LETTER NO. XCVIII.
SAME PLACE, December, 22nd.
FRIEND RICH: - I wrote you last evening, putting the loss of
property to the United States by the rebel raid on this town, on the twentieth
instant, at two millions of dollars. I have just returned from the place where
the depot buildings used to be, and now think I underestimated the value of
property destroyed. It is true that all that was destroyed did not not belong to
the United States, but it is a direct injury financially to the Government, of
more than the amount stated. There must have been at least one hundred cars
burned, a vast amount of wagons and ammunition, two engines, commissary stores,
etc. The citizens of the town who were instrumental in giving the rebels aid are
known, as all the prisoners were paroled, and all the cotton buyers, sutlers and
citizens remain unparoled. These men will be punished, so says Colonel C. C.
Marsh, commander of the district. We arrested one man, and sent him up to the
colonel this morning; charged with murder and assisting the rebels. They will,
after a while, learn to behave like men. It is reported that ladies shot at our
soldiers out of their houses, when they were fleeing from the rebel cavalry.
Colonel Gilbert has just returned from headquarters, and
reports that we are to remain here for a few days at least. As soon as
communication is opened with the north, we will send our letters, that all our
people may know that the Twenty-seventh Iowa is safe, except those taken from
the hospital. They were Jos.
Bryson, A. B. O'Conner,
D. M. Scott,
L. W. Scott, and James
Mitchell, all of company I;
Brown, of company C; A.
Phineas Smith, of company B,
and Smith, of company K. Among the
prisoners taken by the rebels in this place, I have just learned was
S. M. Langworthy, who had just resigned as quartermaster of our regiment,
and was on his way home. He lost everything, horse, sword, pistols, blankets,
overcoat, etc. All the cotton in town was burned, and all the sutler stores
destroyed. In this work of destruction the rebel cavalry were assisted by the
citizens of this place. That they will be severely punished, I feel satisfied.
Later. - Since writing the foregoing, one of the men taken from
our hospital, Phineas Smith, of company B, has been
here. He says that the rebels run them off some twenty-five miles, and paroled
them, and they are now back at our camp on the Tallahatchie, all safe. He says
that there were twenty-two rebels who made the raid upon the hospital; that they
said they were supported by a large band lying back, and that men were
constantly leaving, and others coming into their band along the road.
This satisfies me that these same citizens that we are
protecting every day, are the ones that act as guides to the rebels in their
expeditions against us. The more I see of the course taken in this war, the more
disgusted I get.