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Robert H. Caldwell Papers: Transcripts - MS 623

Correspondence from Robert Caldwell - July 1862

July 4, 1862

Fort McDonald July 4th/62

Dear Mother

Wishing to hear from you, in the shape of a good long letter, I thought the only Sure method to insure such a desirable thing, was to write to you to let you know that tour letters are just as welcome as ever, and Oh how welcome they always have been[.]

We have lately just more than been in luck, the 3rd O, Cavalry lately arrived at Decatur, and the other day, as I returned to camp, after a shooting excursion, judge of my surprise and pleasure to stumble over Wash. Boggs, Yes, the immortal Washington, looking just as natural as ever, only a great deal rougher, why I caught him by the hand and almost twisted it off, in the exuberance of my joy at seeing a new Elmore face although He had been absent from that place almost as long as myself, yet you know how I felt, as it was a change, and he also could tell me all about William, having lately seen him. Wm was tough and rugged he said. Wash staid until evening, and Capt Vantine, Mike Rice, and I took the train with him and started for Decatur to see the rest of the boys, I saw Ed Haines, and Biduel Hull, and Ed came back with us and is spending the 4th with us to day, he goes back this evening. He looks as natural as ever, has never seen a sick day since entering the service. Biduel Hull also looks well. I did not see Wells Wilson as he was lying sick in hospital at Tuscumbria I was sorry for him indeed, as it would have afforded me much pleasure to have got a glimpse of honest Wells. But the saddest of all was to find that Devereaux, good, kind, brotherly fellow that he was, had died, died in a Southern State, far from friends that he held most dear, died in a strange hospital, He who had always appeared to me like a brother, and who was in every way worthy of our love and esteem [.] Oh it was hard, when I heard of it, it just broke me down entirely, and I felt like giving right up, it is impossible for me to describe my feelings, imagine what your feelings would have been had you received the news of the death of a near and dear relative. I loved Ralph like a brother. His whole Co . shed tears when they read news of his death. poor fellow, but he is now better off than before, having gone to receive his reward.

Genl. Buells Grand Army is now lying in this vicinity, preparatory to marching upon Chattanooga, where it is said the enemy is concentrating in great force. some say 15000 but I doubt it, that is too heavy.

Last tuesday Genl. Mitchel started for Washington City, upon business, it is said he is to have an important command in front of Richmond, but of this I am assured. just as he was leaving to take the cars, for Washington he made a few remarks to the 21sters and told them that he was going east, and would use his utmost endeavors to have his Division join him on the field at the earliest possible period. I am in great hopes that we will Yet see the Rebel Capital who knows, Man proposes, God disposes. The remaining 3 Regts. of our Brigade the (9th) are at present staying at Battle Creek situated beyond Stevenson, not far from Chattanooga[.] The boys on our side can har the sound of the enemys Bugles, very distinctly. Oh that we could be down there with them. Col. Sill Comd. our Brigade has sent for our Regt. twice already, but Mitchel wont have us relieved from our present duty. we are all so anxious to be in at the fight to come of soon before Chattanooga. Our forces once took the place, but owing to not receiving sufficient support, were obliged to abandon it to the enemy and now they will once more dispute our right of possession . we will teach them a lesson at that place. Just wait to hear of something heavy in that direction before long.

They will catch it in both front and rear at once, and then it will be fight or surrender and most likely both, on one side, or the other.

I saw Genls Nelson & McCook yesterday old Nelson looks as natural as ever.

There are 4 Divisions now moving upon Chattanooga, Nelsons, McCooks, Woods, Thomsons and very likely a part of ours will bear a hand[.]

We are not doing much in the way of celebrating to day, but I heard a salute being fired down at Athens this morning at sunrise.

In your letter tell me how you passed the 4th it will interest me very much last 4th passed o very pleasantly to me, but to day proceedings in this direction are very dry.

no Basket Picnic, nor smiling faces, of the female persuasion, but a Soldiers life is variable you know, sunshine one day, clouds the next. Hurrah news has come of the surrender of Richmond, don't believe a word of it.

Robert.

I got a letter from Juliet a couple days ago will answer it soon[.]

(P.S)
got those stamps in Juliets letter
thanks
R.C

July 8, 1862

Camp near Athens, Ala July 8th/62

My dear Brother

Your interesting letter of June 21st was received last Sunday and I was very glad to hear of your good health, as I have had some fears for you on account of the unhealthiness of our late camping grounds[.]

You spoke of our tardiness about writing to each other &c . well I also plead guilty to the charge, and promise to do better in future, but by the way you write, I am confident that you have failed to receive all of my letters. I have written to you several times since we came to Huntsville, but you have failed to receive them, but that was to be expected in part, on account of the uncertainty of mail communication between our lines and yours. We are all greatly depressed in spirit on account of the recent war news from McClellans Army, we were (?) of success in that quarter, but I fear that our arms have suffered a severe reverse in that quarter lately. I fear that the result of the fight will have a tendency to prolong the war to a still greater length of time than we had thought for. however McClellan knows what he is about, and I am willing to trust to his sagacity, to carry us through safely. Is not it a shame, the way that Fremont has been treated, if I were in his place, I think I would resign. Our Division is very much scattered at present, The rest of our Brigade consisting of the 33rd, 2nd Ohio & 10th Wis is at present lying at Battle creek, about two miles east of this place and not far from Chattanooga, the bugles of the enemy can be distinctly hard from their camp. Our Regt is mostly scattered along the Decatur & Nash R.R. engaged in bridge guarding, very easy work, but not exactly suited to our taste, Col Sill comd our Brigade, has telegraphed to Mitchel twice already to have him send the 21st to his assistance, but here we are yet, and doubtless here we will remain, for some time. Gen Mitchel received an order a few days ago, to immediately report to Washington city, and he immediately obeyed the order, and in all probability reached there some time ago, what his business is in that direction I know not, but before leaving he made a short speech to a portion of the 21st stating that he was ordered to the Potomac, and also, that he intended, if possible, to have his old Division with him. So you see, there is a prospect of seeing Richmond yet, perhaps too before it falls into our hands. The Hd quarters of the 21st is at Athens, Col Norton started for Washington City last sunday, some say he had never yet been exchanged, and was now going for that purpose. The health of the Regt. is remarkably good at present, The 21st can muster about 800 effective men which cannot be beat by another Regt in the Div. Our Co reports 69 men for duty and is in a flourishing condition, We are guarding a large Bridge 8 miles north of Athens. You wish to know what my prospects for the future are, &c . I suppose that you have heard by the way of home, that I am now a Sergt. I was appointed the position of Orderly as soon as a vacancy occurs, which will take place before long, as G. Claghorn is to be discharged on account of physical inability, howeve the Capt may alter his mind before that occurs. I do all of the Capts writing, make out his reports, and also his Muster Rolls, besides discharges for his men that are unfit for service, and in fact, I do all of his writing and figureing and he says he is going to reward me for it. time will prove all things I was glad to hear of your promotion, quite pleasant to have a horse of your own. give my respects to Maj and Lieut Rice. has Alfred got to his Regt again I heard he had resigned.

(P.S.)
The 3rd O Cavalry is camping not far from Huntsville had a visit from Ed Haines & Wash Boogs I also visited their camp while they were at Decatur had a good time I can assure you[.] I don't know when I have felt so bad as when I heard of the death of Lieut Devere and I felt as though I had lost a brother, poor fellow
R.C

July 12, 1862

Fort McDonald July 12th/62

My dear Mother,

I had the pleasure of receiving the letters, day before yesterday, one from Juliet, one from Father, with one of Wms enclosed, and one from Mose Willson. I was glad to hear of the good health of the Elmore friends. We have been very much excited for the past week, relative to the news from Richmond and vicinity. McClellan, it appears had had to fall back, which doubtless causes great rejoicing among the Secesh. I was in hopes that our Commander in Chief would deal the rebellion a death blow in that direction, but it has turned out otherwise[.] I got a letter from William a few days ago, and answered it immediately after receiving it.

Craiglorn, it appears, got as far as Columbus, Ohio where he procured a Discharge, and in all probability is now at home. I wish he had come, I should have liked very much to have got that tea. He wrote to Capt Vantine, and I made out his Descriptive Roll, and Clothing account, and sent it to him. So he is satisfied at last, and obtained what he has long been working for, a Discharge. Father expressed a wish that our Regt would remain in this vicinity during the summer months, I cant tell how soon we may be called away although we may remain here for some time. I got a letter from Juliet a few days ago, and will answer it in turn. While you are Luxuriating upon Strawberries and Currants, we are doing the same eating ripe Peaches, they will be quite plenty in a few days. I got those stamps in Fathers letter, I also got some a few days ago, in one of Juliets letters. please accept my thanks for them. Tomorrow Capt Vantine, Lieut. Wood, and myself intend to go to a Barbecue over to one of the Planters houses in the neighborhood of Camp. We are expecting to have a good time. You know what a Barbecue is. The main feature of the entertainment consists of a roast Pig on a big scale, or more properly speaking a roast Hog. To say nothing of the rest of the Chicken fixings to be on hand upon the occasion. We have some very good neighbors I am 4th Sergt with the promise of Orderly's position with the promise of Orderly's position,, as soon as G. Claghorn comes to the Regt. He is to have a discharge on acct of sickness. Capt. has promised me the above position time will prove whether or not he keeps his promise. You need not mention this out of the family. The health of our Co. is good at present. Gen Buells Army is still lying in this vicinity. Gen Mitchel has not yet got back, it appears he is to have an important Command in the vicinity of Richmond, and has promised if possible to take his old Div. with him. There is no news of importance in this vicinity

Give my love to all. from your affectionate son
Robert

July 15, 1862

Fort McDonald July 15th/62

My dear Sister

You must forgive me for neglecting your letter so long, but the fact is, letter writing is getting to be a stale business on account of the scarcity of news to communicate. You must not think that I find it a hard task to write to the loved ones at home, far from it, it is a pleasure to me and a task that I am ever willing to undertake, but when I write to you I do it with the wish to furnish something pleasant and profitable, but as matters stand at present in this vicinity I fear I shall be able to do neither, so if you don't get a long and interesting letter this time, please overlook it.

Capt Vantine and Co is well and in a flourishing condition. I never enjoyed better health than at present, owing no doubt to the healthy location of our camp. It was rumored yesterday that Genl Crittenden and Staff were taken prisoners at Murfreesboro, Tenn. on the day before, I dont know how true it is, but upon the receipt of the news, Genl Nelson started (it is said) with his whole Division for that place I cannot say as I believe that Nelson took his whole Div. to Murfreesboro, as I am of the opinion that such an expedition would terminate in a wild goose chase, but I think he has his eye on some other point, but I am certain that he moved with his Div to some point or others, as he left Athens with it, (where it has been encamped for the last three weeks) day before yesterday[.] Probably we shall hear from him in a few days.

Peaches are ripe and you had ought to taste of some of the pies that we make, they are perfectly delicious, but I need not tell you what a peach pie is you are perfectly competent to judge for yourself[.] There are several large orchards in this vicinity and of course we are no ways backward about wading in, Roasting ears are becoming quite plenty but I intend to be quite shy of them, and not endanger my heath by over indulgence. There is a large amount of corn, and but little cotton raised down here this season. Craiglorn did not come to the Regt he went as far as Columbus, where he procured a discharge. I should have liked very well to have got that tea. That Beach, has finally got the papers for his discharge made out, and (thank goodness) he will be with us no more. I don't see how in the world he managed to get them but he has pulled the wool over the eyes of the Surgeons in some way or other good luck to him, he was of no possible account to us any way. You wish to know something in regard to the duties of a Sergt. Well, when the Regt is together and it is necessary to have a guard round camp, There is an order issued for one Lieut, one Sergt, three Corporals, and a certain number of privates, denominated as Guards. The Lieut is called the officer of the Guard. It is the duty of the Guards to remain at the Guard quarters at all times of the day, but in case the Officer of Guard should be called away the Sergt takes his place and assumes command of the Guards. The Guards are divided into three Reliefs, the Reliefs often consisting of 20 men each, there is a Corporal appointed for each relief. they are called 1st 2nd & 3rd Reliefs. It is the duty of the Sergt of the Guard to keep the time and at the proper time call out the Relief, when the Corpl posts it. Guards as a general thing are relieved every two hours, and there being three Reliefs, a man is what whe call, on two and off four. It often becomes necessary to send a squad of men to a certain place on duty, and in that case they never go without either a Lieut Sergt or Corpl whose duty it is to take command of them and for whose conduct, that is of the men he is held responsible then there are other duties that a Sergt is called upon to perform, but Father can explain it to you more at length, than I have. The train is right here new and the mail has come, Capt is undoing it wonder if I will get any, you will soon see. Yes here is one with Fathers hand writing on the wrapper, wait till I read it. The letter was from Mother and you, and both such good ones. they are dated the 8th new I guess I can fill another page. I wish you would always write on foolscap, as you can then write larger letters. How did I spend the 4ths? well I was on guard upon that day, but notwithstanding all that I spent it very pleasantly. There were some of the 3rd O. Cavalry boys here with us. Ed Haines was one of them. Ed took dinner with me. I made some light biscuit and we had blackberries and Sugar. (the cow did not come up or we should have had cream) and everything else good. we had a fine time. we had no firecrackers or torpedoes but the boys fired their guns some. You must have had a fine time at Genoa[.] I am sorry you could not attend supper at night. Yes I know you , if you had only had a handsome gallant, to beaux you to the supper your headache would have vanished instantly now don't get mad. I wish you had sent that letter of yours and Mary Luckeys, it would have been amusing to me. I suppose ere this you have heard of the death of Wells Willson, poor fellow. our best men are being cut down by disease. but whenever I hear of the death of a friend in the Army of the Union, it only serves to put more nerve into my arm, and I feel more and more like wishing for a chance to avenge their death.

McClellan has lately been doing some hard fighting with but little punishment to the Rebels, although our Chief claims a victory, its results appear rather barren to me. Gen Mitchel has gone to Washington and has received an important command under Pope. Our Div is now commanded by Gen Smith. I don't know how good a Genl he is, but time will show. We were sorry to lose our old Commander.

I will answer Mothers letter next time I write. I wrote to Mother a few days ago. I am glad you got the money that I sent. You must excuse me for writing on this soiled paper, but my paper was short I will get some better, before writing again. I get a letter from William a few days ago and answered it. He was within 30 miles of Memphis at the time of writing. Give my love to all from your affectionate Brother
Robert

I got all of those stamps 8 in one and 10 in another letter.
R.

July 17, 1862

Fort McDonald, July 17th/62

My dear Mother

I received your kind and interesting letter last tuesday, and I think I need not say that I was glad to hear from you.

Juliet also sent a letter in the same envelope, and I answered it as soon as it came to hand. It appears you have failed to receive the letter that I wrote to you some days ago.

I suppose you have heard of the death of Wills. Willson he died at (Tuscumbia?) several days ago. Poor Mose, what will he say when he arrives and hears of his death, it is so hard. I suppose that supper and dance on the 4th was a grand thing, should liked to have been on hand myself to shake my foot and partake of some of the refreshments.

Washington Boggs told us all about the death of Ralph Devere (aw.?). I have not heard any news that affected me half so much as the news of Ralphs death.

I was much in hopes that the citizens of Elmore would effect something lasting and beneficial in their pursuit of the Liquor sellers. I should have enjoyed that

[FADED INK]

of the full articles. You wish to know if Geo Claghorn arriving would make any difference with me. not in the least. I took the place of Ezikiel Rice. In case Geo Claghorn gets a discharge (which he is anxious to get) I will stand a good chance to get his position, that is if Capt Vantine keeps his promise with me. I wrote to William a few days ago, his letter was written from Moscon. I believe dated 22nd June. He was well. I was pleased to hear that he had a horse to ride as marching afoot during the warm weather is not very pleasant to say the least of it. I got a letter from Moze Willson a few days ago. I was much pleased to get a letter from him. News is very scarce at present consequently I shall be under the necessity of quitting with a short letter this time. The Rebels have been cutting up some capers lately by tearing up a portion of the R.R. track beyond Pulaski. I don't know whether or not the mail communications are cut off, but I intend to risk this letter any way. Genl Michel is needed in these parts once more very much it takes him to keep them down[.] Tell Father I will write to him next. from you affection Son
Robert

July 21, 1862

Camp McDonald
July 21st 1862

Dear Father

There is but little news to write to day, but thinking a few lines might be interresting to you, I propose to occupy a few moments by writing. Lieut. Wood came from Athens this morning and brought the order for us to hold ourselves in readiness to move at a moments warning[.]

Our Brigade lies at Battle creek about 30 miles this side of Chattanooga'.] Gen Negley is going to relieve us at this point. Our Brigade I am told is to take the advance in the forward movement. However this order may possibly be revoked there is no knowing what may turn up. We are ready at any moment. I cannot learn what is to be our destination, but Atlanta Georgia, very likely. My health is excellent, never was better. I suppose you are having exciting times once more in Ohio, on account of the recent call, for additional troops.

How does recruiting go on in the North. I understand 40,000 is Ohio's quota. Wont it put the Buckeye State to her trumps somewhat, I hear that she is only allowed 40 days to raise them crowding aint it, But very liberal inducements are now offered to volunteer and I sincerely hope Ohio will not be found wanting[.] The 21st Regt. can muster about 800 effective men at present that cant be easily beat for a Regt. that has been out as long as ours. Col Norton has not yet got back don't know when he is expected[.] Our Div is now commanded by Gen Smith, I don't know what his qualifications are as a commander, time alone can tell, but I very much fear we shall often miss our old Genl. We were yesterday reinforced at this post by Co. H. 21st Regt. We have now about 100 men here[.]

There was quite an excitement at Athens lately owing to the news of the capture of Murfreesboro by the Rebels.

There was quite a number of boys from the 21st in hospital at that place, at the time of the capture. W. Barnes of Co I. was among the rest. in all probability he is now a prisoner in their hands[.] Gen Nelson has gone to pay a visit in that direction doubtless we will hear from him before long. I wrote to Mother and also to Juliet a few days ago. Are you running the mill at present, write me the news and let me know what you are doing, from your Son
Robert

Dear Father
in regard to sending any of my letters to the Editor of your County paper, you will act in accordance with your won judgement if you think that any of my scrawlings are worthy of publication you may do so. I don't possess quite so high an opinion in regard to my humble merits however.

I will answer Juliets letter in a day or two, I got a letter from William to day of July 12th. he was well. give my love to all. I read and answered Mothers letter the other day.

from Robert

July 27, 1862

Athens Ala July 27th/62

Dear Father

Your interesting letter of July 20th was received this morning, and I think it is needless to state it met with a warm welcome from one that knows how to appreciate the worth of letters comeing from far distant, but loving friends. I am still in the enjoyment of good health, with a fair prospect of a continueation of the same, and he who has ever had the misfortune to be put upon a diet of sheet iron crackers and salt pork, can fully appreciate the blessings of good health. Your letter indicates that in view of the recent movements of that audacious scoundrel Morgan, in K.y. and Tenn. that you felt somewhat concerned in regard to the welfare of the 21st. Although the force stationed at this point at present is not a very formidable one, consisting of a small force of Cavalry, one Batter of rifled cannon, and the 21st O.V. all under command of Lieut. Col. Neibling of the 21st o.v. yet I think that you may entertain no fears on our account, as we are fully prepared for him should he take it into his head to pay us a visit, and nothing would please us better than an opportunity to measure our strength with that of his thieving crew, and I am free to say that my past experience with the 21st prompts me to state that in case of such an event occurring you will hear a good report of the doings of the 21st.

When will this Lavender water policy of our commanders be done away with, I declare I am heartily sick and tired of it, Oh for some General, that while in the discharge of his duties, will entertain no pious notions in regard to harming the sensitive feelings of some of the high bred sons of the chivalric South.

Only think of our commanders furnishing soldiers for the purpose of guarding the property of the very men that heretofore have been our most bitter enemies and it is often the case that they take that very opportunity to wound the feelings, of and insult our brave boys, by tauntingly mentioning some Rebel victory and chuckling over it in high glee, and openly proclaiming their sympathy with the rebellion, and the cases are of frequent occurrence wherein the guard, in direct disobedience to orders has left his post, and went to his company, because he possessed too much spirit to allow himself to remain in a position where he was openly insulted without a prospect of redress of grievances. I admire the spirit of such a man, and blush for that officer who can so far demean himself as to attempt to curry favors with the contemptible puppies who style themselves one superiors in everything relating to moral worth. Good God has it come to this that Federal officers have allowed themselves to become the tools of these miscreants, and are willing to sell their men merely to obtain the good will of these hemp deserving villains? excuse me for allowing myself to use such strong language, but my feelings get the upper hand of me and I cannot control them. It appears that our leaders are endeavoring to win back the traitors, by acts of kindness, and in repay for acts of the most vindictive, and uncalled for cruelty committed on the part of the rebels, are literally smothering them with roses, so to speak. and their plea for such conduct is that they are gaining friends for the cause much more rapidly than they otherwise should by pursueing a more rigid policy. I need not state that the experiment has proven a failure in every case where this lavender water policy has been resorted to, Our past experience in Ky. and Tenn. speaks for itself, Guerrillas consisting of the citizens whose very property has been so zealously guarded by Union soldiers, have ever hung upon our rear doing an almost uncalculable amount of damage to the cause. Halleck made short work of that call of men, during his occupation of Missouri a few more Hallecks in our midst would result very beneficially to our cause.

There are rumors to day of important changes in high places, we hear that Stanton is superceded by Halleck, but rumor says so many strange things, that it is almost unsafe to believe any thing that one hears. I suppose that great efforts are now being made in the North to encourage volunteering. I am in great hopes that my native State may not be found wanting in patriotism, for if such should prove to be the case, there will, undoubtedly be a heavy draft made upon the young men of our noble Buckeye State. But I am looking for such n uprising of the people of the North as will forever convince the traitors of the South that their unholy cause is doomed to defeat, and that too in a very short space of time. That such may prove the fate of all conspiracies against our glorious Government is my constant prayer.

from your affectionate son
Robert

July 31, 1862

Athens July 31st/62

My dear Sister

Today is a rainy day and the gloom of the weather, casts a corresponding gloom over my spirits, and consequently you must not expect a very interesting letter this time. I have been somewhat elated for the last few days, but it is all over now and a reaction has taken place which puts me in quite a bad humor, The case stands this way. It appears that Gov Tod has recommended recruiting for the old Regts in order to fill them up to their maximum number, and Lieut Col Neibling sent for an order for recruiting for the 21st there was to be two commissioned officers, and four Sergeants, sent home in the capacity of recruiting officers. also, in the first place it was said that a Sergt. was to be sent from Co. I. and I was picked on for that purpose, but alas for human hopes Neibling changed his mind and when he sent for the order, there was no mention made of our Co. and so my hopes were immediately blasted wasent it too bad, I had counted so much upon seeing you all once more, When I was told by Lieut Wood that they had concluded to send me home, my expectations ran up to an amazing height, but when I learned how it was to terminate, they fell in a corresponding ration. The order has not yet come and we are almost in hopes that it may not come at all, so angry are all of Co Is men because I could not go. The most of them had some little article to send, such as miniatures and letters, but the game is up and I have lost. but never mind better luck next time there is nothing to gain by repinning, but much to lose.

I suppose you will soon return to Oberlin once more to pursue your studies is it your intention to take a Ladies course at the Oberlin Institution? I suppose when I return home at the close of the war, I will find you quite an accomplished Lady, well, success attend you,

Athens is quite a lively place at present, owing to the large amount of Army stores being shipped through here en route for Gen Buells grand Army. Every thing has got to be reshipped at this point. You have no idea about the amount of stores it takes to subsist a large army, even on half rations at that, There is the forage for the teams consisting of Oats corn & Hay. there are stacks of it almost as large as our mill, lying at the depot, piles of Hard Bread equal in size to that of the forage, Then comes the ammunition. consisting of Shot & Shell and common musket and rifle cartridges, a large amount of 10 inch shells were shipped through here en route for our army now threatening Chattanooga. These Shot and Shell are put up in boxes, the same as musket cartridges, only upon a much larger scale. Before we got Contrabands to do the fatigueing at the depot, our boys used to groul considerably when they came to those 10 inch fellows, however Government now employs that class of persons to do all the hard work, and it makes it much easier for our men. I got your letter that you sent with Fathers. George Smith & Capt. Vantine have both heard of Ellen Smiths conduct. Give my love to all I will write to Mother next time

Your brother
Robert.

(P.S) I forgot to mention that my health is excellent
R.C

July 31, 1862

Athens Ala. July 31st/62

My dear Brother

Your long and interesting letter of July 12th came to hand a day or two ago and I must say that I was glad to hear from you. The 21st is stationed at this place but no one knows how long we are to remain here, but in all probability all summer. The Regt. has again been called together, and our Co. had to leave its pleasant quarters at Fort McDonald, and come to the more busy scenes of Athens, The force now stationed here consists of several Companies of Ky. Cavalry, a Battery of Steel guns, and the 21st O.V. all under commend of Lieut Col. Neibling, Col Norton having gone to Washington City to be exchanged, and not yet having returned Col. Neibling of course assumes command he being Sen. officer at this place[.]

There is a mystery attending the conduct of Col. Norton. It appears that he had not been lawfully exchanged, but serving in the U.S. army all the time notwithstanding all that , and about four weeks ago he left for Washington City to be exchanged, and there are rumors of foul play on his part, it is said that he has never yet reported to Washington City, but gone somewhere else, and an order has been issued instructing any officers to arrest him wherever he may be found, The citizens of Athens appear to know of his whereabouts, they say they have heard from him and that he is now at Richmond.

It is thought that Col. Norton has been figureing for the position of military Governor of Alabama. he is very popular with the citizens having shown them more lenity than he does his own men. it is the opinion of all, that Norton is a used up man (rumor says all this)[.]

All of Buells Army stores pass through Athens and are all reshipped here, being brought a part of the distance by wagons, and being put abord of the cars at this point, it makes quite lively times as a large force is required to handle them. I should not be at all surprised if the enemy should watch their opportunity and make a clash at this point, as the large amount of Gov property now lying here, might tempt them You wish me to give you a history of Co I. from the time of it organization to the present time. Well the Co organized at Camp Dennison the result being thus, For Capt. D. Gibbs, 1st Lieut G. Vantine, 2nd A.E. Wood, Orderly James Bumpus, 1st Sergt G. Claghorn 2nd Michael Rice 3rd Russel Rice, 4th George Smith, 1st Corpl Ezekiel Rice, 2nd Maxwell Reynolds, 3rd R. Caldwell, 4th John Rice, 5th W. Barns, 6th J. Frederick, 7th W. Perse, 8th A. Veon. The Co. consisted of 86 men rank and file. At the close of our campaign in the mountains last Fall as we were comeing down the Big Sandy River, one of our Privates, (Glinn Bromley) committed suicide by shooting himself with his musket, reason not known. he was buried on the banks of the B. Sandy. While lying at Bacon Creek last winter, by request of his own men Capt. Gibbs resigned, and Lieut Vantine took his place. Amos Wook becoming 1st and our Orderly (James Bumpus) 2nd Lieut. G. Claghorn Orderly,and Ezekiel Rice being 1st Corpl became 4th Sergt and so on through the whole line of Non Coms. Private Brett becomeing 8th Corpl by the voice of the Co. The health of the Co continued good while at B, Creek (lot?) having lost a man while there, While lying at Nashville Audrien Harrison received a discharge on account of a rupture received at Prestonburg K.Y.

During the course of events we found ourselves at Fort McDonald , a place on the R. Road 80 miles north of Athens, while at that place one of our men Shoemaker by name died very suddenly, his death supposed to have been caused by eating too much fruit that being the first death by disease that our Co had sustained since its organization. While we were yet at that post Ezekiel Rice, (having taken sick at Nashville and at that time at home on sick furlough) was reduced to ranks and I was appointed to take his place, Private Joshua Rogers was then appointed 2nd Corpl in my place, and J. Frederick being sick and absent was put into the ranks and Mathew Culican, appointed to his place. That is all of the changes

(Excuse me for leaving this white paper, I made a mistake in calculating about the amount of news that I should have to write, R C)

that have taken place. The health of the Co is excellent, there being but few sick, and those are old cases, non behind in hospital all doing well. I forgot to mention that G. Craiglorn and S. Beach have applied for discharges with very fortunate since entering the service, most of the other Cos averaging about 3 deaths to the Co ours only losing one, We report 65 men for duty at present[.]

Our Regt musters over 800 effective men I came very near obtaining a chance to go home in the capacity of recruiting Sergt. but was disappointed in my expectations. Give my respects to Lieut Rice also Mj. Rice, I hear that Lieut Rice has tendered his resignation how is it.
Your affectionate brother
Robert

(P.S) I forgot to mention that Private Logan Mizner of our Co was taken prisoner at Winchester Tenn about two months ago, and is still in the hands of the Rebels

R.C

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