Center for Archival Collections

Reference Services | Manuscripts by Subject | CAC Homepage

William Chapman Papers: Transcripts - MS 652

William Chapman Journal - October 1862

Oct.4. Morning. Again on picket. Lieut. Booth is in command, as Capt. Brady is in Covington sick. Heard 23 guns fired on the lines during the night, but have not yet learned what occasioned it. The weather is just now very warm day and night and when on drill the dust is intolerably suffocating. There is now probably no considerable force of rebels nearer us than Lexington, 65 miles distant. Small bodies of scouts however hang around us and now and then one of them gets in limbo.

Evening. It has rained part of the day quite hard and we have been obliged to be out in it all.

6. Marching orders again. At 3 o'clock this morning the drums beat the reveille and we were routed for roll call. With two days rations in our haversacks we have moved south about six miles, which brings us 26 miles S. of Covington, Ky. Not being very well, my knapsack has been carried by the teamster and I have marched in the rear of the column with the sick squad. We have found much better water, both for cooking and drinking purposes and nearer at hand. Have just recd a letter from father bringing the sad intelligence that Degrass Chapman has died of wounds recd in the terrible battle of Sharpsburg and that Mr. Durkee has gone to get his body together with that of his son, killed in the same engagement. Harlan is overwhelmed with grief at the news. Verily we have fallen on dark days of sorrow, but there is a Divinity that shapes our ends, rough hew it as we will. To die for one's country is an honor which increases with advancing years and a rich legacy to leave to our children's children.

7. Today we have five more rebel prisoners under a strong guard near our quarters. One of them belongs to John Morgan's cavalry and is dressed in inevitable butternut pants or "fried breeches" (as our boys call them) peculiar to the secesh. A large number of our regt. are sick and the remainder hardly fit for duty. Yet we have been obliged to go through battalion drill on the doublequick. Our boys have come in completely exhausted.

8. Recd. a letter from Fi today with the children's pictures, also a letter from sister Mary. The water in and around this camp, A.J. Smith, is horrid. A green scum of considerable thickness rises on its surface when boiled for coffee. It seems to me that a drink of good cold ice water would do me more good than anything else I can think of. We still occupy the advance of our forces on the Lexington Pike. Col. Casement says that ere we leave this point there will be 25,000 men to our support. We learn that Gen. Morgan is at Portsmouth on the Ohio River and we expect to fall in with Col. Sheldon and the gallant 42d. Gen. Judah has been superseded as Brig. Commander by Gen. S. G. Burbridge, who now reigns over this command. Capt. Brady has just come up from Covington, where he has been recruiting his health. He brought some things for Elbert and Patterson Fauver. It seems that the friends at home recd. news that Pat was dead and Walter came down to bring him home and found our Capt. at Covington, so he came no farther.

Oct.9. Our forces have been increased two regiments today, the 100th Ohio and 22d Wisconsin and our camp presents a beautiful appearance, lying as it does upon two slopes descending towards each other and thus bringing the white tents of the several Regts. plainly to view. Our Lieut. Parsons visited us today and was right heartily greeted by the boys. He is a fine noble fellow and we are very sorry to have him away, although he will grace Gen. Swain's or any other man's staff. I have been busy yesterday and today making out the first payrolls for our Co. Prayer meeting this evening between our quarters and those of Co.C.

10. Morning. Marching orders. Tents all truck, baggage all loaded and I am seated on the ruins of Camp A.J. Smith. How far we are to march or what is to be our objective point I know not.

Evening. Have marched 15 miles further south since about one o'clock and arrived in our present quarters at 8 this evening, very tired and some of us very lame and footsore. We have marched all the p.m. with our overcoats on, the weather being very cool and a misty rain falling and it is so cold this evening that we shall pass an uncomfortable night and some of us are unwell.

11. Cloudy and cold. I feel very little like move today, even to perform the light duties of camp. We have repitched our tents this morning and are ordered by the Gen. Commanding to brush up, clean our muskets, and prepare for general inspection tomorrow.

12. Am quite unwell today, feel as though a rest upon a soft bed would be conducive to my health. Job Alexander is very sick and unless he receives help soon I fear he will not survive. Our surgeons are all sick and not able to prescribe and we have called one in from another regiment. I passed an uncomfortable night sleeping with my overcoat on and under a blanket beside. We learn this morning that Buell has had a fight with Bragg and had driven him in this direction, capturing all his cannon and camp equipage. Hope it is true. Our whole brigade is out this p.m. for general review, but I am lying flat on my back, hardly able to crawl. I would like some medicine if I could get such as I want, but our surgeons have to follow a prescribed and very limited course. Quinine, opium, and iron rust for all diseases.

13. Still unwell, no appetite and can hardly get around. Yet, I have been performing light service in making out payrolls for the Capt. and have completed them. George Pierce of the 105th Ohio came into camp this evening, claiming to be a paroled prisoner from the battle of Perryvile. He was wounded slightly in that engagement. Have written to father this evening.

15. Still in Camp Wells. Gen. Q.A. Gilmore, a Lorain County man has taken charge of this division and Gen. Swain is our Brigade Commander. Twenty one ambulances passed our camp this morning from the Perryville battle ground, loaded with the wounded bound for Cincinnati. George Pierce left us yesterday for Ohio. Am still unwell, having had four hours fever today.

Oct.16. Marching orders. At six o'clock this morning the bugle sounded for striking tents and soon afterward our brigade was on the move toward Lexington. We have marched about 17 miles today and are now encamped about 25 miles from Lexington, which we hear has been evacuated by the Rebels. The first part of our route today was through a most beautiful country, but the latter part of it, including that in which we are located, is very rough and unpromising. Nothing but everlasting hills and great gullies, covered with stunted oaks, sassafras, persimmons, and so forth. We met numbers of paroled Union men going north and one poor fellow whose leg had been shot away.

18. It is reported this p.m. that some of our cavalry in the advance guard have been captured. Skirmish drill this a.m. There are indications this evening of another march in the morning, as two days cooked rations have been ordered into our haversacks and we have had no drill this p.m. I have been busy today writing for the Capt. copying Gen. Orders.

19. Marching orders. Aroused at 3 o'clock this morning and leaving camp at 7, have marched eight miles farther to the front and this p.m. we are bivouacked on a high bluff overlooking Eagle Creek Valley. Our teams remain on the road ready for a start. The night is cold and our overcoats are our only covering.

20. In camp at Georgetown, 12 miles from Lexington. We were aroused at midnight from our uncomfortable slumber to prepare for our march. We have traveled today 14 miles in about five hours. We are now as beautifully located as we were at Camp Cleveland, in a beautiful country marred only by unseemly residences. Many of our Eaton boys are unwell, among whom are Sol Alcott, James Warnock and Job Alexander. The grounds we occupy are owned by Keene Richards, the most celebrated sportsman in Ky. Here is the most splendid spring of pure water I ever saw. It furnishes an abundance for an army. This village is the seat of Georgetown College.

21. Last night at midnight the 104th, 100th and five companies of our Regt. were aroused and taking two days rations have gone forward to Lexington for what purpose I have not yet learned and we are to follow them today or tonight. Sunday.

22. Left Georgetown at midnight for Lexington where we arrived at 7 this morning, after a night march of 12 miles. Last Friday the Rebel Morgan dashed in here with 1500 cavalry and captured 500 of the 4th Ohio Cavalry, whom they immediately paroled. Some four or five were killed on our side and 16 Rebels. The union sentiment in Lexington is very limited indeed. The only hearty welcome we receive is from the Negroes. Unionists have been obliged to hold their peace except when the city is occupied by our forces. Col. Casement has been appointed Provost Marshal of the place and many arrests of prominent rebels have already been made.

Oct.23. Four companies of our Regt are posted in the city today as Provost Guards. Col. Stock is turning things topsy turvy there, ransacking houses, discovering stolen property, etc., etc. Many of the people boldly avow their rebel sentiments and yet have the unheard of audacity to claim protection at our hands. Our General's Headquarters are in the house of a noted rebel belonging to John Morgan's Cavalry. All the fine furniture of the mansion together with such of the Negroes as desired to leave have been confiscated. As we came into the city Capt. Brady took up two contrabands for servants. Yesterday morning he took him with him into town, when the civil police fastened upon him and put him into jail as a runaway. The Capt. complained to the Provost Marshal but recd. no satisfaction and the prospect is that notwithstanding the boasted Republicanism of Col. Casement the poor boy will again be reduced to bondage. Such complicity with rebellion ought to receive its just recompense of reward.

24. This morning our brigade was ordered on a parade march through all the principal streets of Lexington. No enthusiasm was manifested except by the Negroes, who were very jubilant. One scrawny old wench in the exuberance of her feelings "Dars no place but Heaven for dese men". Those poor sons and daughters of ebony seem to think we are here to work out their deliverance.

25. On picket two miles from the city on one of the pikes. About 75 prisoners have been brought in & sent to Louisville today.

26. Last night was one of the most tedious I ever knew at this season. Little did I expect to find such weather in Central Ky. The wind was cold out of the north and snow fell during the night to the depth of three inches and large icicles are seen this morning hanging from the fences and roofs of houses. No more snow fell during the whole of last winter than fell last night. We poor pickets had a pretty tough time of it, but a good warm breakfast this morning at a toll gate where we are stationed has reinvigorated me and I feel as good as new. It is the first meal I have eaten inside of a house since I left home.

27. I have been busy today in making out Co. Descriptive Lists. Several men in our Regt. have been tied up during the day for drunkenness; a gazing stock for the more temperate.

28. General inspection this p.m. Weather raw & we have worn overcoats all day.

29. Marching orders again and after leaving our fine camp at Lexington, "Ella Bishop", we are tonight in a beautiful grove of walnut two miles north of the village of Versailles, through which we passed this p.m. The country through which we have passed today is very beautiful and Kentuckyans think it the garden of the world and well they may, for great plantations, splendid mansions, macadamized roads, fine vineyards, and beautiful parks are noted characteristics of this famous Blue Grass Region. In marching 16 miles today over a hard pike our feet have been made very sore, but a cup of coffee and good nights rest will place us in good condition for entering Frankfort on the morrow.

Oct.30. Started forward this morning on our journey to Frankfort, which we entered about 12 o'clock M. Passed by the penitentiary in coming to our present camp, which is situated in the outskirts of the city on the left bank of the Ky. River. Our camp was formerly occupied by Rebels and was very filthy on our coming into it.

31. This is muster day and we soon expect our pay. I have been busy writing Capt. Brady's official business. One hundred of Morgan's Cavalry were brought in today on their way to Louisville as prisoners. On the opposite side of the river from us is the Frankfort Cemetery and the grave of Daniel Boone, whose tombstone or monument is distinctly visible.

MS 652 - William T. Chapman Papers, Introduction | List of Transcripts
Manuscripts by Subject | Civil War Collections