Cardinal Charlie: Letters from a civil war veteran, continued

Published 6:53 pm Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Feb. 21, 1862

We were able to change shirts and the gray-backs (lice) were back after three weeks of no new clothes.


March 1

Sat up with D.M. Barney last night and he died today. We raised money to send his body back to Dowagiac. I was on a boat, the Rob-Ray, for several days on the Mississippi River, shooting at and being shot at. One of the guns on the boat burst, killing two men and wounding 12. Last night, I and others stole a barrel of whiskey, took it to the shore and got 150 slaves drunk and I was put on extra duty for it.


April 4

After 18 days on the boat, I was glad to get off.


April 7

Grant captured Fort Donelson.


April 28

We had a skirmish and took some prisoners.


May 9

Lost several of our boys today. I saw the dust fly off of a Rebel’s coat when the ball hit him. I managed to write two letters during the days of firing at the Rebels.



A lot a drilling, day after day. I wish I could write something beside “drills.”

July 4 

A dull day.


July 28

Our Captain took 25 men and went into Courtland, Ala., to search it. I got a chicken, sweet potatoes and onions, had a feast.


Aug. 18

I will be 19 years old and I wish I was home. We got paid off today and there was lot of gambling. Friday, went on foraging with some others, they were called the “poison squad.” Today, I’m a train guard with 18 others. The train was derailed by the Rebels who opened fire and killed and captured all on the train, but me and one other guard. I made it back to Decatur. Jonathan A. Barnick of Calvin Township went home today.


Aug. 26

Wrote two letters, one home and one to George Newton of Newton Woods, Volinia.


Aug. 30

Some of the boys stole two hogs so we had fresh pork for breakfast.


Sep. 7

We marched 15 miles on the hottest day ever. Two men died drinking at a spring and five more were shot by the Rebels.


Sept. 9

We had a skirmish, a hard one. We killed 17, we lost one killed and one wounded.


Sept. 10

Made camp two miles from Nashville.


Sept. 12

Went foraging after corn for the teams, stole some nice hams and chickens.


Sept. 15

Moved into Nashville.


Sept. 17

Col. Northrop resigned.



We are doing a lot of foraging these days. The Rebels last night took from us one major, a captain, two lieutenants and 37 men, but I was left alone and I was glad for it.


Oct. 7

We had quite a battle. We captured 300 prisoners, a colonel, some captains and lieutenants, a cannon, 56 loads of flour, 2,000 pounds of bacon, and 400 muskets.



We did a lot of training and some foraging. Got mail today, a lot of pleased boys for they have had no mail for six to eight weeks and were getting homesick.


Nov. 2

Went to a lot of church services and some baptisms of 16 to 18 men at a time.

Cardinal Charlie Gill