October ~ December, 1861

Tuesday, First of October 1861

Weather looks favorable. We went into the cane slowly this morn. Got a big batch boiling of our cane — the first. About 2 o’clock it rained just as easy. Kept it up all the evening. John M. Wilson come up & enlisted this eve. He is all right & bound to do his duty. We heard good news from Virginia (General McClellan) today but ’tis not certain.

Wednesday 2nd

Rainy weather. We made molasses all day. John went to a big party at Billy Shield’s tonight.

Thursday the 3rd

Rained about as hard this morn as I ever knew it in my life. We didn’t do much. it was cloudy & rainy about noon. I was readiness mounted & rode away to hunt volunteers. the manner in which my good old mother took on almost made my heart quail but I still think of standing the storm. Took down through the woods towards Skunk River. To describe would be folly. All persuasion proved of no avail. Riding past the barn of the venerable Thomas Short (bachelor), just as it was beginning to rain, his hospitality was displayed in a manner that pleased me very much. His bachelorship resides in a fancy house, does his own cooking &c. It rained very hard & nearly all night. Future looks gloomy.

Friday the 4th

Continus to rain. I didn’t get up very early but from the sounds of tramping &c could tell when cook had breakfast ready & then I was out & ready for it. Bachelor done his best & that was well enough. It was late in the day when I thanked him for his hospitality, mounted & rode over the hill towards Lowell. The road was beat down solid by the heavy rains. Found I could do no good at Lowell & did not tarry long. Went across the river & down about a mile to see a team that is for trade, then struck out again in the direction of Center. Took dinner at Swan’s. Saw many men, done my best, but got none. Arrived at Saters’ about sundown. Stayed all night.

Saturday the 5th

Judge William Dunn Leedham administered the oath to Lot and other members of the 4th Iowa Cavalry in Mt. Pleasant on October 1861

Judge William Dunn Leedham administered the oath to Lot and other members of the 4th Iowa Cavalry in Mt. Pleasant on 5 October 1861

Rained hard last night again. Cloudy, cold & rainy. Couldn’t coax any of them big boys to go with us. Started early, rode up through London, on up the Burlington Road to Mt. Pleasant where we found the boys gathering together, all in good spirits & have been getting along well. We then went up to Esq. [William Dunn] Leedham office & there took the solemn oath to serve our country to the best of our ability, go forth, & stand between our dear homes & bands of reckless traitors. Then in the old court house, we held an election resulting as follows. For Captain, C. F. Spearman; for 1st Lieut., Tully Coiner; for 2nd Lieut., John Tucker of Marshall. Thought it best to wait for the others. All went to the Brazelton House [and] took dinner. It was late in the evening when I got home. The scene on meeting mother again was awful. I helped John pull a load of corn for hogs after dark. Went to bed early.

Sunday the 6th

Rained last night & then cleared off cold. Was clear & warm today. I read papers, wrote here, &c. Went up to singing at 4 P.M. which was about as usual. Books scarce & folks devilish. Noah & Sallie was over all day. Stayed all night. We went to Forbes’ awhile after dark.

Monday the 7th

Weather clear & pleasant. We made molasses at a rapid rate all day & nearly all night. Making ours.

Tuesday the 8th

Weather pleasant. We worked till about 11, then went to town to the Election. Took up a barrel of molasses. Sold them cheap. They finished the cane today. It was John’s first vote. We both voted as follows:

Includes 8 October 1861 Iowa State Election for Governor & lesser offices.

Includes 8 October 1861 Iowa State Election for Governor & lesser offices.

Union Ticket

For Governor: William H. Merritt
Lieut. Governor:  Lanrin Dewey
Judge of Supreme Court: James M. Elwood
For Congress: None

County Ticket

For Senator: James B. Shaw
For Representatives: Rufus M. Pickel, John Thomson
County Judge: W. J. Warwick
Recorder & Treasurer: Peter Hobson
For sheriff: W. T. Spearman
Surveyor: James Hanks
Coroner: Thomas M. Mann
Superintendent of Schools: J. H. Smith
Member, Board of Supervisors: G. J. Clark
Clerk: D. L. Burnett
Assessor: H. H. McMillan
Road Supervisor: L. Rinehymer

It was late before we got home nut not too late to go to the party. After supper & mules fed, we put them through down to H. H. Andrews where we found all of ’em once more. The scene that followed would be hard to describe but the party was over by 1 o’clock when all retired.

Wednesday the 9th

Cloudy. We hauled wood till about noon, then I took 22 bushels flax seed with mules to depot Mt. Pleasant. Sold  60 cts., then stopped in town awhile to see Jim Spearman & Joel Jones [who] had just fought one of the battles connected with the war of 1861 but did not get hurt much. Al [Forbes] went with me then out to Oakland Mills [and] took the oath out there. [We] crossed the [Skunk] River in a skiff. ‘Tis very high. Come back on the boat. Then on its returning trip with 2 yoke of oxen load of wheat, Nigger & horse, the rope broke & downstream they glided. It was in the direction we wanted to go so we drove & kept up with them. Al felt interested about the Nig. We saw them land near a mile downstream & drive off among the hills & steep river banks, timber thick & looked like a hard sight for Nig but we left them. It was then dark. We come near driving into a tight place once. Backwater in a breach by Shorts. He helped us around through the field. We had a great time coming down the river. Got home late.

Thursday the 10th

This morning we find it raining, raining, & has been nearly all night. I wrote some here, then went to work in the stable fixing floor &c. Worked all day at it. The rain continued all day slowly, then quit & cleared up after night. My eyes very sore.

Friday the 11th October 1861

Clear & a heavy frost this morn. I chopped & John hauled logs this forenoon. Then after dinner we commenced building. Warm & pleasant.

Saturday the 12th

Weather fine. John hauled wood & cane to Dick. I worked at laying floor to feed hogs on. Afternoon, I took up the last load of flax seed — 23 bushels. Did I get much news this time? Not much certainly about the election but fear it has gone wooly except W. T. Spearman. He is elected. Our companies for war are filling rapidly & camp preparations are being made. Al was up with me. We got home after dark, went over to Forbes’ & stayed till about 9 o’clock.

Sunday the 13th

Clear & pleasant. I wrote here up to this. Then wrote a long letter to Kate & Molly Blacker & one to Bob Blacker. Read part of the time. Late in the afternoon, I mounted & rode on a gallop. The long winding road was soon passed over & I was there. The night was passed off just as such nights ought to be. The most unfortunate thing for me was my eyes — they hurt. Got home just as the moon disappeared.

Monday the 14th

Weather pleasant. We worked on the hog pen, hauled corn, &c, &c. Took the mule team & mother & I went over to Noah’s in the eve. Stayed all night. Heard [New] Orleans had been surrendered by the Rebels &c. Good news.

Tuesday the 15th

Come home early this morn & hauled cane. Worked at the hog pen. Went over to the old Irishman’s in the eve [and] got another barrel. Brought up some lumber from the mill — the last of our lumber. When I got back there was a team ready & waiting to convey us away. We was soon riding & ob our route was joined by another load & in that wagon I took my ride which was a pleasant one about 5 miles across the prairie to Roll [Roland] Grant’s. There we unloaded and had a party on a small scale. Couldn’t describe. Got home about 2. Sprinkled rain.

Wednesday the 16th

Looks a little like rain. Went to town horseback, drew he flax money (27 dollars). Intended to buy some clothes but the boys persuaded me out of it. Bought a pair of collars for Jule & Poll, fooled around town all day, [and] went out to our quarters 1 miles west of town. Was surprised to see so fine buildings as they are making. Got home about dark & went over to neighbor Heaters.’ Soon there was a crowd of about 20 boys & 14 good-looking girls there & soon the clattering of feet could be heard almost any distance. Trouble was overwhelmed while that merry dance lasted. It was about 2 o’clock when we quit.

Thursday & Friday, 17th & 18th

We worked at the pen, feeding, gathering corn &c. It looked like rain. J. Whitney commenced a writing school at Liberty tonight. John & the girls are going. Finished the cane Thursday night.

Saturday the 19th October 1861

Weather clear & pleasant. I went to town early this morning a horseback. Went out to barracks & worked till noon. Took dinner at the Brazelton House. Then I went to Snell’s Clothing Store, bought a good coat & pair of pants for myself, also a pair of boots & tinkered around town awhile. Got home about dark. After writing school was out, we all went down to Jack Spearman’s, got cider, but had no fun. All hands seemed to be in deep meditation. No doubt they (like myself) were thinking of the future. The moon shone with all his splendor but the night was cold. Got in late.

Sunday the 20th

Lot visits grave of his father on homestead tract.

Lot visits grave of his father on homestead tract.

Heavy frost. Last night I read the Home Journal. Wrote some here, then took a stroll all alone through the woods. Their looks that lately was so beautiful are all going the way of all the world’s beauties — it looks mournful & of course I felt that way on this occasion for I was thinking of bidding adieu to the pleasant scenes of my past life. Went to Allen’s, talked awhile, then went over to the graveyard, took a look at the long resting place of my dear Father, then left there with a heavy heart. Took a look over that land, then went up to Wurth’s awhile. Then home & was surprised to find a load here from Bushwhack. We all went to singing at 3. Had an interesting time. then the load started for Bushwhack again. Then I stayed about here feeling alloverish. After dark, I wrote a long letter to Uncle John [McCue]. Then went to bed early. ‘Tis clear & cool.

Monday the 21st October 1861

Weather clear & cool. Early in the morning I mounted and rode to Mt. Pleasant. There we saw many soldiers. Saw a squad leave for Davenport, then went out to our rendezvous (Camp Harlan), found our tent (which is nothing short of a good house) almost done & the boys pitching in, selecting their bunks, & preparing to camp &c. John Wurth & I rigged up a bunk. All went up to town to dinner, had a great time there. After that, we formed ranks & went out to camp. Then a motion was offered to allow captain to appoint the non-commissioned officers & carried. That was enough to secure the position of Orderly Sergeant for me. We then fooled around there awhile, then I come up to town. There was 3 companies in town on their road to Davenport going in the 13th Regiment. I come home after dark, stopped at the writing school awhile. John commenced plowing today in the east field.

Tuesday the 22nd

Weather cloudy and cold. I worked at the granary fixing it up &c. till after noon. Then left, [and] rode over on the [Skunk] River to see some men about going in our company. Found them not so keen as they was & had to give them time to study on it. I saw several others then. Think some of them will go. Stayed all night over in that country.

Wednesday the 23rd

Clear & cool wind blowing at a rapid rate. I had a long ride today & a good time generally. It was in the afternoon when I rode into camp, found only a small number of our boys there & that I would have to stay there so I contented myself. 1st Lt. [Coiner] & I went & got some apples. Took the Captain’s buggy. We drilled some in the hall after dark & danced some &c. Part of the performances went ahead of my time but the 1st Lt. was awestruck. He looked on in astonishment, then wanted to dry up the dancing but found that wouldn’t do, It was my first night in a soldier’s camp. Oh the thoughts.

Thursday the 24th

Heavy frost last night. I slept well for the first — was almost too warm — with George Allen in his bunk. We drilled a little today &c. (have good living). Went up to town afternoon & knocked around awhile. Saw a fire extinguished in a hurry. Sent Clarence Joycelin down on Jule to plow for John. Went back to camp, eat supper & then for the night again. Capt. went home. We drilled awhile then danced &c. Saw some grand performances just before going to bed. Slept with 1st Lt.

Friday the 25th

Clear, cool & pleasant. We drilled awhile, then went up in town. I found that my coat was gone for keeps from Saunder’s store where I left it on Monday. Knocked around there awhile. Got Hawkeye. Went back. Dinner was almost over. In the afternoon, Capt. [Spearman] appointed myself Orderly Sergeant, J. M. Housel Quarter Master Sergeant, & left us in command. Went off [and] as back at night. I read most of the time. We had another old time of it at night.

Saturday the 26th October 1861

Clear & frosty. We drilled awhile early, then got privilege to go home. I looked around at the companies awhile, heard Capt’s [Benjamin A.] Rector & [John H.] Peters make some short speeches, got up to town about 10, then looked around awhile. Saw several folks from the Neck. Town was full of people. About 1, I come across my —–, spent a long time in running about &c. Come home with Uncle Collin in the carriage, found all well. The machine was here ready to commence thrashing monday all right. Then went up to writing school. Then from there to Dickey’s. Han is sick. We stayed till about 11, then come home.

Sunday the 27th

Clear & frosty in the morning. I read some, then wrote here for the week. Then went down to Dick’s, stayed till about 1 o’clock, then come home & slept awhile. Eli Bradford come in & waked me up. He got back here on their farm last week. I went over to Forbes’ awhile in the evening. Then came back & stayed here. Mother has been grieving more than usual last night & today. It makes me feel downcast. Can’t feel as I would like to.

Monday the 28th

Weather clear. Strong south wind. We was out very early & got to thrashing. Moving things through at a rapid rate. Thrashed the wheat 170 bushels, the oats 45. Had it all done at noon & the machine left for Wurth’s. I fixed around awhile, then mounted & rode to camp. Found the boys in fine spirits. Had a big time till bedtime. Danced some.

Camp Harlan, Mt. Pleasant Barracks, October 29th 1861

Sgt. Evan E. Bebb of the 4th Iowa Cavalry, Co. D

Sgt. Evan E. Bebb of the 4th Iowa Cavalry, Co. D

Weather cloudy, cold and very windy. Didn’t sleep very good last night but was out in good time this morning. We drilled awhile in the cold wind and found it disagreeable and quit. Tinkered around here then 10 o’clock found me writing here. About that time I was called on & had to detail the 1st Guard. 12 of the boys had to go it. Oh how stormy. After dinner, E. Bebb & I went to town on a pass from Capt. Spearman. I found my coat, got my shoes, but blankets hadn’t come. We got back in good time for supper. Hard wind blowing irregularly from the west. Sprinkling rain & snow. 7 P.M. here writing & oh, how noisy, but the fiddle is broke now & that fun all over. Piled in about 10.

Wednesday the 30th

A short time after dark last night, a petition was circulated [and] sent to Col. & the guards was relieved just about 9 o’clock. Many yells were then heard. No more guards for 2 weeks. Today the weather is cloudy, windy & cold. Didn’t drill much — only a short time in the eve. After supper, I went up to town afoot. Billy Morehouse had my nag. Hired him to work for us while I serve my country. He took my mare to do some riding. I had a great time in town & they had a greater one in camp. John Barton had a fit — created great excitement. I got back to camp about 9 o’clock. Found all quiet except the dancing (the fiddle was alright again).

Thursday the last of October, 1861

Weather cloudy & chilly. About 80 men in camp & going it at a rapid rate. Drilled a long time in the morning. Then I received some instruction from —– in regards to my duty. Marshall folks come with goodies just before dinner & we had a big one. After dinner, I wrote all the time. Dick come with some blankets to me. We drilled some more in the evening. About dark I started & went home. Stopped at writing school awhile. Found Billy Morehouse there ready to go to work.

Friday November 1st 1861

Weather cloudy and cold. I run about till noon hunting up something to ride in & then had nothing but Dick’s old buggy. Rigged up. After dinner, put the mules to it & started for Jefferson County. Got out 5 miles west of town to Loving’s, stopped to trade teams with him, & stayed all night there. Done some talking, come within 10 dollars of trading. It rained or snowed a little about dark.

Saturday the 2nd

Clear & cool this morn. Started early & drove fast. Stopped a time or two to talk & a short time in Fairfield. Found [cousin] Van [Martin Van Buren Greenwood] there. Got to Uncle Riley’s [Nicholas Riley Greenwood] about 2 o’clock. Found all well. Stayed till near dark, then took cousin Mit [Olivet Annitta Greenwood] up to Brookville where Van lives. Saw his wife. Saw Joe Ennis. Went over to Uncle Charles’ [Charles G. Abraham] after dark [and] find them all well. Found Grandmother there & well. Cousin Jim has been married 3 weeks. John & him live out on the prairie.

Sunday the 3d November 1861

Weather clear and pleasant. I spent the morning in talking. About 10, I drove up to Van’s residence and stayed there for dinner. Then cousin Mittie [Olivet Annitta Greenwood] went with me in the buggy across the Big Prairie. We stopped at Jim’s residence awhile. Saw his young wife [Martha Sunderland Abraham]. She is beautiful. Oh, how happy they seem. We then went on across that once beautiful prairie but alas, now its beauties have faded and the destructive fire has made the brown earth bare. We put the lank mules on a long trot and by the time the sun was hid, we was at Uncle Jeremiah Fye’s. Found them all well. Stayed all night. Nothing unusual.

Monday the 4th

Clear, pleasant, and looks a little smoky. I went to try trading the mules. Done a sight of talking but no trading. About ten, I bid them farewell and we drove to Uncle [Meshack] Davis.’ Stayed for dinner. I then went to Bill Fye’s to see him about 3 o’clock. We started again and crossed the prairie in the same track that I recollected of riding with Van 4 years ago last August one beautiful evening. It filled my mind with reflection on the past. Oh how sad. We arrived at Uncle Riley’s  [Nicholas Riley Greenwood’s] just at sunset.

Tuesday the 5th

Lot visits the grave of his grandfather in Jefferson County, IA

Lot visits the grave of his grandfather in Jefferson County, IA

Early in the morning, I bid them all farewell, drove over past Uncle Charles’ — bid them a long farewell. Among them was my good old grandmother [Susannah Griffin Abraham (1781-1864)]. Can I hope to ever see her again? I then drove over to the old farm. Found W. Miller had just left and I had to wait. Looked around over that beautiful farm awhile, then went to the grave of grandfather [Lot Abraham (1775-1853)] in the corner of the old orchard. Had to wait over an hour, then Miller come & I talked with him awhile. Couldn’t do anything with him so left him, drove on and on with the lank mules. Passed through Fairfield about noon, had a long lonesome ride. Drove into camp just before sundown. Found the boys in high spirits. Put up mules. Felt like I was at home. The night passed off about as usual. Went to bed late.

Wednesday the 6th

Regular Indian Summer. About 80 boys in camp and they go it strong. After breakfast was all over, we drilled a long time. Then Loving come and I took the mules up to town. But I was afraid to trade with him. Knocked around awhile, then come back to camp. After drill, drove out to Oakland Mills but our work wasn’t done yet. Got another sight for trade. Back to camp about dark. Put up. Fiddling & dancing tonight. I wrote here.

Thursday the 7th

Clear & pleasant. After things was settled here I took mules & went out north to see a team & try to trade. Failed. Come back to town. Saw Loving & tried him again & agreed to quit. Come back to camp. Stayed till about four P.M. when the first dress parade come off in good style. The band done well. About sundown, started & drove home. Jehoida [Wurth] went with me. There was a crowd of visitors in & stayed till late. We had a good time. All right at home yet.

Friday the 8th

Weather cloudy & chilly. We started early and got to ride up with Uncle Collin. Talked with him about the bad arrangements in the Neck. He had heard it all. ‘Tis shocking. We got to camp in time for officer’s drill about 9 o’clock. That was the first of that & ’twas bad enough. The Guards was mounted &c. but badly managed. Everything was more quiet tonight. Passed off better.

Saturday the 9th

Cloudy & chilly. Went through the regular performance drill &c. After dinner I got a pass but for awhile was uneasy about a horse. Went up to town, come across Al [Forbes] & got his. Then rode to Oakland Mills. Come nearly trading with Blany. Then went on. It was late when I arrived. I was very sleepy and near drove out riding such a rough horse. Had a good time considering everything.

Sunday the 10th

Weather cloudy but otherwise pleasant. The time passed rapidly away. Somehow I felt extremely backward but got along very well. We was left all alone.

Monday the 11th November 1861, Camp Harlan

Weather pleasant. Not many in camp. Fixed out an alphabetical roll & commenced on that for cooks & take the guards off the grade roll that we made friday night by measuring the men. The day passed off as usual. Short drills. I wrote up to this. Dress parade come off in good style.

Tuesday the 12th

The day was a pleasant one. All passed off well. I wrote a letter to Angeline & one for Lot to his. Oh, how lonesome & sad I felt most of the time. I had heard that Dick was sick & wanted to go & see him. Just after dark, I got a pass [but] then had trouble getting a horse. Finally got one where I least expected it & rode up to town. There got a letter from Bob & Kate. Oh how serious it made me feel. Then rode home by the clear moonlight in company with the lone hunter & talking of the condition of affairs generally. The question was soon sprung. Of course he knew all about it and told me more than I had heard before. How horrible. I got home about 9 o’clock. John & the girls was gone to Cornwell’s and they said Dick was better. I staid by the fire & talked. Stayed up till about 11 o’clock.

Wednesday the 13th

I went early to see Dick. He wasn’t up. Talked about a half hour with him. He is much better. Started & rode back to camp. Found it cold riding. The day passed off about as usual. All preparations are being made for the big dinner we expect on the morrow. Dancing goes on at almost all times. All seem to get along well.

Thursday the 14th November 1861

Lot describes the Thanksgiving Meal prepared for the soldiers at Camp Harlan by Henry County citizens.

Lot describes the Special Meal prepared for the soldiers at Camp Harlan by Henry County citizens.

Weather cool & cloudy but the thoughts of the big dinner kept up the spirits and all hands was out early but we had to wait till bread come for breakfast. Then we had a short drill. Then come the officer’s drill. I was at the head of the column under command of Major George Stone when the long string of teams come rolling in from the south. It almost made me leap for joy. Here they come — friends and neighbors — in their wagons and carriages bringing along all that we could ask in the way of eatables. But that was not all they brought of interest to us, for many of the good-looking girls was along. Oh, how some eyes did sparkle at that sight. Our behoys of fun kept rather still & that made it seem more strange. I done nothing but run around & talk.

The long table was set in front of the shiny and loaded with goodies. Various officers were invited and took the head of the table. Company come up in good order and at the proper time let in & done their duty eating their soldier’s dinner that had been prepared by patriotic ladies and many of them present to eat with the soldiers. After dinner, John & I took the mules (he had brought them up to the wagon) & we went out 1½ miles north to Holt’s & exchanged the mules (poor fellows) for a bay horse &  gray mare, both 5 years old & rather small, giving 10 dollars to boot & knew at the time that we was cheated but wanted to get rid of the mules. Drove to town. Found the girls was up in the picture gallery. Went up awhile. Got out to camp again about sundown. Most of the boys was gone someplace. They danced some as usual tonight. I felt well all evening.

Friday the 15th November 1861

The 7th Iowa was brigaded with the 22nd Illinois under the command of Col. Dougherty when they entered the Battle of Belmont on 6 November 1861. Of 410 men in the regiment participating, they lost 237 in killed, wounded, and missing.

The 7th Iowa was brigaded with the 22nd Illinois under the command of Col. Dougherty when they entered the Battle of Belmont on 6 November 1861. Of 410 men in the regiment participating, they lost 237 in killed, wounded, and missing.

Clear and frosty. We had all that was good this morning and done it justice. After breakfast, the boys all wanted to leave and Cap[tain] let nearly all go, and himself and Lieut. went away. We didn’t drill. I worked at my bunk fixing it up till officer’s drill, then went & drilled about an hour under Major [Simeon D.] Swan. Then dinner. Then I fooled around with the boys & enjoyed myself fine. Then drilled under Lieut. [John T.] Tucker awhile. Then dress parade. We only had 30 tonight. I am in my own bunk writing on the desk I made today & oh, the singing I can hear. Can’t write. Just quit and joined in awhile after 9 o’clock. Capt. had quite a time getting them to keep still. After I lay down I couldn’t rest for thinking of what I had read today. How the gallant 7th [Iowa] fought at Belmont. I couldn’t keep from crying over that — how the poor fellows went down. I wish that I had been there with them. Good news all the time now.

Saturday the 16th

Oh how frosty. Only a few men in camp & still going away, but I had to furnish 6 men for guards. Capt. & both Lieutenants left. I had to command. We drilled a short time. The come officer’s drill, Swan commanding. He makes a bad out of it. the day passed slowly away & th boys kept leaving. When night come, only a few could be found. I wanted to go home & hated to say so, but 7 o’clock, Enoch Sexson & I concluded to try it afoot so we got ready & put out afoot, making our long legs keep time at a rapid rate till we reached Chapel Hill. There we parted & I took it alone. Reached home about 9 o’clock. Found most of them up yet. By that time it was snowing.

Sunday the 17th November 1861

A small shift of snow on the ground making it present rather a wintry appearance. I stayed at home (going down to Dick’s awhile). Noah & Sallie was with us. I felt rather lonesome all the time. Took the new horse (Prince) about 4 & went up to Liberty to singing. Met Fusee there & he pitched in for me to go with him & coaxed me to go. He went back & got Poll. We rolled out. It was a way after dark when we got there. His girl was gone. He had to go to meeting. I stayed by the fire and had a good time. Before he got back, we had all kinds of a time. Fusee & his girl went to sleep & slept 2 hours. It was late before we started & then we found somebody had been playing sharp. I had to ride home with only one stirrup & we found it cold riding. Got home just as folks was getting up. We slept an hour before breakfast time.

Monday the 18th

Mason & Slidell Political Cartoon (1861)

Mason & Slidell Political Cartoon (1861)

Weather cold, frosty & cloudy. I felt rather bad. Concluded to foot it to town so we put out early & walked fast. Guards was mounted before I got here. I didn’t drill any. Slept awhile afternoon. Done nothing hardly — only detail men for duty. The regiment is filling up fast today. The Lancer Regiment broke up & they come pouring in here. We heard good news today by The Hawkeye. Slidell & Mason (big bug Rebels) have been taken prisoner &c.

Tuesday the 19th

Raining. Raining. Commenced sometime in the night & poured down. Oh how the boys hated to go on guard. It rained so hard that they was relieved about 11 o’clock. We didn’t drill any. Sat around, read some &c. Had a debate at night. It cleared off after dark & the wind blowed hard.

Wednesday the 20th November 1861

Cold and windy. The boys are coming in fast. Expecting Capt. Chambers — U. S. Ifficer — here every day. We drilled in the morning & evening. Commenced working on one stable this morning. It has been a hard rain but looks like it was all over this eve. Boys are all in fine spirits.

Thursday the 21st

Weather clear, frosty in the morning, but very pleasant all day. Went through the usual performance. Had a very good officer’s drill at 10 under Lieut. Tedford of the late Burlington Lancers. After dinner, I got Lewis Horsey’s horse & rode to Oakland Mills. Got part of the cloth. Rode back through town home, leaving Lew’s horse at home. Found the folks all well & the boys getting along very well with their work. Oh how strange it does seem that I cannot be a pitching in with them as I always have done. I took a look at things all around, then took a supper. That seemed old fashioned. How I made it tell in the depth of the milkman. After that was all over, I took a bath, then to bed early.

Friday the 22nd

Cloudy & cold. After taking a good breakfast, I started on foot for the barracks, making good time & was in the city about the time of day breaking & the camp about breakfast time. Just in time to straighten up & get my guards on 2nd relief. How they shivered. I did not drill with the company. The officer’s drill was bad — sure. It snowed & blowed. I fixed up our bunk some. The boys left with a rush — nearly all went. Dress parade was a shivering one. Guards was relieved again. It cleared off about dark & is cold.

Saturday the 23rd

Cloudy, cold & snowing & very windy. We had to bear it. After I got the guards out, I struck for town afoot. Reached there soon after starting and was glad to get by a warm stove. When the morning train come in, it brought the long looked for Capt. Chambers, U. S. Officer. Oh, what rejoicing there was then. I hurried back to camp to find rejoicing there. First I begged a lot of paper for to line our little bunk with. Found all alive when I got back. We had to send men in every direction after our boys. I did not get much time to paper but got about half done. We went off. Capt. went off. Babtist went off, & Tully & I was left with all to do. We went to town after dark afoot to Cols. Headquarters, got a blank roll, come back and wrote all the names we knew of. It was late before we got through. I had a private talk with him. Find his ideas nearly correspond with mine in certain particulars. It was very late when we went to bed.

Sunday the 24th

Cold and blustering. Very few in camp. Guards had to go to and stand all day. I done up my part of the job as fast as possible. Then sat by the fire &c. The boys commenced coming in late in the evening. I went up to town and looked around awhile, then went to the M. E. Church to meeting. It seemed rather tedious. There was a good many of the boys there. Fusee was pithing in as usual. Hort [Detrick] & I come back together. Had a long talk and to the point. Found nearly all the boys in when we got back & my horse here. John had sent him.

Monday the 25th November 1861

Include's Lot's account of mustering process and inspection of physical fitness.

Include’s Lot’s account of mustering process and inspection of physical fitness.

Weather cloudy, chilly, but calm. The morning passed off about as usual. Considerable talk & speculation about the next 3 years. After guard mounting, I come in & found all seated around quietly listening to the Articles of War being read by Mr. Cramer. After that I called the new roll as made out by authority — officers and all. Some was very much surprised when they heard how that was, as well as myself, but it had to go it. I formed the company in line and we awaited patiently. Soon the Col. and the U. S. Officer came. No time could be lost then. He moved us through fast, looking closely at each one (but not near as much as I expected). All passed right through like a top — only two pieces of humanity that had no permission from their parents (and I guess wanted none). I told them to step out & skedaddle which they did in a hurry. One circumstance that pleased almost all was the memorable Croton Jake [Jacob Westfall] coming to the officer and begging a discharge, presented his plea but oh! how surprised he was to receive in return a few dry cusses and some think that made him git. After examination, all went out in line, took off hats, gloves held up right, stood up, and took the solemn and binding oath, numbering 86 as we stood there.

Tuesday the 26th November 1861

Cloudy & cool. Everything went off about as usual. The company went out and drilled awhile. I stayed by the fire and here writing. Have had the headache for 3 days & don’t feel like drilling much.

Wednesday the 27th

Weather cold. Nothing unusual occurred today except the regular routine. Times passes away rapidly and I hardly know where it goes to. There was a large lot of boxes come in this evening containing clothing — the same that was sent to the Lancers now comes to us. The boys all seemed anxious to be into them but had to be kept off by guards. The whole camp was cleaning up & making great preparations for thanksgiving day cleaning up the whole camp ground.

Thursday 28th

Thanksgiving Day dawned gloriously upon us at Camp Harlan. Although the weather was cloudy and cold, the soldiers great expectations was enough to keep all within this camp warm. About 9 o’clock, they commenced rolling in from every direction and bringing with them enough to please the fancy of any soldier. By 10 o’clock our shanty was full of girls & women. The men taking their places in the yard and then it was crowding all the time. The table was swung down and then loaded beyond my imagination. Everything in the shape of eatables that soldiers could ask for was there and in the best of order.

About 2 o’clock I called our Daring Band into line in front of the quarters, called the roll, and found nearly all present. Then the crowd have way for us to pass to our dinner when our gigantic looking company moved slowly in and surrounded the table in good order and when the order come to eat, each one done his duty with only one telling while the good citizens crowded around and all that could get a peep was looking on with particular interest. Ample time given us to get a dinner (such as we may not get soon again), then marched out in order and done some loud cheering [and] broke ranks. The citizens passed in and eat their dinners. I looked around awhile to see the folks, but had but little time. Dress parade come off about 3 o’clock in the presence of that vast concourse of people. After that, they disappeared fast. I met with —— about that time and only talked a short time. Had to keep moving. Our folks was leaving about that time and I had to be with them some. I wanted to go in the wagon up to town but couldn’t. After they had gone, I got an excuse & footed it up. They was in town yet. Was with John to get a pair of boots — probably the last for awhile. Then after they started, I went to the Colonel’s office, got our company roll, went & bought me a book to put rolls in, come back to camp, wrote one roll & so ended thanksgiving day 1861.

Friday the 29th November 1861

Clear and cold. Went through the regular routine. Nothing more except we had plenty of good things to eat. The sutler opened out his store this morning and commenced taking in the soldiers at a rapid rate. He wants their pay. The uniforms was not distributed as we was told. We worked on the stable rapidly. The boys all seemed to be in good humor. Had a big time dancing & I wrote here up to this. Then wrote a long letter to Bob Blacker. I feel rather lonesome tonight. Had promised to go home & found I couldn’t get off. the same Jake come around today with an article getting the boys to sign it for him to get off — nearly all signed it but myself. he gave me some awful looks. It was late before I went to bed.

Saturday the 30th

Weather clear & frosty. About 10, went to work on the stable early this morn. Nothing unusual occurred. The time seems to pass away very fast. I feel a kind of longing but it’s no use. We didn’t do much of anything. Was expecting the clothing to be distributed but it was not. it clouded up during the morning & is chilly. I got Evan E. Bebb to tend to my business, then got a pass til 4 P.M. tomorrow. Got Al Forbes’ horse & struck for home. Reached there about dark, cold & shivering. Found the folks all well and looking for me. Noah & Sallie come over soon afterwards. Then Dick & Beck come up and the whole family was there together. Then stayed up pretty late.

Sunday the 1st December 1861

Oh, the dreary winter that commenced this morning. It makes the heart grow sad to see the ground covered o’er with snow. It caused many a gloomy picture of the future to come fleeting before my vision. i stayed by the fire (and a good one it was) until after 2 P. M., then mounted & rode to camp. Got here just in time but found the guards all off. I had a cold ride of it & was glad to get to the fire. Just sat around and talked with the boys till bedtime.

Monday the 2nd

Weather clear and cold. There was some boots and underclothes distributed among the soldiers yesterday & today some big gum coats makes it more comfortable standing guard. I collected a month’s pay for The Hawkeye today. Nothing of importance today. I tried to write some but couldn’t please myself. Capt. is gone. It was late before J. M. and I went to bed.

Tuesday the 3rd

Oh! how the snow is falling again. We had an early breakfast. I took out the guards at 9 o’clock & they got orders from Col. Porter to stand for 24 hours — 1 hour at a time. I come back to camp & done nothing as near as possible all day. It cleared off in the evening and is cold. Orderlies had a meeting up at Capt. Rector’s quarters & got up a set of resolutions respecting the late Thanksgiving dinner. Had an interesting time generally. Like some of the orderlies first rate. Went to bed immediately after calling the roll at 9½ o’clock.

Wednesday the 4th December 1861

Weather clear. A keen south wind in the morn. I started early and took our document up to the editor. Then paid for The Hawkeye and got todays with the President’s Message in it delivered yesterday afternoon in the Halls of Congress. The news don’t amount to much yet, but keeps us anxiously waiting. We drilled twice today. The snow is leaving rapidly. Congress met Monday & now will be looking anxiously for its doings. I (from a piece in The Hawkeye) have serious fears of our regiment being disbanded or turned to infantry. Nothing unusual tonight.

Thursday the 5th

Weather cloudy and moderately warm. Snow all left today. We drilled considerable today and the boys growled about it. I was almost out of humor a time or two. Felt rather dull and discouraged. Couldn’t please myself writing tonight.

Friday the 6th

Cloudy in the morn. We had a starving time of it. Didn’t get any bread for breakfast till about 9 o’clock. Guards was all on the ground before we got there. We drilled about an hour. By that time it was clear. I went to work & had the order of yesterday enforced. Had all the bedding taken out & aired & fresh straw put in the bunks or the old aired. Had a general time of it. 3 of the boys had to chop wood 10 minutes apiece. John come up this eve. Had a general time dancing &c. tonight. It clouded up in the afternoon & is raining tonight.

Saturday the 7th

Rained hard last night & is cloudy this morning. The captain had us out to drill about 8 o’clock. Didn’t drill very long Then how the boys did skedaddle for home. There was but little done today in any shape. I got a letter from Frank that has been here someplace all week. John went home about 10 o’clock today. I watched him as he galloped off in the direction of home as far as I could see. Read the news today and saw our resolutions in print in the Home Journal &c. Read in the army regulations considerable. We got a new one. In it was a hint that we are to get the letter G & I do confess that I was beat badly. All the officers except Tully, 2 corporals on duty & myself are gone and over half the company. It cleared off this evening. We are all excited about some kind of an increasing population that has been discovered in camp lately. The Lancers attract attention now. Joe been here in my bunk tonight.

Sunday the 8th

Cloudy and drizzling this morning. We didn’t get up quite as early this time as usual. So few here. Mounted guards, then I wrote a letter to Frank urging him to come out soon. We had a dinner of chicken today furnished by one whose patriotism consisted of action — not merely profession. He has two sons who form a part of our heroic band and make themselves conspicuous also. The day dragged slowly away. There was a soldier’s funeral in the forenoon. None went from our shanty. Chaplain preached in front of Headquarters at 2 o’clock P.M.

Monday the 9th December 1861

Was up very early this morning. I couldn’t eat any breakfast. I drilled the company that was here (some come in last night) & got them to walk up to the mark good. We had an officer’s drill under Maj. [George A.] Stone today. It was good. We got it correctly today. When Capt. [Spearman] come, [he told us] that we get the company letter D. All was right then. At noon, the headache almost blinded me. Eat some dinner [and] felt better. Drilled the company awhile, then [Col. Asbury B.] Porter drilled us in the Saber Exercise. Nearly all the boys got in this eve. I read the Articles of War to the company tonight. The day was a beautiful one. I got a letter from Angeline & Sallie today.

Tuesday the 10th

Cloudy and looks like rain. All went off fine. We drilled the men in squads today. They was nearly all there. I took it easy most of the time. There was some of the women in here this afternoon from town. They looked around with considerable interest. I got the countersign (Eptha) and went up to town tonight. Went to Cariss,’ took supper, staid till near 9 o’clock, then put back here just as the debate was closing. Called the roll and got them quiet for the night. Then I got in my bunk and read a letter that put me to thinking to some extent studying the nature and meaning &c.

Wednesday the 11th

Cold. Ground froze hard. Had breakfast very early. Went through the usual routine. Porter & the Babtist drilled the men. Had an interesting officer’s drill. The day is very fair. Had a growling time of it at dinner. All was wrong & the men also. They wouldn’t mind anything for awhile. Just rushed for the kitchen swearing &c. After dinner I set some of them to work on the stable. Formed the rest into ranks & the Captain drilled them, myself looking on and watching him and the men closely. He got them in a good humor. Porter drilled with the saber. After dress parade, just before we come in to supper, Capt. made a motion that we buy a new cook stove and it was adopted unanimously. They all seemed to be in a very good humor at supper & that makes me feel considerably better. The horses are coming in fast every day. Our boys brought in 25 head since dark but they put them in Peters’ stable. I’m in my lonely bunk writing here & oh how the fiddle and dancing is making the hall roar. I finally had to get out & give them a round. What a good joke we have on some of the boys tonight.

Thursday the 12th

Clear and frosty. Nothing unusual today. Had some good drills. Some of the boys accused me of caring for nothing but drill. I took a squad of 6 men and went to town after some of horses this eve, but they wasn’t ready to come yet so we had to foot it back & come near having to go to the guard house. Sentinel didn’t want to let us back in. I went out in the clear moonlight tonight & washed a pair of socks & a towel — the first for this child. I was wondering if it would be the last. We got a splendid cook stove today, fixed the kitchen, and arranged the tables better &c.

Friday the 13th December 1861

Weather as fine as any man could ask. After the usual routine, I took my men & went to town again. Saw Col. [Porter] buying horses rapidly. Got about 16. I mounted my men & back we come — myself riding a powerful Black & leading another. Boys had a great time choosing horses. I don’t believe I could please myself if I had choice out of all. Dick come after me with a buggy & after dress parade, we started for home arriving there a little after dark. Oh how delightful home looked as we drove in the lane by clear moonlight. I found all the young folks gone to a party as usual. After taking a good supper, mother & I went down to Dick’s. Talked things all over. John came about 10 & we made them an offer for their interest in the good old homestead which they accepted. It was after midnight when we come up home again.

Saturday the 14th

Weather very pleasant. I took a good look at everything around, then when down to Dick’s & we went and looked around a little at the 40 where the graveyard is. They are to get that & I hate to see the resting place of my dear father go bad enough. They sent for me then that MO Bob Blacker had come. I spent the time talking to him. in the eve, he & I went over to Noah’s [and] stayed till bedtime with them. It may be my last visit there for a wile. Got home about 10 & [cousin] John Abraham was at our house. Was up till midnight.

Sunday the 15th December 1861

Frosty in the morning. Pleasant. After taking a good home breakfast & talking considerable, Robert [Blacker] & I mounted & rode in this direction talking at a rapid rate all the way. I gained considerable information from him and take him to be pretty sharp generally. We parted at the gate here in front of the barracks. He went on to Jefferson County. I rode into camp. Found the boys nearly all gone as usual & what was here had new clothes — uniformed & stepping around largely. I got a new jacket & put it on as soon as I come. The day passed unusually quick. Meeting at 2 and by candlelight, [Andrew Jackson] Kirk[patrick] preached in our hall and during that time I was in my bunk, curtain drawn & was trying to write. Was too sleepy & tired to do justice.

Monday the 16th

Weather very fen. I took a squad of 15 men to town after horses. One tore my coat off me while they was branding it. My choice was an old roan. We got our number today. Boys had a great time selecting [horses]. Cousin John come up today [and] stayed all night with us. Crowds of the boys went to the Pint riding U. S. horses.

Tuesday the 17th

Weather beautiful. Great excitement when The Haweye come. Bad news. Johnny Bull [England] growling on account of the capture of Mason & Slidell. I don’t know what to think of it yet. Drilled on horseback with the officers in the eve. About 40 of us mounted & rode in good order to the Pint to the big meeting. It sounded old fashioned to hear the howling. Got to see the folks &c. Rode back to camp in order by the clear moonlight. I am delighted.

Wednesday the 18th December 1861

The springlike appearance increases & has a tendency to inspire soldiers with laziness. I mounted my roan about 2 P. M., went up to town, knocked around there till late in the evening, then went out home. Stayed all night.

Thursday the 19th

I tinkered around home this morning awhile, then come up to the Chapel to the funeral of Miss Sarah Miller who died yesterday. Our Kirk [Rev. Andrew Jackson Kirkpatrick] delivered the sermon. About 30 of us boys was there. About 2, the services being over, I took command of the squad & we rode to camp arriving in good time for dress parade. Today was rather dull. Tonight it rained a little. I went to bed early.

Friday the 20th

Blustering weather. How hard it goes now. I took the boys out to drill but we suffered with the cold & quit. I had great pleasure in reading. We had considerable work to do. I had to detail men often. About dark, Hort [Detrick], Al [Forbes], & I got a pass & slipped off. Rode through the cold to our house, then to Detricks where friends were assembled and a big supper was prepared. The both seemed to be as good but of the latter we can speak knowingly. We thought of our breakfast this morning. It was about 2 o’clock when we rode back to our house & went to bed.

Saturday the 21st

Was hurried up before daylight to breakfast but didn’t feel much like eating. Started about day, rode fast for Al had to wait till he got up, then faced the cold to camp. Arrived just in time for guard mount. Oh, what a change in camp. Now it’s growl, growl, on all sides because they are beginning to enforce military discipline to some extent. Many interesting scenes transpired here during this day of one I’ll speak. Just before noon, the Babtist got up a big pass with 20 names on it, then mounted and rode to the Col’s office begging his signature. Oh, how he was surprised at the reply to his request. All that was left for him to do was to ride back to camp & reflect on his folly. Many a disappointment was inflicted in and about this camp. For my part, I was contented. It commenced snowing just after dark & kept it up with profound stillness.

Sunday the 22nd

Snowing. Snowing. Oh what a spirit is manifested in camp today. They continue to growl. About 11 o’clock, the guards was relieved by petition & a stern order issued to punish anyone leaving camp without permission. Nothing of importance occurred today. I wrote a letter to Angeline & read some. It snowed steady all day long & until 9 o’clock at night. The ceased. I spent the eve in [James T.] Drummond’s tent with brother orderly [Charles O.] Moulton.

Monday the 23rd

I find the snow deep. I got completely sold by the guards this morning & then mad. Then both shoveled snow an hour. We had the snow all shoveled away for 2 rods in front of the barracks. On what time we have here nothing done of any account. Couldn’t drill any today & ride the horses to water ’twas one thing but they are all beginning to shirk that. In the eve, I went to Major Stone & he signed a pass. Then I was found leaving here at 6. I went ——. Nothing could please me better.

Tuesday the 24th

Weather clear & cold. Some speculations this morning about where the orderly had been as it was late when I got in. No guards went on today. We have nothing to do & the boys are restless. About half of us thought we was going to get out tonight very easy but failed on that score & then dissatisfaction followed. I went for a pass but failed. Then waited till he went away, went to Adj. [John] Guylee & succeeded. Then put out for town again. Went up & viewed the supper, like the looks of things very well. Went after —– & went to the Christmas Eve Supper in the Union Hall. There was quite an interesting looking crowd there. Very few that we was particularly acquainted with & of course did not have much to say to anyone. Al & Mur come in by themselves & after looking around awhile, Mur making faces laughing &c., he made the acquaintance of a fair one & spent the remainder of the eve with her leaving Al to go alone. He looked as though it made no difference. The supper was as good as could be expected & seemed to be appreciated. Our band played & the only difference I could see in the tunes or tone of music they played was that it was Christmas eve. Many officers was in the crowd but few privates. They had to stay in camp. I didn’t like that much but we have to endure such things & will know more of it before 3 years passing. I enjoyed the —- often thought & spoke of the next Christmas Eve. Started from the hall about [ink faded & illegible].

Christmas Day, [December 25, 1861]

A clear, pleasant day…. About 10, Dick Jackman, my good mother & Mag came. They brought a treat of pop corn candy. I called the boys in ranks [and] passed to all & had plenty left. They only stayed a short time. I went to town. I got a pass this morn to attend the institution. Worked until after dinner here (there was a good many visitors here), then went  to town. Stopped at Mr. Morehouse’s & had to stay for dinner as mother & Mag was there. They had a good dinner. Then went up to town. They went home. I hurried to the school rooms, found it recessed, slipped up & surprised —— . A large crowd in attendance. The exercises was interesting — especially in the Evening Lectures. After —- I went up in town [and] had some oysters. Stayed awhile, come to camp in company with Monroe.

Thursday the 26th

Cold. Very cold. Stayed here & performed till after dinner. Then went up to town. Went directly to the school room. Found a large crowd there. We  had been there only a short time when orders came to repair immediately to camp. Then all the soldiers (a good part of the crowd) took leave in a hurry. It was a cold tramp. The regiment was paraded & received. I only stayed a short time, then went to town. Got Grantham to fix the deed & bonds for our bargain with Jackman’s. Then went to the room again, found —– absent. Lecture dry. I went home with Miss A. T. Got to camp about 10. Cold.

Friday the 27th December 1861

Stayed here till noon. They put out the guards about 10 o’clock. Nothing more than I expected. Oh, how the boys hated it. I went up to the school room about one. They had reading exercises. Asked me to read. Didn’t feel like being criticized so I declined but was pleased with the exercises. About 3 o’clock, —— come in after being on a visit to the prairie. After Institute closed, we went down to Mr. Howe’s, took supper, to the lecture at 6½ — Dr. [George B.] Jocelin. It was good. I started in good time for the camp. Found the Babtist & others in town. Went up to the Mason’s Hall awhile. Got to the guard posts. Found none there.

Saturday the 28th

Beautiful day. No guards on. I went up about 10 o’clock today. Found quite a crowd there yet. The Dancing Question was settled before I got there. Had a good time all day. Came to camp before night. Boys all seemed anxious to form an acquaintance with us. The few who have been attending the ____. Saw John today. He gave me some money. Said all was well at home.

Sunday the 29th

Pleasant day. I had to wear an old pair of shoes on account of a sore foot. After guard mount, ——came into camp. We visited Capt. [Abiel R.] Pearce’s quarters & took a look over the camp &c. They only stayed a short time. Then I went a short distance & bid goodbye to ——-. Came back then & stayed in my bunk. Monroe was with me most of the time until watering time. Then rode to the creek. Got back. Miss A. T. was here in the eve. [Rev.] Kirk[patrick] preached at night in our shanty.

Monday the 30th December 1861

Capt. Alonzo B. Parkill of Co. E, 4th Iowa Cavalry

Capt. Alonzo B. Parkill of Co. E, 4th Iowa Cavalry

Another clear and pleasant [day]. Nothing doing about camp but eating &c. I’m lame in left foot. Read the papers every day but can’t tell much about how things are going. Anyhow, it’s bad enough. We learn today that Government is going to surrender Mason & Slidell to avoid war with Great Britain. It makes me think considerable, but I’m not posted enough to know. There has been two great victories last week – one in Missouri & one on the Potomac. There was many visitors in today. Pretty girls. The camp was made extremely ridiculous this eve by the Babtist coming in very drunk. He went (uniform & all) to the stable & lay in the manger until after dark & was the object of considerable speculation. A funeral today — one of [Alonzo B.] Parkell’s Company [E]. William Smith very sick in our quarters tonight.

Tuesday, last of the ever memorable year 1861

Was warm & a little cloudy in the afternoon. The snow left rapidly & mud could be found in many places close to our quarters. The regiment was paraded this eve — they called it mustering for pay, but we didn’t see much pay. I limped around & kept things in order but didn’t feel like doing much. Just such a New Year’s Eve I never saw before. i was in my bunk all night until late bedtime a continuous roar was kept up in the hall.

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