History of Buchanan County, Iowa 1842 to 1881
Transcribed by Tommy Joe Fulton and Peggy Hoehne
LETTER NO. XCVI.
CAMP NEAR THE TALLAHATCHIE MISSISSIPPI, December 19, 1862,
FRIEND RICH: - The report of colonel commanding the Twenty-seventh Iowa, to Colonel Dubois, as to the position of our regiment, reads about as follows: "Companies A and F are stationed so as to guard the four bridges south of the tank, at Waterford. Company I guards the hospital; D and H, the four bridges next south; and companies A, F, and C guard the commissary stores and the road near the fort, north of the river. E and K guard the bridge next south of the fort. G and B are on the north bank of the Tallahatchie." This disposition of our forces is likely to remain for some time. Though we have no definite orders as to the length of time that we may stay here, yet we feel sure, from our surroundings, that the fate of the Twenty-seventh is for the present fixed. Our communication with America is by railroad to Grand Junction, thence to Columbus, Kentucky, and by boat to Caito. We are also in railroad connection with Corinth and other parts of the world.
The Twenty-seventh now has six hundred and thirty men fit for duty. We sent to Vicksburgh, that have not yet joined us, fifty-one men. We left in Memphis one hundred and five convalescents and sick, and we have here about forty-five in the hospitals. There were left in Minnesota, who have since come to Cairo, and probably to Memphis, twenty-six. The balance of the regiment were left sick at Cairo, and at different points on the river, coming down.
We have received no news from home since we left Cairo, and consequently do not know the condition of the sick at the various hospitals. Their condition should be reported to us every twenty days. They may have done this, but for their own protection they ought immediately to report to their company commanders, directing their letters as heretofore described.
Nothing can equal the sufferings that the people of this part of Mississippi will undergo before another harvest. Price's army was quartered here for a long time. Grant's army then came through and took what Price had left. Sherman's column came through six miles west of this. Now there are stationed along this road, from Grand Junction to Oxford, some forty thousand men, to whom the United States issues only half rations of meat, expecting that they will draw the rest from the inhabitants of the country. We sent out eighteen men and two teams yesterday, and they got only six hogs and one beef, and went about twelve miles into the country. They report foraging as very precarious business, in that direction at least. And that, not on account of the danger of being attacked, but because the forage is not there. In the fields immediately around the encampment of companies A and F there is plenty of unpicked corn. But other than that we find little to subsist ourselves and horses upon. If we can get back where neither army has been, report says there is plenty of forage and cattle, and if we stay here any length of time we shall be apt to go out and test the truth of these reports. Should anything of interest transpire, we will keep you posted.