Title Thumbnail

The Siege of Vicksburg: From the Diary of Seth James Wells

213 pages
Library of Alexandria
Dunlap Springs, Nov. 3, 1862. We have built a snug log house and last night for the first and probably last time have slept in it; for our company has orders to move down town and act as city guards. There are eight or ten regiments here, some of them new ones from Jackson, Miss. The new regiments, like all new ones, have great confidence in themselves and think the war is to be settled by them and them only. There is an undercurrent of jealousy existing between the old and new troops. The old troops call the new ones “forty dollar men,” “bounty men,” and “home guards.” Last Friday, Oct. 31, we had general review from Gen. McPherson who is here commanding the post. There were twenty regiments, ten thousand men, I should judge, on the field. There is a great forward movement taking place. All the troops started out on the Grand Junction road this morning with the exception of the 43rd, and 17th Ill. The weather is fine, the days are warm and pleasant, but the nights are very cold and frosty. About once in ten days we have a northeast rainstorm, followed by cold weather and sleet. We are on guard every other day, sometimes every third day. Nov. 7. We got a buggy shed from the citizens, boarded it up tight, built a furnace in it, and were just putting on the finishing touches, (battening up the cracks with cotton) when we received marching orders. Such is the fortune of war. Nov. 8. We struck our tents and started for Grand Junction about 10 o’clock. The boys are in fine health and spirits. We marched about nine miles and camped by a clear spring. Nov. 9. Sunday. We marched about fifteen miles today and arrived at LaGrange, three miles west of Grand Junction. It is dry and very dusty. Sometimes the dust was so thick we could not see the ground. That and the smoke and heat from the burning fences was almost intolerable. We passed miles and miles of burnt and burning fences, fired by troops in advance. Large and fine farms and plantations were laid waste. We met fully forty teams of four and six mules each, loaded with wenches and young woolly heads, and all their personal effects, and in fact all they could smuggle from their masters. Ask them where they are going and they will tell you, “You folks sent’s to Bolivar, don’t know where wes goin’ from thar.” I blistered my feet badly on the march. We hear that Hollow Springs is evacuated. We have very stringent orders in regard to stealing. Everything has to be paid for by the division when it cannot be traced to the company, regiment or brigade of the persons committing the theft. I hope they will be enforced. Nov. 14. All quiet. We had brigade drill this forenoon. Our brigade consists of the 7th Missouri, 8th, 63rd and 18th Illinois, commanded by Col. Stevenson of the 7th Missouri. Our regiment is the first of the fourth brigade, third division, of the right wing of Gen. Grant’s army. Gen. John A. Logan made a speech to the troops this afternoon. Nov. 20. Col. Stevenson made a few remarks to us this morning after drill. He is good natured and jolly, and a fine speaker. He gave us great praise and said he had the 7th Missouri, 8th and 63rd Illinois, with the pick of another five or six regiments, among them ours. He took us and placed us on the right of his brigade in preference to any other.