History of Buchanan County, Iowa 1842 to 1881
Transcribed by Tommy Joe Fulton and Peggy Hoehne
LETTER NO. CXXVIII.
CLARENDON, ARKANSAS, August 31, 1863
FRIEND RICH: - We left camp above Helena, about three o'clock P. M., August 26th, and marched just below the city, and camped on a very nice green. Passed the residence of the rebel General Hindman. His home is a very elegant structure, square and substantial, built, I think, entirely of stone. I did not go near to examine it; but, from a distant view, judge that it is a building, which in our county would have cost twenty-five thousand dollars. August 27th, we remained all day in camp. The Forty-ninth arrived just at evening, and were ordered to be ready to march in the morning. Two days additional rations, making eight days in all, were drawn, and we retired to await the morning. Morning came, and the brigade marched to Sick creek, a distance of twelve miles, before dinner. It rained hard, but the brigade marched steadily on, while the rain came in torrents. Soon the dust, which had blown a perfect cloud along the whole line, was fairly laid, to rise no more until we should reach Clarendon on White river.
During the afternoon we travelled about six miles and encamped at Big creek; a stream which, though muddy like the Sick, unlike that stream, furnished an abundance of water for the brigade. The rebels had burned the bridge across this stream our men, who had been, previously to our marching from Helena, detailed as pioneers, went to work in earnest and, at daybreak, August 29th, we were on our way, marching rapidly over the bridge, which had been constructed during the night. After a rapid march, stopping an hour for dinner, we encamped, at a late hour, at Big Cypress creek, some twenty-five miles from Big creek. August 30th, marched at 6 o'clock A. M. Reached Clarendon, about twelve miles, at noon, and encamped in the woods, just east of the town.
The trip from Helena was a very pleasant one. Excepting a few cases of chills and fever, the men were quite well. After the rain of the first day, the marching was as fine as I have ever known since I have been soldiering; though the country through which we passed was certainly a destitute and forlorn one. The soil was good, however, and the fields were smiling with a luxuriant growth of magnificent, waving weeds - the people all gone - houses burned or torn down - fences destroyed - flocks and herds killed or driven away, and a once prosperous country convened into a dreary waste. Clarendon is a beautiful little town of five hundred inhabitants, in times of peace; but now entirely deserted. It is on the east bank of the White river, which is at this point the prettiest stream I have ever seen, north or south.
Boats are passing up and down the river almost every hour. A gunboat is at the landing now. The object of this rush of navigation is to supply the expedition, going on to Little Rock. The boats ascend the river above Clarendon about twelve miles to De Ball's Bluff, and from that point there is a railroad to Little Rock. The enemy is said to be in force near the Bluff, and we start in the morning to find him. If Price does not skedaddle, we shall have a fight up there, in all probability. Our brigade numbers about two thousand effective men - our regiment has three field officers and staff, except two surgeons, whom we may need.
C. H. L.