us at that time for the sake of it. The cavalcade moved silently along without anything to attract attention outside of the company till we arrived at Salem. There we aroused some men for information & lager beer, both of which we partook slightly. Then the cavalcade moved again and taking a southeast direction passed silently along in two ranks file till we struck the Burlington & Keosauga Road. On arousing an old Quaker, we were informed that the men & drove passed there about 3 P. M. There the Maj. obtained quarters for us for the night. We took our noble steeds in & tied them to the stacks, cribs &c. where feed was plenty, then most of the boys took their nests in the straw, hay &c. Friend Jim, Maj. Porter, & I took ours in the old Quaker’s parlor on the carpet. About 3 we were aroused & partook of a served up breakfast, the product of the feathered tribe forming. The prominent feature biscuits & coffee.
Wednesday the 11th September 1861
Next daylight found us riding again only much faster than last night. After getting a good look at our crowd, I found they looked well & was well armed & well mounted, riding at a rapid rate due east. Many things to attract our attention after daylight but time & space will not allow me to comment. Suffice it to say the heavy tracks in the dust more particularly attracted our attention as we knew by that that they would soon be found. Passed Mr. Woodworth’s, left Boyles’ Mill a mile to the left, pushed on in the direction of Lowell until we hove in sight of the herd grazing in a field on our right & the old Cross Key Tavern on our left. 10 men were ordered to dismount & surround the house & others the cattle. All orders were promptly obeyed, then waited the approach of the Sesesh who were at breakfast. they soon came in quiet confusion without any arms or any resistance surrendered themselves & all up to the mercy of our company. After talking, questioning, &c. for a short time the cattle were turned back towards Mt. Pleasant, our horsemen with theirs all driving them numbering 28 men, 188 cattle. The sky was obscured with heavy clouds, air warm & wind blowing making a dust that we were obliged to notice together with the noise occasioned by whipping, yelling, &c made the thing look a little like something I had never saw before. I looked on saying but little. At the [Skunk] River we had some trouble getting a drove in the rear, lost from the main drove & lost some of the cattle, but Chancey brought out his whiskey & said it was for all whereupon it met many throats, some acting the swine as they are won’t to do on ugh occasions got unusually tight, while some of the porker class went it bristles & all till they got hoggishly drunk. Then it was impossible to keep them in the bounds of reason any longer. They just went it. Everything went on in confusion to me after that. I had considerable talk with the sesesh coming along but they tried to appear all right & did not act like [our] men. We passed up along the road by Forbes on the west of our place just before noon went on to town. Attracting the attention of everybody on our route, the herd was left in Ross’ pasture, the Sesesh men at Brazelton House &c. &c. Men were sent after witnesses next. Then the talking was done up in order everywhere. I next attended a Union Meeting. Was appointed a delegate to attend county convention on the 14th. Come home before dark. Found them making molasses. John helped hunt the lost cattle.
Thursday the 12th
Cloudy but no rain yet. I fooled nearly all the day trying to get the black mule to work on the hill & failed. Did not get much done. Commenced for Hartman.
Friday the 13th
Pitched in heavy this morn. Ground fast. About 10 o’clock it commenced raining. Rained slowly all day.
Saturday the 14th
Cleared off this morning. I ground out what little cane was at the mill this morn. Then got ready for town. Dick & I went up after noon with the mules & wagon. Took a barrel of molasses. I attended the convention. The county ticket was nominated. Then I saw sesesh again but they have dome nothing with them. Cattle have been taken out on the prairie & some of the boys out there to herd them. Some guarding the men at Brazelton House. Dick traded off part of the molasses. Got 50 cts. for some. I got iron for a new boiler. Left town after night. Come home by moonlight.
Sunday the 15th
Clear & windy. I was here writing & reading &c.. My knee is some better but has been a bad one. The day passes rapidly away. In the eve about 9, I mounted and rode in the direction of our premeditated destination. On arriving there, found many & great excitement but my grief cannot be expressed on finding Fensee absent. However, I made the best of it which by the way was some in the right direction. It was late & the long wished for rain was moistening terra firm once more. Oh how dreadful.
Monday the 16th
Got home about 10 o’clock, then went to town. It rained at times all day. Visited poor sesesh. Found them in low spirits as work had just come that they & the herd was to be removed to Burlington & soon a company of cavalry from there numbering 30 came dashing in under Lieutenant [William] McClure for the purpose of taking them there. Then we mounted & rode out on the Canaan prairie where the herd had been taken to grass & drove them to old Bill Burgess’, put them in a field where they could get them on their route in the morn. We then rode to Liberty. The Election went off & the result was about as I expected.
Tuesday the 17th September 1861
Cleared off today. We kept the sorghum mill pouring forth its melodious strains &c. making for Hartman and Dickey on the shares. I heard the news this eve that Major [Asbury Bateman] Porter had got his commission to raise a cavalry regiment. Then my mind was fully made up to give him my services to my country (let come what may).
The week passed away fast. Nothing occurred during the week of much importance. A party at Nathan Miller’s (where cider was plenty) one fine moonlight night.
Thursday the 19th passed pleasantly.
Saturday the 21st drew on. Weather cool. Mill screeching &c. Afternoon met to drill. Few there. But little done in that line. Capt. had his rolls & posters. Several names were taken. I took a roll to do what I could in that direction. In the eve, Fusee & I mounted & rode to an election school (or something) where we had fun. Thence to —- with —– where we had pleasure. It was late when we found a cold bed in the corner of an old large building far from home where we done sleeping.
Sunday the 22nd
The day was partly gone before we was, any wiser, but what followed after we awoke the world will never be accountable for. The sun was high before we rode. We learn there was some frost as well as a party at Squire Wilson’s last night. We know it was cold enough for either. Part of the day I spent in the woods showing some trees to poor old irishman. Expect to trade him some for barrels. Fusee slept near my old cabin in the sugar camp while the horses was tied to saplings. Coming home we stopped at Wurth’s awhile. Saw some girls last 8 miles from home a foot. Went with them awhile. Went to singing. Wrote here at night. [Editor’s Note: Lot copied the words of three songs in his journal this night — The Sword of Bunker Hill, My Own Native Land, and The Sailor’s Love.]
Monday the 23rd September 1861
Weather clear & pleasant. We worked at the Mill & furnace making molasses for Mr. Dickey & Dick. John cut corn between here & the other house. Neal was here after dark. Is doing well.
Tuesday the 24th
Ground awhile, then took a team, went to the old Irish cooper’s, got 5 barrels, sold him 6 big trees across the creek for 9 dollars, helped the poor old Irishman hunt them out & mark them. Then come home about 3. Got some dinner, went to Laning Rineheimers’s with some lumber. Fusee went with me. He looks wasted. When we got back I took my Roll for Enlistment. Got one George Allen to enlist who is working here cutting corn, then I mounted & rode towards the west arriving at the Keokuk ford just after the sun had set. It looked more beautiful than ever before. I stopped to gaze on the beauties of nature once more. River’s very low but the long green branches seemed to reach down far into the water on either side & the untold beauties there reminded me of one pleasant summer eve above 5 years ago as a skiff floated down past that island which was all on fire at that time, illuminating the river for miles up & down, & the glad hearts within singing songs of pleasure for we had none other to sing in them times. But alas, now all is changed. I almost forgot myself for a wile, then rode on galloping over the hills at a fast rate for it was then dark & the clouds that had gathered in the west added greatly to the darkness of the woods & also a sad tale for the morrow. Reached Nickelson’s late but found them still looking for me. My horse was provided for & it was good bedtime before we retired.
Wednesday the 25th September 1861
Just as I expected, we found it raining this morn, slow & steady. It beat making me lonesome. Got some paper & commenced writing a letter to Bob but couldn’t stick to that long. About 10 o’clock, Jonathan enrolled his name for war. Then we mounted our horses & rode through the rain to Salem. There was plenty of men there but most of them had enlisted. There was 3 men there then taking names. We then went to the Quaker Church which, by the way, is an odd looking affair — 6 doors to enter and a large partition through the center that can be opened & many things to attract attention. Old Quakers coming in dripping with rain with their hats on would take their seats & say not a word. A wedding then took place which was a curiosity. The meeting then broke up & the old Quakers went their way & about that time it quit raining. We rode back to Bushwhack, took dinner at Halding’s, then went to see all the men in that country but not one would enlist. Then struck for town. Got there about dark, stopped awhile to see about the fair. Then rode to Liberty. Found the house crowded & [Erasmus] Tully Coiner making a speech urging men to volunteer & fight for their country. He was about done. Then they did volunteer. Thomas Shaffer, Fusee, & Joe Stansbury put down their names on my roll. There was more than 9 expected to see come out. Got home late.
Thursday the 26th
Put out to the fair early taking the American &c.. The day was spent easy & we got home after dark. Fusee was with us. Wanted to go to a party but I thought it too dark &c.
Friday the 27th September 1861
Cloudy, chilly & sprinkling. We got ready & put out for the fair. Mother & Kate went with us today. It rained on us all the way but quit soon after we got there. There was a goodly number there & lots of stock — good too. Hogs to equal anything in the world &c. The judges was busy all day & the ribbons tied on the American got a 4 dollar one & 1 bushel flax seed 1 dollar. Piggy come home without anything but bruises. It was nearly dark when we got home & as this was the night of the long told of party, we had to hurry. But the thoughts of what was before us renewed our energy & we soon departed for the residence of William Horsey — a place not one mile distant that I had not saw for above 2 years. Of course I felt delighted. We went afoot. John took the team after some girls out northeast. We arrived, found things looking about as we expected. What couldn’t stay in the yard went in the house. The crowd kept getting larger all the time & everyone seemed to partake of the spirit with readiness, but kept under as well as could be expected. Apples were passed, then come the beer — drink, as he called it, & the not over cautious pitched in. Then it was noised that taffy was in the yard & thither they flocked, myself using the same precaution & looking on in astonishment. Many things astonished me that night. Horton Detrich enlisted. We got home about 12.
Saturday the 28th September 1861
Cleared off & is pleasant. We tore up and hauled the old pole fence (across the west field) to the mill & some more wood. Didn’t work very hard though. Pulled a load of corn in the eve for the hogs. We feed the corn in the lower field first. Old Nathan Jackman come over this eve. I intended to go out on the prairie to get volunteers but felt too sleepy & retired early.
Sunday the 29th
On waking this morn, I hear the rain a pattering down on the roof once more & don’t feel like getting up. About 8, get up, make a big fire for it is cold. Then have trouble getting John up. Finally get feeding done & breakfast over before 10 o’clock. I then read some stories. read Governor Kirkwood’s great speech which is in the direction of self interest generally, then wrote some songs & this much here from last Sunday. The rain continued at a regular pour down all day long & we was all here doing the best we could sleeping, reading, writing &c. &c. Many a time during the day I thought of the poor soldiers who have to be out in such as this all the time & take whatever comes — but am of the opinion that I can stand what any of ’em can & feel willing enough to try at all events but believe it will be a long time yet before we try. John & Al [Forbes] were out someplace through the rain.
Monday the last of September 1861
Cloudy & rainy. I chopped wood & logs to fix a hog pen. John hauled poles, rails, logs, wood &c. It rained a little today. Looks favorably this eve.