History of Buchanan County, Iowa 1842 to 1881
Transcribed by Tommy Joe Fulton and Peggy Hoehne
LETTER NO. CXXIX.
HEADQUARTERS TWENTY-SEVENTH IOWA,
BROWNSVILLE, ARKANSAS, September 4, 1863.
FRIEND RICH: - I wrote to you last from Clarendon, on the thirtieth ultimo. On the thirty-first we mustered for pay, and the brigade crossed the river on a steamboat sent down from Duval's bluffs for that purpose. The crossing occupied from early in the morning to late in the afternoon, though the river at that point is not to exceed one hundred and fifty feet in width. Five miles out we arrived at Bayou Pier, which had been bridged by the Pioneer corps. After crossing, we rose onto the highlands lying between the White and Arkansas rivers. From that point the road has been exceedingly good, and the Pioneer corps has had no labor to perform. At times we have touched the skirt of timber, where we have been able to obtain water for men and animals; but such water! We have generally found it in stagnant pools, covered with a green, slimy scum, and horses, mules and men all drank from the same pool. The second day was much like the first as to scenery. We started from camp at 4 o'clock A. M., thus taking the cool of the day for our march. The roads were very dry and dusty, and after 9 A. M. travelling became anything but agreeable. At about 11 A. M. we stopped for dinner, eight miles from this place. Some of the men were nearly overcome with the extreme heat. After two or three hours' rest, they moved on again quite lively.
From our resting place to this town, the line of march was directly across the prairie, without a particle of shade or a drop of water to be obtained. The day was sultry; not a breath of air was stirring to carry away the dust and fan the fevered cheeks of the wearied soldiers. To stop on this prairie in the hottest part of the day would be more injurious than to keep moving, so the march was continued until we reached the grove in which Brownsville is situated, about 3 o'clock P. M.
Into the first skirt of timber we reached we plunged; and the whole brigade were allowed one and a half hours' rest. Then we moved to our present camp, which is in the timber and away from the dust; and this is our second day of rest.
Here we found quite a number of the Buchanan boys that are in the First Iowa cavalry: George Carr, W. G. Cummings, J. Vannuyse, Charles Edgecomb, --- Foote, --- Palmer, George Jewett, J. Landerdale, F. Wick, and quite a number of others, whose names I do not now remember, and with whom I was not personally acquainted. They all visited our camp. Besides, there have been, from this and other Iowa regiments, with whom some of our regiment are acquainted, a camp full of visitors for the past two days. These meetings, here in the wilds of Arkansas, are very interesting to those concerned.
There are here, also, four companies of the Thirty-second Iowa infantry, under command of Major Eberhart. I met to-day Captain C. A. L Roszell, whose company is with this detachment of the Thirty-second. From them I learn that Captain Cutler, of company A, has resigned, and that Charles Aldrich is commissioned captain of the company. He is expected every day now.
Between this place and Little Rock, it is reported that there are from thirty to forty thousand rebels, armed and equipped ready for a fight; and that they intend to prevent us from going to the capital of Arkansas. But we have been ordered there, and intend to go; so the rebels had better get out of the way, or they may get hurt. But of things I have not seen I don't wish to write much, and will, therefore, leave that matter for another letter.