History of Buchanan County, Iowa 1842 to 1881
Transcribed by Tommy Joe Fulton and Peggy Hoehne
LETTER NO. LXXIX.
CAMP FRANKLIN, September 19th.
Every day is a day of excitement, compared with the quiet at home. We live faster here than you do in Independence. Time flies, and we scarce know where it is gone. Soon after my letter was sealed, Dr. Brewer came into camp with county warrants to pay the volunteers of our county. Some of the boys soon sold their warrants at a considerable discount, being, I presume, sadly in want of the money. Others declared old Buchanan too good to be sold at a discount. With this pay came other valuable favors, which were gladly received. The barrels of eggs and onions, and all the dainties, refreshed and cheered the boys. The gracious remittances of these kind friends will long be remembered.
We have church frequently. Elder Fulton, of Independence, has preached for us several times. He is liked by the men, and there is a general wish that he may he appointed to the chaplaincy. On Tuesday, the 21st, Colonel Merrill left for Rolla, Missouri. The regiment received marching orders with great enthusiasm. As they passed our barracks the air was rent with cheers, and the heart of every soldier, I doubt not, wished them God speed. There was a drenching rain as they marched from the camp to the city, and the poor fellows must have been thoroughly soaked before they reached the boats. Soon after they had gone, the Twenty-seventh regiment received marching orders - not for the plains of Dixie, to drive back the oncoming wave of rebellion; nor for the rugged northwest, to hold the cruel savage in check, but for the barracks just vacated by the Twenty-first. A number of men were detailed to renovate them, and shortly, loaded with blankets, knapsacks and bundles of straw, and singing "Old John Brown's knapsack is strapped upon his back," we were marching to our new homes. The move, in some respects, is a fortunate one. The grove is more pleasant, and the barracks were built with much more care. There are accommodations here for more than four thousand - quite a respectable little village, you perceive. . . .
Seldom have I heard better music than from a choir of boys here. When life would be dreary, these brave ones are gleefully singing their social and patriotic songs; but, if the truth must be told, I have never been homesick except when listening to these songs. They call up so vividly the hallowed memories of a social and quiet life, that the longing to return to the home scenes thus recalled, surges like the tidal wave. But one thought of the cause in which we are engaged restores my equanimity and fills me with content.
An evening or two since, Lieutenant Colonel Lake and Major Howard were introduced to the regiment. They were received with hearty cheers. Each made a brief patriotic speech, Lieutenant Colonel Lake truthfully remarking that it was no time for talk, but the time for action. Major Howard said it was pride enough for him to be a leader of Iowa soldiers; that their bravery had shed lustre on the Union army. - Our Colonel Gilbert, of Lansing, is not here yet. . . . Our uniforms are in the city, and soon we shall be clad in the habiliments of the soldier.
C. H. L.