Mobile Bay Ala
April 9, 1865
My Ever Remembered Mira.
It is now several days since I wrote you. So I will
commence the task once more this morning while I have few moments leasure (sic)
for fear I may not have time in the future from some cause that I cannot
now see. I have just had my breakfast & got my detals (sic) made & sent to
the front. It is cloudy this morning looks considerably like rain.
It rained some yesterday & considerable the day before. The air is full of
smoke from cannon, musketry, and pine knots. Every sound seems to roar for
a long time through these tall pine trees. Oh yes I will tell you I am
well Physcecly (sic) at least, but rather ill-at-ease in mind from the continued
roar of cannonading mixed with musketry which sounds from a distance like corn
poping (sic) the biggest kind in a skillet while the Cannon puts in the
bass loud & heavy on quick time & 16th notes, but occasionally a rest to give
the Musikers (sic) a chance to get breff (sic). About 5 o'c
yesterday it was between our land batteries & their Fort & gunboats with strong
force of infantry on both sides. We could hear musketry poaring (sic) in
their deadly lead whenever the cannon did not fill up the time complete. I
do not know the result but have heard the report that the Spanish Fort
surrendered but have some doubts, and more fears that it is not so than doubts.
I know that the firing ceased rather suddenly & soon after & this morning also
we heard drums beat at different points down that way for the first time since
we came here. Drums & fifes have maintained a profound silence for fear of
exposing our location. Our Division is all within shelling distance of their
Forts & gunboats & if they knew where we are they would "play hob with our
They have thrown few shells into the camps & several over the
camp this side. But our boys make no noise & fire (?) over it so the Rebs
cannot find out exactly where to drop them. One man Co. "C" 27 [Iowa] was
wounded in the toes yesterday, in his tent, I guess, with a piece of shell.
He was the first man we have had wounded enough so as to be brought to hospital.
Unless they were wounded last night I have not heard of eny (sic) of the 27
[Iowa] being wounded but a corporal of 34 N.J. was killed that I have heard of.
I think the loss of our Divis. so far has been about 7 or 8 killed or died from
wounds & about 25 wounded. There are several of the wounds are bad.
May prove mortal in this climate. I think wounds through the body &
thickest part of the legs will stand poor show in this climate as is to (sic)
far south. But the weather has not seemed so very warm yet to me.
The nights are cool enough to sleep first rate. I believe this is as
healthy plaice (sic) as ever we have been in down in this Dixie. The soil
is warm sandy & dry with plenty of good springs of clear nice water (after being
dug out & fixed some) furnishing us with all we want handy to camp. There
is but little timber but pitch pine on all the dry lands & small trees & brush
of every kind in the low & swampy lands. Our camp is not near any swamp of
any size. Several large yellow bellyed (sic) rattle snakes have been
killed here & day before yesterday a large buck deer came close up to our camp.
I was surprised to hear of deer so close to Mobile.
Bully, they say that Spanish Fort did really run up the white
flag lass (sic) night during a tremendous charge from our boys in blue & that it
is now on the hands of the Yankees. The particulars I have not
heard yet but hope I may before night or even before I finish this though you
very likely see all in the news in the papers sooner than I can send it by
letters. It seems from accounts that Grant & Sherman have been doing some
big work. Report here is that Grant killed wounded & captured 7,000 men at
Richmond and Sherman has used up Johnson (sic) capturing 10,000 men. That
is the way to do up the work. They can't stand very many such blows & of
course the weaker they get the faster they will "Play out" towards the last.
If Gen. Thomas comes down through Selma & shuts the back door of Mobile so that
thear (sic) Torpedo-Butternutts can't get out we will likely take considerable
many of them "in out of the wet" "as the saying is" when we get them farely
(sic) convinced we-ans Yankees are to (sic) much for them. I think we will
gobble several hundred at that fort. We took 300 men there yesterday P.M.
sometime before the fort surrendered. We have thought several times that
they were trying to evacuate their fort but someone seems to be there to fire
their usual salutes this morning. The Hospital & our Ambulance Corp
is out of danger unless they should get in our rear & then they would have some
Steel (sic) to run over first. I have not been to the front lines
since we have been here. I have to keep myself here constantly on hand to
send men & ambulances wherever & whenever they are required. I don't know
as I am any bigger coward than most men but I am sensable (sic) on one
that the farther I am from Rebel shot shell & lead the better it suits me.
Still if my line of duty called me to the front I would as soon go there as
remains (sic) behind for I think a man is safe doing his whole duty. Not
but what a man will get hurt many times doing their duty but experience teaches
me that they would, in shirking from duty, been liable to run into some danger
that they did not expect. Our boys here when out on duty had much rather go to
the extreme front than remain behind at the reserves. They are in less
danger in consequence of the Rebs overshooting the missles of destruction
droping (sic) at the reserve custers (?) of the front lines. I drew a
little map of our position the other day which I will send you if I do not
forget it. It is not correct in several things. Forts (?) Gains
(sic) & Morgan is much to (sic) near Mobile & I guess the Ala. River is nearer
our works than I have marked. You asked me who I ment (sic) by Tom.
We have two that goes by that name in our Co. C Tom
Smith & Tom
Watters . I guess I ment (sic) Tom Watters.
He was sick & brought to Hospital about the time (I guess)
I wrote about it. Seems to me I said something about Tom Smith Also.
His father is a Scotch preacher living near Greely. Malen
Scarbough that had small pox is dead. I don't know where he
died. Mr. Cog (?) a recruit in our Co. took the same disease from him &
was left at Vicksburg when we came down where he has since died. Our boys
left at New Orleans are doing well I here (sic). D. S. Tafen (?) has
charge of a ward in hospital & very likely will be in no hurry to come back to
the command. Our chaplains with the help of some others are holding a
protracted meeting between here & their camp. There is much interest
manifested in them. I guess I must leave you for a while & wash and change
cloathes (sic) & attend meeting if I can get permission to leave camp long
enough & there is a meeting which I think there is. Do you remember where
I was one year ago today?
Adieu for a "little minute" -- It is now about noon & I have my
dinner but have not attended meeting. I think there is one at noon.
One year ago tonight I laid under a tree on the ground at Pleasant Hill with
signs of Rebel lead about my hind quarters
but is all past now & I feel no effects of it any more. Oh yes, I must
tell you some more about the fort I spoke about in the A. M. General Smith
with his Pilgrims captured it with 559 men & all the artilery (sic). He
made the 13th Corps give receipt for everything before he would turn the fort
over to them. I guess the Rebs are evacuating in our front. Good
many of the rebels drowned trying to get away. Their boats laid out from
the shore could not land. I guess Mobile will not last very long. I
am afraid they will get away. I here (sic) the 13th Corps are going around
today to come in the rear of the City to keep them in. I wish we could bag
the the whole pile then as soon as U.S. [Grant] & W. T. [Sherman] get their
respective foes vanquished we could "lay down our weapons of warfare" & return
home in place.
thinks that we will not have to serve our full terms. I heard today Gen. Lee had
proposed to "give up" on condition of free pardon to all concerned. If he
ever makes that proposition it will be granted I think but there will be many
bands that will still keep together for the purpose of plundering & our force
cannot be all taken away for that reason. Would we be glad when the thing
is over so we can all go home to our families. I will I am shure (sic) for
I am shure (sic) a change of condition & living would be very agreeable [to]
me--yes, one of those leafs I sent was familiar. I have just seen a
curiosity called Venus fly trap. If I had room I would tell you something
about it. I must close now for the want of room. I hope this will
find you all well. Give my respects to J. P. & Fannie. I also
send my compliments to Lea & Susan & family. Do you know where Stillman
Knight is? The 38th Iowa is with 13th Corps & are not far from here.
It & 34 are consolidated & called 34 Iowa. It seems to me he has not ..?..
the Reg't was in hospital or discharged. I no (sic) what it was about him.
I have looked with all my might for a letter from you for several days but it
has not come yet. The last letter I got from you was No. 27 March 18th.
There has been a mail since & I got mail before 22 or 23. I hope you will
send me some stamps partly ..?.. to be had here nothing is to be brought here &
sold. No suttler at all. Tobacco is issued to the men. It is
issued same as other rations free to all. I sold mine. It will just
about keep me in stamps if I could buy them. I have but little paper.
Nearly half the men with [the] Reg't are out & consequently can't write. I
don't know what you would do if I should get out so I could not write to you.
How would you like it.